• Wigan chairman in battle to keep manager after historic final
• Dave Whelan says Everton 'are not big enough' for Martínez
A quip started doing the rounds soon after the end of this extraordinary FA Cup final pointing out that as of next season Wigan's manager will have won more trophies than Manchester United's. Roberto Martínez also has more silverware to his name than Liverpool's manager and more than Arsenal have achieved in the past eight years, all of which leaves Dave Whelan, the Wigan chairman, with the very serious prospect of losing the Spaniard to a club of grander status.
Anyone studying the Premier League table may wonder what all the fuss is about given Wigan's perilous position in the bottom three heading into Tuesday's trip to the Emirates Stadium, where they must win to stand a realistic chance of avoiding relegation. Yet after this fully deserved, shock victory there is no doubt Martínez's stock has risen further.
Having previously caught the eye of Aston Villa and Liverpool, the 39-year-old is now believed to be in the sights of Everton as they seek a replacement for David Moyes. Speaking amid Wigan's wild celebrations, Whelan reiterated that he would not stand in the way if Martínez wants to move on but insisted Goodison Park is not where his manager should end up.
"Whenever he wants to go I'll release him immediately but he'll only go to a big club and I don't think Everton are big enough," Whelan said. "But it's Roberto's decision and if he comes to me and says: 'I want to go', I'll say OK because we have such a great relationship. The lad's so honest and when he's so honest I trust him implicitly."
Whelan went on to express his confidence that the man he appointed as manager in June 2009 would remain in situ, with Martínez refusing to state that he was off for pastures new. Yet it was telling that he did not pledge his loyalty to Wigan either. Instead there was talk about how no manager is "here forever", how winning the club's first major trophy in their 81-year history and getting them into Europe for a first time meant "we have achieved everything" and how relegation "would be very deflating for me". Whelan, one feels, should prepare for the worst.
Whatever happens, the 76-year-old will always have the glorious memory of this day, when he returned to the ground where he snapped a leg playing for Blackburn in the 1960 FA Cup final and lead out a side that would go on to cause the competition's biggest Wembley shock in a quarter of a century. Alongside Wimbledon 88 now stands Wigan 13.
The difference here was that there was no saved penalty or siege on the underdog's goal. Instead Wigan outthought and outplayed a Manchester City side who were sluggish, out of synch and reckless, no one more so than Pablo Zabaleta, who joined Kevin Moran and José Antonio Reyes in being the only players to be sent off in an FA Cup final.
It was telling that the two yellow cards the referee Andre Marriner showed to Zabaleta were for fouls on Callum McManaman. The 22-year-old was outstanding, a swaggering, forceful presence who left City's players with little choice but to hack him down.
Matija Nastastic was also booked for a foul on the former Everton trainee and Gaël Clichy – having been tormented throughout this contest by the same player as he attacked from a wide-right position – appeared to stamp on McManaman's foot as he drove across the area in the closing stages.
There were calls for a penalty but Marriner only gave a corner, yet it was the set piece that gave Wigan their crowning moment. Shaun Maloney swung in the cross and charging into space at the exact time the board went up to signal an additional three minutes, Ben Watson, on as a late substitute, sent a powerful header past Joe Hart.
That it should be Watson who got Wigan's winner only added to the sense of occasion. The midfielder broke a leg in November and was told he would not play again this season. Yet he returned to action this month and on his third appearance back secured what the 27-year-old described as the "greatest achievement of my career".
"When you break your leg you always wonder if you're going to play again, so to get back and score the winner here is incredible," he said. "It's been a tough six months but I've worked hard and been surrounded by some great people who have helped me through."
Watson was surrounded by 10 great people on Saturday, among them Paul Scharner who was part of a three-man defence that played with such discipline and poise that players such as Sergio Agüero and David Silva were reduced to frustrated, peripheral figures for the bulk of the match.
The Austrian cried on the pitch for five minutes after the final whistle, personifying the overwhelming sense of Wigan's achievement. This is a club who were playing in the Northern Premier League as recently as 1968 and had to wait another decade before achieving Football League status. But now, after their first FA Cup final appearance, they have a major trophy and entry to the Europa League.
But as Martínez pointed out, there also remains the real prospect of Wigan becoming the first club to win the FA Cup and be relegated. "The next challenge is the next two games," he said. The club's supporters, and Whelan in particular, must fear they will be their manager's last in charge.
Man of the match Callum McManaman (Wigan Athletic)