IT’S not unusual for OLDHAM ATHLETIC to be linked with a football legend every time they’re looking for a new manager.
Once he was nearing the end of his playing career at Manchester United, Paul Scholes has been repeatedly named as one of the contenders for the Oldham job. Growing up in Langley, he was a regular at Boundary Park during the glory days of the late 80’s and early 90’s, once describing Frankie Bunn as his footballing idol.
Since retiring, Scholes has helped out with coaching at STALYBRIDGE CELTIC while becoming a co-owner of SALFORD CITY and he’s again been mentioned after John Sheridan was sacked last Monday with Latics bottom of League One.
This time a very different legend has been mentioned too. Oldham’s prospective new owner is Abdallah Lemsagam, a French-Moroccan football agent based in Dubai who apparently has links with the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Walter Zenga and Pablo Correa.
And Seedorf, a 4-time Champions League winner with Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan, was at Boundary Park last week. Some reports say the 87-cap Holland international (pictured above) was interviewed for the manager’s vacancy while others claim he was only here to catch up with Lemsagam.
It’s not unheard of for a name of Seedorf’s stature to manage in England’s lower leagues. His former Ajax team-mate Edgar Davids was in charge at Barnet for 15 months while another Dutchman, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, led Burton to the League Two title in 2015. He then became boss of Oldham’s fellow League One strugglers Northampton last month.
But Seedorf’s CV already boasts 5 months in charge at both Italian giants Milan and Chinese side Shenzhen FC so is he really interested in managing in England’s 3rd tier?
Correa looks a more likely bet as the Uruguayan is more experienced having been boss of French side Nancy for the last 4 years. Former Bolton defender Alan Stubbs, who has had spells in charge of Hibs and Rotherham, is also among the favourites.
Whatever Seedorf’s reason for visiting Oldham, it has brought the club a lot of attention, and for the 466 fans who travelled to Saturday’s game at Portsmouth, it might have felt like they were watching Holland too.
Not only were Latics wearing their orange away shirt, but striker Eoin Doyle unleashed a sweet 25-yard strike early on which struck a post. His opening goal was hardly ‘Total Football’, with the Preston loanee tapping in a deflected cross from close range. But the late, great Johan Cruyff would have been impressed by the finish for his second goal just after half-time, dinking the ball over the Pompey keeper after cutting out a stray defensive pass.
The hosts pulled one back late on but Oldham held on to win 2-1 and make it back-to-back victories under caretaker boss Richie Wellens after beating Peterborough 3-2 last Tuesday, when Doyle again scored twice. Those wins have seen Latics climb 6 places in League One, leapfrogging BURY to 18th after the Shakers’ 2-0 home defeat by MK Dons.
Wellens, a former United junior who later played for Oldham and briefly Salford last season, was at Old Trafford to see Seedorf play in Michael Carrick’s testimonial in June but the 37-year-old managerial rookie has made it clear he wants the Latics job permanently.
He said after Saturday’s game: “At 41 years old, he was the best player on the pitch. He’s an unbelievable football player. If he wants to come and take this job, and the owners want him, I’m not going to argue with the name of Clarence Seedorf. He’s a fantastic name in world football. It’s up to the owners what they want to do.
“But of course I want the job, especially now after these lads have given me so much over these two games.”
Wellens is set to stay in charge for Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy game at Crewe – unless Seedorf really was discussing terms with the Oldham board last week!