Oldham Athletic: Latics landlord Simon Blitz facing club administration battle

Oldham Fan Protest
Oldham Fan Protest. Photo by: Tomos Berry

Oldham Athletic owner Abdallah Lemsagam has “goaded the landlord” of Boundary Park into potentially putting the club into administration, claims a fan group.

The club have to repay £600,000 of debts, including around £350,000 to landlord Simon Blitz, who owns the Joe Royle Stand.

The issue will be heard in court in Manchester on Friday.

Supporters group Push The Boundary has staged protests since the start of the season and held meetings with Lemsagam. They fear the owner’s comments at a recent fans forum (see below tweet) has led to Friday’s court hearing.

Steve Shipman, co-founder of Push The Boundary, thinks the current situation can’t be blamed on just one party but feels comments by the current owner hasn’t helped the situation.

“Goading the landlord to try and put them into administration was a foolish comment to make,” Shipman said.

“There seems a stubbornness to work with the landlord over a number of issues, rent being one of them, and this has resulted in an impasse that grows larger by the day where no party wants to give any ground.”

Since his takeover of Oldham which he bought for £1 in 2018, Lemsagam has attempted to clear £520,000 of previous loans given to the club by Simon Blitz, but has only managed to clear around £170,000.

The Joe Royle Stand has been closed due to damaged fire doors, lack of CCTV and a lack of a safety certificate. A fans-led group are looking to buy the stand.

The group are fronted by former Oldham director Simon Brooke and MasterChef winner Simon Wood alongside business owner Paul Whitehead.

The stand is owned by Brass Bank, a company run by Simon Blitz and Daniel Gazal. They used to own Oldham alongside Simon Corney.

More issues emerged before Saturday’s 5-0 win over Newport, when a bar in the stand was closed by Oldham Council after intervention from an unnamed club director. The bar re-opened after the game.

Push The Boundary say the blame has to be directed at the previous owners as well as the current regime.

“We have no doubt that the way the previous regime left the club has had some effect on the situation,” said Shipman.

“But the reduction in attendances, lack of dialogue, turnover of managers and staff cannot be burdened by anyone other than the current owner of the club.

“Once the outcome is determined, we shall decide on the best course of action. We will be contacting the EFL and FSA (Football Standards Authority) to raise our urgent concerns.”

Oldham and the fan-led group seeking to buy the stand were both approached to comment on this story, but declined.

With Latics administration hearing taking place in Manchester Civil Justice Centre on Friday (March 6), much uncertainty surrounds a club set to celebrate its 125th anniversary next year.