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[FM24 BETA] The highs and lows in old Oldham Town


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Welcome to FM24... Beta.

And welcome to another attempt to get a save right... or at least have fun trying.

So this year I'm going to take a team I know virtually nothing about but have been having fun researching a bit.  We're calling this the highs and lows of Oldham Town but if we're being honest there really haven't been many highs since being a founding member of the Premiere League, as Oldham Athletic have fallen all the way out of the English Football League and have been toiling down in the National League for what will be their second season now.

As usual - for me - I'm going to try and infuse a bit of alternate-reality to the save while threading in humor and fun hopefully.

We're going to start with John Sheridan stepping away from the club at the end of the 2022-23 season rather than September of '22 and pretend that David Unsworth (who was just sacked in September after running the club for a year) was never hired since it doesn't fit my story.

In fact that's where this story will begin.

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April 30, 2023

It's the day after Oldham finished their season with a 1-1 draw against Bromley.  It was their first season in the National League and they finished 12th in the league.  It was a dissappoining finish to the season and questions were being asked as to the future of the once proud club that had been a founding member of the Premiere League and now was out of the English Football League.

A final press conference had been called and John Sheridan - the long time player and 4 time manager of Oldham was facing questions from the media.

John Sheridan:  Before we get to the questions I want to say I'm proud of the lads for giving everything they had this season.  It was a tough one for the club.  Obviously we didn't do what we set out to do this year.  I know everyone associated with the club from the players to ownership to the backroom staff and management team to the fans are not satisfied with where we are.  I played most of 5 seasons for Oldham at the end of my career.  I have been asked to manage them 4 different times since.  I bleed Oldham blue as much as anybody does and I'm not satisfied.  When I was asked to come back toward the end of last season I was asked to prevent the slide to the National League and couldn't get that done.  I came back this season to help pull us out of the 5th tier and couldn't get that done.  My friends and family know what a toll this has taken on me.  Truth be told at the end of last season I was prepared to retire but didn't want to leave with the way things were with the club.  I thought I could make a difference this season but I didn't.  However, it's my time to step away for health reasons.  I do not have another year in me although I am sad beyond words that I am leaving the club where it is, I know that whomever comes in will have the support of the fans and ownership to do what I couldn't do.  I ask for a little patience with Mr. Rothwell and with the club as they find their footing.  He's just become a new owner this past season and is putting his stamp on the club.  I know the future will be bright and I know our fans will never stop supporting their beloved team.  I'll take a few questions now.

Roger Barnes - Oldham Times:  Did the results on the field make this decision ultimately for you?  Or are you being asked to step away?

John Sheridan:  Mr. Rothwell has not asked me to step down.  This is strictly my decision based on my health - which is not serious but enough to make it to where I think it's in my best interest to step away from the game and let someone else do what I couldn't do.  Obviously I am very unhappy with where we finished this season but even if we had earned promotion I would be stepping away.

Sam Smith - Oldham Chronicle:  I'm sure I speak for everyone here when I say we hope things are serious.  Health is certainly bigger than the game.  Do you have any insight on who may be taking over in your spot?

John Sheridan:  None.  And if I did I've leave it to the club to announce it.

Roger Barnes - Oldham Times:  Can you speak a little on this past season and what you think is ahead for the Latics?

John Sheridan:  We obviously had high hopes coming into the season.  Like most clubs we didn't think we belonged here but we were humbled throughout the season.  I think we had something like 12 losses in the first 22 games and although we played better later in the season we just dug a hole we couldn't dig ourselves out of.  It's disappointing as we ended the season with just a negative 1 goal difference.  We played well enough at times and certainly not good enough at other times, which pretty much is signified by our mid-table finish.  Going forward I know each and every person associated with the club will be working had this offseason and into the preseason to fix what needs fixing and make what worked this year work even better next season.  I know I'll be rooting from home as one of their biggest supporters going forward.

Willow Pritchard - Press Officer for Oldham Athletic:  That's our time for today.  We'll have more information for you when it comes available as to our next managerial higher and any other news of importance.  Thank you.

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July 3, 2023

Frank Rothwell - Owner Oldham Athletic:  Hello, thanks for coming today.  It's an exciting day for Oldham Athletic.  It's a new chapter in our history.  It's a fresh start for the club.  We're looking ahead from this point with a young, fresh perspective but one that comes from old tradition.  I am pleased to introduce you to the new manager for your Latics Football Club.... Ethan Sheridan.

