Wed 01 June 2022 | 4:30

Top facts about Dave Whelan, English former player

Dave Whelan is the only football player who played in all four divisions and then did the same as a club chairman. Read on to find out more facts about Dave Whelan.

David Whelan is an English businessman and former footballer who was born on November 24, 1936. He played for

Blackburn Rovers

and Crewe Alexandra throughout his football career.

Dave Whelan’s age

is 85 years.

An important fact about Dave Whelan is that he is the previous owner of Wigan Athletic and served as the club's chairman for twenty years until relinquishing the reins to his grandson, David Sharpe, who finally sold the club to International Entertainment Corporation.

A notable fact about Dave Whelan is that he began his football career as a member of the side that fell 3-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 1960 FA Cup final.

His football career was marred by injuries, and the one he sustained in the final was one of several that occurred to other players at the time, prompting the nickname "Wembley hoodoo."

Top facts about Dave Whelan:

A notable fact about Dave Whelan is that he played in the 1960 FA Cup final, which his club lost to

Wolverhampton Wanderers

0-3, but he damaged his leg and was traded to Crewe Alexandra a few months later, where he spent many seasons before retiring from professional football.

Dave Whelan, on the other hand, purchased a supermarket, which he eventually sold for more than £1, 5 million. But it was through his sports equipment firm (£190 million) that he earned the most money.

Dave Whelan early life


Dave Whelan’s childhood

, it should be mentioned that he grew up in Wigan after being born in Bradford. His ancestors were from the Irish county of Tipperary. There is no information available regarding

Dave Whelan’s parents


Dave Whelan personal life

Following an interview with The Guardian in November 2014 in which he defended his choice to recruit Malky Mackay as Wigan manager, Whelan was accused of uttering antisemitic remarks.

The Football Association was investigating Mackay for alleged racism and antisemitism in e-mails and texts he wrote while managing Cardiff City. "Jewish people seek money more than everyone else," Whelan was quoted as saying during the interview.

West Ham United co-chairman David Gold and former FA and Premier League executive Simon Johnson, both of whom are Jewish, also criticized the remarks.

A notable fact about Dave Whelan is that he was also accused of racism for supporting Mackay's reported usage of the term "chinks" to describe Chinese people. "I believe he has disrespected the dignity of the Chinese," Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan, who is Malaysian Chinese, said of Whelan.

Later, Whelan apologized for his statements. Kick It Out, an anti-racist organization, provided Whelan support, stating that it was their obligation to ensure that people his age understood "contemporary standards."

If the FA judged him guilty of racism, Whelan vowed to resign from Wigan. He was hailed by Wigan supporters when he took his place at the DW Stadium for the first time since the scandal, on November 22nd against Middlesbrough.

The FA charged Whelan with an aggravated infringement of FA Rule E3 on November 27 after his statements featured "a reference to ethnic background, race, nationality, religion or belief."

On December 31, he was handed a six-week suspension and a £50,000 fine, despite the fact that the FA inquiry found that he was neither a racist nor had sought to offend anybody.

Whelan retired as Wigan chairman in March of the following year, appointing his grandson, David Sharpe, as his successor, with the Whelan family retaining majority owners.

Dave Whelan professional career

An important

fact about Dave Whelan

is that he began his professional football career in 1956 with Blackburn Rovers. His position on the field was fullback.

Dave Whelan playing career

An important fact about Dave Whelan is that he was a part of Blackburn Rovers' 1960 FA Cup Final squad, which lost 3–0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers. He played 78 times as a left defender for the club, scoring three goals.


An important fact about Dave Whelan is that he did not finish the game; a furious charge by Whelan on Norman Deeley resulted in the Blackburn midfielder being pulled before halftime with a fractured leg.

Whelan's injury was part of the Wembley hoodoo, which saw numerous players suffer devastating injuries between the 1950s and 1960s.

