Oldham: The Snoring Giant

Oldham Athletic are a big club. No, really.

I accept this may come as a surprise to many of you. Certainly those of you too young to remember the time before football existed (1992 according to Sky). It’s true though. Indeed, unlike Luton Town (also a big club. Seriously) Oldham can even claim to have existed from ‘the beginning’ — because they were a founding member of the Premier League.

I have Panini stickers of them in the loft to prove it.

Oldham Athletic, photographed before 1992.

Now what has happened since then has been a slow but unending descent into awfulness. The club has slumped from crisis to crisis and fallen further and further down the league until they find themselves in the perilous position they are today: clamped to the bottom of League Two with an owner so awful that even the current Conservative Government wouldn’t make him a member of the House of Lords.

But they are a big club.

Or at least they will be again, when I have finished with them. I am going to journeyman the shit out of this and take them back to the lofty heights of Premier League football and beyond.

Why Oldham though? Why not someone like the aforementioned Luton Town, or my own club — Leyton Orient?

The answer is partly that I suspect they may currently be the hardest club (in relative terms) to manage in the game. So we might as well go big or go home. But it’s also because I am a Leyton Orient fan. We’ve been on that same journey and (just about) come out the other side of it. So I know how it feels to be in that pit of footballing despair, and I like the idea that — at least in game — I might be able to do something to fix that for a group of fans that, in every encounter I’ve had with them, have been unendingly fun to be around.

Plus, let’s be honest, appointing someone with zero real world experience of football management outside of computer games is absolutely something that the current Oldham owner would do in real life. It fits.

Me in game. Looking exactly like the kind of manager I’d be angry about if my own club appointed.

The digital rebirth of Oldham Athletic begins here. The fall ends now. I may look like a slightly melted version of James Richardson, but I have the heart of Sam Allerdyce and the vision of Pep Guardiola.

So let’s sign this management contract, and see what I’ve got to work with at Boundary Park.

This article is part of my ongoing series on trying to rebuild Oldham Athletic in Football Manager. You can find the full series here.

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John Bull

John Bull


Writer. Narrative designer. Historian. I focus on tales of ordinary people who did extraordinary things, and helping companies tell their own stories better.