Tag Archives: Abdallah Lemsagam

Window Closed: What Are Oldham’s Aims Now After January Window Signings

Shortly before the signings Zak Dearnley and Oladapo Afolayan on transfer deadline day, you could have been mistaken in thinking that the club had decided to give up on the rest of the season given the dark mood on social media. People were generally upset that Sam Surridge hadn’t been replaced following his return to Bournemouth. Well actually we did replace him but after less than two games, however, some have decided that 31-year-old Urko Vera isn’t up to the job.

There is no doubt that a similar fate awaits the two young newcomers unless of course, one or both of them hit the ground running and the side ends its run of two league defeats. The signing of the two promising forwards from Premier League clubs came as a surprise as most of the team appears to be made up of players from Abdallah Lemsagam’s contacts in Europe.

The signing of Dearnley particularly resurrected the idea that Paul Scholes appointment as manager was imminent and given his obvious Man United credentials, he might have been involved in the negotiations. Oldham’s immediate aims might appear to be to get some decent results under their belt but the most pressing problem is off the pitch

Without doubt, the vacant managers’ seat needs to be filled and if reports are to be believed, Scholes needs to sever his links with Salford City and end his TV pundit role with BT Sport before his name can be painted on the office door. This appears to make sense but the story is reported from what is usually an unreliable source.

There are thirteen teams above Oldham with similar promotion desires at present and the club face six of them in the next ten games. Latics inability to beat MK Dons who were on a poor run of form, prompted the talk that the club had lost any momentum they might have had when Peter Wild took over the reins – it is certainly true to say that we aren’t being included in any talk of playoff aspirations.

A decent run of two or three wins leading up to the local derby with Bury on February 23rd would help settle supporters, who feel they have been let down by the apparent lack of transparency shown by the club chairman. However, if the negotiations regarding the appointment of Scholes are to be believed, there is obviously a need for a softly softly approach which may not be finalised till next week.

In the meantime, Athletic need to get back on winning ways and the last minute signings could be the key that has been missing.


Would Oldham Fans Accept A Plan To Rebuild Over 2-3 Years?

There has to be a tipping point in a season when any faint hopes of a promotion bid that may have been harboured are laid aside and plans made for the following season.

Of course, the later that decision is made the better for all concerned. Nobody wants to see all hope abandoned before the Christmas fixtures have been tackled, but when you’ve been a supporter of Oldham Athletic for any length of time, giving up on promotion any time after the end of January is seen as a successful campaign.

At present, Oldham lie 8 points short of the last playoff place and would need for argument’s sake, 75 points to be in 7th place at the end of the season. That represents another twelve wins from our remaining 17 games which is not impossible but at present seems highly improbable. Unless we are about to sign some incredibly gifted players in what remains of the transfer window and, announce a new manager who promises the earth. Then we might as well get used to the idea that our remaining games are going to be used to blood youngsters and give fringe players a chance to put themselves in the window before they are inevitably let go in May.

The days when supporters accepted that a manager had a plan to rebuild a side that might take a season or two are long gone. Six games appear now to be the length of fans patience, and I might well be being charitable.  Given the amount of money that is now associated with the game, any new owner is automatically expected to dip into their wallets and finance the drive towards the league title. Of course, it has worked in certain circumstances but expecting Oldham owner Abdallah Lemsagam to break the bank at a League Two club with little over 4000 supporters is close to expecting the impossible.

However, it is unclear whether Lemsagam’s ambitions match those of the supporters – even the ones who believe we have reached our allotted place in the League Pyramid. According to a statement in August last year, he reiterated that he was at the club for the long haul and that protecting the club from winding up orders etc was his long term goal.

That might not sit well with those who expected us to buy our way out of the division, but history has shown us that clubs who take the path of boom or bust inevitably end up in the type of situation that Bolton Wanderers find themselves in and whilst a short stab at glory is great for morale, it is rare that a club struggling for support beneath the shadows of its illustrious Premier League neighbours can maintain that position for long.

