Corney addresses supporters

Last updated : 21 January 2004 By Dave Moore
Simon Corney, one of Athletic’s new owners met with the Supporter's Association on Monday night after their A.G.M. Mr. Corney discussed the following points with supporters:

He confirmed that he had spoken to Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson about the vacant managerial position. The two managers were very helpful and he added that Sir Alex was very supportive and would monitor Athletic's progress;

He explained the situation regarding the Football League's refusal to approve the takeover. He said that there was no concern and a few minor items need to be completed before the expected approval will be given;

He discussed the proposed ground development and asked for the fans patience in the matter. The site will be developed to raise funding to keep the club buoyant and he said that the new owners would work closely with the local community on any future development plans;

On the question of investment in playing staff Mr. Corney suggested that once a manager has been appointed the matter will be discussed with the possibility of some finances being made available to improve the standard on the field. He did stress that any decisions will be made in a sound business like manner and it would not be just a case of throwing money on the table to buy players;

There may be an experiment of switching the home supporters to the Rochdale Road End for a couple of games but any such decision will need the approval of the Police and the Health and Safety representatives;

The new investors recognised the existing tradition of Oldham Athletic as a family club and they will continue to work on the schools initiative to attract new supporters to Boundary Park;

It was confirmed that John Sheridan will be given at least five more weeks to prove himself as Athletic boss. Second interviews for the management post are currently underway. Sheridan is hoping that the job, along with David Eyres, will become his on a permanent basis. Mr Corney said, “We spoke to John in view of the terrific work he has done so far. We’ve been delighted and it would have been wrong not to give him more time. We have an open mind on who the new manager should be, although it’s fair to say a more experienced guy would still be favourite. Whoever it is, they need to be capable of taking us to a higher level. Hopefully this will remove the immediate pressure from John and give him the chance of proving he’s the right man”;

The Supporters Trust have offered to dip into their own account to help with the weekly running costs of the club due to extra expenses caused by the fluctuating American dollar. The Trust’s funds are earmarked for buying shares in the new club and ensuring a seat on the board. Caution must be the watchword but the investors are considering the offer and promised that anything they borrow would be paid back quickly. Mr. Corney added, “We want the Trust involved at board level because we are looking for a long-lasting relationship.”

All three new investors will attend attend the Supporters Forum at the Clayton Arms on Wednesday, February 4th. It is hoped that fans will turn out in number. Admission is £3 and £2 for Trust and OASA members which will go into the Trust’s coffers.