Is Backing Oldham’s Chairman Lemsagam into a Corner the Wisest of Moves?
Hardly a day goes by without a claim and counter claim by fans and owners of Oldham Athletic regarding the current economic situation. Social media is awash with snippets of information from unreliable sources put forward as concrete evidence.
Trying to sift through this jigsaw is a time consuming task and, it is not helped when the local online newspaper claims that Chairman Lemsagam might move Latics away from Boundary Park. This caused a huge amount of discontent last time it was suggested in 2011, but closer inspection of the article shows that the Chairman never mentioned moving. Needless to say, the story will be doing the rounds despite it being untrue.
What the article did reveal however, is that the ground the stadium sits on isn’t owned by the club. It is in the possession of two companies Brassbank and Brassband. A quick search shows that Brassbank has two directors Daniel Gazal and Simon Blitz, who were both directors at Oldham but resigned in 2010. If that doesn’t raise some eyebrows, it certainly should do. A search for Brassband brought up some obvious results, none of which were connected with football!.
A letter has been drafted and sent to Lemsagam from the Supporters Trust detailing the level of discontent expressed at a supporters meeting held on March 23rd. It is a lengthy document detailing the expectations of the fans and listing 13 questions they want answers to. Amongst other things, the Trust demanded from Lemsagam, transparency and openness and offered assistance in this. A clear plan for the future, trust and integrity in order to display that the club is in safe hands and delegation of control and authority…
“We expect the appointed first team manager to have authority over all matters related to team selection and training. We don’t expect interference of any type from the owner“
The 13 questions included requests for proof that payments had been made to a coach company, a gas supplier and whether the rent had been paid on the stadium. Also asked for was proof and a breakdown of the £5 million Lemsagam claims he has spent on the club and, how the £400,000 received from TV rights in our FA Cup run has been spent. More proof was called for regarding the club accounts, staff pension contributions and why there is only one director registered at Companies House. Mr Lemsagam is also required to provide a proposed draft budget for next season and attend a meeting with fans no later than 20th April.
The overall tone of the letter is confrontational to say the least as I’m sure the original meeting was. I will be very surprised if Lemsagam decides to throw himself at the mercy of a hostile audience given the level of belligerence that now exists, and I will be even more surprised if he offers to reveal the budget for next season which would benefit rival teams. He may well feel that cutting his losses and running would be preferable to the current antagonism.
However, meeting the fans somewhere in between might go a long way in diffusing the situation. If what the Chairman says is true about who owns the land at Boundary Park, questions need to be asked about why those people are still in the picture. Perhaps approaching Gazal and Blitz to ask them what their intentions are will prove more enlightening that finding out whether the gas bill has been paid on time.