The Next Month Will Determine Playoffs or Bust For Oldham – Agreed?

A season can hinge on the results of a handful of games and it appears that Oldham are approaching a period of fixtures which will shape whether they finish in the playoffs or in mid-table mediocrity in League Two.

Stability is always a key ingredient in the smooth running of a club, which is something that should have been explained to those currently in charge at Boundary Park. So far this season we have had rumours of unpaid players and the threat of a strike, the sacking of yet another manager and poor results against teams that we really should be getting the better of. Add to that the current circus about who is going to be the next manager, and stability is not the first word you would use in describing Oldham Athletic FC.

Of course, there is the little matter of a possible appearance in the 5th round of the FA Cup to consider. Cash strapped Athletic would love to enjoy the same sort of payout that Lincoln City received from the 16/17 season, which no doubt has helped them build the side currently heading League Two.

For Oldham however, whatever happens against Doncaster this weekend needs to be quickly forgotten in order to address the next few fixtures in League Two. Of the teams we face in the next five games, only Bury can boast to be enjoying significantly better form than us (over the last 4 games) and if ever there was a good time to face MK Dons, it is at present given that they are experiencing a ‘blip’ that has seen them drop to 5th place.

We are currently 7 points adrift of 7th place with a game in hand and it would take a collective loss of form of those above us to sneak us into the playoff positions, especially if we are to continue to drop points against the likes of Macclesfield. A run of two or three wins will solve that, and the immediate solution for owner Abdallah Lemsagam is to decide who he wants to steer the ship.  Uncertainty is no good for the fans and players alike and it is of no use whatsoever to current caretaker manager Peter Wild, who probably doesn’t know on a day to day basis what his role might be when he walks into work each morning.

I cannot believe that the players might have abandoned the idea of reaching the playoffs, there is still too much to play for. The fans, on the other hand, don’t see a great deal of determination displayed on a regular enough basis. Despite that, they still turn out in huge numbers to follow the club around the country and will be 100% behind the side if they show a willingness to get us into the playoffs.

Could Scholes Have The Same Impact As Lampard and Gerrard At Oldham?

It shouldn’t surprise anybody these days to find that allegiances are quickly broken in football depending on results on the pitch. A rookie manager who against all odds finds himself thrust into the limelight after a string of wins can so easily be cast aside and past successes are forgotten after one bad result.

That appears to be the current state of affairs down at Boundary Park. Most of the news about the next manager of the club seems to be concocted from wild (no pun intended) rumours and the latest betting odds, neither of which can claim to be accurate or based on any element of truth.

One fact that is well known and beyond doubt is that current favourite for the post, Paul Scholes, is a big Latics fan and has been suggested for the job on previous occasions. It was always been gratifying to see Scholes at Boundary Park when he had a free Saturday, but whether he’d be as warmly welcomed as the new manager remains to be seen.

He was apparently interviewed for the post in the past but has since taken up an interest in Salford City and owns a 10% stake in the club. That has led to a possible conflict of interest which may have to be resolved given that Salford might well be in League Two next season.

People will inevitably look at the success of Frank Lampard at Derby and Steven Gerrard at Rangers and wonder whether such a high profile name as Scholes could have a similar impact. What is abundantly clear is that Gerrard and Rangers have home support and associated income averaging just below the 50,000 mark, furthermore, Derby average 27,000 at Pride Park. It would be interesting to see if either of them could work the same magic on Oldham’s average of 4166.

For Gerrard and Lampard, their goals are European qualification and promotion to the Premier League respectively, whilst whoever takes the reins at Boundary Park is faced with attempting to revive a club that has been in terminal decline for the best part of 25 years. Scholes may well believe that his past playing career at the highest level and his contacts within the game would place him in an excellent position to take up the post, however, there has been a desire for some time to appoint a manager with a proven record and plenty of experience.

