The rumours were flying around. First it was Darren Ferguson, the Doncaster Rovers manager, who was supposedly ready to make the move over the Pennines. Then the breaking news was Clarence Seedorf the Dutch legend was on the verge of becoming Oldham manager. An appointment that would have brought great attention to the club but signalled a huge risk into the unknown. Then local man Paul Scholes was touted as the potential new head coach at Boundary Park. A potentially favourable appointment with the fans and again a lot of interest would follow the former Manchester United legend. While the new boss was announced he may have seemed a little underwhelming after the talk in the media but Richie Wellens has hit the ground running.
As John Sheridan left Oldham, again, after saving the club from relegation Wellens was placed in charge of the club on a caretaker basis. The former United trainee represented ‘the Latics’ between 2005-2007 playing 87 times for the North West club. He later returned on loan to Oldham but only appeared 3 times for the club.
The caretaker manager got his first win in his first game in charge. After the game he spoke with great passion and pride. He outlined his vision for the club and aimed to improve the attraction of playing at Boundary Park. His plan? To play attractive football and gain interest from players let go by the bigger teams in the area. A plan that Wellens now has a perfect opportunity to put into action.
The style of the football being played has indeed improved. Wellens may be inexperienced but he has the right mentality. His inexperienced showed when his side threw away numerous leads away at MK Dons. A 4-4 draw may have grabbed the attention of the media but Oldham and their new manager must have been kicking themselves at throwing away 2 points.
It was a minor blip for Wellens as his side reacted in a local clash against Bury. It did not disappoint on the drama rating either. The game was tied at 1-1 up until the 4th minute of stoppage time. Aaron Holloway climbed of the bench to send Boundary Park wild and claim all 3 points for Oldham in a crucial game.
The latest win saw Wellens take his managerial record to 7 games consisting of 5 wins and 2 draws. The doom and gloom surrounding the club has lifted a little with ‘the Latics’ sitting 17th in League One with 18 points, 14 of which have been added under Wellens.
Oldham are not out of the woods yet. A few good performances is just what the club needed but the long term goals are still to be achieved. Moving up the table is essential. The club cannot face another relegation battle and Wellens may struggle to recruit in January or even the summer if they cannot make progress. No matter how good and entertaining the football is, if the club cannot progress in the league the pull to play for the team will not be there.
It is difficult for clubs in the lower divisions in England. Especially as they are surrounded by the two big Manchester clubs. Wellens is a brave man to try and implement a change at this level but it is vital. If he can succeed his pragmatic approach will catch on and a revolution of the lower leagues could take place.
With Wellens at the helm and his ideology leaning towards an attacking, creative and attractive style of play there is hope for Oldham. A potential investment is taking steps in the right direction as well to add more excitement. It seems as though ‘the Latics’ are set for a change in fortunes. It is great to see a former player with bold ideas given a chance to carry them out.
Who really knows how far Oldham can go this year and in the foreseeable future? They are trying something different at the very least and that is admirable to say the least.
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