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Jack Byrne details nightmare Oldham stint with controversial owner

Jack Byrne Oldham 1

Jack Byrne has described his nightmare spell at Oldham.

Ireland international Jack Byrne has opened up on his nightmare stint at Oldham Athletic in a recent interview following his return home to re-join Shamrock Rovers.

Byrne was with Oldham for a tumultuous eight-month spell, before then parting ways with the club amid fan backlash at the time.

His time at the club saw them relegated to League Two, and it was after that when his stint at the club turned sour, and quick.

Owner Abdallah Lemsagam has often been a controversial figure at the club, and Byrne has detailed exactly how he found playing under his then employer.

Jack Byrne on his nightmare at Oldham.

“I went to Oldham on loan and done really well there,” he told the Talking Bollox podcast.

“I ended up signing there on a permanent in January. I did really well that year and a couple of clubs wanted me. Peterborough and Hearts were in for me.

“They were two good clubs, but Oldham was in Manchester and they were just after being taken over at that stage to afford me. And then they got relegated.

“I was in League Two on the same money that I was on in the Championship so what are they going to do? People used to used to say ‘you’re a bad egg’ and ‘you got kicked out of this and that club’. But when you’re the highest earner at the club..

“The owner calls you in and wants you to take a cut after I just signed in January.. Why should I take a cut when they just signed me and there’s no clause in my contract to take a cut if we get relegated? They never spoke to me about it either.”

Jack Byrne.

During his stint at Boundary Park, Byrne established himself as a key man in their starting XI, and also became a fan favourite during his time there.

But despite the good-will he got from supporters during his time at the club, he admitted that he was reluctant to sign for a club that were battling at the wrong end of the table at the time.

“There was no way that I was going to sign for Oldham and have a pay slash if they got relegated,” he added. “I was on the same money that I was on at Wigan and I had two years left there.

“I could have sat there and gone on loan somewhere else or sign for Peterborough who were at the top of the table. That’s the side people don’t see..

“Five clubs in three years and all that.. It’s the same reason why I left APOEL in Cyrpus. Why should I take a cut when I don’t have it in my contract? Your contract is your strength.”

Jack Byrne on the end of his time at Oldham.

After Oldham were relegated to League Two, Byrne was backed into a corner by Lemsagam, but he refused to leave the club when he was asked to.

“When Oldham tried to sack me when I wasn’t leaving,” he noted. “The owner was messing about then with my wages. You get paid by the month over there and he left it late by two weeks late and then paying us.

Jack Byrne Oldham

“It was two weeks late again and then he was paying us. I was thinking at the time it didn’t sound great. I met him in Dubai..

“On the last day of the season he called me and told me he was going to pay the lads and you. He told me if we won he would pay for my holiday. He said he was going to have a good go if we stayed up, but we lost. We were relegated.

“The way that club was going I knew I had to leave eventually..”

But Byrne had to wait until the end of the transfer window to depart the club, and that was only after his owner attempted to publicly vilify him with baseless accusations.

“He had a French lad in there and he got injured,” Byrne reflected. “He said I got him injured and all that, which I didn’t. He gave me a two-week suspension and I was then in training with the kids.

“But that was because I was the highest earner at the club and he wanted me out. He then said something about an emoji I put up on Twitter that was directed at him calling him a clown which was mental.

“He tried to suspend me again. I was at a circus with family who came over – and I tweeted that emoji – and then he tried to sack me again. I was given another two-week suspension.

Jack Byrne next move

“Then he said to me he’d give me a payout. But he gave me a payout after 6 o’clock and I couldn’t sign for anyone else in England so I had to go to Scotland.”

Byrne then went on to play for Kilmarnock in the Scottish top-flight, before then joining Shamrock Rovers in 2019.

He is now back at the Hoops ahead of the 2022 League of Ireland season, with more colourful experiences than most behind him already in his eventful career to date.

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