Simon Corney has endured a turbulent 12 years at the helm of Oldham Athletic Football Club, and it looks as though this season will be no different.
Since taking charge of the club, the businessman has split opinion among Latics fans as the club and its supporters have tolerated years of League One obscurity.
Following the club’s involvement in the infamous Ched Evans saga at the turn of the year, Mr Corney even went as far as declaring he had “had enough” and did not “have the same interest [in the club] anymore.”
While he later clarified that he is fully committed to running the club, he did concede that he would sell the club if a buyer came in for it.
One of his key selling points was Boundary Park’s new £6.5m, 2,500-capacity North Stand, which has become – much like the Evans case – a drawn out affair leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many.
Initially intended to be ready for the start of last season, the build has now dragged over two and a half years and mains power problems mean it is not yet available despite season tickets within the stand having been purchased.
In an interview posted on the club’s YouTube channel, Mr Corney issued an apology on behalf of the board for the stand’s incompletion.
“It’s more than disappointing, I feel terrible,” Mr Corney told Oldham Athletic Player.
“I feel terrible primarily for the fans who have purchased season tickets in the new stand.
“This is something that has really given me a lot of heartache because it’s a project very close to me, and I know I speak on behalf of the board when I tell fans how sorry and apologetic we are that we haven’t got it open.”
The stand, which will accommodate a bar, a conference facility and offices as well as 2,500 fans, has been a constant headache for Mr Corney since initial plans were drawn up as early as 2011, and the chairman has admitted that the project has grown beyond his control.
“This is the first time we have done something like this. It’s a major project; it got bigger and bigger as we went along and it was never meant to be what it has turned out to be.
“What we see before us is fantastic, but that does not give us an excuse to not have finished on time. I can’t get away from the fact that we have let a lot of people down.
“We are very close to finishing, and hopefully we will look back and say it was a blip that we have overcome.”
The new North Stand will remain closed for the Peterborough United fixture, but should be open for Wigan’s visit to Boundary Park on September 26.
Image courtesy of Oldham Athletic via YouTube, with thanks.