Oldham Athletic Supporters Trust fully back Lemsagam departure

Reporter: Jack Walton
Date published: 04 October 2021

As Oldham slumped to another home defeat on Saturday, there was a sense of absolute unity among fans in their desire for Abdallah Lemsagam to go.

Boos circled Boundary Park at the full time whistle, by which point Lemsagam had already vacated his seat into the director’s box, wise to the derision he now faces from all factions of the Latics support.

The evening prior, the Oldham Athletic Supporters Foundation - previously considered the more moderate of the Latics two main fan groups, announced plans to ‘Enact Phase Two’ against the owner.

Following an underwhelming meeting with board members in the week, the group released a statement fully backing the sale of the club.

It read: “It is clear that the owner has 'lost' the fans. Although this situation is potentially retrievable, we do not believe that he has personally demonstrated enough for us to believe that he will.

“It is imperative that the sale be done in as amicable a way as possible for the future success and stability of the club.”

This makes a stark difference from the situation a couple of years ago, when the Supporter’s Trust were deemed by some to be doing too little to oppose the ownership, which led to the formation of Push the Boundary - who felt more pressure had to be put on the club.

Representing the group, Matt Dean said: "Now the foundation’s views are on the same page which has been really important in uniting the fan base around a common goal of saving the football club."

In recent weeks, fan protests have provided more colour and creativity at Boundary Park than anything seen on the pitch.

But on Saturday the atmosphere felt weary, as though apathy had begun to set in amongst downtrodden supporters who feel their message is falling on deaf ears.

Word from the board was that protests were scaring away potential investors, thus damaging the club’s chances of signing reinforcements in January.

But Dean disagreed: “From experience talking to other Supporter’s Trusts and fans of clubs that have been in similar situations, the actions of fans fighting to save the club has actually inspired investors to come in.”

But for all the clown costumes, coffins and missiles of protest, perhaps the cold, hard statistics of a survey conducted by the Supporter’s Foundation make the most unequivocal statement of disapproval.

The poll, presented to the board on Monday, showed that 97% of Latics supporters now want Lemsagam to put the club up for sale.

If any hope did come from the meeting, it was board members indicating that the Moroccan could sell the club if the right offer arrived, although he feels listing it for sale would negatively affect value.

Lemsagam is currently preparing an updated 3 year plan to map out the club’s future, but the prospect of three more years of this ownership is unlikely to cause anything but dread.

Dean said: “It’s going to have to be something pretty spectacular in terms of its intent, message and tone.

“There’s nothing to suggest that it's going to be gotten right.”

Meanwhile, as any animosity between fellow supporters over the direction if their club has thawed, Latics find themselves with a common goal, the question is how they bring it about.

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