Oldham Athletic’s bid to stave off administration

Oldham Athletic find themselves in the darkest point of their history.

Earlier this month, the Latics had an administration court case adjourned until April 21. This move bought the club time to agree a deal to buy their stadium, Boundary Park and stave off administrators.

But how did they get in this mess?

The crisis stems from 2004 when the club was saved by Simon Blitz, Simon Corney and Danny Gazal.

At the time Boundary Park was purchased by Blitz and Gazal’s company, Brass Bank.

Fast forward to 2011 and Blitz and Gazal sold their shares in Oldham to Corney however, crucially, this did not include the ground.

In 2015 redevelopment work began on the North Stand – now Joe Royle Stand – this included improvements to the gym and community hub.

But when Abdallah Lemsagam took over from Corney in 2018, problems arose regarding ownership of the stand.

Lemsagam kept up the maintenance of the stadium for the first six months of his reign however he has now withheld payments to Brass Bank and the club currently owes £200,000 of unpaid rent.

On top of this the Latics also owe Blitz around £330,000 in loans.

If this was not enough for the long-suffering supporters, since January, the Joe Royle Stand has not been open due to a failed safety inspection.

Tomorrow marks a crucial deadline for Oldham according to the UCFB’s Football Business and Finance Programme Leader, Ian Tomlinson.

He said: “The awkward thing for the club is if the administrators come in it would be a 12-point penalty reduction.

“If it is before Thursday March 26 the points deduction would be for this season.

“If it is after this time, the points deduction would come into effect at the beginning of next season.”

With the Latics lying a comfortable 19 points above the drop zone at present it would appear if administration was the only way forward, it would be best to employ the administrators today.

However, now that the court case is adjourned this outcome seems unlikely.

Mr Tomlinson also warned that fans should brace themselves for a clear out if they fall into administration.

“Once administrators come in they will not be looking at it from a football or stakeholder perspective,” he said.

“They are looking at it in terms of ‘how can we keep this club going as an up and running entity?’ They have got to reduce costs and increase revenue.

“It would potentially result in selling the better players and reducing the wage bill.”

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