Oldham Athletic FC deal completed as local businessman takes control

Local businessman Frank Rothwell is the new owner of Oldham Athletic FC.

The deal brings the four-and-a-half year ownership of Abdallah Lemsagam to a close, which resulted in the club’s demotion to the National League. It meant Oldham was the first former Premier League side to drop out of the top four tiers.

In a statement, the club said it is also at an advanced stage to purchase its Boundary Park stadium, hopefully within the course of the next week.

It said: “Headed by our new chairman, Frank Rothwell, the Oldham-based owner and founder of Manchester Cabins which has long-standing local ties, the deal will ensure that the club and stadium will be consolidated under one ownership.

“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.

“The necessary Owners and Directors Test has been passed and the sale will be ratified by the relevant football authorities.”

The club said the Rothwell family met with representatives from supporter groups yesterday afternoon and looks forward to engaging further with fans to share its vision for the future.

It added: “The Rothwell family would like to place on record their thanks to their financial due diligence advisors RSM and legal due diligence advisors from Knights PLC.

“The club and the Rothwell family would like to recognise the efforts of both of the selling parties in their co-operation throughout the process, and also thank supporters, community and council and the other parties involved in the transactions for their patience and assistance.”

Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, Frank Rothwell, who rowed the Atlantic single-handedly in a charity challenge, said: “My family have been looking for something to invest in for quite a while.

“To get a consortium together and sell the idea to them became too big of a job. It was much simpler for us to buy it and later on bring a consortium in when things are steady.

“We’ve bought it debt free. We have confidentiality agreements so that’s as much as I can say. It’s a new era, a new chance and a new start.”

Former Oldham manager Joe Royle is involved with the takeover, together with his son, Darren, who is now club chief executive. The Royles were previously at nearby Wigan Athletic, which was put into administration in June 2020, before being acquired last March by Middle East group Phoenix 2021 Limited.

Established in 1895, Oldham Athletic FC was one of the founder members of the Premier League in 1992, with the club competing in the Premiership, Championship and League One divisions over the past two decades. The acquisition follows the club’s relegation from League Two at the end of the 2021/22 season.

Both the Rothwell family and Darren Royle have close associations with the club.

The new owners will provide long term certainty, which will help manager John Sheridan continue to build a competitive squad for the upcoming season. As part of the deal, the sale of season tickets, sponsorship and commercial activity has been halted and will resume following the takeover.

Audit, tax and consulting firm RSM advised the Rothwell family and Darren Royle on the acquisition.

The RSM deal team was led by corporate finance partner Philip Parkes and tax partner James Hunt, with support from Marion Brewer and Jean Lowe.

Philip Parkes said: “The transaction will enable Oldham Athletic Football Club to launch its national league campaign with certainty, under new ownership.

“As long-standing local businesspeople, the new owners are aligned with the club in its approach to culture and community, and will strengthen the club’s financial position ahead of the new season.”