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Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
06 June, 2018 00:00
The story behind Oldham Athletic's financial troubles... from mystifying transfers, unpaid wages and dressing room rows to fears the club may be football's next Leyton Orient
An increase in wages has placed a major strain on Oldham Athletic's resources
There are fears the club could become football's next Leyton Orient very soon
On Thursday, the plight got worse as no players or playing staff were paid
Sportsmail's special report details the elements that have damaged the club
By MIKE KEEGAN FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 15:52, 5 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:52, 5 June 2018


''When Rochdale's Joe Thompson capped his second recovery from cancer by scoring the goal which kept his side in League One it completed a fitting end to an emotional story. It also meant that neighbours Oldham Athletic, founder members of the Premier League, completed their 24-year slide from top division to bottom.

What follows is a staggering tale of wasted investment and belief-defying decision-making that has resulted in serious concerns that the Lancashire club may become football's next Leyton Orient.

In late-January, Oldham announced that they had been taken over by Dubai-based Moroccan Abdallah Lemsagam, a former agent. The reality was that Lemsagam had actually been providing the funds to keep the club operating since the start of their 21st consecutive season in League One. His arrival coincided with an influx of foreign players, predominantly French-speaking, at his recommendation.


Oldham Athletic are in danger of becoming football's next Leyton Orient due to financial woes

Many were signed on wages previously well outside Oldham's budget. Midfielder Mohamed Maouche was given £4,000-a-week. He subsequently played 10 minutes of League One football (and remains on the payroll). The biggest name, however, was a Dutch Under 21 winger Queensy Menig, who joined on loan from French club Nantes.

It can be disclosed that Menig was paid a mind-boggling sum of around £11,650-a-week, plus accommodation at Manchester's swanky Malmaison hotel. 'I wanted to give the fans a present, to make them dream,' Lemsagam told Sportsmail.

Whilst the intention would appear to be admirable, the reality was that Menig caused more problems than he solved and departed following four starts and one goal.

Insiders say the experiment in total cost around £500,000. The wastage continued. Deals for three key loan players had to be renegotiated in January. The weekly bill for the three, one of whom signed permanently, went from £3,750 to around £16,000. As a result of actions like the above, Oldham's wage budget abruptly spiralled from around £1.4m to a frightening figure approaching £2.4m.

The scattergun recruitment did not have the desired effect on the pitch and tempers frayed. In mid-April, Oldham were leading Gillingham 1-0 and looked like picking up an incredibly important three points. They did not know it at the time, but victory would have kept them up. In injury-time Wilfried Moimbe, another new arrival from France, reacted to a foul in the area by throwing a punch. He was sent off, the visitors scored the resulting penalty and three points became one.


Club owner Abdallah Lemsagam has promised to make funds available after staff were unpaid

At half-time during a vital home match with Southend United, and with Oldham losing 1-0, Lemsagam entered the dressing room. He says it was to support his players. Others say he left after looking around the room without saying a word. Regardless, one senior player visited the owner to plead with him not to do it again. Oldham lost 3-0.

At a training session at Brentford, before another key away match at Wimbledon, one player reacted with audible dismay when informed that he would not be starting. Later, he was told to come to the front of the room at the hotel in which the team were staying, and apologise to his team mates. 'It was disastrous for morale,' said one onlooker.

On another occasion, a striker denied a lucrative January move to a club closer to his home, almost came to blows with the new owner. His form subsequently dipped dramatically and Oldham are now keen to sell him.

And then there is the case of Ousmane Fane. Fane, an energetic midfielder signed from Kidderminster in 2016, was called to see the chairman following 'disciplinary issues' and told to stay away from the club with two games left to save the season. Lemsagam claims this move was made with the backing of manager Richie Wellens, who told him that he did not need the player.

Fane had previously played in 46 games. Without him, Oldham could only muster two draws and their departure from a division they had occupied since 1997 was confirmed with Thompson's goal.


Midfielder Ousmane Fane was banished with two games to go having played 46 games prior

Amid this backdrop comes more serious issues. Wages have not been paid on time for the last six months. On one occasion, a player claimed he could not turn up for training because he had no money to put petrol in his car. A member of office staff is understood to have taken out a credit card before Christmas to enable them to buy presents. Some members of staff have still not picked up their salaries from April.

On Thursday, the latest payday, a handful of office staff and no players or playing staff received their wages. On Monday that remained the case. A number of agents have told Sportsmail they will no longer allow their players to sign for Oldham because there is no confidence that they will be paid.

