Latics owner provides thoughts on current situation
Thursday 16th August 2018 @ 09:01 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Following the opening three fixtures of the 2018/19 season, Oldham Athletic owner Abdallah Lemsagam has provided clarity on the club’s current situation.

In a statement uploaded to the club’s official website, he said:

I would like to start by thanking the loyal supporters who have again surpassed my expectations and have backed the team in such a devoted way.

We have more season ticket holders now than we did last season and I am optimistic that we will all have plenty to cheer about. I hope you all enjoy the scarves. The scarves are just a small token of my gratitude for your ever-present loyalty, particularly last season.

I have been in control of the football club for over six months now and I admit it has not been easy at times. When I first came in a lot of creditors who had not been paid by the previous regime issued court proceedings and winding up orders.

After a long process, there are now no remaining winding up procedures and we are working hard to clear the final old debts that the club is responsible for. In particular, there are no longer any debts owing to HMRC.

It became clear to me quite quickly that the club could not continue the way it had been running: borrowing money from one person to pay another and selling off future assets, leaving a black hole for the future. If we continued in that way there was a very serious risk of losing Oldham Athletic. I have personally spent over £3,000,000 to get us to a sustainable platform now and I will continue to invest in this club.

In order to comply with Football League rules, we have to live within our means. As a result of our relegation to Sky Bet League Two we have had to reduce the playing staff wage bill as well as the staff wage bill to ensure that the club can sign players and move forward in the league.

Not only this, but to comply with the financial fair play regulations of the EFL we have to operate on a smaller budget than last season. However we are working tirelessly to make sure we have a squad strong enough to be competitive.

We are now on a firm footing and can build for the long term future. We have a new management team in place who have a young, hungry squad full of potential at their disposal. Our ambition is to create a successful and sustainable football club that will represent the town for many years and decades to come.

It has been well documented in media reports that a number of players who have left the club were unhappy. I want to say it again: the club is bigger than any one person. It is bigger than me, and any one of the staff or the players. I have been very disappointed to see media reports from one particular player that came to me in January wanting to leave for their own personal gain. At the time I had to remind him of his obligations to the club as an Oldham Athletic player. However this did not seem to have any effect, especially when we look back at some of the performances from the second half of the season.

I am pleased that our dressing room is now totally behind our management team; the players give total respect and dedication to Frankie Bunn and Andy Rhodes and, more importantly, Oldham Athletic.

Ultimately, who plays in the team is down to the manager and his staff. If a player is not loyal, shows no discipline or shows a total lack of professionalism towards the club or any of their colleagues then I am 100% behind our manager to make the correct decision on them. Any player that isn’t committed to this club will not feature for Oldham Athletic.

Me and my family have been fully committed to this club and we will continue to back the team, manager and staff however way we can. I look at teams in the Premier League like Brighton and Hove Albion, Bournemouth and Huddersfield Town who not long ago were in a similar position to us in the Football League. I think about how important a strong foundation has been to help them get to where they are today.

We are now in a position where we can only build the club back up to where it should be, but it can not be done without the backing and support of everyone.

We all need to come together and get behind our young, talented and driven squad.

There may only be 11 players on the pitch, but together as a club we are thousands.