Harry Kewell has urged Oldham Athletic’s trigger-happy owner to bring some stability to the League Two club after becoming its sixth head coach in 19 months.
The Socceroos great was named Latics boss on Saturday, signing a one-year deal with view to an extension, after Tunisian Dino Maamria was axed on Friday.
In accepting the position, Kewell is taking on one of English football’s biggest poisoned chalices but one that could massively enhance his reputation if he brings success to a club that was a former member of the Premier League.
Kewell, who began his coaching career with Watford’s under-23 side, enjoyed a decent first stint as manager of League Two Crawley Town, earning praise for the style of football his side played during an 13-month spell on a small budget.
That was enough to convince Notts County to poach him from their division rivals in August 2018 on a lucrative three-year contract in an attempt to spearhead their promotion bid.
But it proved to be a disastrous move for the former Leeds and Liverpool superstar who lasted 73 days in the Meadow Lane hot-seat before the world’s oldest football club slipped out of the Football League for the first time in their history.
Oldham are owned by Moroccan former player agent Abdallah Lemsagam, who has not been afraid to show the door to managers since taking control of the club in January 2018.
Among those who came and went from Boundary Park was Manchester United legend Paul Scholes, who lasted just 31 days amid reports of interference in team selection and transfers from Lemsagam.
Kewell admits he faces a big job getting the club out of League Two, where they have languished since 2018 – a far cry from the club’s glory days in the early 1990s where they reached the League Cup final and the FA Cup semi-finals and remained in the Premier League until 1994.
“I’m excited about the project and, don’t get me wrong, it’s going to take time,” Kewell, 41, told the Oldham club website.
Because the one thing I think this club does need is stability and if we can get that, then we can start to grow things.
“We’ve got to get back to the basics and we’re having a ‘clean slate’ here now and I think the fans, myself, the owner, everybody wants to start seeing this club progress because we all believe that’s there’s a big potential.”
The 41-year-old made just short of 400 Premier League appearances and played in two World Cups for Australia in a distinguished 18-year playing career.
Oldham were 19th in League Two when the season was halted in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.