Dave Whelan came to the club in February 1995 with the intention to relocate Wigan Athletic and have them playing Premiership football within 10 years. Even so, as soon as he took control Mr Whelan immediately started to improve the facilities at Springfield Park. In March 1995 the dressing rooms were painted and tiled, a new synthetic floor was laid in tunnel and space for new offices was created when the club shop closed its doors for the last time as it was not bringing in enough revenue. It was announced that the JJB store in the town centre would sell Latics merchandise. (Wigan Athletic did not have a club shop from this time until one was opened on 9 April 2009 in the then JJB Stadium, just months before the sponsorship deal with JJB ran out). The ground took on a much tidier appearance over the next couple of years in an effort to make the best of the current facilities.
The first step towards the Premiership was taken when Wigan Athletic beat Mansfield Town 2-0 on 3 May 1997 to lift the Third Division title. This remained the only football league championship to be won at the venue at closure making John Deehan the only manager to lift a championship trophy in the entire history of the ground.
On 9 September 1998 Springfield Park had new owners as the ground was sold to Dorbcrest Homes Ltd for an undisclosed fee. The firm was to build a housing development of one hundred 3 or 4 bedroom dwellings at the site on completion of the JJB Stadium.
On 18 April 99 Latics beat Millwall 0-1 at the old Wembley Stadium to lift the Autoglass Trophy. This was the last piece of silverware to sit in the trophy cabinet at Springfield Park.
Paul Dickov scored the final goal at Springfield Park
The final league game at Springfield Park was a Division 2 match between Wigan Athletic and Chesterfield on 8 May 1999. Latics won the game 3-1 before a crowd of 5858. Pat McGibbon scored the last league goal at the ground in 66 minutes.
The final game at the ground came one week later on 15 May 1999 when Latics, having finished 6th in the league, took on Manchester City in the first leg of the Division 2 play-off. Latics final goal was scored by Stuart Barlow after just 19 seconds, which is thought to be the quickest recorded at the ground. The concluding goal was scored by Manchester City’s Paul Dickov in 77 minutes. The attendance for this game was a sellout 6762 although numbers were limited on police advice.
Two days later, Ray Mathias paid the price for his failure to win promotion as he was sacked on 17 May 1999 making him the final manager at Springfield Park.
The Fire in the Phoenix Stand 1999
Five amateur finals were scheduled to be played before the gates were closed for the last time but the pitch was effectively destroyed directly after the final whistle on 15 May 1999 by fans hoping for a memento. The ground, stand and pitch were further destroyed by vandals overnight forcing staff into temporary accommodation. Plans for a closing party in June were also abandoned.
Around 9pm on 24 May 1999 vandals broke into the souvenir shop and started a fire which destroyed the Phoenix stand and effectively put an end to any further use of Springfield Park. The Supporters Club closed five days later on 29 May 1999
The remains of Springfield Park in July 1999
Demolition work started on June 14 1999 for safety reasons, due to the condition of the ground and by the middle of July the stadium was reduced to rubble