Tag Archives: Sam Surridge

Oldham Athletic Fans Yearly Panic About A Lack Of Signings Starts A Month Early

There’s something that happens every year when the football season ends – the players tend to go on holiday.

This is obviously a situation that many fans find difficult to accept but they may have a point. After all, who has ever seen Sergio Aguero or Harry Kane taking advantage of happy hour in the bar of the Rosamar Beach and Spa Hotel in Tenerife, or struggling to inflate a lilo on the beach in Benidorm? Exactly.

If a club hasn’t made significant numbers of signings by the time the fixtures are out then the season can be pretty much written off according to some. Oldham have secured the services of Alex Iacovitti and Gevaro Nepomuceno and, signed 10 youngsters up for the Academy but for some that aren’t good enough with the 19/20 season just 59 days away.

There was an uproar from certain quarters when Jose Baxter and Peter Clarke were released at the end of the season. It was argued that they would be snapped up immediately by our rivals, and return to Boundary Park to wreak havoc on the club for our short-sightedness in releasing them.

Of course, they might well do but at present, neither have a new club or look like getting one…or they could be on holiday.

It is true that some clubs like Northampton have made a number of signings, but with the transfer of George Edmundson still up in the air. Waiting to see how much money we might have to spend, before diving in for the likes of ex Macclesfield forward (Harry Smith) with a staggering 8 goals last season seems perfectly sensible.

There is also a myth that all the decent players will get ‘snapped up’ and we’ll be left with the bottom of the barrel. However, it is a fact that given the size of some Premier League and Championship squads, loan signings often do not surface until the season has started. Both Sam Surridge and Callum Lang didn’t join the club till late July last year.

It would improve the atmosphere that exists at present if the club could decide who their new coach will be, but until then, the more impatient of Oldham’s supporters are doing their blood pressure no favours as the day’s tick by.

Pete Wild’s Time at Oldham Athletic is One To Remember for Three Reasons

When you find yourself writing about a departing coach/manager for the third time in a season there can be a fair assumption that the wheels haven’t just come off at Boundary Park, they are rolling down the hill destroying everything in their path.

Peter Wild was a name a lot of people weren’t familiar with when he stepped into departing Frank Bunn’s shoes, following the 6-0 thrashing by Carlisle on Boxing Day. It was suggested at the time that Wild was only given the role, as there were very few people left who were available after the sackings/resignations of a good number of the backroom staff.

He was and still is I might add, regarded as a ‘decent bloke’ with Latics coursing through his veins, with time and patience to pose for photos and share a pint with fans. He could have been forgiven for being completely out of his depth, having only had experience at the youth team level but he undoubtedly knew the players well and quickly applied himself to the task in hand.

There are perhaps more factors people could come up with but for the present, Wild’s short tenure will be remembered for three key reasons:

Fulham 1 Oldham 2 FA Cup 3rd rd

There are young supporters at Oldham who have been starved of any sort of memories that they can pass on to their children. Latics win at Fulham had all the ingredients of an ‘I was there’ game and not only did it receive nationwide coverage for the manner in which Athletic played, it included footage of our manager doing a mad Dad dance on the touchline.

I’m convinced that Frank Bunn couldn’t have got that sort of performance out of the players, and the day didn’t just belong to Lang, Surridge, Iversen and the 4000 Latics fans, it belonged to Wild as well.

Six game Unbeaten Run

When Scholes jumped ship following the defeat at Lincoln, very few people expected us to still have a chance of making the playoffs. Scholes had turned Wild’s tenacious side, into one that looked lost and rolled over easily when things weren’t going well.

Despite that, Wild’s side embarked on a six-game unbeaten run with three wins a row to start with. Promotion hopefuls Tranmere on a seven-win sequence were made to look ordinary, as Latics cruised past them. Mansfield, also aiming for a top three place found Athletic in no mood to roll over, with the six-game run became four wins and two draws with the exact same players that Scholes had at his disposal.

Loyalty is a dirty word

There is very little loyalty in football. Players can kiss their club badges one day then sign for their most hated rivals the next. Anyone who shows even the slightest amount of loyalty is destined to find themselves without a job at short notice if their face no longer fits. Unlike Scholes, we are told Wild approached owner Abdallah Lemsagam about leaving because he wanted to spend some time away from football for personal reasons.

As that is the only official reason given at present we can either accept that or, believe the unsubstantiated assortment of rumours on social media. Whatever the true story is, at present the news is yet again focused on the circus that is Boundary Park but opinion is united in agreeing that Peter Wild is certainly not the ringleader.

