Wigan owner claims Callum McManaman got the ball ‘as clean as a whistle’ on horror challenge

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

Wigan owner Dave Whelan has once again descended from outer space to confound the citizens of earth with his opinions. This time, Whelan is accomplishing this with his defense of 21-year-old striker Callum McManaman's knee-crushing challenge on Massadio Haidara that went completely unpunished in the first half of Sunday's 2-1 win against Newcastle (gif of the offense here).

From Sky Sports:

Whelan told BBC Radio 5 live: "The ball was there. Young McManaman went in for the ball and got the ball as clean as a whistle, but in the follow through they collided.

"The referee saw it all, he had a clear view on that. He hasn't gone over the ball. That's an accident.

"There is not one ounce of malice in Callum McManaman. He is an enthusiastic young boy. He has got great prospects. He was very upset by it all."

Club biases aside, it's confounding position for Whelan to taken, especially when you consider that he admits his own playing career was "ruined" by a leg-breaking challenge in the 1960 FA Cup final. And yet again, we hear the "he isn't that type of player" defense after and ugly incident as if normally polite people are somehow incapable of doing bad things from time to time.

While McManaman did make glancing contact with the ball before planting his boot in Haidara's knee, he could still face a three-match ban from The FA. Meanwhile, the BBC also reports that Haidara has suspected knee ligament damage as a result of the challenge.

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