Ethan Sheridan:  Thank you Mr. Rothwell.  I can't begin to express how happy I am today.  I want to start by thanking you for your trust and your vision.  I want to thank my father, John, for everything he taught me about this beatiful game growing up and the passion he instilled in me for it.  I have dreamed of following in his footsteps since I was old enough to kick around a football and while I never quite made it on the pitch, I hope I can match his intensity on the sidelines.  I guess for those of you in attendance that don't know or for the fans that are curious, yes my father is John Sheridan.  I was born in Oldham in 1999 when he was a player here for the Latics.  Yes that makes me 24 years old... just a couple of months ago actually.  This is my biggest birthday present.  I have been following my father around for the past few years as he managed Chesterfield, Waterford, Wigan, Swindon and finally back here at Oldham... for the 4th time.  I have worked in recruiting, player analytics, training and was an assistant coach here this past season.  I know there will be questions regarding my age or qualifications or whether or not I'm ready for this job or only have it because of who my father is.  None of those questions can be answered right here today although I can and will tell you how I'd answer them.  I am young, that's true and some may see my age as a detriment to the job.  I don't.  I have been around this game my whole life and around a great player and manager who's taught me everything he knows about it.  I went to school to further my education in regards to management.  I've been involved in just about every phase of this game from scouting to analytics to teaching young players what I know.  And I am hungry.  Like my father I bleed Oldham blue.  I bleed with every loss.  I celebrate every win.  I believe in how good this team can be with Mr. Rothwell at the top and the people we will put together to run it and the players we will put on the pitch.  What I don't know... I don't know.  But I will learn it, quickly.  I have a good team around me.  I have a great support system.  We have a good owner that wants the best.  We have dedicated players.  And we have the best fans in the game.  I promise you I will not let you down.

Roger Barnes - Oldham Times:  My question is for Frank Rothwell.  We've heard what Ethan has to say but can you talk about why this hire and why now considering the depth to which this club has fallen?

Frank Rothwell:  I'd echo everything that Ethan just said.  I bought this club at basically the start of last season and we had goals then for what we wanted to accomplish.  We didn't get that done and everybody was disappointed with the results.  John came to me with just a couple of weeks left in the season and told me he planned to step down and that it had nothing to do with where the club was but he just felt it was time to step away.  I asked him then if he had any recommendations on for me on the next hire and while he mentioned he felt his son was ready he didn't push him on me.  Actually he gave me a few names that he thought could do the job and we did our due dilligence and spoke with them all.  But the fact is that after I met with and talked with Ethan I pretty much knew he was my guy.  Some of the others I talked with had more experience but none of them I felt had the passion that Ethan did, especially for this club and that's important to me.  The kid - and I feel okay calling him a kid - is bright.  He knows this game.  He understands the nuances and what it takes to win.  Does that mean we will?  No, and I don't want to put undue pressure on him as though I think he's going to step in and we're going to go undefeated this year because he's going to be some superhuman manager.  But if you sit down and talk recruitment or analytics or tactics with him, he's going to answer every question you throw at him.  And like he said, he's hungry.  He wants to win and he wants to win for Oldham.  He has my trust.

Sam Smith - Oldham Chronicle:  Ethan can you talk about tactics or recruitment or what we can expect on the pitch this season?

Ethan Sheridan:  Sure.  The fans can expect that we're going to play attacking football.  We're going to challenge our men to be quick, fast to the ball, relentless on the pitch.  It will be up to our opposition to stop us but we're not going to stop ourselves.  As far as tactics go, I think I need to get into the preseason a little and get our team together and put something on the chalkboard that makes sense for our personnel.

Sam Smith - Oldham Chronicle:  On that subject.... can we expect some changes or are you set with who's in that clubhouse right now?

Ethan Sheridan:  I think it's foolish to say that you're never going to make changes when changes make sense to make.  Every player on this team needs to show us daily that they want to be here and belong here.  Now, I think they do but that doesn't mean that they should just think they're feet are in cement and we won't make changes as we see they need to be made.  We do have some hires to make for our management and coaching team.  And we're going to be taking a look at the players on the pitch and if something comes up that makes us better, we're going to do that... when it makes financial sense.

Roger Barnes - Oldham Times:  Financial sense seems to be a big question mark.  It's been well documented the financial issues the club has faced and the money you've already had to part with, Mr. Rothwell just to avoid administration and to pay past due staff and player salaries.  Plus you just completed buying Boundary Park as well.  How do the coffers look?

Frank Rothwell:  It's no secret that I'm not Ryan Reynolds and don't have unlimited amounts of money to sink into this club but when it makes sense as Ethan said, we're going to get together and see what we can do.

Sam Smith - Oldham Chronicle:  Since you brought him up, I'm curious what you think, Ethan, now that Wrexham and Notts County are gone, does it make it easier for the rest of the league to be competitive?

Ethan Sheridan:  I don't mean offense, Sam, but that's a ridiculous question.  If you're going to win and you want to be competitive then you need to play against the best.  Obviously without Wrexham and Notts here it takes 2 big teams out of the league that were spending a lot of money to get out.  And they accomplished that.  But if you're hinting that we might be happy they're gone or that it makes things simplier... we're not and it doesn't.  We finished 12th on the table last year... we have a lot of growing up to do to move up to the top and that's where we want to be.  Wrexham or no Wrexham.  Notts or no Notts.  You still have Chesterfield, Bromley, Barnet and others... and suggesting that we're all happy the Wrexham's or Notts' are gone and that makes things easier is taking everything away from the work thos clubs are doing to win.

