Dave Whelan ‘is a good-natured person’ says Roberto Martinez

The Everton manager has defended his former chairman following his perceived-to-be racist comments

Roberto Martínez has a capacity to see the best in everyone and that certainly extends to the man who launched his career in English football and gave him the chance to manage in the Premier League.

The Wigan owner, Dave Whelan, has vowed to resign as the Championship club's chairman if the Football Association punishes him for making racist remarks about Chinese and Jewish people but the Everton manager is adamant that his old ally does not discriminate against anyone.

Martínez, whose relationship with Whelan dates back almost 20 years since he was signed as a 21-year-old midfielder, said: “He is a special person who has never had a problem with the way he has helped communities, and as a football man the record is there for everyone to check.”

Strong values

Whelan made Martínez Wigan's first foreign manager in 2009 and the Spaniard rewarded him by winning the FA Cup 18 months ago. He defended the 77-year-old, adding: "You need to understand the person and also that Wigan Athletic has very strong values. Everyone is welcome there. The chairman has a career to show that."

Yet Wigan's values have been questioned after Malky Mackay, the subject of an ongoing investigation for exchanging allegedly racist, sexist and homophobic texts with the former Cardiff City head of recruitment Iain Moody, was named their manager last Wednesday.

Whelan’s comments have been condemned by organisations in both the Chinese and the Jewish communities, while Lord Ouseley, chairman of the anti-racism body Kick It Out, said on Sunday yesterday it was up to the FA to decide whether he was a fit person to run a club.

Martínez has no doubts Whelan is suitable. He explained: “He really is a good-natured person. You need to look behind the situation at the person. You have a chairman who just wants to support his new manager.”

GUA