No team bus, no gas, players washing the kit: Why Scholes quit Oldham

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Dan Burke

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Paul Scholes stepped down as manager of Oldham Athletic on Thursday evening, just 31 days after taking over at the League One club.

“In the short period since I took on the role it unfortunately became clear that I would not be able to operate as I intended and was led to believe prior to taking on the role,” the 44-year-old told BBC Sport.

Oldham won just one of the six matches Scholes took charge of but according to a sensational report from the Daily Mail, it was a month of madness off the field that ultimately left the former Manchester United midfielder with no choice but to resign.

Before taking the job, Scholes had reportedly insisted on a no-interference clause being written into his contract but he soon became concerned that somebody in his squad was leaking information about training sessions and team selection to the club’s owner Abdallah Lemsagam.

Lemsagam and his brother Mohamed are said to have e-mailed Scholes on more than one occasion, offering advice on which players he should pick.

One of those players was apparently Spanish striker Urko Vera, who ended up making just two appearances under Scholes.

Oldham have a bloated first-team squad and according to the Mail, the “final straw” for Scholes came when he found out that on loan defender Alex Iacovitti – who has not played a game this season – had been promised a two-year contract in the summer.

But it seems the Latics’ problems run much deeper than friction between the manager and the owner.

The Mail report that the bill for the players’ GPS training vests has not been paid for two years and the players recently arrived at Boundary Park to find that there was no team bus available to transport them to an away game at Bury.

Just days before Scholes took the job, the stadium’s gas supply was taken away due to unpaid bills and players were forced to wash and dry their own kit at home.

Before one press conference, Scholes joked that he was going to get a coffee from the club’s vending machine, “unless it’s been repossessed”.

Scholes hoped to bring a Sir Alex Ferguson brand of passing football to the club but the terrible Boundary Park pitch made it nigh on impossible.

The ex-England international was a boyhood Oldham supporter and had always fancied the idea of managing the club, but he is said to have been left “gutted” at how things turned out.

Maybe one day, under a different regime, he will get another crack at his dream job.