With the Latics facing Chelsea in the Premier League this weekend there has been debate on various websites about the game, but on one particular site YOTAC I noticed a thread about Ken Bates.
The original poster claimed they were researching Bates for an article and asked about his involvement at the Latics, suddenly the memories of the early 1980`s at Springfield Park came flooding back, I remember Ken on the board of the Latics and I also remember when he left saying how he hoped to return one day.
Last year I published a Latics & Chelsea ‘connections` article that spoke about Ken Bates, I have included that article below, for all his misdemeanours Bates bailed the Latics out at time when we were in serious danger of folding, any way here is the article:
Wigan Athletic and Chelsea don`t share many connections on the playing front, of former or current Latics players only six have been employed by the West London club and one of these, ex-Latics keeper Bob Ward was the Physio at Stamford Bridge.
Dave Beasant, David Glenn, Mario Melchiot, Scott Sinclair and Emerson Thome are players who have worn both the blue of Wigan and the blue of Chelsea
Ian McNeil, who was Latics first ever Football League manager also had a spell as assistant manager to John Neal at Chelsea, McNeil was responsible for the signings of Pat Nevin, David Speedie and Kerry Dixon but the most intriguing of all connections is that of Ken Bates.
Ken Bates was a director of Wigan Athletic when in 1982 he bought Chelsea football club for the princely sum of £1 but also took on the huge debts that Chelsea had at this time.
Bates turned the fortunes of Chelsea around, along with others, and set up the deal to bring in Roman Abramovich which wiped off Chelsea`s £80 million debt and set them up as one of the Worlds top clubs
Bates had to give up his directorship of the Latics under football league rules when he took over at Chelsea, but said on leaving that the Latics would always have a special place in his heart and that he would never seem them in trouble.
By the late 1980`s Latics were in serious financial trouble and in danger of going out of business, in 1991 Stephen Gage, Ken Bates` son-in-law, bought an ailing Latics off the much maligned Bill Kenyon and steadied the ship.
By 1995 the club had settled so much as to be an attractive proposition for current Chairman Dave Whelan and the rest as they say is history.
So Ken Bates has had a major part to play in both Latics and Chelsea`s recent history and it`s fair to say that neither club would be where they are today if it wasn`t for his foresight and guidance
Latics and Proud
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