Given that Oldham have been in the news this season for all the wrong reasons, waking up this morning to the post Fulham euphoria makes all that bad publicity irrelevant. The Latics are back in the news and it’s for all the right reasons this time.
Frankie Bunn’s sacking after only 6 months certainly wasn’t the lowest point in the club’s history but it did pose the question of who would be prepared to handle the poison chalice, that the Oldham managerial seat has become. As is usual in these circumstances, the assistant manager steps into the breach but as we didn’t have one Peter Wild, youth team caretaker coach is thrust into the limelight facing two games over the holiday period that we really needed to win.
As often happens in these situations, the introduction of a new face spurred the players on and they responded with back to back victories over Port Vale and Notts County. With several managers neck and neck in the betting for the job, it was announced that Wild would remain in charge for the FA Cup tie at Fulham – a game he had bought a ticket for as he intended to travel there as a supporter!
Having an ex-player as a manager often gives them an automatic bonding with the supporters but having a fellow supporter who just happens to work at the club in charge has thrust Wild into a celebrity status that he could not possibly have dreamed of several weeks ago. The video of Wild saluting the fans and embracing the players after the game shows how high he is held in their esteem.
There now exists a very difficult decision as to who will take charge of first team affairs with a number of supporters believing that Wild has done enough to be given the job. However, there are those who wisely pointed out that no manager, popular or not is safe if they lose three games in a row and it would be incredibly cruel to place Wild in the manager’s chair only to hear calls for his exit if the next few games don’t go in our favour.
Appointing managers with very little experience hasn’t worked for us in the past, but I can certainly see a future for Wild down the line. He has done a fantastic job with the Academy players and that is something I’m sure the club is keen for him to continue with. Working alongside a new, experienced manager will give Wild a valuable learning experience.
There has been no indication of how soon the club are looking to appoint the new manager, but those of us who recognised and fully understood his statement about wanting Manchester United in the next round of the FA Cup because they ruined his childhood in 1994, wouldn’t want anybody else but Wild in charge of such a fixture. A team motivated by such passion would be formidable indeed.