Oldham Athletic Association Football Club

FM_TNSSO

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I've been out this morning with some Christmas cash and what was left of my bonus from work and treated myself to a new gaming laptop. With a new laptop, I am going to take the opportunity to start a new save. It does mean that my Sheffield Wednesday one will come to an end as the old family laptop has now been handed down to the kids and wiped of all mine and the Mrs stuff. After a few hours of downloading everything and reinstating all my add on logo, faces, skins packs etc...I'm finally ready to go!

I'll be writing this story in a slightly different style to try something new as well, so will be interested to get your feedback. Every update will come in the form of a media update as if it was an actual article. Articles will revolve multiple aspects of the club including results, form, player performance, transfers, rumours etc... There will then be associated attachments/links at the bottom of the article which can be opened to show screenshots of players/matches etc.

This will be a one club save as I look to take Oldham Athletic back up the English football pyramid after their drop to non league football last year!

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OLDHAM TURN TO UNKNOWN MANAGER TO REVIVE CLUB

In what has been dubbed as a strange move for Oldham Athletic Football Club, they have appointed unknown manager, Chris Ball, to take over the club with immediate effect.
Ball has no previous history and no track record to show that he is going to be the right man to take Oldham back into the English football league and there is some uncertainty amongst the Oldham fans about the appointment.

Oldham dropped into non league football following their 23rd placed finish in League Two last season, recording just 11 victories from their 46 league games. The relegation came as little surprise to many, with the club having struggled over the past few seasons finishing 14th, 19th and 18th before they eventually suffered the dreaded drop into the National League.

Owner, Frank Rothwell, is also new to Oldham having only just bought the club. Upon his arrival, in a written statement to the media, Oldham were quoted as saying "This is a significant and hugely exciting development in the proud history of Oldham Athletic and ensures the club can now approach the new season and beyond with a genuine sense of anticipation". However, Rothwell's first managerial appointment has left most underwhelmed and questioning his level of ambition for the football club.

Chris Ball, arriving at Boundary Park, was asked how he feels to have secured his first role in football management, to which he responded "I've always played football manager games since I was a young lad and now I'm getting to live it in real life. It's a dream come true". Not exactly the answer Oldham fans would have been looking for to reassure them about his arrival, but I suppose it does give hope out there to all those kids sitting in their bedroom playing computer games!

Only time will tell if this is a stroke of genius from Frank Rothwell, or a disaster in the making! One thing's for sure though...today, everyone in non league football is talking about Oldham Athletic!

Club Info
Club History

 
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SQUAD IN GOOD SHAPE SAYS BALL

Chris Ball is a few days in to his reign as manager of Oldham Athletic and after taking his first few training sessions, he is reportedly happy with his squad of players.
The first team squad currently has 25 players, with appropriate cover for all positions on the pitch and no huge weaknesses on paper and the team as a whole looks strong, which is to be expected from a recently relegated side.

Ball is said to be particularly happy with his goalkeeping and defensive options, quoted as saying "we have two very good quality keepers who can both challenge for a first team spot, as well as good options across the whole back line. I love a side that has a good defence as it's foundation as it always puts you in a strong position if you don't concede a lot of goals".

When asked how he is likely to set up his team, Ball said that he would tinker and play around with different ideas throughout their pre season campaign to identify the individual player's strengths and play to them. "I can't tell you our formation or tactics at this stage, but once I've been able to assess things in a few 90 minute matches, I'll have a better idea of how I want us to play. I do tend to favour a 4-1-2-3 or a 4-2-3-1 lineup initially, but I'm always happy to adapt to the players I've got at my disposal and think it's essential we fit all of our best players into the lineup where possible." Ball said.


Squad

 
MIXED PRE SEASON FOR OLDHAM

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Oldham Athletic have now completed their first pre season campaign under new manager Chris Ball and it threw up some mixed results across their eight friendlies. A couple of poor results against lower league sides kicked things off as Ball experimented with different tactics and starting lineups, getting to know his new players and view them in action for the first time.

