Trying to Make Light of The Oldham ‘He Said, They Said’ Situation
A friend of mine used to be a secondary school teacher. He often had to mediate in arguments between pupils when he knew that neither side could be believed, and the outcome was always going to be an uneasy truce which wouldn’t last long. He would have probably thrown in the towel pretty quickly had he been brought in to arbitrate in the current row between Oldham supporters, newly departed manager Paul Scholes and Chairman Abdallah Lemsagam.
There has been a good deal of animosity aimed at the chairman since he arrived, mainly because of the number of employees who have departed the club due allegedly to his interference in team affairs. One of those who is no longer with us Craig Davies, felt the need to go public about it. Hell hath no fury however, and Davies who was part of the side relegated last season possibly thought that he deserved to stay at the club even though he was pretty unpopular with the fans.
It is certainly true to say that Lemsagam has been guilty of clearing out an awful lot of staff, which left the club without an assistant manager to take over when Frank Bunn was sacked given that Andy Rhodes had already been shown the door. That list includes manager Richie Wellens, players Anthony Gerrard and Jack Byrne, Chief Executive Mark Moisley, Head of Media Luke Ingram and Academy Manager Tony Philliskirk.
The arrival and swift departure of Paul Scholes has also been surrounded by rumours which are difficult to prove. Key to the growing opposition to Lemsagam was a story in the Mail, which claimed that Scholes left because of several incidents involving a missing team bus for the trip to Bury and creditors who ‘ripped out a gas supply’. Anyone curious enough to question those claims will have realised that they have been completely fabricated and the club were quick to deny them.
If fans are going to digest news from a source which has been banned by Wikipedia for being unreliable, then we are going to get nowhere fast.
The supporters trust has worked hard and made encouraging noises about bringing both sides together and ultimately this is the only way forward. In his defence, Lemsagam held a meeting last week in which he produced evidence of the purchase of a new boiler (as if he needed to) and a letter from the coach company stating that they provided the coach.
He also claimed that he had no idea why Scholes left and had given him full autonomy regarding team affairs. There was also a denial that he had offered players contracts for next season without consulting the manager and various other denials.
I truly believe that Scholes left because in the closeted world he lived in prior to arriving through the main door at Boundary Park, nothing ever prepared him for life as a League Two manager and he realised he was way out of his depth.
What needs to be done now is to bring all parties together to seek a solution. Demonstrations, disruption and the absence of dialogue will only serve to make the situation worse. We may not be in the best position we desire but we still have a club in the football league and everyone should work towards making sure we remain there.