Crewe Alexandra

Following his leg break, Whelan was moved to Crewe Alexandra, where he made his League Cup debut on February 23, 1963, in a 4–0 loss to Port Vale in the first round, and went on to make 115 appearances until April 1966. He subsequently went into retirement to focus on growing a retail food store.

Dave Whelan economic career and ownerships

After working with Howarth Brothers on their station in Blackburn, Whelan opened a market stall in Wigan. Later, he worked for a grocer before traveling to America to study self-service supermarkets.

When he returned to England, he set out to build a grocery empire. By the late 1960s, the company had grown to ten locations throughout Lancashire. Whelan sold the company to Morrisons for £1.5 million in 1978.

JJB Sports

In 1971, Whelan purchased JJ Bradburns, a Wigan-based fishing and sporting goods shop. He kept the JJB Sports name (JJB stands for the initials of the two former proprietors, John Jarvis Broughton and J J Bradburn) and continued to sell sports equipment.

JJB had seven shops by 1980, and proceeded to grow during the 1980s and 1990s to become the UK's second largest sports retailer, specializing in sports clothes.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) fined JJB Sports £5.5 million in 2005 for fixing the price of English National Team and

Manchester United

jerseys in 2000 and 2001.

Which (the Customers' Association) filed a lawsuit against JJB on behalf of consumers who were harmed by the price fixing. Whelan steadily reduced his stake in the firm and stood down as chairman in 2005.

However, in October 2006, he personally intervened to reverse a salary deal reached by new chairman Tom Knight at JJB's Wigan warehouse, labeling it "the equivalent of Communism" and causing a two-day walkout.

An important

fact about Dave Whelan

is that he sold £50 million worth of JJB shares in January 2007, before selling his remaining 29 percent holding in June 2007. This move was in violation of a contract Whelan signed with the stock market on January 26, 2007, in which he agreed to make no more sales for the next 12 months.

DW Sports

Whelan repurchased JJB's countrywide network of fitness clubs and shops in March 2009. Wigan Athletic's stadium was renamed DW Stadium, and its new sponsor, DW Sports Fitness, was named after the club's owner and his new business.

Wigan Athletic F.C.

Wigan Athletic was a Division Three club until Whelan acquired them in February 1995. Whelan promised when he took over that he would bring Wigan Athletic into the Premier League, which he did in 2005.

This started with a Division Three championship in 1996–97, a Division Two championship in 2002–03, and promotion to the Premiership as Championship runners-up in 2004–05.

A notable fact about Dave Whelan is that he contributed £30 million to the club's new JJB Stadium (now the DW Stadium), which opened in 1999 and was one of the biggest football venues outside of the Premier League at the time of its completion.

Wigan, who were expected to be relegated from the Premier League in their debut season, not only stayed up (and stayed in the top tier for eight years), but also finished 10th in the league and reached the Football League Cup final.

Whelan vowed to leave the club in 2005 if the cost of policing games was not decreased. In 2007, he urged for West Ham United to be relegated as a punishment for incorrectly registering

Carlos Tevez

and Javier Mascherano.

A notable fact about Dave Whelan is that he demanded the resignations of Premier League Chairman Dave Richards and Chief Executive Richard Scudamore.

An arbitration committee was formed to look into the situation. It ruled in the Premier League's favor. Wigan won 2–1 against Sheffield United towards the conclusion of the season, with goals from Paul Scharner in the 14th minute and a penalty from David Unsworth in injury time of the first half, after Sheffield United had equalized in the 38th minute.

The result saved Wigan and sent Sheffield United to the Championship on the last day of the Premier League season.

Ben Watson scored a header in the 91st minute of the FA Cup Final against

Manchester City

on May 11, 2013, to win the game 1–0.

This was Wigan's first major prize in Premier League history, and also afforded Whelan the opportunity to handle the FA Cup trophy for the first time in 53 years, 53 years after fracturing his leg in the 1960 final.

Wigan was relegated to the Championship three days later after losing to Arsenal, ending an eight-year stay in the Premier League. Whelan stepped down as chairman on March 3, 2015, and was succeeded by his 23-year-old grandson, David Sharpe.