Three members of staff have departed and are considering taking the club to an employment tribunal. And the bills pile up. A fortnight ago club members of staff spent around a week unable to use their mobile phones because O2's account had not been settled. A dispute with a company brought in to look after the pitch is heading for court.

Payments for tickets sold for away matches last season have not been paid to a number of clubs including local rivals Bury and Rochdale. Contributors to the programme have not received their relatively-tiny amounts since December. And then there is the big one. A bill of around £130,000 to HMRC has gone unpaid.

There are fears winding-up proceedings may not be far away and insiders have genuine concerns that the end could well be nigh for the 123-year-old club. Lemsagam, externally at least, remains calm. He says that he is 'cleaning up' a vast array of issues inherited from the previous regime led by former owner Simon Corney, who declined to comment for this piece. He may well have a point and there has to be some sympathy, but increasing the wage bill by £1m on players who could not prevent relegation was a disastrous move.


Boss Richie Wellens is trying to add to his squad but needs to know if players can be paid

Lemsagam adds that he has struggled to transfer money because the club's presumably fed-up bank do not want their business any more as a result of longstanding issues triggered before he took over. He promises that more funds will arrive in the next few days.

There is a realisation that mistakes regarding recruitment have been made and that a more realistic budget is needed for the club's first campaign in League Two. Oldham have since agreed terms with former player Jose Baxter to much accolade from fans. However, whether they can pay the ex-Everton playmaker remains to be seen.

Lemsagam, who says he took over the club, surrounded by Manchester giants United and City, because he identified its 'potential', does not want to make predictions but believes he can lead the club to profit this year. It would be some achievement.

The Professional Footballers Association and the EFL, whose ownership test Lemsagam passed, are monitoring what appears to be a desperate situation.

'I honestly fear for the future of the club,' one former player told Sportsmail.

In the meantime, the phone keeps ringing. ''

 
rossb07
rossb07 (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
06 June, 2018 00:12
...And some question Tranmere.

Thank **** for the Palios'.

 
tranmerekiwi
tranmerekiwi (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
06 June, 2018 01:40
Palioi?

 
mrGr33n13
mrGr33n13 (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
06 June, 2018 07:24
Quote:
tranmerekiwi
Palioi?

Haha, too good

Well played, sir

 
Fiftyyearsarover
Fiftyyearsarover (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
06 June, 2018 09:49
The big trouble is there are very very few people in this country who have the money to sustain a successful football club .therefore it’s only overseas investors who have the money .they buy a club on a whim not understanding the history of the club or how the EFL works and all it entails..the money he was paying League 1players who had not played in England was a Madness and it’s come back to bite him .he might well walk away from it and Leave the club to its fate .Man city ,Chelsea a different kettle of fish mega money involved ,but for smaller clubs beware overseas investors .as we say ,thank god for the Palios’s.l hope Oldham can get through it and keep going .

 
MESSAGES->author
Doogie'sGhost (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
06 June, 2018 11:05
You need to qualify that 50. There are very few people who can sustain a football club the way they have been run for decades now. A modern football club is inherently unsustainable. Ultimately you are competing with City, Barca, Real who can throw money at it and laugh at the debts. You can't compete with that and be sustainable over any significant period of time. And all that filters down. The Palioi have the right ideas, but with it comes limitations. Once you say no limitations you get into trouble. And for every good foreign owner who has ambition and can give you some success, there's a bad one who can't and comes close to destroying the club.

 
MESSAGES->author
hong kong rover (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
06 June, 2018 14:52
thks for that article hoots, its staggering to see how much some of those players were being paid.

 
Cybertron
Cybertron (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
06 June, 2018 22:04
The old benefactor model of club ownership brings fundamental problems, you get a chancer that turns out wants to build a Tesco on the ground, or just gets bored, or quits because of abuse from fans, history is filled with examples of all these. The sustainable model the MP is trying to put in place is potentially the way of the future as it breaks the need for a deep pocketed millionaire.