Callum Lang: A Fond Farewell to The Wigan Athletic Loanee

There is usually a collective groan among some sections of the Latics crowd when it is announced that we have secured a player on loan. “Other team’s failures” is popular opinion and it is often a valid one. There have been a couple of players who have deserved the shaking of heads from the stands, but then there are others who we can honestly say will live long in our memories.

The 2018/19 season will be remembered for a number of things both on and off the pitch. However, it will hopefully stay in people’s memories because of three loan players who had a dramatic impact on the season. Sam Surridge, on loan from Bournemouth, had an excellent spell with us which was unfortunately cut short when he returned to the South Coast club.

Daniel Iversen, in goal has been a rock and will be difficult to replace but it is Callum Lang, on loan from Wigan who has arguably had the biggest impact on this season. With there being little doubt that without him, we would not have achieved what we managed to do in the FA Cup and League Two.

He has played over 40 games this season which has helped his game considerably. His early position in the side was out wide however and, restricted his goalscoring ambitions. Once he was put in a more forward role, the goals started to come including what might be voted the goal of the season against Cheltenham when he beat four men on the edge of the box before firing home.

His winning goal against Fulham in the FA Cup would have been enough to award him lifelong hero status at Boundary Park. But he has also shown what a valuable addition he will be to any club by his work in the local community, his positive on-field attitude and the acknowledgement he gives to the club’s supporters who have often remarked how he is the last man off the pitch after applauding the fans.

Lang deserves a chance to shine at a higher level and may well catch the Wigan first team on his return. The chance of Latics signing him are slim to say the least but we can always hope!

His aim was to finish off the season in style by getting on the scoresheet against Northampton which he duly did, but with Northampton rattling in five against a makeshift Latics defence, it perhaps wasn’t the exit he would have hoped for.

February Analysis: Baxter, Lang and Edmundson in the Spotlight

February was not a good month for Oldham despite an excellent start and the much heralded arrival of Paul Scholes. The early promise shown in Pete Wild’s last game win at Crawley and, Scholes’ debut win over Yeovil has dissipated somewhat with only 2 points gained from the last four matches. That form has eliminated any hopes that Latics could make a late surge for the play offs. With 17 points separating us from the relegation places, an end of season top 12 place is probably the best we can hope for.

This probably appears to be a situation close to disaster for some Oldham fans who expected a swift return to League One. However, given the fact that (once again) Latics are finishing a season with a different manager than they started it with, the fact that we are not approaching our last 10 games worrying about how many points we might need to avoid the drop should be treated as a bonus at the very least.

The Fulham game aside, there have been some extremely positive performances by several players, especially on loan Sam Surridge and goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.  February’s Player of the month vote is being contested by three players who have had differing seasons so far, but there is little to choose between them for Latics fans casting their votes.

Jose Baxter

Given his recent revelations about his off field demons, Baxter has shown that when fit and motivated he can turn in a performance which proves he is one of, if not the best midfielder in League Two. With enough games left to increase his match fitness, Scholes will be looking for Baxter to finish the season strongly and perhaps be in consideration for next season’s plans.

Callum Lang

It’s difficult to describe Callum Lang in more glowing terms than those that have already been heaped upon him. Quite simply one of the best loan players we’ve ever had and a credit to the game. Exceptionally gifted and by all accounts an extremely friendly and approachable individual. I’m not sure if an on loan player has won Player of the Season at Boundary Park but Lang must certainly be in the frame for it.

George Edmundson

Getting Edmundson signed up on a contract till June 2020 is probably one of the best bits of business the club have done in recent years. Already attracting attention from clubs in higher divisions, George has been a rock at the heart of the defence alongside captain Peter Clarke. His inclusion in the side has certainly aided Oldham’s positive goal difference to being the best in many years. A future captain if we can keep hold of him.

Iverson, Surridge and Lang. Oldham Enjoying Their Best Ever Season For Loan Signings

Loan players are usually met with a mixture of apathy and frustration by supporters hoping for that ‘big’ signing but when you’re in the football league’s basement, even bargain buys are hard to come by.

The loan system has helped Oldham a great deal in the past and although the skills of some of the players we’ve had have been questionable to say the least, there are others who have worked their way into the hearts of the fans and were sorely missed when they departed.

It cannot be just a coincidence that Oldham’s position in the league has coincided with the inclusion of three of the best loan players the club has ever had, but it was their performances in the FA Cup at Premier League Fulham that we have to thank them for.

Daniel Iverson

It is not unusual to get a goalkeeper on loan from a club much higher in the league pyramid as they usually have several all hoping to make it into the first team. Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel seems to be enjoying an extended run in goal this season which left Daniel with little hope of inclusion. That was great news for Latics fans however who have really taken to Iverson.