Wigan Warriors

Following Maurice Lindsay announced his desire to leave the Warriors after the Warriors' defeat against the Catalans Dragons on July 29, 2007, Whelan was able to convince him to remain until the conclusion of the season.

However, after Lindsay's retirement announcement, Whelan said that he would be prepared to sell the club following a possible takeover from a "true Wigan fan" early this year.

Ian Lenagan, the previous owner of Harlequins RL, finalized his purchase of Wigan Warriors on October 24, 2007, buying out Whelan's 89 percent share in the club, with the agreement taking effect on December 1, 2007.

Orrell Rugby Union Club

Chairman Maurice Lindsay of the Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club and business mogul Dave Whelan, the owner of the JJB Sports Empire at the time, had previously made noises about starting a rugby union team.

Whelan's Finance Director Simon Moorehead made the first contact, and on an exciting night, the members guaranteed a £10,000,000 investment over five years, with Mr Whelan stating his desire to be sipping red wine away in the European Cup in the not-too-distant future.

Members reluctantly surrendered their shares in the club for £1,000 apiece to the new proprietors, with Lindsay becoming the club's new Chairman, wide-eyed and with these promises of future success.

Dave Whelan political career

Whelan, a Conservative Party member, has given the party a total of £1.5 million since 2007, with his most recent gift of £100,000 in August 2014. David Cameron, he declared, has his complete backing.

To commemorate Margaret Thatcher's death, he asked for a required minute of silence at all football games in 2013. The suggestion was turned down by the Football Association.

Dave Whelan honors

Wigan Borough Council bestowed the Freedom of the Borough of Wigan to him on August 30, 2007. The University of Bolton bestowed upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in July 2015.

Dave Whelan quotes

It was a watershed moment. The severity of the events of that day had only begun to set in as tears streamed down Dave Whelan's face.

Whelan, then 23, had been preparing for what every schoolboy dreamt of, an FA Cup final appearance, but now he was facing loss and a double fractured leg that would end his playing career.

Blackburn Rovers had recently lost the 1960 FA Cup final 3-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers, but Whelan didn't learn about it until he awoke from surgery, having been stretchered off the Wembley grass just before halftime with his team behind 1-0.

The physical agony had subsided, but the emotional anguish had just recently begun ahead of a three-year path to rehabilitation that would bring an end to his illustrious Ewood Park career.

"They whisked me off in an ambulance to Wembley hospital, and the surgeon who was supposed to conduct the procedure was actually watching the game before the operation," he said.

"Because of what they inject into you, you're half-conscious." The next thing I remember is waking up in the theatre and being hauled out.

"After my procedure, I was being carried down the hallway, and the first thing I asked to the nurse was, 'How are we doing?' 'You lost 3-0,' replied the nurse. The tears had barely started to fall.

"I couldn't help but weep. That was the level of enthusiasm for the game at the time. I wasn't grieving for myself, but for the team; we had lost the cup final."

It was supposed to be Rovers' turn. After losing in the semi-finals to bitter rivals Bolton only a few years before, May 7th, 1960 was the day the famed blue and white halves would make amends.

On their way to Wembley, Bryan Douglas, Ronnie Clayton, and co had previously defeated Sunderland, Blackpool, Spurs,


, and Sheffield Wednesday, and the 40,000+ Rovers supporters who made the trip were optimistic that their heroes could add Wolves to their list of victories.

It wasn't meant to be. It was a day to forget for the East Lancashire team, with striker Derek Dougan putting in a transfer request on the morning of the game, him then playing half fit, and Whelan's own personal grief.

"We all realized Derek wasn't 100 percent fit and shouldn't be on the field," said Whelan, 73. "But it was a close game, and we were definitely on top."

"Then a cross came through, and Mick McGrath slipped in and put the ball into his own net. There was no risk since Harry Leyland had everything covered and I was just behind him.”

