The club’s worst-kept secret regarding the appointment of Paul Scholes was about to be revealed to the world’s media – but not before the 44-year-old held the first team meeting and training session of his managerial career.
It was 48 hours earlier when Oldham’s players were informed the former Manchester United and England midfielder would be the new boss, almost two months after the sacking of Frankie Bunn.
But that was not what inspired them on to a remarkable 3-0 victory away to Crawley later that afternoon.
“We found out before the game that he was going to be the next manager but we prepared as we had done previously, in regards to the fixtures,” Oldham captain Peter Clarke exclusively told Express Sport.
“It was a good afternoon’s work all in all.”
Sunday was a well-deserved rest day for the players after they climbed up to 14th in the League Two table.
The squad regrouped on Monday knowing they had a “hectic”, but “exciting”, day ahead of them.
“It has been busy with the new manager coming in,” Clarke explained.
Oldham captain Peter Clarke has given the lowdown on Paul Scholes’ first day in charge
Peter Clarke has captained the Latics since joining from Bury in 2016
Paul Scholes arrived for his first day of management on Monday morning
“I was there about half past eight and the manager was there and we had a good chat and started to get ready for the next game.
“We found out on Saturday. The owner spoke to us as a group that the new manager was going to be in on Monday and we knew who it was.
“I got myself in nice and early to get ready for training and meet the new manager.”
Scholes has vowed to get his side playing attacking football with eyes on a promotion push next year.
The former Manchester United midfielder has vowed to play attacking football at Oldham
The same philosophies were also put across to the players in their first briefing.
“We had a meeting with him beforehand and he put across what he was after,” Clarke said.
“How he wanted the lads to work and some of the values he has worked by throughout his career.
“We then went out on the training ground and worked hard and it was a really good morning’s work.”
The delay in Scholes’ appointment was due to needing EFL ratification over his 10 per cent stake in National League side Salford City.
A shareholding of such amount is permitted so long as it is ‘purely for investment purposes’.
And Clarke is glad the uncertainty over the manager’s position is now behind them and they can look forward to giving the fans something to cheer about in the remaining games this campaign.
“I have been around when managers have changed at football clubs and I think it has perhaps gone on longer than we would have liked but that’s down to dotting i’s and crossing t’s,” Clarke added.
Paul Scholes signed a one-and-a-half year deal
Ex-Oldham boss Frankie Bunn was sacked in December
“That is because of the possible conflict of interest and the Football League ratifying things.
“But there was a strong possibility that the manager was going to come in and take the job. So to finally get him in is great for the club.
“He is obviously a local guy which is great for the town and hopefully his appointment, it has created plenty of press coverage, which hopefully will be good for the club.
“And hopefully it can galvanise the town and the area and everyone can get behind him and the team.”
The new Oldham boss was unveiled to the media yesterday after receiving EFL ratification
Not only are the fans excited to catch a glimpse of their new manager, the players also got a taste of football at the highest order when he joined in with parts of the first session.
And it was clear to see why Scholes played 720 appearance over 19 years with the Red Devils.
“Obviously the manager has had a fantastic playing career,” added defender Clarke.
“I think he is widely regarded as one of the most talented players, certainly of his generation.
Pete Wild was in temporary charge of the club
“He is one of the greatest England midfielders of all time.
“I think there is an excitement amongst the group and people are looking forward to meeting him and working with him and gaining some insight into the incredible career that he has had.”
Scholes will make his debut in the dugout when Oldham host Yeovil at Boundary Park tonight.
And the players must now learn to play with the added interest in their results.
Paul Scholes’ first game in charge is at home to Yeovil tonight
“There will be added interest because of the appointment and it being his first game in charge,” the skipper said.
“I’m expecting there to be a lot of excitement and I’m hoping for positive evening.
“And a win to start off the manager’s new reign.”
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