His solid performances have led to the club having a positive goal difference for the first time in many years, and he will be remembered fondly for a long time to come.

Star moment: The penalty save at Craven Cottage.

Sam Surridge

There were a few Latics fans who had mixed feelings about Surridge at first but once he got the feel of football at this level he showed that he had skill in abundance. Gifted with excellent balance and an eye for even the slightest of goal opportunities, Sam made some useful contributions before returning to Bournemouth. His success at Boundary Park was rewarded by his inclusion on the bench for the South coast club’s trip to Anfield.

Star moment: His penalty at Craven Cottage

Callum Lang

Oldham have got much from Wigan over the years, much to the annoyance of our fans who maintain that we are the only club entitled to call ourselves the Latics! However, this season we’ve managed to secure the services of one of the best forward players to be seen at Boundary Park since Andy Ritchie strutted his stuff.

20-year-old Lang was on loan at Morecambe last season so knows what to expect from League Two. He has contributed nine goals this season with none more important than the winner against Fulham. An extremely likeable character who is always the last to leave the field after applauding the fans. He should have an excellent future in football. If it’s with Oldham for longer than the end of this season, Latics fans would be delighted.

Star moment: The winner at Fulham

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.

Will The Fulham Win End Up Being Oldham’s Highlight of The Season?

Football fans are a fickle lot prone to short term memory, inconsistency and desertion and Oldham supporters certainly don’t buck the trend. Less than 7 days after beating Premier league Fulham, social media was awash with negativity about team selection, inertia in the transfer market and dismay that we were unable to beat Forest Green Rovers. Despite the fact that we kept a clean sheet against the club with the best away record in the league, and had managed to score at least one goal in all their previous away games.

Faced with this level of ‘support’ there is little wonder that previous Oldham teams have struggled with consistency. However, Oldham are currently enjoying a run of four unbeaten games and Saturday’s draw was achieved without top scorer Sam Surridge who has returned to Bournemouth and midfielder Jordan Lyden who has returned to Aston Villa.

New signing Mohamed Sylla had a decent debut in midfield but, one game is hardly enough for the player to slot into the pace of League Two football or the fans to have an opinion of him.

With less than half the season remaining, it is clear that there is a need to replace the players who have left and perhaps add a couple to bolster the squad. A striker has to be top of the shopping list and if there is another Premier League player unable to catch his first-team squad as Surridge was, he would be more than welcome at Boundary Park.

Oldham seems to be stretched in all departments and while I am not suggesting that we should increase the squad at any cost, if we are serious about finishing in the playoff places we cannot do so with such a threadbare first team.

I think we have to accept that Latics are not going to catch any of the top three but sixth or seventh place is definitely achievable. To get there though we need to pick up maximum points against Stevenage and Tranmere on March 2nd and 16th respectively. Given that they currently occupy the two places immediately above us and make sure that we don’t slip up against Cambridge, Yeovil, Morecambe and a resurgent Macclesfield along the way, each of whom have the very real threat of dropping out of league football at the end of the season.

Beating Fulham in the FA Cup was a fantastic achievement but we don’t want that to be our only memory of this season. 75 points were good enough for Lincoln City to get into the playoffs last season but presently that would require an average of two points per game for Latics, and currently, we are just short of that. A late surge usually puts a side in a confident position when entering the playoffs, and if Latics can continue in their current vein which has seen them unbeaten under stand-in manager Pete Wild, maybe the doubters will take a long overdue day off.

Is Pete Wild The Right Man For Oldham On a Permanent Basis?

It is very easy on paper to look back at the win against Fulham and the preceding two league games and automatically hand the managerial job over to Pete Wild.

It would certainly be the cheap option which is one we have chosen in the past. According to some fans, he has more than ticked all the boxes and shown that he can step up from Academy to the first-team level. It is true that Wild’s tactics on Sunday worked extremely well against a club 60 places above us in the league but with the prospect of the nitty gritty that is League Two football to concentrate on, can Wild continue his dream debut in management or is it time to wake up to reality?

Pete Wild is a thoroughly nice chap, according to all the people stepping up to congratulate him and wish him well. A lot of those people, however, have expressed reservations about Wild continuing as manager simply because of the downfalls that have befallen previous incumbents of the job.

He has found himself thrust into the limelight because of the absence of anybody else at the club able to take over first-team affairs, and while it is true that he has had a tremendous start, it is perhaps time for him to quit while he is ahead.

Two of Oldham’s next three games are against sides currently enjoying an excellent run of form. Forest Green Rovers and MK Dons need to be faced with Latics needing points to get themselves in the play-off places. Whoever is in charge will have to pick a side which will be without top scorer Sam Surridge who has returned to Bournemouth. They will have to make do with what was an extremely small squad which at present doesn’t look like being increased.

