"THANK you for saving the club!" That is what Joe Royle told new Latics chairman Frank Rothwell once the takeover was complete.

Oldham Athletic Football Club would have been hours away from liquidation had the Rothwell family not stepped in with a multi-million pound buy-out, which has rid the club of all of its debts.

The Oldham Times understands the total monies owed had reached in the region of £2million.

To wipe that out, and buy the club, stadium and land, the Rothwells are believed to have parted with £12m of their fortune made through the family business, Manchester Cabins - one of the country’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of portable cabins, with the Glastonbury Festival among its clients.

"It was a little bit emotional to say the least,” said Royle of the moment the takeover was announced at a press conference at Boundary Park last Thursday.

“When you see fans turning up outside, it's not as if we've won anything - it's quite the opposite at the moment, it's all been a bit negative. But it was very emotional and I thought the new chairman was terrific. He's very much 'this is what I am, take it or leave it'. He's a little bit eccentric I would say, but he's a very nice fella. And he cares.

"Care is a four-letter word but it's a big word.

"He's a successful businessman and he's been telling me about his ambitions for the club, so let's all get behind him.

"I said to him 'thank you for saving the club' and that's what he's done."

The takeover has seen Royle return to his beloved Latics, where he was appointed manager 40 years ago last month and went on to guide them on a remarkable journey to English football’s top flight, going on to become founder members of the Premier League a decade after his arrival.

The 72-year-old is on the board of directors alongside his son, Darren, who brokered the deal which ended the disastrous four-year Lemsagam regime.

"He's my boss!," Royle senior smiled.

"It's nice. I've never lost touch with Oldham. I keep in touch with Andy Ritchie, Rick Holden I speak to at least once a month still. The good times were never forgotten."

Asked how he sees his role now, he added: "Just to support John and try to get the best we can out of the team. I'm not going to be sat on his shoulder telling him what to do, how to play, who to pick or anything like that. I'm going to support him. It's a tough job because there are still fans here who remember the glory days and they'll see the difference. We've got to, not forget it by any means, but support him because it is a hard job."