Dave Whelan: ‘When I was growing up we used to call the Chinese ‘chingalings’’

Wigan owner risks further outrage following comments over Malky Mackay appointment

The Wigan owner Dave Whelan has risked further outrage among ethnic communities by referring to Chinese people as "chingalings".

In what was supposed to be an apology to the Jewish community, Whelan gave an interview in which he sought to limit the damage caused by a piece in The Guardian in which he said he believed that “Jewish people chase money more than everybody else”.

At the time Whelan was trying to qualify the appointment of Malky Mackay as Wigan's manager, despite Mackay being under investigation by the Football Association for alleged racism and antisemitism over email and text exchanges while in charge of Cardiff City, one of which apparently described the Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan as a chink.

Whelan had defended the use of the term to The Guardian, saying: “If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman a chink he is lying. There is nothing bad about doing that. It is like calling the British Brits, or the Irish paddies.” The comment was instantly condemned by the Chinese community as being an insult and racist.


Following the comments the FA charged him with breaching its rule against improper conduct and bringing the game into disrepute; on Thursday it granted him an extra week to provide a response.

In the meantime he has risked digging a deeper hole for himself by telling the Jewish Telegraph: “When I was growing up we used to call the Chinese ‘chingalings’. We weren’t being disrespected. We used to say, ‘we’re going to eat in chingalings’.

“The Chinese weren’t offended by that. That was the name everyone in Wigan called [the first Chinese cafe in Wigan].”

The remarks came as he continued his attempts to rebuild bridges with the Jewish community by giving credit to “two Jewish boys” for setting him on his way in business after his career was effectively ended by a broken leg when playing for Blackburn Rovers in the 1960 FA Cup final.

“Those two boys, they were absolutely a treasure, teaching me margins,” the founder of JJB Sports, said.

“Those two lads set me on the road to it all. I hope they come forward because they were so, so helpful to me.”

In a sign of the dismay his comments had caused, a fundraising breakfast for a Jewish charity in Manchester where Whelan was due to speak has been called off after donors threatened to withdraw their support.

The chairman of Manchester Jewish Community Care, Brian White, told the Jewish Telegraph: “A number of people felt he shouldn’t be given the opportunity and we always listen to our donors.

“People were expressing displeasure and we felt we couldn’t risk the organisation suffering.”

Whelan was said by the paper to be making a £5,000 donation to the Jewish charity Brookvale for the Mentally Handicapped.

He has also offered the Manchester King David School football team the chance to play a Wigan Athletic junior side and will accept an invitation to address their pupils.

In a repeat of earlier regrets he has expressed in the wake of The Guardian’s story, he said: “I apologise profusely to anyone who has taken offence because I would never offend the Jewish community under any circumstances.

“I have nothing but respect for them. They’re hard-working people, they’re honest people. They fight for what they believe in.

“There’s nobody could knock the Jewish community. For them to accuse me of that, it hurts me a lot.

“Never have I made anti-Jewish comments. We have always, always respected what the Jewish people did, especially through the war.

“We’ve always respected how those Jewish [PEOPLE]stood up to every single thing they were put through, torture, horrendous.

“And I have nothing but the highest regard and respect for the Jewish people.”

Following Whelan’s original comments two of Wigan’s sponsors, the kitchen appliances firm Premier Range and the energy drinks firm Ipro, ended their agreements with the club.

(Guardian Service)