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Oldham sack their manager and appoint ex-Liverpool and Leeds player

A very late announcement by Oldham Athletic on Friday night, sees them sack their manager and look set to appoint an ex-Liverpool and Leeds player.

The Latics published a very short statement via their website at 11:15pm, with the news getting an angry reaction from their supporters online.

The 2019/20 League Two season was halted, then saw the league standings based on points-per-game, which placed Oldham 19th in the table.

After 10 months in charge, the owners thought it was time to sack head coach Dino Maamria, with the 49-year-old Tunisian winning just nine out of 32 games in charge.

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He came in and replaced Laurent Banide in September 2019, who was sacked on the 19th of September after winning only two out of eleven matches in charge.

Oldham said late last night: “Dino Maamria has today departed the club from his role as a Head Coach of Oldham Athletic, together with his team.

“We would like to place our appreciation on record to Dino for his hard work and dedication.

“We also wish Dino all the best for his future endeavours.”

Maamria said: “After leaving Oldham Athletic, I would like to place on the record my huge appreciation for the tremendous support I received from the Oldham fans, the staff and the players during my tenure.

“When I took over, the club was in a difficult situation with a squad of 32 players!! the club’s objective was to stabilise them and keep them in the EFL, we achieved that with 19 points gap to the bottom! then rebuild in the summer to create a competitive team that reflects the town, and the fans can relate to. Unfortunately that was cut short, due to our different vision in moving the club forward.

“I am touched and overwhelmed with the messages of support I received in the last few hours! Thank you all. I leave with my best wishes to the club and the fans who are the best and most loyal fans I came across in football!”

Interestingly, reports already state the former footballer Harry Kewell will be the new man in charge at Boundary Park.

He has signed a one-year contract, with an option for a second year, with the League Two outfit expected to announce the appointment of the Australian on Saturday.

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Oldham’s Moroccan owner Abdallah Lemsagam has revealed how a long-standing connection with Harry Kewell convinced him he was the right fit.

They first crossed paths back in 2012 when Lemsagam brokered the deal which took the winger from Melbourne Victory to Qatar-based Al-Gharafa during the twilight of his playing career.

Though Kewell’s stint in the Middle East lasted just three games, the duo forged an enduring friendship.

“We’ve known each other a long time and I’m hoping Harry can do a good job for us,” Lemsagam told The World Game.

“We’ve stayed in contact over time and this is a chance at Oldham for Harry to accomplish something again (after his previous spells in charge of Crawley Town and Notts County).

“I know where I want to go with this club. I have a vision and we’ll take it step by step.

“I also know Harrys mentality and his character and I know how hungry he is to succeed.”

It was in January 2018 that Lemsagem took over the Latics, which at time they were in financial turmoil.

He has ploughed in over $10 million he has yet to see much return on his investment, after the club were relegated from League One in his first season and finished 19th in League Two this season.

An agreement is in place to purchase the stadium from the former owners thought to be in place, and Lemsagam hopes that there will be brighter times both on and off the field.

“It’s hard when you come into a club – you need solid foundations first and you build from there,” he added.

“When it comes to the coaching side, Harry has great ambition and of course he wants to prove himself.”

Lemsagam’s Aussie connection extends beyond Kewell.

He was also the man who took former Socceroos Mark Bresciano and Lucas Neill to the Gulf towards the end of their careers, with Bresciano joining Al Nasr from Lazio before moving to Al Gharafa.

He moved Neill from Galatasaray to Al Jazira in 2011 and then Al Wasl.

“I like the Australian mentality – they work so hard and are driven,” he added. “They get to where they want to get because of that.”

Reflecting on his mission with the Latics – one of the Premier League’s foundation clubs before their drop down the divisions – Lemsagam said: “Football is a tough industry – I was an agent for 15 years and owning a club is very different.

“What we’ve done the last couple of years has been trying to clear debts and it’s not been easy.

“You have to work hard and I think we’re going in the right direction.”

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Kewell last managed in November 2018 when he was sacked by Notts County after just 10 weeks in charge.

He won just three of his 14 games in charge in all competitions, leaving them 22nd in the table.

“We see no reason to continue with something we don’t think can work,” said chairman Alan Hardy.

“Results have not been good enough and performance levels are a continuing concern.

“I enjoyed seeing first hand his love for the job and it gives me absolutely no pleasure to take that away from him.

“Unfortunately, however, things quite simply were not working out for him here at Meadow Lane.”

Harry Kewell admits he is still “baffled” by his sacking at Notts County as he finally breaks his silence on his departure from Meadow Lane.

“I do still feel hard done by my departure from Notts County, as any manager would, given the circumstances,” he said.

“I’m still wondering the reasons why I got the sack there.

“I went into a club who were sitting dead last in League Two, then I got them out of the relegation zone within 10 games, only to then get the sack… I don’t get it.

“It still baffles me. Especially when the club paid Crawley Town for me. It’s still a difficult one to take.

“I’m still bewildered at what happened.”

Prior to that, he managed Crawley Town, where he went on to win 18 of his 57 games in charge, and said he was “very frustrated” to leave after only 73 days in charge.

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