Three National League clubs have been surprisingly linked with a seven-season Premier League player in David Wheater after his Oldham exit.
The 34 year old defender has his contract terminated at Boundary Park by mutual agreement, paving the way for the footballer to find another team to join up with.
The Latics, who sit 17th in the League Two table, announced on Friday morning that the experienced professional footballer had departed.
He captained his side last season, however as for the 2020/21 campaign, he has not been part of the first-team squad after a dispute with the club over proposed pay cuts last summer brought about by the pandemic.
Supporters have long called for controversial and the much disliked owner Abdallah Lemsagam and his sporting director brother Mohamed to resolve the situation for the good of the club with Wheater sent to train with the youth team.
They recently sacked their fifth manager in two years, Harry Kewell departed and Keith Curle replaced him within less than 24 hours.
A club statement read: “Oldham Athletic can confirm that David Wheater has left the club by mutual agreement.
“In total he made 35 appearances, scoring four goals last season.
“We would like to thank David for his contribution whilst at Latics and wish him well for the future.”
Wheater was due to be out of contract in the summer, but the fact he has left now speaks how bad it’s got behind the scenes at the club.
Now there are claims that three National League clubs in Weymouth, Maidenhead United and Woking are linked with the seven-season Premier League player.
The situation over Wheater started back in September when he and goalkeeper Gary Woods, now on loan at Aberdeen, were told they would not be part of Kewell’s squad for the current campaign.
The pair’s representatives, Quorum Sports, accused Oldham of trying to put pressure on them to break their contracts in a strongly-worded reply.
A second club statement was issued in November where it was stated Wheater had been battling a series of injuries claiming only a back injury caused by bizarrely lifting his dog was keeping him out of the first-team picture.
At that point, the club also said “all legal matters associated with those players in dispute at Oldham Athletic are resolved, including with David Wheater.”
Head coach Kewell however continued to maintain that the matter was “in the hands of the club” when it came to the player’s availability as the League Two side continued to struggle is defence.
The saga led to fans’ group Push The Boundary launching a ‘Free Wheatz’ campaign as they looked to put pressure on the club to resolve the situation.
“My time at this great club didn’t end the way I had hoped, but I am thankful for the opportunity I had to represent Oldham Athletic on the occasions that I did,” Wheater said on Instagram.
“I’d like to thank the fans of Oldham Athletic for their unwavering support and wish them and the club all the best for the future.”
View this post on Instagram
DAVID WHEATER’S CAREER:
2004–2011 – Middlesbrough – 140 games (9 goals)
2006 → Doncaster Rovers (loan) – 7 games (1 goal)
2006 → Wolverhampton Wanderers (loan) – 1 game (0 goals)
2007 → Darlington (loan) – 15 games (2 goals)
2011–2019 – Bolton Wanderers – 212 games (15 goals)
2019–2021 – Oldham Athletic – 34 games (4 goals)
2002–2003 – England U16 – 2 games (0 goals)
2004 – England U17 – 7 games (0 goals)
2004 – England U18 – 1 game (0 goals)
2005–2006 – England U19 – 7 games (0 goals)
2007–2009 – England U21 – 11 games (1 goal)
Fans reacted after reading that Oldham and David Wheater have parted ways…
@Pandamonium1881: I see Oldham have started again. Been a bit quiet and then sack another manager plus bring to an end the farce of Wheater @PTB_OAFC#historyrepeatingitself
@HallamMacca: Congratulations on something you should have done months ago if you had no desire to play him.
@OAFCNick: Shambles of a football club and ashamed to see how our owners have effectively denied a player of his experience and calibre to play for any football club and effectively retired him from his playing career after a full season pushed into the margins
@DomWeiss92: Disgrace the way he’s been treated!!
@bringbackngoo: Happy 125th anniversary #oafc #AbdallahOUT
@WhitworthYed: Curle probably wanted to play him so they decide to release him
@bardsleybutcher: Embarrassing how long this dragged on, just another player the 🤡🤡’s fell out with which results in them forcing them out of the club. 😠
@Jmjm803: Laughing stock. Dragging our club’s name through the mud for months over this. Sort it out. He’s not even the best senior pro that has been singled out and treated badly in the last few years. Still better than most of our current squad. @SheepFootLane20 get him on ASAP!!!!
@SheepFootLane20: We would love to have him on to tell all. I do think he will have an NDA for about 6 months, give it time they all speak eventually pal
@martinc5555: Experienced defender and great to have in the squad. You need players like Wheater at this level. #Shitshow
@Rob_Taylor94: Shambles, top man Wheats
@ReeceBulbb: Another one that will come back to haunt us.
@willyfog44: Good for Wheatz. Stupid for #oafc I hope he can go out with a few more seasons at another club
@stanleylatic: Can we now sign Wheater up for next season like we did when we released Urko Vera and Zeus? #oafc
@pjoturtle: Friday Statement…you love to see it. Absolute shambles. Owner is killing the club and it’s death by a 1000 cuts. #AbdallahOut.
@bradybunch113: He’s better off out of the mess
@ptoafc83: “We would like to thank him …” you should be apologising to him for treating him like a muppet
@_laticfanatic: When we said #FreeWheatz this isn’t quite what we meant..
— pork pie (@73pie) March 12, 2021
— Glen Oldham (@OldhamGlen) March 12, 2021
“We’re a professional club…” pic.twitter.com/tY5JKVz2oG
— StevieDunk (@StevieDunk) March 12, 2021