Football - Whelan harbours cup dream

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan is hoping his team can this season go some way towards making amends for the FA Cup heartache he suffered as a player over 50 years ago.

PA Sport

Former defender Whelan was part of the Blackburn side that faced Wolves in the 1960 final at Wembley, but his involvement ended just before half-time - with his team 1-0 down through a Mick McGrath own-goal - when he broke his leg in a challenge with Wanderers winger Norman Deeley and was taken to hospital.

Rovers were left to play out the rest of the game with 10 men, and two goals from Deeley saw Wolves secure a 3-0 victory - something Whelan only found out from a doctor after emerging from the operating theatre later that afternoon, and which immediately reduced him to tears.

The 76-year-old - who still bears stud marks from the incident and says he has never received an apology from anyone at Wolves, but is sure Deeley did not mean to harm him - has been recalling memories of that day ahead of Wigan's FA Cup quarter-final against Everton at Goodison Park.

A trip to Wembley for what would be the Latics' first-ever appearance in the semi-finals of the competition awaits if they can get past the Toffees and Whelan, harbouring a sense of "unfinished business" from his past experiences, is dreaming of what his club can achieve this year.

Reflecting on the 1960 final, Whelan said: "I really fancied we would bring that cup away from Wembley and I didn't finish the match.

"I got my cup final medal - a loser's one. So I do feel a great sense of unfinished business.

"To be in a cup final is something really, really special. It is a dream, and I have still got the dream to get the business finished, pick up the FA Cup and bring it back to Wigan.

"If - and it is a big if - I could get the chance to lead Wigan to Wembley, for me, it would be something absolutely unbelievable."

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