Updated: Sep 5, 2021
Contact: Matt Dean
Pod Twitter: @oafcpodcast
Matt Twitter: @mattdean78
Former Oldham Striker Craig Davies on their “Car Crash of an Owner”
Fans of Oldham Athletic are raising serious concerns about the future security of their club after former Oldham striker Craig Davies gave the most damning insight yet into the immediate and devastating impact owner Abdallah Lemsagam had on the struggling League One club, when he officially took charge in January 2017.
In an interview with Oldham fan podcast The Boundary Park Alert System! the ex-Oldham, Bolton & Wigan man accused the Dubai based former football agent of interfering in the dressing room before and during games, selective and late payments of players and causing such disruption to the squad that ultimately, it resulted in the former Premier League founders relegation to League Two in 2018.
In the interview, Davies is quoted as referring to Lemsagam as “the car crash of an owner” a “punk” and that he is “ruining the club”. He likens the spirit in the club before and after the take over as “night and day” and he is surprised that “what has happened to Chesterfield and Stockport, hasn’t happened at Oldham”.
Pressure has been mounting on Lemsagam since the relegation just months after his arrival. In his first 12 months in charge he replaced three former fans favourites in John Sheridan, Richie Wellens and Frankie Bunn. The recent sacking of “their man” Harry Kewell, means that interim appointment Keith Curle is the ninth Head Coach at the club in three years.
Presiding over all is Lemsagam’s brother Mohammed, who is officially employed as the club’s Sporting Director and head of recruitment, responsible for bringing in over 300 players (source: former manager Dino Maarmria), most of which have been significantly below the standard required to enable Oldham a top half finish in League Two. Fans are calling for the dismissal of Mohammed, who they believe is the reason the team is underachieving.
Davies also referred to the treatment of his friend and former Bolton teammate David Wheater in the interview stating “I guarantee it's’ nothing to do with him (Wheater), it’s the owner wanting him out”, claiming also that the same thing happened to Anthony Gerrard. Despite having one of the worst defensive records in the division, Lemsegam froze out Wheater, the clubs most experienced pro, over issues relating to Covid payments. Wheater was banished to the youth team after the club issued a statement relating to him and goal keeper Gary Woods. Wheater’s contract was eventually terminated and he left the club in March this year.
The sacking of Kewell, the treatment of Wheater and the revelations from Davies are just the latest in a long line of incidents since Lemsagam took control. One fan produced this detailed timeline to draw attention to the scale of issues. Such is the concern amongst fans and sponsors alike, two of the clubs main sponsors, Oldham Vending, Identity FS and Hotelrooms4u have recently pulled out of their deals with immediate effect over concerns of how the club is being run.
Supporters group Push The Boundary sent Lemsagam an open letter in November 2019 but the owner has failed to address many of the issues leaving fans in fear that the former Premier League club could soon go the way of Stockport, Macclesfield and Bury.
The Boundary Park Alert System! feels that Mr Lemsagam now needs to be held to account by the national media to explain his actions, behaviour and plans for the club. He has previously ignored requests by local media.
If you care about the plight of our club, please put pressure on it's current custodian to speak out.