Willow Pritchard - Press Officer:  Thank you gentlemen but that's all we have time for today.

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So now that we have the premise behind what we're doing with this save the question is....

why Oldham Athletic?

That's a really good question with a somewhat simple answer.

Notts got promoted and in my world it didn't feel right to fire their manager and take them over after they moved up.  So I went back to the National League and researched clubs down there and decided that although Oldham doesn't really have a very good past, they have a good story with them being original members of the Premier League and the first Premier League club to get knocked out of the English Football League.  They went through a few years of being a decent squad - you have to be at least decent to be a top tier club... but they've never really been that good. 

They have precious little hardware in their history and not a lot of moments to look back on and build from.

Oldham Athletic was formed in 1895 but under the name of Pine Villa FC.  They became known as Oldham Athletic in 1999 when Oldham County folded and Pine Villa moved their stadium to Oldham and changed their name.  They were elected into the Football League in 1907 and played top tier football from 1910 until 1922 - arguably their best spell of playing football in their history.  They didn't get back to the top tier until the 1991/92 season and in 1992 when the Premier League was formed they were a founding member.  Unfortunately that only lasted for 2 seasons until they were relegated to Division One and then down to Division Two just 3 years after that.  Oldham managed to stay in the third tier for 21 years although finishing mostly mid-table at best, but by 2018 they were relegated to the fourth tier and then in 2022 found themselves in the National League.  Despite high hopes for a quick exit from non-League play they finished 12th last year.

Along the way - mostly during their 21 year stay in the third tier - they had multiple years of financial crisis.  They've also had ownership problems - with no fewer than 5 different ownership groups controlling the club over the past 20 years.

So my goals with this save are simple.  Much like with Notts last year our first goal is to attempt to rebuild Oldham from the ground up.  Unlike Notts (and Wrexham) Oldham doesn't have much money in the game so we're not going to be able to make a lot of moves.  Actually - to be honest - at this point I haven't even looked at the squad to see what needs to be done but I can guarantee that we're going to lose deadweight as we can and try to bring in some more youth as we work our way out of the National League.  Oldham should be one of the  favorites to at least be a playoff contender this year so we'll build on that and try to get a foundation in place to earn promotion and be competive going forward.

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Let's meet the team

The Forwards


The Midfielders


The Defenders


The Keepers


My Thoughts

This just really isn't a great team.

They have average depth and enough quality to basically be a mid-table finisher and if the ball bounces their way more often than not maybe they push for a playoff spot.  But honestly they're lacking talent - especially young talent.  And there's zero help coming from the youth ranks either.

This just doesn't look like a club that's being built to contend or building for the future.  It looks like it was basically put together to just survive.  My thoughts are that probably financial issues have lead to a lot of this but the lack of youth prospects is very concerning as is the lack of really anybody that's worth much that can be sold off in order to bring in some money.

To break it down our forwards are okay, Nuttall is fine for now.  Our midfield is just not good and lacks depth.  One thing we do have in the backfield is depth at least and a couple of capable players at the defensive position.  Norman is also very capable at the keeper spot.  This team screams a style of play I don't much like and that's "parking the bus."  We just lack the offensive firepower to play much attacking football at the moment.  We're more of a "sit back and try to counter" type squad.

Hopefully I can find a few talented youngsters to fill some spots and move some of the depth from the defense and others lacking quality for something to help out our financial situation while I try and tread water for the season until we can rework the entire franchise.

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My first player issue

So I put several players on the block (might be an American slang term for trying to trade them) and a couple of them weren't very happy.  One in particular - Mr. Mark Kitching - wanted to have a discussion with me an express his unhappiness that I was shopping him around.


I felt horrible about it.  /sarcasm

And then he ran to the papers to complain.


This didn't sit well with me.


Then it escalated to where several other players got involved.


This really didn't sit well with me and I told them so.


We'll see what happens.  So far I've received one offer for him and accepted it but he turned it down.  So now we're going to find out how he likes sitting on the bench and getting no play time.

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Some fresh blood

Changes needed to be made and dead weight had to be moved, which also meant new players needed to be brought in and we've done just that.

We have 4 new signings to announce.

Jacob Maddox - a 24-year old wide-midfielder


Roshaun Mathurin - a 19-year old winger


Arjan Raikhy - a 20-year old center or defensive midfielder


Tariq Uwakwe - a 23-year old wing-back


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Pre-season is over and the pundits have spoken on where they feel each team will finish this season and which players will win some awards.

Predicted Finish


With 6-1 odds the pundits feel Oldham has a good shot at finishing at the top of at least in a playoff spot this season.