"Mick, on the other hand, was unaware of this, believing that someone was following him. Then I broke my leg two minutes before halftime, and there were no replacements, so it was game over."

Despite losing to McGrath's own goal due to Dougan's injury, Dally Duncan's side were still in the game. Then Whelan was forced out of the game by Norman Deeley's challenge, and with Wolves down to nine fit players, Deeley added salt to the wound with a second-half double as Wolves cruised to victory.

"Norman Deeley came straight over the ball," Whelan recalled. "He would have been expelled and prohibited for a long period today. He came six inches above the ball, but he didn't come for the ball; he came for me.”

"I fully broke both bones. They basically tied me together with bandages, hauled me up, and placed me on the stretcher since there were no painkillers back then.”

"The stretcher was one of those old canvas things, and they placed me over the bathtub when they got me into the dressing room. Because one of the tubs moved my leg, it sent me up in the air."

"When the boys walked in at halftime, I was yelling, which was not helpful for them. It was simply a bad day for all of us."

Now, 50 years later, the

Wigan Athletic

chairman and businessman would be watching the final between Portsmouth and


on Saturday, with his own Wembley agony a distant memory.

Since then, he has accomplished the rare accomplishment of playing in every tier of the football league before becoming a chairman at every level, and he claims he has no regrets.

"Sometimes I look at it and think it's been a long time since I played in the cup final at Wembley, but other times I think, 'hasn't time flown?' he added. More than 50 years later, the former Blackburn Rovers defender views his shift in position as the start of the end.

Since making his first team debut at West Ham United in 1956, Whelan's early Blackburn Rovers career had been stop-start, but the abrupt departure of England left defender Bill Eckersley during the 1958/59 season changed his fortunes.

Whelan was requested by manager Johnny Carey to transfer from right back to left back to replace Eckersley's absence, and he gladly agreed, becoming Rovers' permanent left back until the ill-fated FA Cup final one and a half years later.

He made around 100 games for Rovers during his 10-year stint, the most of them at left back, but he feels his time in East Lancashire might have been even better if he had stuck to his natural position.

Despite a two-year battle to return, Whelan's last competitive appearance came when he shattered his left leg in the 1960 Cup final loss to Wolves, and he blames the injury on 'playing out of place.'

"When I was on the first team, I was playing right back and Bill Eckersley was playing left back," Whelan said. “I was participating in a few games, but not on a regular basis.”

"Then one morning during training, Bill walked into the dressing room and announced, 'I've finished playing, I'm not playing anymore.'

"It was the middle of the season. He went to speak with the management and then left. All of a sudden, we didn't have a left back. So, Dally Duncan summoned me and asked me to fill the left back position. I said I'd play anyplace, but it was the worst blunder of my life.”

"At the time, I was picked for England B at right. I was out of position when he moved me to left back, but he didn't have any other options. That's basically how I ended up breaking my leg a few years later.”

"You're basically going in with the incorrect leg. It's always tough for a right back to play left back. If I had been playing right back, I would not have sustained that injury since I would have been more balanced and protected."

Whelan was born in Wigan and raised in a Rugby League family. After refusing down offers from other clubs, he signed for Blackburn Rovers in 1953.

It was the start of a love affair with Blackburn Rovers that continues to this day, with him continuing supporting the club from his position as chairman of Wigan Athletic, despite the fact that life at Ewood was far from glamorous.

"Manager Johnny Carey personally came to meet me at Wigan, and that made a huge difference," he remarked.

"Wigan Athletic were in the Lancashire Combination at the time, and they offered me £200 to sign for them." Wolves, Everton, and Manchester City have all shown an interest in the player.

"I received a tenner for Blackburn, but when Johnny Carey arrived, there was only one place I was going: Blackburn. I joined Rovers when I was 17 years old.”

"However, I only signed part-time. My mother insisted that I complete an apprenticeship, so I was hired at the Northrop Loom Company in Blackburn. However, I realized that if I wanted to make the first team, I needed to go full time."

