OLDHAM’s League One campaign took a turn for the worse last weekend as they slipped back into the relegation zone, but that already seems a long time ago as the club’s takeover was finally confirmed on Friday.
With it came a charm offensive, with Latics trying to get their long-suffering fans onside and making them believe that the new regime heralds a new era for Oldham.
Despite being founder members of the Premier League in 1992/93, Latics had slipped into English football’s 3rd tier by 1997 – and they’ve stayed there ever since.
Simon Corney had been chairman since 2004 but after months of talks with Abdallah Lemsagam (pictured above right), the club announced he was the new owner on Friday.
“It was not easy, the first time I came in was August, but this is a new challenge and there’s new positivity for the club, and I hope we can get where we want to get,” said the French-Moroccan football agent, who is based in Dubai.
“I see potential in this club, it’s historic and I like the area. If we get help from everyone and we work together, I hope we can do something.
“I want to start slowly, I’m not going to make a big promise. I will do my best and if I’m focused on something, I never give up.
“But I need to get help from everyone here – the fans, people from the area, the staff, the players, the coach – we need to be a team together.”
In the meantime, the club had been working on a promo video and it seems former striker Andy Ritchie has found himself a new career as a voiceover artist. The Latics legend has already enjoyed years working as a radio pundit but he is superb in this video, released by the club yesterday.
Manager Richie Wellens (above left) led Latics out of the bottom 4 after taking over from John Sheridan in September, but since their stoppage-time win over BURY on October 24, they’ve only won 2 league games – 3-1 v ROCHDALE on November 18 and 5-1 v Northampton on December 9.
Local rivals BURY and ROCHDALE make up the bottom 3 with Oldham so it promises to be some scrap to stay in League One this season. After last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Peterborough, Latics have lost 5 of their last 7 league games, and Wellens admits he expects the sack if they keep losing.
They were also knocked out of the Checkatrade Trophy by Shrewsbury on Tuesday night, but Wellens was probably grateful as they can now concentrate on the league.
He said this week that he’s desperate to keep Latics up and then have a chance to mould his own team in the summer. And his chances of doing that have been boosted by the arrival of striker Duckens Nazon on loan from Wolves till the end of the season. The 23-year-old Haiti international has scored 8 goals in 24 games on loan at Coventry this season so is promising Latics fans big things.
“I’m powerful, I’m fast and in front of goal I’m a killer, so I will show this to the people,” he said. “I’m very happy to sign here because it is a League One club. I was in League Two for the first half of the season but I’m happy to go higher.”
Latics’ next 2 games are also at home and the club has urged fans to be in their seats by 2.50 for today’s match against Plymouth, as Lemsagam will be introduced to the Boundary Park crowd.
Next week Oldham host Bradford, who always bring plenty of fans over the Pennines, so the atmosphere at these 2 games could give Latics the lift that propels them to safety. That’s what the new owner is hoping anyway.
Ticket prices v Plymouth: £24 (adults), £12 (concessions), £10 (U16s), £5 (U12s).