It was at that point that Ball changed things up and seemed to settle on a 4-2-3-1 formation with supporting full backs, wide attacking midfielders and a lone striker and it immediately produced a fantastic result as they smashed eight goals past Guiseley, before following that up with back to back 2-0 victories against more opposition from the lower leagues.

Much more difficult opposition came in the form of Eredivisie side, N.E.C, but Oldham put up an impressive display against a side that many expected them to suffer a big defeat to. A goal fest against League Two's Colchester United followed, where again the lesser side put in a good display against their stronger opponents.

Oldham's pre season was rounded off with a home game against Southampton. The Saints fielded a strong lineup for the game as they prepare for another year in the Premier League, but it was Oldham that received the confidence boost ahead of their own league season starting, by holding their far superior opponents to a draw.

When Chris Ball was asked about his team's results throughout pre season, he said he was quietly confident that they were prepared for the new season - "the team is looking fit and ready to go and we've recorded some good results. There are a few small niggles in the squad on the injury front, but nothing too concerning at this point".

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WREXHAM HOT FAVOURITES FOR NATIONAL LEAGUE TITLE

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The Hollywood money of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney behind Wrexham has helped make their club ridiculous favourites to win the National League this season.
After narrowly missing out on promotion with their 2nd placed finish last year, Wrexham are expected to go one better and reach the English football league for the first time since 2008 and it's no surprise with no less than nine of their players making up this year's media dream eleven!

Chesterfield and Woking are the clubs that are expected to push Wrexham that hardest for top spot, with relegated Scunthorpe only expected to squeeze into the playoffs at best. The other relegated side, Oldham, are only predicted to use this as a rebuilding season and as they adapt to non league football, only an 8th placed finish is anticipated for them.

Newly promoted Maidstone United should be propping up the table and will struggle to stay in the division, according to the bookmakers, but they're not a million miles behind a lot of the clubs above them in the odds table, with the likes of Wealdstone, Yeovil Town and Torquay United all expected to struggle this season.

Without a doubt, the player to watch in the division this season is Wrexham's star striker, Paul Mullin. His goalscoring record over the past few seasons has seen him net 60 goals in 90 games for both Cambridge United and Wrexham and he is the hot favourite for the golden boot and to lead the promotion charge for the The Red Dragons.

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OPENING DAY PRESS CONFERENCE

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Reporter: "You've been handed a difficult opening day fixture away at Notts County. How do you think your team will fare in your first competitive game in charge?"


Ball: "The first day is a complete unknown really, but I certainly would have appreciated an easier game for sure. However, being handed a fixture like this could prove to be a massive confidence boost for my team if we can get a result."

Reporter: "Are you likely to take a defensive approach to this game in order to avoid defeat then?"

Ball: "I'm not keen on a negative mindset towards any game and don't like the idea of playing not to lose. We will play our game and try to cause them as many problems as we can."

Reporter: "Do you have a 'go to' first eleven for this season that you see as your strongest team?"


Ball: "Not at all. Naturally, every manager will have players they favour or think are their 'star' men. However, everyone knows this is a squad game now more than ever and with potentially 60 games to play across all competitions this year, it will be important for everybody to play their part."

Reporter: "We've not seen any additions to your squad yet? Does that mean you are happy with the players that were already at the club when you took over?"

Ball: "Yes, I like the team I have and there are plenty of options across most areas of the pitch. I'm not saying there won't be any additions this window, but for the opening few games of the league campaign at least, I'd like to give all the players already here a chance to show what they can do."

Reporter: "Who do you think will be the most important player for Oldham this year?"

Ball: "As I said previously, the whole squad will have to do their part, but I think Jordan Clarke will likely play a pivotal role for us this year and is clearly one of the best players at the club."

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OPENING DAY DRAW FOR OLDHAM AND COUNTY

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Richard Brindley celebrates his opener against Oldham


Notts County and Oldham Athletic played out a 1-1 draw on the opening day of the National League season in a tightly contested game at Meadow Lane. Both sides had early chances to take the lead inside the first ten minutes of the game, as Hallam Hope fired wide from 7 yards for Oldham, before Macauley Langstaff fired his close range effort over the bar from a tight angle for County.