Top Goalscorer


They don't like any of our players to contend for this award... and they're probably right as things stand right now.

Top Player


They do like Mathurin - a guy we just brought in - to be in consideration for Top Player of the year.  We wouldn't hate that.

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Not a bad start to the season.  Our defense is playing well... 3 shutouts and only 3 goals allowed total.  Unfortunately our offense hasn't really been clicking.  Nuttall has definitely saved us because nobody else is really doing much up front.  Maidenhead is on fire but we're sticking around while we find ourselves.

We managed to only get rid of one player so far which has really hampered our ability to bring in new guys as we don't have any cash left.  That's something we will continue to work on as our overall depth - as far as talent goes - is very much lacking.  The goal right now is to tread water for as long as we can while trying to find combinations that work and hopefully we can continue to play close matches and just score enough to get us a win here and there and keep us competitive.

All while trying to make enough money to stay afloat.


Edited by Blarney
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After giving up just 3 goals in 6 games last month we gave up 17 in 7 games this month.  The good news is we did start scoring a bit so we were able to salvage some games... but overall it was not a good month.

Unfortunately it's probably not going to get much better without a bit of luck because from top to bottom we just don't have that much talent on this team... and the talent we do have is very young and untested.  Even worse, we have no money to make a lot of changes and the players we've put on the transfer list are not drawing any interest from other clubs.

It may be a long year.

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Well we're trending in the right direction at least.

After a somewhat disastrous September we turned it around and won 3 games versus 2 losses this month - on top of a Fourth Qualifying Round victory in the FA Cup, where I played every backup player I had on the team to rest my regulars.

We did sign one new player this past week.

Welcome Jay Bird.


We needed another attacker up front which allows us to go back to a more normal 4-4-2 formation, which fits the players we have on the squad at the moment.  Nuttall has been playing well - leads the league in goals scored - so we're not necessarily trying to replace him but with our monetary constraints if we got the right offer.... 

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A pretty quiet month with only 4 games... 2 of which were of the FA Cup variety (which we drew and then lost.)

Otherwise we're still trending in the right direction with 1 win and 1 draw in league play and honestly playing better, although that's not really represented on the table as we fell out of playoff contention and lost a lot of ground to the league leaders.  The draw we had was unfortunate as we held a 2-0 lead into the 85th minute and then gave up a goal there and then another in the 97th minute........ of a game that was supposed to only have 4 minutes of extra time added.  Suspicious indeed.  Especially since my team got 8 flags in the game including a red that was very questionable (even the media questioned it.)

I may have gone off on the refs after that game and received a warning from the football association.

On the bright side I did manage to "sell off" 3 more players that I didn't want around... for a lot less than their alleged value, but I wasn't getting offers anywhere close to that and they had to go.

It's a much busier December with 7 games scheduled, including 1 FA Trophy game.

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  • 2 weeks later...







Not a bad December.  4 wins, 2 losses in 6 league games.  We did get absolutely thrashed in our FA Trophy game... but I don't really care that much about it at this point.  Disappointing but i'm just as happy not playing extra games right now.

We have vaulted up the table which is always good.  Staying there is our next test.

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Overall a good January.

Our offense is clicking.  Our defense is porous, still.  We were up 4-1 against Eastleigh at the half only to allow them 3 straight goals in the 2nd half before scoring the winning goal late.  It's at least the 4th or 5th time this year we've been up big only to allow our opponent to come racing back in the 2nd half against us.  But overall there's not much to complain about when you get 3 wins out of 5 matches and continue to keep pace on the table.

If nothing else I'm beginning to feel more confident that even with our deficiencies we're talented enough now to stay in a playoff spot barring some major setback.

No jinx allowed.

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They Hate Me


So the team or at least a few influential voices on the team don't like me much.  They think I'm too harsh when we lose -- even though we've been horrible in the 2nd half of games and trust me any manager would be going off on a club that seems to constantly lose focus and give away games.

They also think I'm "wishy-washy" in my treatment, which makes no sense to me.  I give praise when it's earned and I don't when it's not... and they don't like it.

I still have mostly support from ownership but they refuse to spend money.  I've begged them multiple times this year to increase the wage budget - they won't.  I've pleaded with them to increase spending for youth development - they won't.  I've fought with them and told them we don't appear to be on the same page and they've told me to basically mind my business and manage the club, which I've tried to do.  But honestly as I said at the start of the season... this team is going nowhere.  We might earn promotion this year, we're at least in the hunt.  But our youth intake is a disaster, not one good player at all.  Our transfer budget and wage budget for next year is basically nothing, which means no real moves again.  I can't give half our players away, nobody wants them and none of them are worth anything.

Basically this team is what it is... a very middling squad that will never amount to anything the way the club is operated right now.

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A pretty disastrous month.  1 wins, 1 loss, 3 draws.

