Tag Archives: Abdallah Lemsagam

Latics Fans are Wild about Peter

There was an inevitability about Peter Wild returning as coach after Paul Scholes turned his back on the club. Peter comes across as Mr Reliable and rather than appoint someone who was unknown, and could have been yet another managerial casualty before the end of April given our madcap season, appointing Wild who was already highly regarded made perfect sense.

His record with the first team is exceptional having recorded six wins in ten games in charge and, there are now many who believe that Wild should have been given a longer period in charge and the whole Paul Scholes shambles could have been avoided.

On Tuesday night against Tranmere, despite the presence of a big turnout of visiting supporters Latics put in their best league performance of the season and ended a sequence of seven straight wins. The entire Latics team put in a superb shift and coupled with the victory against Grimsby three days earlier has incredibly pushed them up to 12th place, seven points behind 6th place Forest Green Rovers and with a game in hand.

It seems impossible to be talking about the play offs again but given that we face games against the teams around us in the next few weeks, we can at least shape our own destiny. Incredibly hope has once more come knocking at the Boundary Park door.

There is little doubt that Oldham fans see this revival as proof that Wild can motivate the players when Scholes couldn’t. To be able to get a side who looked lost and lacking in concentration a few weeks ago, to keep a clean sheet against the league’s top scorer and play them off the park in the process was a formidable task but Latics were up for it.

We should not be under any illusions that we can afford to take any of the remaining games for granted, because even the loss of one point can make an enormous difference in the final table. The six points gained over the last week have temporarily cast aside the shadow of displeasure that exists at the club between owner and fans and, it is worth pointing out that those who still believe that Abdallah Lemsagam is picking the side must concur that he is doing an excellent job. Or it could just be that Peter Wild is.


Eventful March is One To Forget For Oldham Fans

March is always the make or break month for clubs. The surge for promotion needs to be well under way as does the climb to safety. The number of games remaining by April Fools Day is usually down to single figures and, apart from a few rare occurrences clubs are pretty sure where they are going to end up in the table.

Not unsurprisingly given previous league results, Latics started March with a promising first half display at home to Stevenage with a goal from Jose Baxter separating the sides before conceding an equaliser in the dying minutes. Indeed, Stevenage could have left Boundary Park with all three points after striking the crossbar deep into injury time. Letting in late goals continued a trend which had seen Latics slip down the table and it was seen as a problem that Paul Scholes needed to fix fast.

There was no late goal at Cambridge a week later but despite going ahead in the first half courtesy of an own goal, Latics failed to capitalise on their lead and another disappointing point at a club who had spent most of the season trying to get out of the relegation scrap wasn’t the result we were looking for. With a trip to leaders Lincoln facing us three days later, there was a feeling that we had squandered the chance to pick up points against sides we really should have beaten.

Latics were now without a win in five games which was obviously not the introduction to football management that Paul Scholes was expecting.

The Lincoln game started well enough for Athletic but like on many other occasions this season Latics failed to make their advantage pay and the result was inevitable. The sending off of Jose Baxter was also going to have a bearing on forthcoming games, however, that problem was quickly forgotten when Paul Scholes walked out of the club two days later.

Losing the second manager this season, this one after only 31 days just about summed up the farce that this season has become. The fans turned on owner Abdallah Lemsagam due to his alleged interference in team affairs, but any plans they might have had to demonstrate their wrath disappeared under the Boundary Park rain clouds as the next home game against Tranmere was postponed.

Also postponed was the game at Newport due to International call ups which left just one more game in the month, a home game against Grimsby with Peter Wild back in the management hot seat.

Despite the worry that recent off field events might have an influence on the game, Latics scored a goal in each half without reply and the impressive debut of Alex Iacovitti gave some hope for the remaining games. Given recent events at Boundary Park, March wasn’t much different from the rest of the season. It might not be to everyone’s taste but at least Oldham fans can claim that they are fully prepared for anything life in League Two throws at them.

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.


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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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Peter Wild Again Steps Into An Uncertain Future At Boundary Park

It makes perfect sense to invite Peter Wild to take over as coach till the end of the season. His previous spell included the victory over Fulham and a couple of league victories, that had us temporarily believing that ‘one of our own’ was going to lead us to the playoffs.

Bringing in a new face now serves no purpose if the problems at the club aren’t ironed out soon. There needs to be a period of transparency because at present what passes for concrete information is based on rumour and conjecture. Also, anyone who doesn’t manage to secure nine straight victories, will be hounded out by those fans who don’t actually care who picks the team as long as they win every game.

