Wigan owner Dave Whelan has been accused of anti-Semitism as the controversy over the the club’s appointment of Malkay Mackay as manager deepens.
Mackay, named new Latics boss on Wednesday, is the subject of an ongoing Football Association investigation into racist, sexist and homophobic text messages sent during his time as Cardiff manager.
Whelan has now claimed there was little offensive in some of Mackay’s texts, most notably those referring to Jews and Chinese people.
The development comes soon after one of Wigan’s shirt sponsors, kitchen firm Premier Range, announced it was severing its ties with the club following Mackay’s appointment.
Whelan has said “he would never entertain racism of any description” but has expressed belief Mackay’s errors were “one slight mistake”.
Whelan was not condemnatory when asked about some of the specific texts, including one in which referred to Jewish football agent Phil Smith with the words, “Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers.”
Whelan reportedly said of that: “I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else. I don’t think that’s offensive at all.”
In another text message, Mackay referred to Cardiff’s Malaysian owner Vincent Tan as a “c***k.”
Asked about that, Whelan said: “If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman a c***k he is lying.
“There is nothing bad about doing that. It is like calling the British Brits, or the Irish paddies.”
Mackay, 42, was sacked by Cardiff last December after falling out with Tan.
The offensive texts that he sent, all to Cardiff’s former head of recruitment Iain Moody, came to light in August after an investigation by the Welsh club.
The furore caused by them cost Mackay the chance of being appointed Crystal Palace boss at the beginning of the season and Neil Warnock got the job.