D3D4 Oldham Athletic correspondent Chris Stringer takes a look back on 2017 from a Latics perspective…
Oldham Athletic 2017 Review
It’s never simple being an Oldham fan and 2017 well and truly showed that. A year of turmoil has seen the dugout play home to 3 different managers.
2nd January: Oldham v Port Vale. With Oldham in dire straits in league 1, Steve Robinson found himself under pressure and out of ideas. His side had managed just 4 goals at home in the league and they were without a win since October. When his side recorded another 0-0 it was clear the fans were not happy and, with a transfer embargo hanging over the club, a change needed to be made. Meanwhile, somewhere in Nottingham, John Sheridan parted ways with Notts County following a ninth successive defeat (and a colourful outburst against a referee).
12th January: Sheridan had only left Oldham in the summer, but when he was unemployed and Oldham needed fresh ideas, the stars were seemingly aligned and so began Shezurrection part 2. Robinson left the Latics , with Sheridan in as his immediate replacement – interestingly Sheridan signed on the anniversary of his signing the previous season.
14th January: Just 2 days after his appointment, Oldham scored a rare home goal in a 1-0 victory over Gillingham. A landmark moment for the Latics who had now astoundingly won half of their 4 wins against Gillingham.
Things were on the up from here. Oldham got back on track and started scoring goals again. Although there was the odd hiccup, convincing victories over high-flying Fleetwood and Bolton as well as iconic goals at Chesterfield and Rochdale saw Oldham survive with 2 games to spare. Shezzurection complete….again.
Going into the off-season, Oldham fans had quiet confidence about what lay ahead. They had a manager they loved and were confident of acquiring some good talent. The owner even announced that the club was in the process of being sold. Things appeared to be on the up for Latics. But as is the way with Oldham, things are never as they seem. A series of rumours filled the club as foreign trialists arrived at Boundary Park, seemingly because of the prospective owner (http://d3d4football.com/deadline-day-drama-at-boundary-park-by-chris-stringer/). As the season began, the football just wasn’t what was hoped. Results weren’t coming and it was clear John Sheridan was not comfortable -there were even talks a manager from the continent could be arriving at the club.
25th September: It was clear the John Sheridan was not going to be the man to take Oldham to the next level. He left the club by mutual consent following a 5-1 defeat against Rotherham (http://d3d4football.com/oldham-sack-sheridan-by-chris-stringer/). Just 9 months into his 2 ½ year deal that was supposed to spring the club back into life. Oldham fans were truly concerned, as it felt the club was changing beyond recognition.
Many names were thrown into the hat for the new job – Pablo Correa, Clarence Seedorf, Paul Scholes in the hat. Meanwhile rookie coach and former player Richie Wellens took the helms. As speculation grew over who would be the new boss, Wellens put his head down and focused on the task at hand.
18th October: Following a 5-game period in which he won 4 and drew 1, Wellens was given the job full time, with the blessings of Paul Scholes (http://d3d4football.com/wellens-takes-the-latics-hot-seat-by-chris-stringer/).
Since taking the job, there has been a marked improvement in the quality of football – with notable wins against Rochdale and Northampton. The former of the games producing this beauty:
Though 2017 ends with a couple of disappointing results, the feeling around the club is generally optimistic. With the prospect of new money and good football, perhaps 2018 can be a truly important year for the Latics. Following a tough year in a tough couple of decades Oldham fans truly deserve something good.
Best Player: Connor Ripley – without his magnificent goalkeeping, I have no doubt Oldham would be a division lower. His two last minute penalty saves against Millwall really were an incredible sight
Worst Player: Jamie Reckord – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a worse player grace Boundary Park….and that is saying something
Best Moment: Peter Clarke’s last minute winner away at Chesterfield……..I still can’t believe I wasn’t at that game.
Worst Moment: The 5-1 defeat at Rotherham felt particularly low – the hopes of a top half finish were crushed as it was clear John Sheridan couldn’t carry on.
New Year’s Resolution: Keep a manager for more than 9 months.