The main bone of contention at present is that owner Abdallah Lemsagam is interfering in team selection and, has offered certain players extensions to their contracts for next season. If this is true (and the original story was from a dubious source) then it is obviously going to affect the appointment of a new manager.

That same story mentioned a missing team bus and a gas supply ‘ripped out by creditors’. This has been denied by the club but still, the rumours persist.

Peter Wild’s reintroduction to the hot seat has prompted some fans to suggest that he is merely the puppet of Lemsagam, and whatever side is put out will have nothing to do with Wild’s choice and everything to do with the Chairman’s wishes.

Should Wild work some magic into the side however, the doom merchants may have to change their current ideas. It is quickly becoming overlooked that Paul Scholes departure was very swift indeed. His apparent lack of desire to carry on cannot have been arrived at, after lengthy wrestling with his conscience because 31 days in a job doesn’t give you a full idea of what the job entails – whether you’re managing a football team or cleaning windows.

There are certain players at Boundary Park who have done very little to be awarded a place in the first team, however they continue to be picked. Many supporters feel that they know better than the manager where team selection is concerned (that is human nature and it will never change). Furthermore, if those players are in the side because the Chairman has insisted they are, then, Athletic are heading for a situation matching those at Blackpool and Leyton Orient and I doubt whether the fans have the stomach for such a battle after years of decline.

With a free weekend due to International call ups, the Supporters Trust has called a meeting on Saturday to try and gauge the mood of the fans. There may be only nine games remaining till the end of the season but, the plot for this mad season may take another unexpected twist yet again.

Improper Owners, a Look Back at Some of the Worst Owners in Football League History

There have been many examples of football chairmen who have devoted their lives and their money to the club’s they love. For many years, clubs were often financed by local entrepreneurs who had made good with the Edwards family at Old Trafford and Jack Walker at Blackburn being the most obvious examples.

Sadly, it is the improper owners who make the news at present with Bolton Wanderers’ Ken Anderson being the latest target of supporters wrath, due to his lack of investment and mismanagement.

Bolton face an uncertain future despite managing to avoid being liquidated in the High Court this week following a breakdown in talks to sell the club. The Championship club should be enjoying similar success to the likes of the two Sheffield clubs and, Leeds given the size of their ground and support base but they lie next to bottom of the league, eight points from safety.

Oldham fans currently believe that they are hard done by with owner Abdallah Lemsagam apparently interfering with team selection, however, he is a veritable saint compared to some of these rogues.

Owen Oyston – Blackpool FC

Oyston’s ownership is a staggering tale of neglect going back to 1988. He sued Blackpool supporters who had dared to criticise his regime and, he paid £26.77m out of the club with his son Karl after the club’s promotion to the Premier League.

Late in 2017 Owen Oyston and Karl Oyston were ordered to pay £31m to minority shareholder Valeri Belokon for his shares due to their “illegitimate stripping” of the club. Oyston was removed from the Blackpool board in February.

Francesco Becchetti – Leyton Orient

Italian Becchetti managed to steer the East London club from the verge of the Championship to National League football after 112 years of existence. Worse still, Orient’s free fall wasn’t caused by mismanagement but by the spite of the owner.

The waste-management magnate’s reign featured one expensively funded relegation, an unsuccessful reality TV show, a failed attempted extradition of the owner to Albania as part of a fraud and money‑laundering investigation, a six-match ban for Becchetti for kicking his then assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler, 10 managers, persistent reports of meddling in team affairs, a chaotic player-recruitment policy and a general sense that no one senior at the club has the first idea of how to run it.

Orient are now on the brink of returning to league football from the National league.

Ken Richardson – Doncaster Rovers

When the Doncaster Chairman’s plans to build a new stadium came up against objections from the local council, he decided to take matters further and paid someone £10,000 to burn the stadium to the ground so he could claim on the insurance. The hired arsonist left his phone at the scene however, which had a text message on it to Richardson saying “Job’s done”. The law caught up with him and he was sentenced to four years in prison.

Roland Duchatelet – Charlton Athletic

The Belgian millionaire has become the focus of the fans fury with his asking price for the club of £40m. The apparent lack of buyers is blamed on the protests of the fans. An uneasy impasse exits in South London.

SISU Capital – Coventry City

Being taken over by a hedge fund should have raised alarm but they saved Coventry from administration and a points deduction. However, they then showed that their knowledge of how to run a football club was severely limited. With one scheme being to allow supporters to text a premium rate number to vote on which player should be substituted. The manager would then have to abide by the decision!

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