Whelan rejects Liverpool jibe
Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan has told ESPN that he was misinterpreted after Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre hit out at him over the "sideshow" that accompanied the Roberto Martinez talks.
Prior to the appointment of Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool had held talks with Wigan boss Martinez in the US. During that process, Whelan had provided updates to media outlets, including ESPN, but the Reds took exception to his actions and Ayre labelled him a "comedian".
"Our aim from the outset was to conduct a proper, thorough, search and do it in the proper manner," Ayre told the Liverpool Echo. "From our point of view, we did all the right things. We approached the clubs we needed to approach, and conducted ourselves properly at all times.
"It is disappointing, then, that Dave Whelan felt the need to run the kind of sideshow he conducted via Sky Sports News and various other media outlets. To be honest, I always thought John Bishop was the biggest comedian in the North West but Dave Whelan seems to have taken that mantle over the last couple of weeks."
It was also suggested that Whelan had claimed Martinez had been offered the Liverpool job. Ayre added: "That is patently not true. We make no secret of the fact we spoke with Roberto Martinez, but that is all we did.
"He is a great guy, and I can't speak highly enough of his professionalism and conduct, but for his chairman to make suggestions like he has, and suggestions that just aren't true - well, it is disappointing to say the least. We can say with absolute certainty that the only person who was made any offer by Liverpool Football Club is Brendan Rodgers."
Whelan, though, did not specifically state that Martinez had been offered the Liverpool job and he has stressed that he "never said that".
He told ESPN: "I cannot help it if some people misinterpreted what I said, which was that Liverpool wanted our manager - which they did as they asked permission to speak with him, and talked to him on a number of occasions."
The Wigan chairman also offered a diplomatic response to Ayre's "comedian" remark and said he wished Rodgers success in the role.
"My response is a simple one - I wish Liverpool all the very, very best with their new manager," Whelan added. "They have appointed a super lad for the job, a very good manager, and I am very happy for them. We've kept Roberto Martinez, so I wish them luck for next season."