ROBERTO Martinez and Graham Barrow were full of praise for the progress Chester FC are making on and off the field after they watched their young Wigan Athletic side go down 4-0 to their old club.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez, whose arrival towards the end of the match brought a rapturous reception from the home faithful, said: “Today was all about Chester Football Club. What happened to the old club was heartbreaking and it was a real test for the city and lovers of this football club.
“So it’s great to come here and see the fans so happy and supporting their side, who look an impressive side both in terms of numbers and skill levels.
“Our youngsters were beaten by a better team today.”
Legendary former Chester player and manager Barrow, who is now part of Martinez’s coaching staff at the DW Stadium, added: “I know some of the lads, like Carl Ruffer, and I would imagine they were well up for this game as it’s a Premier League club. They wanted to show what they can do.
“That’s what they did and if the way they performed today gives them a bit of confidence, well that’s great. But if I’m putting my working head on I’d have to say it’s been a very big lesson for our young players.
“The happiness that Wigan and Chester football clubs have given me over the years far outweighs any of the other clubs I’ve been at, so it was great to see the fans so happy again.”
Barrow and Martinez also paid tribute to Blues boss Neil Young, who has put together a brand new squad in the space of two months which has all the makings of one that can challenge for glory in the Evo-Stik League First Division North next season.
Young, who expects to complete the signing of former Everton and TNS midfielder Steven Beck this week, said: “We played well against a good, young Wigan side that got it down and passed it well. I thought for the first 15 to 20 minutes they bossed us a little bit, but once we worked out how to stop them getting out at the back I thought physically we were a little bit too strong for them.
“Winning games is a very good habit but, while it is a cliche, they are only friendlies – the real stuff starts in a few weeks. But I can understand people’s excitement because we are playing some good stuff.”