Wigan have appointed assistant boss Chris Hutchings as the club’s new manager after Paul Jewell resigned today – less than 24 hours after leading the club to Premiership safety.
For Hutchings, who takes over following Wigan’s status-preserving 2-1 win over Sheffield United, it is a case of history repeating itself after he took over the reins at Bradford from Jewell in similar circumstances in 2000.
Jewell, who has been linked with a move to Manchester City if the Eastlands board lose patience with current boss Stuart Pearce, stepped down from his role at the JJB Stadium despite celebrating wildly with chairman Dave Whelan yesterday after David Unsworth’s penalty kept the Latics up at the expense of their opponents.
Hutchings, 49, joined City in Chris Kamara’s tenure and was second in command when Jewell helped keep the unfancied Bantams in the top flight, also on the last day of an arduous campaign.
Jewell handed in his notice only days afterwards – a move originally blocked by chairman Geoffrey Richmond.
The 42-year-old manager eventually joined Sheffield Wednesday but neither man enjoyed a successful season – Jewell was sacked by the Owls after just eight months, while Hutchings was dismissed from Valley Parade after just 137 days.
His brief spell at Bradford was an unhappy one, totalling just 12 league games and a solitary victory over Chelsea, and he left the club second bottom of the Premiership in a season that eventually saw them relegated.
Two of Hutchings’ signings – Italian striker Benito Carbone and former Liverpool man Stan Collymore came in on big-money contracts that were eventually blamed by some fans for the club’s subsequent financial woe.
Hutchings’ appointment completes a busy couple of days for Wigan, who went into yesterday’s end-of-season programme in the bottom three but edged out the Blades in a frantic 90 minutes.
A message on the club’s official website, www.wiganlatics.co.uk earlier today started the ball rolling, confirming Jewell’s resignation.
It read: “The club reluctantly confirm the gaffer has decided to step down as manager,” before a press conference later saw Hutchings installed as his successor.
When Jewell was installed at the JJB Stadium, the Latics were in the third tier of English football and his work alongside chairman Dave Whelan in reaching the Premiership was a fine achievement.
Jewell, 42, hit the headlines earlier in the season when he had a public spat with referee Phil Dowd, over his decision not to award a penalty to the side against Arsenal.
Jewell was handed a £2,000 fine and two-match suspended touchline ban by the Football Association for bringing the game into disrepute.
He faces a further hearing on charges of improper conduct and/or bringing the game into disrepute for comments about Dowd made after the match.