Wigan Athletic boss cites debt of gratitude

That’s the view of Leam Richardson, who believes his former partner deserves “a lot of credit” for the League One title triumph.

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Wigan Athletic: How the League One title was won

Cook resigned from his post shortly after the Latics were relegated to the third tier in 2020 after being placed under administration by the previous owners.

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Leam Richardson, with former Latics colleagues Paul Cook and Gary Roberts

But Richardson says his involvement with Latics – for whom he spent two spells during his playing career – didn’t end there.

“I had a lot of success with Paul, we had a lot of success together,” said Richardson, who stayed with Latics after Cook’s departure to, in his own words, “bring some common sense to the situation”.

“He’s been on the phone most mornings, getting me up and down on this M62, and he was probably the first person to message me full time after the Shrewsbury game.

“If Chesterfield hadn’t played a game on Saturday he probably would have been there in the stands with us.

“He had this football club in a fantastic location, touching the Championship play-offs.

“And there was no one more hurt than him when what happened happened.

“But he takes a lot of credit for that because I learned a lot from him, having worked alongside him for so long.

“I would like to think that we supported each other very well during our time together, and now it’s up to me to support him (at Chesterfield).”

The Latics were the most active movers in the transfer market last summer after having only a handful of senior players on the books.

While not expected to be as busy this time around, Richardson says work is already underway ahead of the next term.

“In this industry, it’s never too early to consider next season,” he said.

“They’re probably already talking about it, planning, working out what we’re going to do.

“You are still doing your work in silence, but preparations have already begun.”

Cook and Chesterfield face FC Halifax in the National League play-offs as they bid to return to the EFL.