Oldham Athletic Appoint Richie Wellensby Jack Kitson / 18 October 2017, 14:33Tweet
Oldham Athletic have come to their senses and named caretaker Richie Wellens as their new permanent manager, with the 37-year-old signing a two-year contract to officially succeed John Sheridan in the Latics dugout.
Oldham and Sheridan parted ways for the fourth time in late September following a woeful start to the season, which left the club rock-bottom of League One with four points from their opening nine games.
However, the decision has so far proved to be the right one as first-team coach Wellens subsequently stepped up to the plate as caretaker manager, since leading the previously confidence-crushed Boundary Park outfit to four wins and a draw from five games at the helm.
Wellens has recorded 10 points from a possible 12 in the league, bagging a hat-trick of impressive wins over Blackburn, Portsmouth and Peterborough, followed by Tuesday’s creditable point away to promotion-chasing Bradford.
The sudden upturn in form means Oldham are now only eight points adrift of the play-offs, with a game in hand on most of the teams above them.
Wellens beat off competition from some pretty high-profile names in order to land his first job in management, including Latics fan Paul Scholes and Dutchman Clarence Seedorf, while the likes of Billy Davies and Darren Ferguson were also linked with the post.
Wellens’ first game in permanent charge is a trip to MK Dons (14th) on Saturday, and he’ll no doubt fancy his chances of continuing start to management against a side that have only recorded one win from their last five League One games.
Chairman Simon Corney said:
“What started out to be a very hard decision ended up being an easy one.
“Richie has shown great character and performed way beyond our expectations, bringing an upturn in fortune and results for the club.
“To a man, each and every player has approached me to express their hope and desire for Richie to continue as manager and that simply cannot be ignored.
“Perhaps most telling was my conversation with Paul Scholes a few weeks ago who told me that to look any further than Richie would be crazy.
“Paul is someone that I often turn to for advice regarding Oldham Athletic matters and he was unequivocal in his praise for Richie adding that he, as he always is, would be willing to offer him any help or advice if asked.
“Richie has already demonstrated great tactical awareness during games and I think I speak for all the fans when I say not only have the results been impressive but also the manner in which he has achieved them.
“Personally, I have not witnessed football as exciting as this for a long time at SportsDirect.com Park.
“We look forward to seeing our fans at all our games and hope that we continue to play in a positive manner and move up the table.”