Against Bromley we were up 1-0 at the half only to allow 2 goals in the 2nd half to lose.  Against Kidderminster we were up 3-0 at the half only to allow them to roar back in the 2nd half and score 3 times while we couldn't find the net.  It's an absolute epidemic at this club right now that we take our foot off the pedal and allow every opponent to score on us in the 2nd half and give away games.

We are still in the hunt.  We're only 8 points off the lead but we're also just 5 points from falling out of the playoffs.  We can't continue to play the way we are and hope to finish this season strong.  Hopefully things will change quickly.

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It's surprising that with as bad as we have played the past 2 months that we haven't slid right out of playoff contention... even though we are definitely trending that way.

Another month, another 1 win with 2 losses and 3 draws.

Any shot we had at the top spot is obviously long gone.  At this moment we're just barely hanging on to the final playoff spot and only 3 points separate us from being out of it.  In fact there are 3 teams within 4 points us taking our spot.

Our final 4 games feature 2 versus other playoff teams (Altrincham and Rochdale) and 2 that aren't (Oxford and Wealdstone).

Do we continue to falter or do we find ourselves in time for a long playoff run?

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Hi, it's a really brilliant story so far! Just wondering if you could please share the skin? Thank you very much!

2 小时前, Blarney说:

March 三月




It's surprising that with as bad as we have played the past 2 months that we haven't slid right out of playoff contention... even though we are definitely trending that way.

Another month, another 1 win with 2 losses and 3 draws.

Any shot we had at the top spot is obviously long gone.  At this moment we're just barely hanging on to the final playoff spot and only 3 points separate us from being out of it.  In fact there are 3 teams within 4 points us taking our spot.
我们在榜首的任何射门显然都早已不复存在。 目前,我们只是勉强保住了最后一个季后赛席位,只有3分之差我们才能出局。 事实上,有 3 支球队在 4 分以内,我们占据了我们的位置。

Our final 4 games feature 2 versus other playoff teams (Altrincham and Rochdale) and 2 that aren't (Oxford and Wealdstone).

Do we continue to falter or do we find ourselves in time for a long playoff run?


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1 hour ago, willemvandoorn15 said:

If you get rid of the rotten wood, you might have a better shot at promotion next year, good luck.

I have been trying all year long to get rid of dead weight, nobody is biting.  I've even just jettisoned a couple of guys I didn't want around for nothing and paid the fee to let them go because they were so bad and I didn't want to pay them all year long.  I've done 2 transfer moves getting rid of guys and didn't get what the game told me they were worth in either deal but I couldn't get more for them.  Luckily we have about 6 or 7 contracts closing at the beginning of next year and none of those guys I want around.  I was able to sign a few younger guys here at the end of the season with the limited finances that I had available to me (spoiler) so hopefully retooling for a longer run next year.

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April/End of Season




So we ended up limping into the playoffs by securing the final available spot -- mostly due to other teams just not taking advantage of us not playing well.

And then we summarily got routed when we gave up 3 scores in the first half while only scoring one ourselves... and it really wasn't that close.  York just destroyed us.  There was no breaking their defense in the 2nd half and we walked off the pitch with heads hung low.  Honestly we probably didn't deserve to be there the way we played the last 3 months where we won only 3 of our final 15 games.  We did only lose 4 so it's not like we were bad... but we weren't good.

So now it's on to the off-season and hopefully some changes made for next year.

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Please please please be true.

I dislike ownership (at least in this game) extremely.  They put no money in the club last season and refused everything I asked to get done.

Maybe new ownership will make the necessary changes to upgrade this team.

Unfortunately, this news also came with a transfer embargo.... so any moves I was hoping to make at the start of the season - including bringing in a MUCH needed new keeper... is on hold.

That isn't good.  Hopefully this is resolved very quickly.

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The Rumors were True!

And it didn't take long.



Put three-quarters of a million in the coffer... and added nearly 50k to the transfer budget as well.

I might give it a few days (maybe early into the season) before I start asking for other things but it can't get much worse than it was under Scrooge (pre-enlightement).

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The one bad thing about being a lower level team....

with one or two decent players.

Everybody else above you wants them and unless you're prepared to make someone really mad (and potentially the entire team) there's not much you can do about it.


The silver lining is we did get 350k for him... but that's our best player that just walked out the door.

Now we need to go about trying to replace him -- and potentially others.

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A Flurry of Post-Takeover Activity

With the influx of cash and the selling of Mathurin we decided to do an almost complete makeover of the club -- which was desperately needed.  We sold off several other players that just didn't cut it in my eyes and brought in a host of others -- mostly very young -- to rebuild Oldham.  Our hope is that they're good enough to be competitive this season, which we think they will be... but even more than that going forward it will be the foundation of building a club to compete for years to come.

Here are the additions.

