Oldham owners accused of 'destroying club legacy' as Harry Kewell sacked

Guardian sport
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Tim Markland/PA</span>
Photograph: Tim Markland/PA

An Oldham Athletic supporters’ group has accused owner Abdallah Lemsagam and his brother and sporting director Mohamed for destroying the club’s legacy after Harry Kewell became the seventh manager to depart Boundary Park since the 2018 change in ownership, and the 15th in six years. Keith Curle has already been appointed as the Australian’s successor, taking over a side that sit 16th in League Two.

Push The Boundary say things are not working under the regime, calling on the Lemsagam brothers “to rethink their current ‘vision’ for the club”. The Latics have signed 23 players in total this season, causing supporters to question the competence of the recruitment.

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The Push The Boundary statement read: “In the last few years, managers have come and gone in quick succession but the one constant that it is impossible to ignore is that the custodians of this club continue to act without thought to the legacy they are destroying with each passing moment they are at the helm. What also stands out is how the current structure at the club, in terms of recruitment and the working relationship between the head coach/sporting director is not working.

“Usually when a manager leaves his position, either of his own volition or if he is released by the club, it usually brings with it the opportunity to enter a new era, to have a fresh start and push forwards. Sadly with our club in more recent years, especially under the regime of the Lemsagams, it just feels inevitable that change and/or controversy is always just around the corner.

“It is impossible to ignore that despite questionable recruitment over the last three years, it is yet again the sporting director who outlasts the head coach and there appears to be no sign of that changing.”

Following his sacking, Kewell said: “I’m proud of my players and coaching staff. I honestly felt we were making good progress despite the inconsistency at times. I knew coming into this job that I wouldn’t have a budget to work with and that time wouldn’t be on my side but I leave without any regrets.”

Former Manchester City defender Curle is the latest to take on the challenge. Having previously managed Northampton Town and Carlisle, he knows what it takes to manage in the lower leagues, although the supporters are worried he will not be given the chance to manage his way.

“For the integrity of the club, the town and the long-suffering fans it represents, we are calling on Abdallah and Mohammed Lemsagam to rethink their current ‘vision’ for the club,” Push The Boundary say.

“Let us be perfectly clear, this is not about Harry Kewell, it is about the disdain with which fans are being treated, yet again. Whoever is next through the door give them the opportunity to do it their way without interference and free from sporting director control. Only then will we see change.”

Oldham Athletic declined to comment on the matter.