Dave Whelan
Dave Whelan faces the prospect of a further investigation from the FAGetty Images

In 2013 I was lucky enough to cover the FA Cup final between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City, a match which ended in a remarkable 1-0 victory for the unfancied west Lancashire club.

After the match, the journalists scuttled into the bowels of the stadium to snatch a place in the mixed zone, a long corridor where reporters jostle behind an iron railing to grab five minutes of the players' time before they board their respective coaches.

As we waited for the players to finish showering, Dave Whelan emerged, grinning from ear to ear. Boy did he love the acclaim. For a good 20 minutes the Wigan chairman prowled up and down the press line, seeking out dictaphones and showering us with gleeful soundbites.

Eventually, mercifully, Whelan disappeared. But then, just minutes later, he reemerged, just in case anyone had missed the chance to get a smidgen of his wisdom. He stayed until long after all his players had reached their team bus, buttonholing every reporter who made eye contact. No opportunity to fire off a self-aggrandising platitude was missed.

It seems this sort of self-promotion is common for Whelan. Rumour has it that, on transfer deadline day, he doesn't wait for Sky Sports News to ring him; he calls the station himself to offer potential titbits and give his opinion on other clubs' signings, even when they have no connection or relevance to his own team. Whelan's own company, and indeed Wigan's stadium, proudly bear his initials.

The man never tires of telling us about the broken leg he suffered as a player in the 1963 FA Cup final, and it seems he is determined to wring every bit of glory out of his second shot at fame.

Finally, Whelan's tongue has tied him up in knots. His allusion to Jewish avarice, coupled with the 'chink' and 'chingaling' slurs, suggest the man is a walking anachronism, out of step with the changes wrought by political correctness and mass immigration.

Some people have attempted to justify Whelan's comments by saying he is a product of his generation, just as we occasionally excuse our grandparents when they use an unfortunate epithet. But Whelan isn't just any old octogenarian. He is the owner of a prominent public institution, and has chosen that role for himself. If he wants the glory this position provides, he must also abide by its constraints.

The unfortunate thing is that we are actually talking about a highly intelligent man, not a clueless charlatan as his recent comments suggest. A close family friend, who once did a business deal with Whelan, told me he was a razor-sharp negotiator - ruthless, focused and fair. It should also be noted that one of his first decisions after purchasing Wigan Athletic in 1995 was to make a woman, Brenda Spencer, his chief executive, even though most clubs barely allowed women into their boardrooms at all back then.

Whelan is not some small-town reactionary, unable to cope with the modern world. But unfortunately his desire to be the centre of attention has gone too far. His attempts to repair the damage, by giving yet more interviews, are typical of the man, and they're back-firing with sad predictability.

Instead of trying to salvage his reputation through friendly interviews or charitable donations, Whelan should just zip his mouth up, and hope we forget about him. With a sad irony, one of Britain's most relentless self-promoters must now seek refuge in anonymity.