Former Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has made a shocking revelation about what his former manager Roberto Martinez said to the squad in his first team meeting. Roberto Martinez stated that his players "shouldn't have kids until the end of their careers" and also stated that he saw Wigan Athletic "as a Champions League team". In Martinez's fourth season as manager of Wigan Athletic, they were relegated into the Championship and are yet to return.
Speaking on the Undr The Cosh podcast, Chris Kirkland, who has now retired, formerly of Coventry City, Liverpool, Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan Athletic, to name a few of his former clubs, stated that when Martinez revealed his opinions on when footballers should have children that it "really annoyed him".
Kirkland revealed that in Roberto Martinez's first team meeting that he asked which of his first team players had children. Kirkland had a young child at the time. Martinez's response to the players who said they had children was as follows: "You shouldn't really have kids until you are coming to the end of your career or at the end of your career because they can put you off your career."
Kirkland revealed that Martinez alienated a number of his playing staff when he told the squad that he saw Wigan Athletic as a "Champions League team". Before Martinez arrived at the club in June 2009, Wigan Athletic had finished 11th in the Premier League in the 2008/09 season. In Martinez's four seasons at the club, Wigan Athletic finished 16th on two occasions, 15th on one occasion and were relegated in Martinez's final season at the side before the Spaniard moved to Everton in 2013. Kirkland revealed that the Wigan Athletic players at the time "knew they weren't the best footballers but knew they had a good team spirit". Kirkland quipped that after Martinez's remark about footballers having children, that he admitted "didn't go down well with the squad", that many Wigan Athletic came out of Roberto Martinez's first team meeting questioning the manager asking "who even is this guy (Martinez)?".
Roberto Martinez started off his managerial career at Swansea City in 2007, with Swansea plying their trade in League One at the time of Martinez's appointment. Martinez spent just over two years at Swansea, gaining promotion as League One champions in Martinez's first season as manager. After a 50% win rate at The Swans, Wigan Athletic swooped to appoint the Spanish manager in 2009, with Wigan being at that time, an established Premier League side. Martinez was well known for his possession based style of football, even citing the influence of Johan Cruyff when discussing his managerial approach.
Despite Wigan Athletic's relegation from the Premier League, Wigan Athletic were crowned winners of the FA Cup under Martinez, beating Manchester City by a goal to nil after a last minute winner from Ben Watson. After Wigan Athletic's relegation from the Premier League, Martinez moved to Premier League side Everton. After three somewhat underwhelming seasons at Everton, Martinez was sacked as manager, with Everton fans protesting against his management and wanting him out of the club. Shortly after, in a surprising move, Martinez was named manager of the Belgium national team and has been an international manager since his appointment in 2016.
Chris Kirkland made the shocking revelation while discussing his footballing career on the Undr The Cosh podcast. The Undr The Cosh podcast is a football podcast which is hosted by former footballers Jon Parkin and Chris Brown. Within this podcast, Chris Kirkland discussed how he broke into the Coventry City first team squad at the age of 18 before moving to his boyhood club Liverpool, a move which Kirkland admitted he was "very nervous to make".
Kirkland bravely opened up on his struggles with mental health after his move to Sheffield Wednesday and emphasised how exercise and speaking to others helped him improve his mental health along the way. In what is an extremely eye opening and insightful podcast episode, especially when focusing on mental health within football, we would certainly recommend giving his podcast episode a listen. In a previous article, we have seen how former Macclesfield Town midfielder Adam Dawson struggled with his mental health and with Kirkland's story also, it really does emphasise that being a footballer is not as perfect as many people may see it looking in from the outside.
If you would like to listen to the full Undr The Cosh podcast episode please click on the YouTube video below.
If you would like to listen to the episode via Spotify then please click on the Spotify link below.
We hope you enjoyed this article. As always head over to our Twitter over at @TheFootyGang and let us know.