 
Fiftyyearsarover
Fiftyyearsarover (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
06 June, 2018 22:36
Yes true. MP has made a good living rescuing failing firms and the way he done it equally applies to a football club .i am convinced he will come up with a plan B that will give the club a huge boost .maybe China who knows .but his way is definitely the way to go ,build from within ,dont reply on someone who doesn’t have the interest of the club at heart

 
DevonExile
DevonExile (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
07 June, 2018 13:11
IT means building a sustainable business model and getting best value from each part of the operation.It is not a quick fix situation. We get some posters who think that the club should be trying to match the big transfers paid by some competitor clubs but many of those clubs go on to problems.
On paper for example Walsall do not look like a business that that has a bigger turnover than Tranmere but it is reasonable in the case of Cooke to assume that he is being paid significantly more than we offered.Good husbandry must place a prudent limit on expenditure. It is disappointing to lose some good players but if the price was to return to the precarious situations of the past then it is a price worth paying.
It is not the first time Oldham has been in this situation and it is a failure of its Board not to have learnt from the past.
I wonder how Baxter feels about deciding to go there now

 
rossb07
rossb07 (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
08 June, 2018 13:15

 
MESSAGES->author
TranmereFan (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
08 June, 2018 13:29
Quote:
DevonExile
IT means building a sustainable business model and getting best value from each part of the operation.It is not a quick fix situation. We get some posters who think that the club should be trying to match the big transfers paid by some competitor clubs but many of those clubs go on to problems.
On paper for example Walsall do not look like a business that that has a bigger turnover than Tranmere but it is reasonable in the case of Cooke to assume that he is being paid significantly more than we offered.Good husbandry must place a prudent limit on expenditure. It is
disappointing to lose some good players but if the price was to return to the precarious situations of the past then it is a price worth paying.
It is not the first time Oldham has been in this situation and it is a failure of its Board not to have learnt from the past.
I wonder how Baxter feels about deciding to go there now

RE : Baxter - haaaaaaa haaaaaaa

 
prentonpete1
prentonpete1 (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
08 June, 2018 15:25
Just sacked the manager shambles.

 
trfc-boi
trfc-boi (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
08 June, 2018 18:21
Oldham could go down again if they don’t sort there problems

 
MESSAGES->author
Doogie'sGhost (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
08 June, 2018 18:31
Between them and Bury there's a decent chance one collapses for sure. Both remind me very much of the state we were in coming out of L1, for different reasons.

 
WWStandsure
WWStandsure (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
10 June, 2018 09:14
It could 'affect' Rovers - if Oldham'drop out of L-2 in what ever way (deduction of points, poor performances etc, etc), then only one team could be relegated (it's how the FA works...), - now I don't think Rovers would be involved this season (or in the future), but it is just an item to notice - IF events do head in that direction, then I for one sincerely hope that the ONE club relegated is FGR (and if that occurs, I will happily head to Stroud to watch one game as they return to their non-league status - as long as it does not clash with a Rovers game of course).

 
kennyspint
kennyspint (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
10 June, 2018 22:52
[quote Cybertron]The old benefactor model of club ownership brings fundamental problems, you get a chancer that turns out wants to build a Tesco on the ground, or just gets bored, or quits because of abuse from fans, history is filled with examples of all these. The sustainable model the MP is trying to put in place is potentially the way of the future as it breaks the need for a deep pocketed millionaire.[/quot Agree about the Palios's and add one further nightmare owner. The one's who won't go away however much damage they cause- the Oystons at Blackpool

 
MESSAGES->author
TranmereFan (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
11 June, 2018 11:28
Does make one wonder how far you can go with the Palios model though?, as our success is linear with our attendances, and if we don’t get the people through the gates we won’t be able to sign/retain the best players, as some point we will need some deep pockets to make it to the top (the championship league) you would of thought, especially when you look at the size of the clubs in the Championship. And gates at Tranmere, even if say a 13k average, is this enough wealth generation to sustain a resonable life in the Championship?. We will probably need a new main stand to have more of an executive boxes-cash cow type earner.

 
MESSAGES->author
Doogie'sGhost (IP Logged)

Re: Oldham Athletic story on Daily Mail website
11 June, 2018 12:50
Quote:
TranmereFan
Does make one wonder how far you can go with the Palios model though?, as our success is linear with our attendances, and if we don’t get the people through the gates we won’t be able to sign/retain the best players, as some point we will need some deep pockets to make it to the top (the championship league) you would of thought, especially when you look at the size of the clubs in the Championship. And gates at Tranmere, even if say a 13k average, is this enough wealth generation to sustain a resonable life in the Championship?. We will probably need a new main stand to have more of an executive boxes-cash cow type earner.

It's a fair point. There are definite limitations to how far you can go, but that's supposed to be the point of FFP. There are basically only 2 models that can succeed - the sugar daddy one that can bring sky high rewards but will ultimately bring you crashing back down to Earth; or the sustainable model that only allows for sensible investments that you can afford, but limits the ambition. I've seen us with the former - and it was a great decade while it lasted but balanced out by the hole we ultimately fell into - however I have a feeling that the sustainable one might ultimately prove a better bet for us.


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