Charlie Allen


Ethan Williams


Geraldo Bajrami


Harry Tyrer


Jack Kingdon


Jalil Saadi


Kam Kandola


Luis Brown


Osman Kamara


Yusuf Akhamrich


We jettisoned Mathurin, Shelton, Ward, Reid, Willoughby, Hobson and Lawrence so far... netting a total of nearly 600k in return.  We spent 25k of that in incoming transfers -- the rest were all free.  With our newcomers we have a new keeper, 2 new attacking forwards, 2 new midfielders and basically a whole new backfield -- which was desperately needed based on how porous our defense was last season.

So that's it on paper.  We like where we are right now but we're young, we're all new and we have a lot of work to do to put it all together on the pitch.

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Preseason Predictions


I can understand Tranmere at the top... they have a very good squad for this level.  However, IF (capitalized for effect) our young players all meld together the way we hope they do, I feel we can absolutely push them for the top spot this season.  If nothing else (and I do hate "voicing" this) I don't think there's any way with this depth and quality that we're not a top playoff contender regardless.



Not a lot of love from the oddsmakers.  They think Bird - who will be our #1 forward for most of this year at the very least - will contend for top goalscorer.  However, they don't think any of our guys will be in the running for player of the year.

We disagree... or at least we hope they're wrong.

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Preseason Predictions


I can understand Tranmere at the top... they have a very good squad for this level.  However, IF (capitalized for effect) our young players all meld together the way we hope they do, I feel we can absolutely push them for the top spot this season.  If nothing else (and I do hate "voicing" this) I don't think there's any way with this depth and quality that we're not a top playoff contender regardless.



Not a lot of love from the oddsmakers.  They think Bird - who will be our #1 forward for most of this year at the very least - will contend for top goalscorer.  However, they don't think any of our guys will be in the running for player of the year.

We disagree... or at least we hope they're wrong.

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What a disastrous start to the season.




Barnet is a game I thought we should have won.  Tranmere I'm happy to have come away with something.  We were favorites against Eastleigh and Boreham and lost both.  Then we finally had a decent game against Gateshead before self-destructing against Solihull.

One win, three losses, 2 draws in your first six when you honestly thought you were going to be competitive is..... just not good.

What's gone wrong?  We lost our starting striker in Bird in preseason for 5 weeks.  We lost one of our best young defenders in Kingdon 12 minutes into the first match.  Maddox was hurt for a game.  Devarn Green was hurt for one.  In fact right now we have 5 guys out hurt.  But those are all just excuses.  Next man up is our mantra and we felt we had the depth coming into the season to not have injuries affect us like they are.

The bottom line is right now we're not meshing, which is probably my fault with making so many changes but I thought we could "weather the storm" through growing pains and at least be competitive.  Right now that's not the case.  We're not scoring.  We're not defending.  We look completely lost on the pitch.

So while it's obviously not the end of the season for us since there's a long ways to go.... it is vitally important that we start playing better now, rather than later and falling so far back that coming back is just impossible.

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What a difference a month --- and a change in tactic --- makes.

Obviously things weren't working our first month of the season.  We brought in a lot of new players and we weren't producing on the pitch.  Our tactic we used most of last season wasn't working this season -- just not enough shots on goal, which obviously meant not enough goals scored.

So we switched things up and went to a Gegenpress 4-2-4 to hopefully produce a better attack quality.

Which we did.

Not only were the players playing better together but the extra push up front meant we started shooting more, and scoring more.

16 goals scored in 5 games this month.... all wins.  Can't ask for much better than that.

On top of that we vaulted from just about the bottom of the table up into playoff position.  It's obviously still early and as we showed last year we can be a bit all over the place, so we're not going to get ahead of ourselves... but winning is better than losing -- always.

Now let's see if we can maintain it.

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The sweet taste of victory.

After going undefeated in 5 league games last month, we started this one off with 4 more wins before inexplicably drawing against Maidenhead.  I say inexplicably because we were up 4-1 at the 45 minute mark when they finally pushed one past us in penalty time.  And then they came right out and put 3 more in while we just kept missing and missing and missing and missing all the 2nd half.

It happens.

Regardless we've pushed ourselves straight up the table and sit only 3 points out of the lead now.

In our FA Cup match I put in a complete rotation against Chester and managed a draw which forced a 2nd game which we won... but I wish we wouldn't have had to play.

As far as the season goes there's no denying that right now we are the best offensive club in the league.  We're putting up insane numbers.  However, we're also still allowing too many goals and are still suffering from the same disease we did last year where we have a hard time closing people out in the 2nd half.  I was inclined to believe that it had a lot to do with our lack of depth and quality players last season but we shouldn't be suffering as much from that this year.  Hopefully it rectifies itself by the end of the year.

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Darn, I made the board unhappy.


I tell you what, Nick.  Bite me.  I've asked 3 times since you took over to upgrade facilities or help me out by raising our youth level and you keep telling me no.  You've said you don't care about youth development and that I need to go and get players to start for the club to make us better.... all while you refuse to put more money into the club past what you did when you took over.

