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Ex-Shrewsbury School pupil becomes one of world's youngest football bosses

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A former Shrewsbury School pupil has become one of the youngest football chiefs in the world after taking over Wigan Athletic.

David Sharpe, 23, who studied at the school between 2004 and 2009, has been appointed as chairman after his grandfather, David Whelan, 78, resigned with immediate effect.

He said things would carry on as normal at the club and he would be asking his grandfather for advice.

Mr Sharpe said: "I have been around the boardroom since my grandfather bought the club in 1995.

"I will ask his advice, I will be stupid not to. Things will carry on as normal."

Nick Jenkins, director of the Salopian Club, which represents alumni of the school, wished the former pupil well in his new role.

Mr Jenkins said: "We are delighted to hear the news. David was a much respected member of the Shrewsbury School community with a passion for football and we wish him all the best in his challenging new role."

In a statement, Wigan Athletic, currently competing in the Championship, confirmed the intention to appoint Mr Sharpe as chairman.

The statement said: "Mr Whelan's grandson David Sharpe will be formally elected as new chairman of Wigan Athletic by the board of directors at a date to be confirmed soon, and will be assisted in the running of the club by chief executive Jonathan Jackson."

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Mr Whelan said that despite his age his grandson is ready for the task.

He said: "The time has now come to hand over the reins.

"I am approaching 80 years old and spend an increasingly long time abroad, and cannot make it to games.

"It is a decision I have been mulling over for some years and I believe David is now ready."

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Wigan were bottom of the Fourth Division when Whelan purchased the club, but they won three promotions over the next decade to reach the top flight for the first time in their history.

The Latics spent eight consecutive seasons in the Premier League between 2005 and 2013 and lifted their first major trophy, the FA Cup, three days before they were relegated from the top division.

As well as their success on the pitch, Whelan also funded the construction of a 25,000 all-seater stadium, which opened in 1999 at a cost of about £30 million.

He was banned from football-related activity for six weeks and fined £50,000 in December for making racist comments after accepting an FA charge.

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