A very familiar laugh echoed through the Wigan Athletic offices at the DW Stadium, with staff left scratching their heads and being taken back in time slightly, Paul Scharner appeared from the lifts with a smile.
In January the former Austrian international defender returned on loan as a player, but this time he was just visiting after retiring from football in September.
A hero of the 2013 FA Cup winning team, Scharner took a few minutes to speak to wiganathletic.com, saying:
“It’s always a pleasure to come back and after seven years in England the country really leaves a stamp in my heart.
“I organised a trip back to England to meet a few friends and I couldn’t come back without visiting the DW Stadium.
“Sadly I can’t stay for the game tomorrow night because my flight goes back to Hamburg tomorrow.
“I’m really sorry about that, but I got a promise of a ticket if Wigan Athletic qualify for the round of 32 in the Europa League.”
Asked whether he had a message for the Wigan Athletic supporters, Scharner added:
“Yes, I do have a message for the fans.
“When I come to Wigan Athletic I come because of the supporters, because of the club and because of the people at the club.
“I owe a lot to this town and football club because I got my chance to play in the Premier League thanks to Wigan Athletic.
“This is the place where I got the chance to come back and win the FA Cup so the club has got a very special place in my football career.”
Despite being absent for tomorrow’s Europa League game against Zulte Waregem, Scharner said he believes the team can go far in the competition, and also sees a lot of potential in the Championship.
“I’m really happy that the club have taken the Europa League seriously, because how often do you get the chance to play European football?
“There’s a really good chance that the club will get through to the knockout stages and maybe even further from what I’ve seen.
“It’s a new era for Wigan Athletic and there have been a lot of changes.
“The task of getting promoted straight away is very tough, but the team is definitely still in contention to go up because this division is never settled until the final third of the season.”
You can see photos of Paul back at the DW on Latics Wall by [clicking here]