We're running on empty and you keep telling me that's good enough.  Well it's not.

The next time I make a request... it's not going to be a request.  It's going to be a demand and you'll meet it or I'm going to walk.  And when I do I'm going to your nearest competitor and make sure I make you pay each and every time we meet on the pitch.

See, I've had 2 other job offers in the past month so I must be doing something right... especially since both were bigger than Oldham.  I have a future.  You won't once I'm gone.  Oldham can go back to being an afterthought which is what they were before I got here and will be once I leave again.  In fact the fans are furious that I might want to leave... not at me, they're begging me to stay.  Imagine what it will be like when I do go and explain it was because you didn't care enough about the club to do anything to make it better.

In fact what I will do is next time I make a request and it's denied... I'm going to pick a club I want to go to and then I'm going to start selling off my best players to them and leave Oldham high and dry when I walk away.  You really shouldn't make the manager angry.

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Don't look now....




We started the month with a FA Cup First Round win and ended it with a Second Round victory.

In between we put together a run of 5 straight league wins which vaulted us to the top of the table.

You still want to get rid of me, Nick?  Let's play who's more valuable to the club.

All eyes are on the prize now.  There's no letting up.

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Youth Facility Showdown

I asked the board for new youth facilities.

They turned me down.

I told them I wasn't happy and threatened to leave.

I then leaked my disappointment to the papepaper.png.2f3c68b03555c188c001a22733504092.png

The next thing I know I'm getting my youth facilities and a new contract.



What else should I ask for?


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All good things must come to an end... sort of.




Our run of 5 straight wins ended with a draw the first game of the month.  Then 2 games later our run of 17 straight without a loss ended against Tranmere.

Regardless we still hold the top spot by 3 points.

And not to nitpick but our defense is still porous.  It's concerning to me.  We give up far too many goals... which I know is an ironic thing to cmplain about considering the absurd amount of goals we're scoring.  But it's true.  Going forward we have to fix our defense as we move up the ladder.

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The loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup wasn't unexpected although we certainly put up more of a fight than I thought we would.  Probably partly due to the fact that I put 9 men back in the "box" and just had 1 attacker which made it very hard for them to work around my defense and get off good shots.

We did win our FA Trophy Fourth Round battle so we're moving on there.

And despite a couple of losses in league play we still hold the top spot by 4 points... with only 7 points seperating the top from the 7th spot.  The last few months of this season are going to be a real fight I think.  If I'm being serious I really want to just gain automatic promotion.  The way my team plays at times I don't know that I want to go up against Tranmere or Scunthorpe or Barnet in the playoffs.  Of course everyone always wants that... but I have some serious concerns about how my team just falls apart now and then.  Granted there are 3 months left to try and continue to fix things so hopefully we can start playing a bit more consistently.

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So for everybody following along and thinking "wow this guy is a defeatist, he's overly concerned about his team that keeps on winning and is on top of the league yet he sounds like he's worried about being demoted this year"............ this is what I have been worried about.

I'm watching every game and I see how my team is playing and I'm trying to make changes to fix it.

Yes, we have been winning.  Yes we are on top of the table.  Yes we have been scoring goals.

But at the same time there have been indications here and there that we have some major issues deep down inside and if we stopped playing well it was going to push those issues more to the forefront and possibly cause problems with the club.

1.  I've been very harsh on the team at times... and they really don't like it.  Now to me it's been warranted and in real life if players had problems with being told to get their #$@# together when they were playing like crap then I imagine there would be some real hard talks in the manager's office over that.

2.  I've put players up for transfer that don't like it and other teammates haven't liked it either.... but I have my reasons for doing that.  Mostly because I don't care how long you've been at the club or whether you've been a decent player in the past, I'm looking to make wholesale changes and build from within.

3.  We continually and I mean CONTINUALLY give up late goals.  It was an issue last season and it's been a horrible issue this season as well.  And nothing I seem to do fixes that.

4.  We miss penalty kicks... a lot.  Like... a lot.  At one point this month we missed 5 in a row including 1 in our FA Trophy loss that would have won the game (and that total doesn't include the 2 we missed in penalty shots).  And we got destroyed by a club that I don't even know who they are, where they come from or what league they play in... they're that bad and honestly had no right at all to beat us.  But they did and that's the issue.

We still are on top of the table.  That's the positive.

The flip side of that is that we're just not playing well these last couple of months.  

Yeovil... up 3-0 in the first half... give up 3 in the 2nd half.  Couldn't score against Scunthorpe.  Newport... up 2-0 in the first half... give up 2 for the draw in the 2nd.

We can't put opposing teams away and we just come out of the gates on fire to do nothing ourselves in the 2nd half except give up goals.

We have 2 months to figure this out and to try and stay on top... or it's going to be a long, hard playoff journey for us.

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Well one good way to get "healthy" is to face 3 teams in the relegation zone and 2 others that aren't competitive at all in one month... and that's what happened in March.  And we needed it.

