SUPPORTERS fear going into administration or dropping out of the Football League if there is not a change of ownership at Oldham Athletic.

Latics fan Steve Shipman said growing concern about the future of the club was a driving factor behind the petition launched by supporters’ group Push the Boundary - of which he is a founder member - in the hope of ousting Abdallah Lemsagam.

The petition went live last week and over 1,500 signatures were secured within the first 24 hours, rising to just under 2,500 over the weekend.

In the three years since Lemsagam bought the club, Latics have had nine managers, slipped down to the bottom half of the basement division and experienced a number of off-field issues including player disputes and sponsorship withdrawals that have impacted on club finances.

And Shipman says it was time to take a stand before the situation gets any worse, with season ticket sales for the 2021/22 among the lowest recorded. Only 600 of approximately 1,650 sold to date have been purchased by adults.

“We can all see where this is going to end if he doesn’t go - would it be non-league or administration?” said Shipman.

“If it was administration it would at least get him out, but then we’d have minus 12 points and would have to have someone come in and take the club on.

“If it was relegation... Stockport have been down there for nine or 10 years. It’s a difficult division to get out of.

“Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t expecting him to say ‘sorry lads, I will go now’. But what he has tried to do in the past is deny there’s any issues. He has called supporters that are unhappy a minority, but it’s a majority and this is to let him know.”

Shipman says the strength of feeling is reflected in the petition figures.

“We are now over 2,400 so the numbers are growing nicely considering it’s only been a few days.

“It’s obvious that fans won’t stand for it any more.”

Shipman said there had been some improvement with engagement between the club and supporters since the appointment of CEO Karl Evans, but he says the relationship between the fans and Lemsagam is beyond repair.

“I think it’s too far gone,” he said

“I don’t think he’s going to be able to claw it back.

“We’ve hung off for pushing the red button and saying that we want him to go, we’ve tried to give him every chance to engage but it’s clear he’s just not willing to listen.

“He has put money in and we do accept that, but he has also wasted a lot of money just by bad decision making and that’s all his own doing.

“It’s just time for a change before it gets any worse.

“If it is in the back of his mind that he is looking to sell, which I’m told it is, then now is a good time. The season has finished, cut your losses, walk away and give us a chance to rebuild.”

Shipman added: “The petition will stay open a bit longer and 3,000 would be nice as a milestone. That would pretty much average the number of home fans attending games in the 19/20 season.”