Wigan bring in ex-Bolton backroom staff, we struggle to hold back the laughs

Clive Brunskill

For many Bolton Wanderers fans the names Sandy Stewart and Phil Hughes send a shiver down the spine. For said supporters, the day that Bolton Wanderers officially let Owen Coyle's backroom staff go was the day that they could effectively breathe out a sigh of relief. Let's just say that there are not fond memories of Owen Coyle's right-hand men.

Coyle, who was just recently appointed Wigan Athletic's manager, has been a busy boy. The Latics boss has already signed six players in Chris McCann, Stephen Crainey, Thomas Rogne, James Perch, Scott Carson, and Marc-Antoine Fortune along with a brand new backroom staff. The new men at the DW are familiar faces for Bolton fans who are just glad it's not their team.

Sandy Stewart has been appointed as Wigan's assistant manager, Andy Mitchell is now the head physiotherapist, James Barrow is a "Strength and Conditioning Coach" (setting up the table tennis for Coyle's "training" sessions), and Phil Hughes is the Latics' new goalkeeping coach.

Speaking about his new old staff in an official Wigan release, Coyle said:

"It was so important that we brought in the right personnel to take up key roles at the club and I'm delighted to bring in people who have proven themselves at the highest level and who I trust completely.

"I know they'll come here and do everything in their power to bring success to Wigan Athletic, and I can't ask any more than that."

At Bolton, Stewart was largely regarded as a yes-man to Coyle, which, in a word, was absolutely useless. It isn't a secret that Owen Coyle isn't the best tactician that the football world has ever seen and to have no one questioning his decisions only hurt Bolton Wanderers as poor lineup and substitution choices were made one after another.

Phil Hughes caused his own controversy at the club when Owen Coyle attempted to replace long-time goalkeeper coach (and fan favorite) Fred Barber. Jussi Jaaskelainen, then Bolton's first-choice goalkeeper as well as a student of Barber's (as were Ali Al-Habsi and Adam Bogdan), did not like the choice and threatened to quit Coyle's Bolton team. Coyle would ultimately relent and Fred Barber remained in charge. When Jussi left the club in the summer of 2012, Fred Barber did too and Phil Hughes was installed by Coyle. That tenure was, of course, short-lived as the manager and his staff were let go by Bolton just four months later.

Well, good luck, Wigan.

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