"We had to complete national service at the time, so I finished my apprenticeship and joined the army for two years, during which time I played for the first team many times. With

Bobby Charlton

and Duncan Edwards, I also played for the British Army squad."

"We had a fantastic crew back then. I spent nearly 15 months in there. That was the season we moved up after I got out of the army and became a full-time professional."

Apart from helping Rovers reach the 1960 cup final, Whelan's greatest achievement at Ewood Park was assisting the club's elevation to the top flight in 1958.

Whelan had spent the bulk of the season in the reserves, but when Ken Taylor went down with an injury, he stepped in at right back and helped the team earn promotion with a dramatic 4-3 victory over Charlton on the last day.

"I just joined the squad approximately three-quarters of the way through the season," Whelan remarked. I played the final ten games or so. It was great, in my opinion. In the last week of the season, we had to go to London on Tuesday night.”

Whelan considers his first Rovers manager, Johnny Carey, to be a 'inspiration' in his career, and feels things changed when Carey went to join Everton and was replaced by Dally Duncan, who signed from Luton.

"Dally Duncan lacked Carey's discipline, and he couldn't instill discipline in his players," Whelan said.

"He held a conference with the players in the dressing room the first morning he came, and the first thing he said was, 'If any of you in here do not roll your sleeves up and give 100 percent to Blackburn Rovers, you may as well walk out of the dressing room now.'

"Roy Vernon stood up and walked away, threatening the management. I believe Taffy was attempting to convey the message that we usually fight and were fighting before you arrived.”

"So, within the first five minutes of beginning the job, he has a catastrophe on his hands. He then has no idea what to do, so he sells Roy Vernon. He failed to instill the discipline that John Carey demanded. From that point on, he lost the players."

Some more facts about Dave Whelan:

The Englishman had a plan to build a club in the lower divisions. So, in 1995, when Wigan Athletic was in the Third Division, he purchased the club. Whelan has pledged to lead the team back to the Premier League. Wigan gained promotion from the Third Division the following season.

The Latics took another huge stride forward in the 2002/03 season, as they were promoted to the Championship. And, ten years after promising that Wigan would reach the Premier League, Whelan was able to make good on his pledge.

The Latics overcame Reading 3-1 in the last round of the 2003/2004 season, finishing second and gaining promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their 73-year existence.

Wigan Athletic's greatest achievement was winning the FA Cup in 2013. In the quarterfinals, the Latics defeated


, and in the semi-finals, they defeated Millwall.

Wigan won the FA Cup for the first time in their history thanks to Ben Watson's goal in the last minute of the match against Manchester City. After losing the final in 1960, Dave Whelan's ambition came fulfilled.

Despite being relegated at the conclusion of the season, the Latics made it to the semi-finals for the second year in a row in 2014. They also competed in the Europa League group stage, where they won for the first time in European competitions (3-1 vs. Maribor).

Wigan Athletic, on the other hand, are currently in second place in League One and are on the verge of returning to the Championship.

And, despite being demoted to English football's third tier, Dave Whelan demonstrated that he had the appropriate plan for operating a football team. He demonstrated that he is not just a successful businessman, but also an expert at the game.

An important

fact about Dave Whelan

is that he has pledged that the club would return to beautiful football. And history has shown that when Whelan makes a promise, he keeps it!

At both ends, every Wigan fan should be proud of his club, since achieving such feats in such a short amount of time is almost impossible anymore.

Dave Whelan social media


Dave Whelan social media

, it should be mentioned that he does not have any pages on any social media platforms.

Dave Whelan body measurements

Speaking about

Dave Whelan body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the former player is 173cm and 67kg.

Dave Whelan net worth and salary

Dave Whelan has an estimated net worth of $210 million dollars.

Dave Whelan's net worth

is impressive to many people today, despite his lackluster football career.

He acquired a variety of firms in both the football and trade industries, and he worked hard and intelligently for every penny he owns.


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