Oldham Athletic are RELEGATED from the Football League as furious fans storm the pitch during loss to Salford City to protest against club’s owners … with the match abandoned for nearly TWO HOURS before players finished the last 10 minutes
- Oldham will drop out of the Football League for the first time after 2-1 defeat
- Game against Salford marred by angry fans storming onto the pitch to protest
- Oldham’s League Two match had to be halted as a result for nearly two hours
- Fans were then blocked from watching as final 10 minutes were completed
Oldham were relegated from the Football League at an empty Boundary Park on Saturday, after the ground had been cleared following a pitch invasion during their 2-1 defeat by Salford.
Hundreds of furious fans had stormed on the pitch with 14 minutes left to voice anger at owner and chairman Abdallah Lemsagam.
Players were led off by referee Robert Madley as supporters staged a sit-in protest, unfurling a banner which read ‘Get out of our club’, and refusing to disperse despite pleas from manager John Sheridan.
Oldham fans were protesting for current owner Abdallah Lemsagam to sell the club
Davis Keillor-Dunn, who had equalized for Oldham, had to be escorted off the pitch
Fans were told the game was abandoned while the Football League waited for the ground to be cleared before eventually deciding to restart it 90 minutes later.
Hoardings were even thrown up outside club bars to stop home fans glimpsing the last rites of Oldham’s 115-year Football League existence. In a statement, the EFL said: ‘Despite the earlier announcement of the abandonment of the fixture, after discussions with both clubs, match officials, and stadium security it was agreed the match could be concluded today.
They rallied after falling behind for a second time in the game, but with fans on the pitch and not even manager John Sheridan being able to coax them off, their fate appeared to be sealed.
The fans were then blocked from watching the rest as they played out the final 10 minutes
It was a sorry end for Oldham, who have become the first former Premier League club to drop out of the league. It’s a fact that confirms the sorry state of affairs the club has been allowed to get into.
Gary Neville, at the game on Saturday afternoon as co-owner of the visiting team, tweeted that he left Boundary Park after the atmosphere had turned ‘moody’.
He tweeted: ‘Just left Oldham v Salford. Oldham fans on the pitch and it’s pretty moody. ‘
The financial implications for Oldham’s relegation were this week laid bare, with football finance expert and podcaster Kieran Maguire making clear just how perilous the situation is for the club.
‘If you’re relegated you get parachute payments for two seasons from the EFL but immediately you lose all of what’s referred to as solidarity payments from the Premier League and they’re worth around about £ 700,000 a year,’ he explained.
‘Parachute payments you get £ 400,000 a year in League Two from EFL deals so I think that gets halved, so you go from about £ 1.1million to £ 200,000, and the National League is a really tough league.
Oldham fans sat on the pitch at Boundary Park in protesting, causing the game to be delayed
The protest by the fans caused the game to be postponed for nearly two hours on Saturday
‘The whole of the National League apart from one club is full time and most of the clubs in National League North a full time.
‘You’ve seen clubs like Stockport drop in to National League North as well so there’s no guarantee you’ll even stay there.
‘If the culture and things aren’t right at the top of the club you can easily drop through those divisions quite alarmingly.’
While Oldham fans cursed their team’s demise, at the other end of League Two Forest Green supporters were celebrating promotion to League One for the first time in their history.
Ten minutes before the end Oldham Athletic supporters stormed the playing area
Fans stormed the pitch and despite a security and police presence could not be stopped
Forest Green drew 0-0 at Bristol Rovers to reach the third tier, just five seasons after they became a league club. ‘I’ve never seen a club like this, pulling in the same direction,’ said skipper Dan Sweeney. ‘This is going to live with us forever.’
In the Championship, Fulham’s title celebrations were put on hold after conceding an injury-time penalty in a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth. Aleksander Mitrovic’s 41st goal of the season had put the champagne on ice. But Dominic Solanke replied from the spot.
Peterborough were relegated, joining already doomed Barnsley and Derby, after losing 1-0 at home to Nottingham Forest.
In League One, Wigan missed out on clinching promotion after a 1-1 draw at home to Plymouth while Doncaster are all but relegated despite beating Burton 2-0.