Despite the hero worship that surrounds Wild at present, failing to pick up points in the next few games are going to erase the Fulham game from people’s memories very quickly, for that is sadly how modern football tends to work. It would be far better for all concerned to acknowledge the job Wild has done, return him to his duties with the Academy and strongly hint that his role with the club will include working with a new manager, in a view to him stepping up the ladder at a future date.

Of course, Wild might well be in the process of negotiating his move into the Boundary Park hot seat despite what people might think. He will have no doubt spent many hours encouraging our younger players to grasp any opportunities that come along just in case they don’t present themselves again.

If he believes that he is up for the job then I wish him the very best of luck because according to some sources he may have competition from Paul Scholes who watched Latics from the same terraces that Wild did. Whoever gets the job, let’s hope it is the start of a bright future for the club.

Oldham Will Be Looking to Extend Their Unbeaten Streak By Giving These Two Stars a Place in The Starting 11

Playing an unchanged side is always a bonus for any manager. For Oldham’s Frankie Bunn, selecting the same players shows that we are free from injury for another week. Having an extremely small squad might be a major problem for some managers but it is part of the everyday situation at Boundary Park.

There is little or no ‘tinkering’ with selection, Bunn has been playing his best side and the results have been positive. Following Latics’ emphatic win over Bury last weekend, they face Exeter who are looking to keep themselves in the play off places. The South West club aren’t having the best run of form however and can be be overtaken by Latics if the three points go to the home side.

Exeter have no doubt studied recent Oldham games and they will be well aware of the threat posed by two particular players who, when fit and available are automatic choices by Bunn. Midfield has seen a particularly pleasing improvement and the one player who has stood out as the most improved is:

Gevaro Nepomuceno

Born in Willemstad, Curaçao (it’s in the South Caribbean) and raised in the Netherlands, Nepomuceno started playing football when he was 12 years old. After a couple of years with Dutch club Fortuna Sittard and
Romanian side Petrolul Ploiești, Gevaro signed for Latics in September 2017 on a one year contract with the option of a further year.

There is little doubt that he has played a key role in the upturn in Latics fortunes with several assists and match winning performances. If there’s a list of players who Exeter have targeted to beware of, Gevaro will certainly be on it. It is the Latics forward line which made the news last weekend though with a hat-trick from Chris O’Grady and a clever looping header from:

Sam Surridge

Sam has only figured in 15 games this season and it is to be hoped that he has left his bad luck with injury behind him. Without doubt, Surridge is a class player with good balance and an eye for goal. It may have been O’Grady who made the headlines last weekend but not taking the threat of Surridge seriously is a mistake not many teams want to make. Needless to say, both players will be an automatic choice for Frankie Bunn hoping to take Latics into the play off places.

Following Derby Win, Bunn’s Latics Are Playoff Material – Here Are Two Reasons Why

There was a nervousness around Boundary Park before Saturday’s game with Bury, probably due to the fact that Oldham had struggled against teams above them in the table. The high scoring Shakers must have fancied their chances but if they did, a magnificent first-half performance by Latics put them in their place.

For me, the performance on Saturday perfectly encapsulated why Oldham have gone from a side who found losing easily, to one who can get into the faces of the opposition and battle for all three points.

Several players deserve a special mention, especially the midfield duo of Maouche and Nepomuceno, skipper Peter Clarke and ‘keeper Daniel Iversen but to whittle it down to just two players then the very obvious first one is…

Chris O’Grady

It is fair to say that O’Grady has had his fair share of clubs, including a previous spell with Latics. There was hardly a ticker tape parade when he signed from Chesterfield in July and to be perfectly honest, there have been times this season when he didn’t look up to the job.

However, his performance on Saturday was first class with the first hat trick at Boundary Park in seven years. Chris is a powerfully built player and his physical presence obviously unsettles opposition defenders.

His three goals came from a left-foot shot, a right foot shot and a header which isn’t just a hat trick, it’s a perfect hat-trick!. A Chris O’Grady who is injury free and fit will help a great deal in getting Oldham into the play-off places and he now has the Bury match ball to remind himself what he’s capable of.

George Edmundson

As Bury attempted to get back into the game on Saturday, the Oldham defence had to stand firm. Along with veteran captain Peter Clarke, former academy player Edmundson threw himself at everything.

An ever-present in the side this season, his inclusion has helped Latics attain the 5th best defensive record in the league and a positive goal difference.  I’m a bit sceptical when it comes to badge kissers but when George left the pitch on Saturday patting his badge, you know that it means a lot to him to have moved up through the ranks and to be playing in the first team.

Long may it continue.

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