D3D4 Oldham Athletic Correspondent Chris Stringer takes a look back on a busy deadline day at Boundary Park…
Deadline Day Drama at Boundary Park
For most football fans, deadline day is an exciting and eventful day. Sky Sports News situates itself outside Premier League training grounds to spot the big money signings arriving. However, for fans of the lower leagues, particularly cash stricken clubs like Oldham, there is rarely such excitement. But this one was different for Oldham Athletic; this one mattered.
Talks of a takeover had been rife around the club. Simon Corney, the chairman and 97% shareholder, had recently released a video statement saying he was in talks with a friend of his based in Dubai by the name of ‘Abdallah’ – local news reporter Matt Chambers confirmed this to be Abdallah Lemsagam, a Dubai based agent and owner of sport2JLT. After 21 years in League 1, investment is greatly needed in order to propel the club up the leagues. Corney had hoped to have this deal wrapped up by deadline day.
I woke up and immediately checked social media. Despite what had appeared to be a successful summer of signings, the season had started poorly and Oldham were yet to record a single point or sign a number 1 goalkeeper – in fact the only goalkeeper at the club was Ben Wilson, who is on loan from Cardiff. It had been widely reported in French media a week earlier that Haitian international goalkeeper Johnny Placide had signed, but this had yet to be confirmed by the club. It was rumoured Placide was not wanted by John Sheridan – and this became a common theme as multiple French trialists descended upon the Lancashire side, all – supposedly – of insufficient quality for the third tier of English football. All players of Abdallah Lemsagam.
The first news I wake up to is an Instagram post – Lemsagam is at the club. Had the investment been completed? Did these mean we would see multiple unheard of and unsuitable players signing? Or would we see some big names appearing thanks to a cash injection? Only time will tell.
Rumours continued to fly about that Lemsagam was forcing players onto the club and that arguments about their quality were delaying any signings. Noon approached and still no signings – I, for one, was worried.
At 2:18PM the signing of Johnny Placide is finally announced. We would have to wait another five tense hours for another signing. Rumoured to be an exciting Championship striker, we weren’t to be disappointed – Eoin Doyle signed on a loan deal from Preston North End and looked to provide the quality up front that has been lacking for many seasons. Soon to follow was highly rated midfielder Kean Bryan on loan from Manchester City and the much-awaited number 1 goalkeeper – Jack Ruddy – on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers. The club ends the day by releasing a statement confirming there are ongoing talks to sell the club and that the EFL is looking into the sale under its ‘fit and proper owner’ rules. A pleasing deadline day all in all.
6th SEPTEMBER AND IT’S STILL DEADLINE DAY IN OLDHAM
French trialists continue to arrive at Boundary Park with 3 players having penned deals since deadline day – along with a bombardment of consonants – Gevaro Nepomuceno, Abdelhakim Omrani and the exciting winger Queensy Menig (on loan from FC Nantes).
Chief Executive Mark Moisley has told BBC Radio Manchester that the new owner should be in place within a matter of weeks and on the pitch, the new signings are already showing to be of good calibre with deadline day signing Eoin Doyle notching a goal along with new signing Jack Byrne. Despite a 4-3 home loss against Charlton, fans came away feeling happier with the performance (the less said about the referee the better). Perhaps good times may once again return to Boundary Park, but for now we focus on picking up points and progressing up the table.
words Chris Stringer, D3D4 Oldham Athletic Correspondent