News From Manchester: New Oldham Athletic owner Frank Rothwell gets hero’s welcome as takeover confirmed

Fans had made their feelings known over Lemsagam's reign over the last 18 months with on and off-field protests marring Oldham's eventual relegation from the Football League for the first time in their 127-year history.

Now, Lemsagam has sold his share in the club to local businessman Rothwell, with a deal also set to follow with former landlord Simon Blitz to purchase Boundary Park and the Joe Royle Stand so the club and stadium are under one roof once again. As Rothwell was announced to fan groups and media, dozens of supporters gathered outside singing songs and were later serenaded by the new owner as he met them face to face.

Rothwell, the town's Business Ambassador for Oldham Council, becomes the new chairman at a club that has suffered two relegations in four years under Lemsagam, with numerous off-field controversies hindering on-field progress.

Late wage payments, tax issues, hundreds of players signed and 10 managerial changes pushed fans to breaking point, with Lemsagam even threatening three outspoken fans with bans for 'spreading dislike' over his ownership.

With club legend Joe Royle on the board, his son Darren as chief executive and a number of other experienced football heads on the new board, chairman Rothwell has high ambitions for his local club.

Interrupting his press conference at Boundary Park to go and wave at the fans gathered outside, before breaking into song when he went to meet them in person, Rothwell made a positive first impression on supporters who were delighted to see the end of Lemsagam's turbulent reign.

Rothwell, founder of Manchester Cabins, said: “Oldham is a great place to live, bring up a family, run a business, eat out and support your local football club. Everyone who lives in Oldham is proud of Oldham and wants to do the best, I'm passionate about Oldham and I believe a successful club will have a positive impact on the lives of people in Oldham.

“We're in a lower league, one we can easily handle, the only way is up. We'll have the full opportunity to use this fantastic facility [Joe Royle Stand], attract Oldhamers who don't usually come.

“We need to steady things down, every club has a level, its natural level. Oldham's natural level is top of division one banging on the door of the Championship. That's where we want to be, it will take a lot of hard work and fun.

“We can't start promising Premier League, it's happened before but that's a long way off. Let's get the people of Oldham proud of the team again, talking about it in the chippy, at school, I want the people of Oldham to feel they own the club. People's lives and aspirations change when the football team do well. I want it on a steady keel.

“I hope you grasp Im passionate about Oldham and a successful club will have a significant impact on the lives of people in Oldham. The pain is over now.”

Darren Royle said: “This is a very important day in the 127-year history of the club and the town, we're very proud to be here. It's an emotional day, a new start, new opportunity for the club, town and fans. Some of us will remember the glory years and barren times, today is to draw a line and look up with excitement.

“I'm honoured and delighted to announce that following a thorough four weeks of due diligence, the Rothwell family have completed the purchase of Oldham Athletic Football Club and are very close to completing the purchase of Boundary Park and surrounding stadium.