Of course then we faced a good one and lost... but by that time we had won 5 games in a row and just about cemented our spot at the top of the table.

We go into April with a 8 point cushion between us an Tranmere and Barnet... and 9 points over Scunthorpe and Rochdale.

Hopefully we can carry over this success because we face the 5th, 8th, 9th and 12th place teams on the table to finish the season.


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30 minutes ago, Vakama2619 said:

Tamworth in the mud, you love to see it given how they're going irl :applause::applause::applause::applause:

It's interesting that 3 of the 4 teams leading their respective leagues in the National League North and South in real life were promoted in the game.  But yes Tamworth and Torquay are both going back down this season in game.  Scunthorpe had a nice season and has a chance to go up again... and Yeovil was close.

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All of my concerns were met with great play from the club over the past 2 months and we ended up taking the league pretty easily.

All of our attention turns to our return to the Football Association next season and trying to make a few more changes to make sure we stay up.

I'm actually quite proud of the boys the way they overcame adversity and really stepped it up after a small falter in the middle of the season.


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Welcome to season 3

It took 2 seasons but Oldham is finally back in the Football League.

Now the work begins.


The good news is - if you believe the prognosticators - that we're a solid choice to be competitive in League Two.  Wrexham tops the polls this year after not finishing in the playoffs the past 2 seasons.  Notts County - for those wondering - earned back-to-back promotions and finished mid table last season in League One.  Personally I would be happy with a mid table finish this season as we continue to perfect the rebuild.



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Remember... it's not how you start, it's how you finish.




And unforttunately, we started well and finished really bad.

I don't care about the tourney as there's no chance we're competitive in any of them at the moment and I'd prefer just to lose and save ourselves from anybody getting hurt or more tired.

I do care that we won 2 games to open the season and then dropped 3 straight - and didn't score in 2 of them.  Granted, it's early so I don't want to panic yet.  But watching the team play, we just look lost out there.  We're not putting enough shots on goal, we're not holding possession and we're allowing attackers to just run free against us.  I've probably played with the tactics a little much trying to find something to work, but really nothing has in the past few games.

But, again, it's early and we're not giving up this easily.

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Nice win in our first Northern Section Bristol St Motors match, snatching a victory in penalty shots.  It gave us a bit of a lift and we ended up with 2 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw for the month in league play.  We're sitting comfortably mid-table, a few spots up from where we were the first month.

We changed up our tactics a couple of times from last month to this month and feel we're putting a bit more pressure on the opposition.  Hopefully we can continue to play good enough defense to afford the extra attack up front, because I think we need it to be able to score consistently.

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New Contract


I was a little surprised when the board approached me about a new contract but I happily accepted.

Again, I tried for 3 years but they were stuck on 2 so I didn't push it.  As of now I am a happily employed member of the Oldham Football staff until 2027, which gives me time to continue to implement the changes we need to continue pressing forward.

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Another nice win in the Northern Section of the Bristol St Motors  tourney.  And another step forward in league play as well as we won 3 or our 6 games and find ourselves in the 9th spot on the table -- we were actually 7th at one point but moved down a couple of spots.  Barnet continues to play well and now holds the top spot in the league.

We have a very busy month ahead with a FA Cup First Round match and another qualifying match in the Bristol St tourney.  Luckily, for us, we've already qualified to move on in the Bristol St tourney and our FA Cup match is against Wealdstone -- so a good opportunity to rest guys in both matches.  On top of that we have 5 league matches as well so a very packed month ahead.

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So the squad decided to pick a fight with me again.

Once more a player stepped forward that thought he was better than he was and demanded more playing time.  In fairness it is a player I signed last year that was starting more times than not because I didn't have anybody better at the time.  Now I do.  2 players actually and both starting over him.  He's upset about it, obviously.  Fair enough, be upset, but when I tell you you're not going to start, recognize that you're just not going to start.

Then a team meeting gets called because a dozen other players are upset about how I handled it.

That's nice. 

The players on this team are stupid and can't recognize that one guy isn't as good as the guys that are starting in front of him and demanding the lesser player get more playing time.  In reality if this ever actually happened, I'd order psych tests and extra work on the pitch for everybody that thinks we're going to play a bad player over a good player.  It's beyond stupid.

When I told them that, they just got madder and confrontational to the point where I basically told them to get lost.

Now, I assume this will blow over just like it did before and my standing in the club is pretty solid so I'm not nearly worried about it as much as I was when I was a new manager... but it still drives me crazy because it's just ridiculous and completely unrealistic.  I can see a guy asking for a loan.  I can see him asking for a transfer.  I can see him begging for a little more playing time now and then.  But when yo are FAR AND AWAY worse than the 2 guys that are playing ahead of you and you want to cry about it.... and then half the team backs you up.

You all are stupid.

And I'm going to get rid of you... quickly.

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