Dear Abdallah PDF Print E-mail
Oldham Athletic
Written by Mark W   
Wednesday, 24 January 2018 23:35

Whilst we still await confirmation, it appears that this most protracted of takeovers may be approaching completion. Key details such as the ongoing position of the current chairman and the ownership of the land, ground stand etc. are still unknown but what it seems we can be assured of is that the football club will be under new ownership.

I would like to take the opportunity to welcome Abdallah Lemsagam to our football club and be so, bold as to offer him some advice. Whilst I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that I have a fraction of his business expertise, I do know what I am looking for out of supporting Oldham Athletic.

Engage with the fans

We have an amazing support. Considering the lack of success that we have experienced over the last couple of decades, the support that the team are given is remarkable. The numbers we take and atmosphere we create at many away games are something we are rightfully proud of. Over recent years, however, there is no denying that the supporter base has become fractured. You can argue over whether the outgoing owner has caused many of the splits amongst fans but you would struggle to argue that he has done anything to prevent it.

This is a new beginning and a great opportunity to heal some of the current wounds. It isn’t something that can be done overnight. Many of those who have abandoned the club will need some persuading to return. When people stop coming they find other things to do. They aren’t just sat at home staring wistfully at Twitter updates desperately looking to be wooed back. They can be wooed though. A team that shows ambition and looks capable of delivering on that ambition will be the incentive they need.

I don’t know Abdullah. I haven’t met him and I don’t think I have even seen an interview with him. I understand this as he hasn’t been in a position to talk to us. Upon completion, though, he needs to do just that. He hasn’t just bought a business here, he has bought into a football family (I know it’s a cliché but it’s true). If you want to have success, we have to all be in it together. Simon forgot this.

Be open and honest with us whenever possible. We might not always like it but we’d rather know the truth. I think most fans recognize that at times very difficult decisions need to be taken. If you are frank with us about those decisions we are much more likely to understand and accept them than if the reasons are shrouded in mystery and replaced by rumour and supposition.

Have a plan

I appreciate that this is obvious but for far too long we haven’t had a plan. We’ve had season after season of trying to stay up but we don’t appear to have ever looked more than 12 months into the future. If you want the fans to buy into the dream, there has to be a plan. I think most of us recognize that there probably isn’t a quick fix. The immediate emphasis will be short term as we need to ensure that we don’t fall through the trap door this season. Beyond that, and I hugely confident that we will stay up, we need a strategy for getting out of the division in the right direction. It’s unlikely to happen next season and maybe not the season after, but if we can see progress we’ll take that.

Longer term contracts that allow us to develop players whilst also building a team rather than simply a group of individuals will allow us to deliver a long term plan. Too often we have seen a squad decimated at the end of the season meaning that promise we have seen towards the end of the last campaign is wasted as we start to build again.

Trust your manager

This is twofold. We need to stick with a manager and we need to allow him to have control of the footballing side of the club.

The owner needs to ensure that he has a manager that he believes in and then he needs to stick with him. My understanding is that Abdallah was the driving force behind the appointment of Richie Wellens earlier in the season so I would like to think that he is the man that he believes can deliver for him. We have seen plenty of positives with some excellent football being played. We’ve also seen a terrible run of results with far too many goals being conceded. If the new owner believes in him, give him a long term contract and stick with him even if things aren’t going well. If he doesn’t believe in him there is no point in pretending, get in someone you do believe in and then fully back him.

The manager has to be allowed to manage, whoever he is. If you have someone you trust, let them get on with it. The manager needs backing as much as possible with funding but above all they need to be able to bring in players that they believe in and then manage them without interference. Too many new owners think it is their role to get involved in footballing matters. By all means they can have their say but ultimately the decisions need to be taken by the manager.

Accept the baggage

A lot has happened at this football club over the years and unfortunately the bad has tended to outweigh the good. As the new owner, there is nothing that you can do about this. You can’t ignore it though.

It is completely unfair that when you make promises many fans will take it with a pinch of salt. We’ve been made a lot of promises and seen a lot of false dawns. Human nature is such that we can’t all forget this, much as we might like to.

Some of our fans are idiots. 99% aren’t but some are. These tend to be the most vocal at times which can give the impression that they are greater in number than they really are. Try to ignore them, the rest of us do. Above all, though, don’t assume that they speak for the rest of us and don’t lump us all into the same bucket.


Hopefully this is the start of a successful new era. I am sure that the fans will get behind the new man and with a bit of luck we will show ambition and start challenging at the right end of the division. Good luck Abdallah, you are probably going to need it. You are about to embark on an amazing ride though so let’s all face it together and get Oldham Athletic Football Club back to being the proud club it once was.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 23:37