The breakthrough came for County in the 29th minute as Richard Brindley hammered home a powerful shot at the near past after some neat passing inside the box from The Magpies.

Oldham were looking threatening from set pieces and went close a couple of times with headed efforts from a corner and a free kick, before Notts County thought they had increased their lead to two goals on the stroke of half time, only for Ruben Rodrigues tap in to be ruled out for offside.

The second half started with the Nottingam side well on top and they seemed to be dominating the game, before Athletic levelled the scores completely against the run of play when Chris Porter scored with a header at the back post from John Rooney's cross.

That goal encouraged Oldham and they started to play much better, but neither side created a clear cut chance in the final half an hour of the game, as both teams seemed to cancel each other out and it was an opening day point for each in the end.

Chris Ball commented after the game "this is a good result for us to begin the season. Notts County will be right up there this year and to come to their place and get a draw in the opening game is testament to us and how hard we worked today".

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STEADY START FOR BALL AT OLDHAM

Chris Ball has made a steady, if unspectacular, start to his managerial career at Oldham.
Following on from the opening day draw against Notts County, Oldham went on to win their first competitive game under their new manager with a narrow victory over Aldershot, as a Chris Porter spot kick bagged them all 3 points.

Oldham then made it back to back wins, beating Dagenham & Redbridge in a thrilling encounter that saw the two sides share five goals, as the away time just edged the fixture. Porter was again on the scoresheet as he made it three goals from three games for the Latics and the 38 year old striker seemed to be rolling back the years.

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Chris Porter

The Latics made it a four game unbeaten run at the start of the campaign as they drew with Chesterfield in a tightly contested game that could have swung either way, but neither side could find a way through to find a winner.

Oldham's first defeat of the season came at the hands of Gateshead, despite dominating the game from start to finish and Ball and his team were visibly upset at full time to have lost a game they will have felt strongly they should have won.

After five games, it leaves Oldham sitting in 8th position, exactly where the bookies predict they'll be at the end of the campaign. Ball seems happy with his side's start to the season, saying "we've already played three sides that are predicted to finish above us this season, with two of those games coming away from home as well, so to be sitting here with just one defeat and eight points at this stage is pleasing".

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BALL'S OLDHAM PROVING HARD TO BEAT

New Oldham boss, Chris Ball, has now taken charge of eleven games at the club and his team are proving tough to beat. Only Gateshead have managed to get the better of Oldham so far this season, with their other ten games resulting in four wins and six draws, which leaves the Latics sitting in 6th place having recorded 18 points so far this season.

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A strong defence has been the backbone of Oldham's good form, having conceded just four goals in their last six outings, keeping clean sheets against Wealdstone, Southend and Dorking along the way. At the heart of that defence has been centre back, Harrison McGahey, who has featured in nine matches already and is working to an average match rating of 7.14.

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One of McGahey's most impressive performances came in the 0-0 draw away at Southend, although Oldham will be disappointed not to have brought all the points away with them after dominating the match with 15 attempts on United's goal.

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The stand out display of Oldham's recent games was their 4-0 demolition job of Dorking Wanderers. The match stats suggested a close game, but it was the quality of the chances created which made all the difference and with Oldham's top scorer, Chris Porter, being in top form, there was never any doubt on the outcome of the match from the 6th minute when right back, Jordan Clarke, had the blues in front.

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With a quarter of the season gone, Oldham are keeping up with the leaders and sit in amongst the playoff places and Ball has been quoted as saying "we would take a 6th placed finish all day long and would love to have a go at the playoffs".

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Nice story so far mate.

I'm doing an Oldham save myself - managed to get promotion through the playoffs after beating Chesterfield and Notts County in the playoffs first season.

Just be careful in your planning - Threlkeld, Wellens and Roberts all have their loan contracts expire in January (none of the parents clubs were willing to renew) - but it does free up a bit of cash in the wage budget to get a few handy players in.

Also, get some games in to Harry Vaughan. Still playing well for me in L2
 
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