Like many who have passed through the revolving managerial door at Boundary Park, Scholes does not possess a great deal of managerial experience. He is rather dour in comparison with the media-savvy Gerrard and Lampard and faces what possibly could be the greatest obstacle of becoming an Oldham Athletic manager, which is getting the supporters to forget his long association with the much-reviled masses at Old Trafford.

Add to that the rumour that owner Abdallah Lemsagam is currently the only person involved in signing players, and you have a job which would be a poisoned chalice to even the most desperate of job seekers.

In-Depth Look; What’s Oldham’s Main Priority – A Manager, A Defender or a Striker?

There doesn’t appear to be a great deal of activity down at Boundary Park lately and yet common sense would tell you that there is a pressing need to sort out at least two areas requiring attention.

The obvious starting point is the current vacant manager’s position, which has been ably looked after since Boxing Day by stand-in Pete Wild. Some have suggested that the reason there has been little news of a permanent appointment, is that there are very few people interested in it but current betting would suggest that Wild is favourite for the job.

However, owner Abdallah Lemsagam may well be seeing how long Wild’s honeymoon period lasts. It looks increasingly likely that Wild will still be in charge for the 4th round FA Cup tie at Doncaster, but his long term future at the club has either been already decided or Lemsagam has taken the kindest option and allowed Wild another crack at FA Cup glory.

As I’ve said elsewhere, Wild is, without doubt, the cheap option at present and given that Oldham are in need of a decent run of form to keep in sight of the play off places, the introduction of a new manager might interrupt the current decent run of form and incur unnecessary expense.

Many Oldham supporters would be happy for Wild to continue in charge as long as he had a decent sized squad to chose from. The departures of Sam Surridge and Ishmael Miller and the injury to Chris O’Grady have left Wild with very few forward line options for this weekend, and a new striker must now be the club’s main priority.

It is glaringly obvious that having lost top scorer Surridge, Athletic cannot get by with propping up the team using inexperienced youngsters. If we were in mid-table with 10 games remaining and in no danger of relegation I could understand blooding a few youngsters but we have 19 games left in which we could easily get into the playoffs and that has to be worth aiming for.

At the very least, there has to be a couple of players who fancy a crack at glory in the FA Cup 4th round on January 26th. If the carrot and stick approach works why not use it?

Signing a defender might not be seen as a priority by the supporters given that we are enjoying a positive goal difference for the first time in ten years. The form of players like Daniel Iverson in goal and defenders Edmundson, Hunt, Hamer and captain Peter Clarke have been excellent and the only thoughts on signing a defender should be to cover for injuries.

The next few weeks are critical in how this season pans out for the club with games against sides at both the top and bottom of League Two. It is not always wise to leave signings to the last minute in the January window but it looks like that is what might be happening.

‘A Rich Arab, With a Cash Flow Problem’

There are people I know who decided that supporting Oldham Athletic was detrimental to their health, and abandoning the club was the only treatment.

It had nothing to do with the catering or sitting in a draughty stadium for two hours or even, being perpetually miserable at the lack of success.

It was and sadly still is, the practice of being lulled into a state of anticipation of success and then being crushed by news that off the field, all is not well.

Apparently, the players haven’t been paid and are now threatening to go on strike unless that changes. This has triggered a number of less than helpful comments about certain players who will probably fail at that also.

I am only able to rely on Twitter and an article in the Daily Mail for my information, as the club has decided that their policy of ignoring calls for a statement is the way forward.

However, it could be possible that owner Abdallah Lemsagam has other things on his mind as Wednesday was his birthday. It could well be that Abdallah has had his hands full blowing up balloons and organising party games. It’s too easy to forget something like a wage bill when you’re worrying about whether the Star Wars Birthday cake will arrive in time.

Either that or Oldham Athletic have been bought by a rich Arab with a cash flow problem. You couldn’t make it up.