Wigan owner accused of racism

Dave Whelan’s defence of new manager Malky Mackay gets derided

Dave Whelan has been accused of antisemitism after the Wigan Athletic owner said he believes that "Jewish people chase money more than everybody else".

A Chinese community leader, Jenny Wong, also said Whelan was condoning racism by saying it is "nothing" to call a Chinese person a "chink".

Whelan was explaining his appointment yesterday of Malky Mackay as Wigan's manager , despite Mackay being currently under investigation by the English FA for alleged racism and antisemitism over his email and text exchanges while in charge of Cardiff City with the club's former head of recruitment Iain Moody.

The three texts or emails Mackay had sent, Whelan said, included one describing the Cardiff City owner, Malaysian Vincent Tan, as a "chink". In another, Mackay referred to the Jewish football agent, Phil Smith, saying: "Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers."


Whelan said he saw neither as offensive, nor did he consider offensive the other text for which he said Mackay was responsible, which referred to there being “enough dogs in Cardiff for us all to go round”, when Mackay signed the South Korean international Kim Bo-kyung.

Whelan said he does not believe the reference to Smith is offensive, first explaining that he believed Mackay was only reflecting that Jewish people “love money” like everybody does: “The Jews don’t like losing money. Nobody likes losing money,” Whelan said.

Asked whether he did not think what Mackay said was offensive, because the claim that Jews “love money” has been used as a negative stereotype, Whelan said: “Do you think Jewish people chase money a little bit more than we do? I think they are very shrewd people.”

Whelan said he did not think there was “a lot wrong” with anything Mackay said, and there was no malice or disrespect in the statement about Smith. He added: “It’s telling the truth. Jewish people love money, English people love money; we all love money.”

‘Old-fashioned tropes’

His remarks were condemned by

Simon Johnson

, the former FA and

Premier League

executive, who is Jewish and is now the chief executive at the

Jewish Leadership Council


“Unfortunately Mr Mackay and now Mr Whelan have referred to some of the worst old-fashioned tropes which have been used in the past as the basis of antisemitism and stereotyping of Jewish people,” he said. “Mackay used offensive language to insult a fellow participant in football using a tawdry racial stereotype.”

Whelan said the word “chink” is not offensive, and that he used to say it of Chinese people when he was young. “If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman a chink he is lying,” Whelan said. “There is nothing bad about doing that. It is like calling the British Brits, or the Irish paddies.”

Wong, director of the Manchester Chinese Centre, an organisation devoted to Chinese community cultural understanding, said the word "chink" "is an insult, racist".

“I remember at school in the 70s a skinhead kicking me, calling me ‘chinky, chinky,’” Wong said. “It has stopped now; things have changed for the better. As a football manager, this man should not have said it.”

At the top

Whelan told the


he has been advised by two “influential” people at the top of the FA that “nothing will come” from the investigation into Mackay, largely because the exchanges were in private communications.

Lord Herman Ousley, the chair of football's antiracism and discrimination organisation Kick It Out , has accused Wigan of "disregarding" the FA investigation, and he said it is "a disgrace" if senior figures at the FA have briefed Whelan that the investigation will not produce charges. Guardian Service