Abdallah Statement

On the 11th January 2022, Abdallah Lemsagam announced to long suffering supporters that he was looking to sell Oldham Athletic Football Club. This breakthrough came after years of pressure from disgruntled supporters about the direction of the club. A direction that has seen our football league survival hanging by a thread. This message was met with relief but also a healthy dose of scepticism after numerous unfulfilled promises and misdemeanours from the man at the helm of our football club, including (but not limited to):

– Ignoring a petition signed by 3,000 supporters asking him to sell the club
– A transfer embargo after taking an EFL loan
– Banning supporters for speaking out against his reign
– The failure to deliver his updated plan for the football club
– The performance of his brother, Mohamed, in the Sporting Director role

As supporter groups, both OASF and PTB combined all their efforts into working behind the scenes and also getting behind the team to try and ensure that we have every opportunity to secure our football league survival. This involved ceasing pressure on the owners to allow John Sheridan to focus on keeping us in the football league. However, the same questions remained, was the owner looking for a way out? Was progress being made towards a sale? The answers to both of these questions remain unclear despite our efforts.

‘Shez’ has come back and done what was unthinkable after the Harrogate game, and given us a fighting chance to retain our football league status. There are 6 games left as we write this and after a great week, including an epic, nail-biting win against Stevenage, have taken us out of the drop zone and left our destiny in our own hands.

Aside from the battle for survival, our focus as a group must turn to next season. What league we will be in? Who will be in charge of the team? More importantly, who will be at the helm of the club? We cannot lose sight of the fact that Abdallah Lemsagam has taken us to this point, along with this brother and the current board of directors. With no John Sheridan, the situation has not changed and would remain as bleak as ever. We MUST NOT and WILL NOT allow this man to go back on his word. We cannot face any more time fearing for the fate of our club. We want to make it abundantly clear that if signs of progress are not seen and if any potential U-turn is taken with regards to the sale of the club, then the pressure that has recently ceased, will return, and with more focus and intensity than ever before. It is clear that while the custodian of our club is left to his own devices, our fortunes are unlikely to change and there may not be another John Sheridan out there to fully get behind if we find ourselves in the same position.

Progress has been made (and continues to take place behind the scenes) on the Contingency Fund and we thank each and every person who has donated to the cause so far. Work is taking place to fundraise and ensure that we, as fans, can have a say regarding the future of the club. As we have seen with other clubs in the area, with money, we have a voice and can dictate what happens next. We would implore supporters to back this initiative and give what they can. Both groups are working incredibly hard at bringing potential investors to the table and to gain the ear of influential people that can provide assistance, whether it be local businessmen, OMBC, MP’s, other supporters Trusts, or even the Mayor of Greater Manchester.

The club have recently announced season ticket prices for next year, which would suggest that the owners intention to sell may not be as urgent as previously suggested. This is obviously a massive concern and something that will be addressed. While everyone is free to make their own decisions regarding next season, we would certainly urge fans to consider very carefully whether they feel that funding the current ownership is the correct way forward, in light of everything that has brought us here to date.

This is our club regardless of who’s name is above the door and it is our right and our duty as supporters to be a key voice in shaping our future. The current custodian, board and advisors he has hand-picked have proven on numerous occasions that they are not fit to undertake this task. Our fanbase is wide reaching and has an abundance of the skills and passion that is required to steer the club into calmer waters. We would call on anyone who is willing to get involved, to contact OASF as soon as possible.

Both supporter groups intend to host fans’ forum prior to the end of the early bird offer, where supporters will be encouraged to speak freely about the situation at the club club and what they feel should happen next, and more details will be announced regarding this in due course. We would encourage fans that are undecided about what to do, to wait until this before making a decision. Our message is clear that survival is key, but the time is coming where we will need to stand together and show Mr Lemsagam that he and the people he chooses to associate himself with, have no future at this football club.

Over the last two years, both Independently and collectively, OASF, PTB, the Athleticos, BPAS Podcast and other key supporters of Oldham Athletic, have worked incredibly hard trying to inform and unite our fan base. We’ve raised countless concerns, many mistakes and failures, endured a litany of broken promises and myriad of disappointments, yet we still turn out in our thousands to back our team in this fight for our EFL survival. We didn’t cause this mess yet those who did are once more silent, absent and as woefully inconsiderate of the needs of our fans as we’ve come to expect. We kept our part of the bargain, we backed Shez and gave you space – but let’s be perfectly clear; we do not have any faith that Mr Lemsagam, his board and his advisors are capable of leading this club any higher than we are now. If we don’t go down this season, it could be next. We implore you to make your exit strategy your short term priority, make it clear and do not string our long suffering, passionate fan base along any more than you already have.

It’s time to go.