Oldham Athletic – Five Potential Replacements For David Unsworth – Opinion

It’s safe to say – after pre-season expectations that this year would be finally be the one that saw promotion back to the EFL – that not everything has quite gone to plan at Oldham nine matches into the new National League season.

Only one win in the league to date at the time of writing, which came in the second match of the campaign versus Aldershot, has seen the Latics sink to a lowly 22nd position in the division with a poor 3-0 defeat this weekend just gone at the hands of Bromley leading to David Unsworth’s dismissal from the Greater Manchester outfit.

The Latics are in desperate need of a brand new head coach to get them back on track, a manager who can get the best out of the likes of James Norwood, Charlie Raglan and Brennan Dickenson who all dropped out of the EFL to join Oldham this summer.

Could the powers that be at Boundary Park use this model for their next managerial appointment, tempting a boss to drop down to non-league who is more accustomed to managing in the likes of League Two and League One? Who is on the shortlist to replace the out-going Unsworth?

Here are a few names that could well be in the running take over at Oldham…

Stephen Clemence

An outsider that has suddenly become a front-runner for this vacancy, Stephen Clemence would be a left-field choice from the Oldham hierarchy as their next boss.

Clemence, after hanging up his playing boots in 2010, would go on to take numerous coaching roles under ex Newcastle boss Steve Bruce who managed him when he was at Birmingham City – linking up with Bruce at the likes of Hull City, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and lastly the Magpies.

He was even caretaker manager at Sheffield Wednesday briefly in 2019, after Bruce’s exit from Hillsborough.

Declaring that he now wants to test himself as a first-team manager instead of just coaching since leaving Newcastle, it’ll be intriguing to see whether or not Oldham go for Clemence as Unsworth’s replacement.

Micky Mellon

Oldham could well opt for Mellon as their next boss too, the experienced Scottish manager out of a job after his second spell with Tranmere didn’t quite go to plan which led to his sacking this March.

He has experience as a successful manager at National League level which will please the Latics, his first time in the Tranmere dug-out saw Rovers clinch promotion to League Two after a narrow 2-1 Playoff Final win over Boreham Wood during the 2017-18 season.

The following season, momentum was with Tranmere as they achieved back-to-back promotions – winning the League Two playoffs, Mellon a hero at the time with the Birkenhead based club.

The Scotsman also has two more promotions on his managerial resume with Fleetwood Town, winning the National League title with the Cod Army.

Oldham might well view Mellon as an experienced head who knows how to manage teams to promotion out of the National League, a good fit for the Latics who desperately want out of non-league after the horror show of Unsworth.

Darrell Clarke

Darrell Clarke is another name floating about when it comes to who could be Oldham’s next throw of the dice as manager, Clarke still out of work after leaving Port Vale in April this year.

The decision to get rid of Clarke at Port Vale was an unpopular one amongst the Valiants fanbase, the 45-year-old managing 52 wins from 124 games in charge at Vale which saw him, along the way, mastermind Vale’s promotion to League One via the playoffs in 2022.

He’s a well-liked figure at former club Bristol Rovers to this date too, delivering back-to-back promotions for the Gas all the way up to League One as boss after the club fell into the depths of non-league in 2014 when Clarke was assistant manager.

The 45-year-old didn’t impress with Walsall in-between the Gas and Port Vale, but his resume still makes for good reading.

Could Oldham tempt Clarke to take over at Boundary Park, to turn around another struggling club submerged in National League football?

David Artell

Another manager who is out of work that is rumoured with this Oldham vacancy is David Artell, the former Crewe Alexandra manager has been without a job since 2022 when the Railwaymen relieved him of his duties.

Artell spoke with TheRealEFL recently on an episode of the site’s podcast, opening up about the fact he wants to join a club where he can envisage a long-term project blossoming.


The former Crewe man might well see Oldham as a project worth exploring, reinvigorating a fallen giant down on their luck.

Artell would also ensure that his Latics side would play attractive football, alongside giving youth a go coming through at the Greater Manchester club.

With plenty of interest in Artell always springing up when a managerial job becomes available, could Artell return into management with Oldham?

Leam Richardson

If the Latics were to pull off the appointment of Leam Richardson – the ex Wigan manager linked with the Oldham vacancy – it would be some coup.

Richardson has only ever been a manager with Wigan Athletic and Accrington Stanley, his time as Stanley boss coming all the way back in 2012 after he was given the reins immediately after retiring as a player.

He’s far more remembered for his time as boss with Wigan, stepping up after Paul Cook departed the DW for Ipswich Town and excelling in the process.

In his first season with the Tics, he saved them from relegation down to League Two amidst a backdrop of financial issues whilst the season after saw him galvanise the Wigan group to go on and win the League One title.

Dismissed after starting the next Championship season poorly, Richardson is still held in high regard by supporters at the DW.

Linked recently with the job at Charlton Athletic, Oldham will hope that they can tempt the 43-year-old to Boundary Park to take on his first ever non-league managerial position and make a statement in doing so.

Are there any names I have left off the list that you would like as the next Oldham boss? What have you made of my list of potential managers? Leave your thoughts below in the comments… 











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