Oldham board take responsibility for ‘total failure’ of League Two relegation

The Latics will drop to the National League after their defeat to Salford was abandoned due to a pitch invasion before finishing behind closed doors.

By Press Association Published: 25 April 2022 - 3.05pm

Oldham’s board of directors have accepted responsibility for their “total failure” after the club’s relegation from the English Football League.

The Latics dropped out of the EFL for the first time in their 115-year history amid chaotic scenes at Boundary Park on Saturday when a pitch invasion forced their home defeat to Salford to be suspended.

The game restarted behind closed doors after Oldham fans protesting against owner Abdallah Lemsagam had been cleared from the pitch and a 2-1 loss determined the club’s fate.

Oldham’s board confirmed the club is still up for sale and that retaining John Sheridan as manager was key to their hopes of bouncing straight back.

A club statement read: “The Oldham Athletic board of directors is devastated at the club’s relegation. The issues that have led to this point go back years but the buck stops with the board and relegation represents a total failure.

“The plan for next season starts now. The objective is clear, promotion and a return to the EFL. Our budget will be unchanged due to EFL parachute payments and we want to start preparations now.

“Key to that is keeping the manager. John Sheridan did the best he could in a short amount of time. With backing and preparation, we think he will get this club promoted back to the EFL, which is where it belongs.

Oldham fans forced their home game against Salford to be suspended
Oldham fans forced their home game against Salford to be suspended (Lee Morris/PA)

“In the following days, we will meet with John to agree on a new contract with him.”

Lemsagam, a former football agent who bought Oldham in January 2018, announced he was ready to sell the club and open to offers in January this year.

The statement added: “The club’s owner remains committed to selling the club. There is a clear process in place for interested parties.

“Each bidder has been asked to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and provide proof of funds. Conversations with those qualified bidders are ongoing and will continue.

“Whilst appreciating the huge upset and disappointment to fans we urge everyone to continue to support the club in these difficult times.

“The board and staff are committed to working hard to restore our rightful position in league football.”

During Saturday’s defeat, both sets of players were escorted off the field by referee Bobby Madley after fans invaded the pitch in the 79th minute, with the last of the protestors then not leaving the pitch for almost an hour.

After an initial announcement at the ground that the game had been abandoned, the EFL later insisted it must restart, which it did at 6.28pm behind closed doors.

The final 11 minutes plus stoppage time produced no further goals, while Oldham, who had issues with pitch invasions earlier in the season, are now likely to face severe punishment from the Football Association and the EFL.

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