THE financial cost of relegation from the English Football League has been laid bare by a football finance expert, as Oldham Athletic stand on the brink.

Latics have three games in which to save a league status the 126-year-old club has held since 1907.

Oldham go into Saturday's must-win home game with promotion chasing Salford City four points adrift of safety, after an upturn in form for both Stevenage and Barrow, who both have a game in hand.

Should they fail to get out of the bottom two in their remaining games, Latics would become the first former Premier League side to exit the Football League.

It is an outcome that nobody connected with the club wants.

But the financial implications of no longer being one of the 92 teams in the top four tiers of English football make the situation even more alarming.

Podcaster Kieran Maguire, who specialises in the accountancy of association football and is the author of The Price of Football, says Latics will lose out on close to £1million a year.

"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.

"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."

Controversial owner Abdallah Lemsagam said in January that he was prepared to listen to offers after four increasingly unpopular years at the helm, but there appears to have been little movement. There have certainly been no updates from the club despite being asked by The Oldham Times as to the current state of play.

In the club's most recent accounts, published last month, Latics made a profit of £108,000 in the last financial year. But it has only served to reduce overall losses to over £5.2million, while the club’s total liabilities are in excess of £4m.

There is also the possibility of an additional £882,000 due in taxes, although it is understood this is being disputed by current owner Lemsagam, who claims this is the responsibility of a previous owner.