Can John Sheridan turn things around at Oldham Athletic?

Date published: 24 January 2022

Oldham Athletic have confirmed that John Sheridan is to return to Latics as Head Coach.

It will be Sheridan's sixth spell at Boundary Park, and follows the sacking of Keith Curle in November.  Selim Benachour, Youth Team manager has been in charge as interim Head Coach.

Benachour's players were booed on Saturday following a 3-0 defeat at Harrogate.

The appointment is the latest twist in an extraordinary journey for Latics since the club was purchased by Abdallah Lemsagam in January 2018.

Allegations of interference from the owners on the pitch, a high turnover of staff, confusing agreements over the land and the Oldham Events Centre have dogged Lemsagam's time in charge from the very beginning.

John Sheridan was last at the club in 2017.

Having first managed Oldham from 2006-2009 and a six-month spell in charge in 2016, he returned in January 2017 following the sacking of Stephen Robinson, but won only 10 of his 33 games in charge. His final game in charge was a 5-1 thrashing by Rotherham United.

However, Sheridan continues to have the support of fans, following determined performances when Latics faced relegation from League One.

Sheridan has more experience of fighting off relegation than any head coach at Boundary Park - and it remains to be seen if the intrusion that saw off the likes of Paul Scholes and Harry Kewell will continue to be an issue.

The appointment of Sheridan - who is reportedly working for free - is a last-ditch move by Lemsagam.  Clearly eager to sell a club in the football league, the owner needs to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the struggling squad.

Sheridan has the respect of Latics fans, and it may ease the pressure - just a little - on the floudering club.

Supporters group Push The Boundary have joined other fans to welcome the return of Sheridan.  In an article posted after the announcement, they pledged their full support to the new Head Coach:

"John and the team deserve our full backing and support for the remainder of the season on the understanding that Mr Lemsagam remains in talks to actually sell the club as quickly and responsibly as possible."

It's clear the blame for any relegation wouldn't fall at Sheridan's feet.  Mis-management and interference by the owners has lead to the horrendous performance on the pitch, particularly this season.  

In a way, Lemsagam has nothing to lose.  He's already lost the confidence and support of the fans, and falling out of the football league will always be seen as a fullsome failure of the owner.  But a sale of a repreived team will return a more favourable priced deal for Lemsagam than a National League outfit.

Sheridan's first game back in charge is against Rochdale on Saturday, followed by a crucial trip to Scunthorpe, who hover just a point above them in the relegation zone.

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