Oldham Athletic’s struggles have persisted for a number of seasons. It has been six agonising years since they finished in the top half of League One and they have struggled to avoid relegation in each season since.
Despite pursuing former Leeds United boss Steve Evans throughout the summer, Oldham eventually settled for former Bournemouth midfielder Steve Robinson, who had yet to hold a job in management prior to his arrival.
The new boss’ lack of experience has shown so far this season, as Oldham’s struggles picked up where they had left off in the previous campaign. However, with half of the season now gone, Oldham find themselves languishing near the foot of the table, with relegation looking like a real possibility.
Club chairman Simon Corney has insisted that he has faith in his current manager to turn results around. Yet, with financial struggles threatening to cripple the club, the prospect of relegation could force Corney’s hand sooner, rather than later.
Should they part ways with Robinson, the club should look to appoint Russell Slade, who was recently relieved of his duties at Charlton Athletic. Despite his struggles in recent years, Slade would be the perfect choice for a club that are unlikely to have too much money to spare in the transfer window any time soon.
There are undoubtedly better options for the club, but their financial situation requires a very specific type of manager to turn their fortunes around and Slade might just be that candidate.
During his time at Leyton Orient, he avoided spending money to sign players in his four seasons with the club, opting for a number of free transfers instead. Despite the lack of investment, Slade transformed the club from League One relegation candidates into play-off hopefuls and could perform a similar miracle with Oldham.
Alternatively, they could turn to former manager Iain Dowie, who managed the club for a season back in 2002 before financial difficulties forced him to quit, after he went without pay for a number of months.
Despite managing the likes of Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers following his departure, Dowie has since left football, taking up a job as a sales manager for a building surveyors company. Chairman Corney revealed back in 2015 that Dowie could return to manage his former club, despite his last role in football coming back in 2010. Yet, with financial difficulties plaguing Boundary Park once again, Dowie may be reluctant to return to the Oldham hotseat.
Another candidate previously linked with manager vacancy at Oldham is Alan Curtis. On paper, Curtis looks like a poor option, given his lack of experience as a manager. Yet, having served as Swansea City’s first-team coach under the likes of Michael Laudrup, Gary Monk and Francesco Guidolin, following years behind the scenes with the Premier League club, Curtis has plenty of knowledge to call upon.
Curtis would certainly be a risk, given that he has yet to prove himself in a management position. Yet, when you’re down on your luck, as Oldham are, sometimes taking a risk is the only way to get back on your feet.