Owner on his ten years at Latics
In the first of a series of exclusive reports, Latics’ chairman Simon Corney looks back on his ten years in charge at Boundary Park.
It provides a unique perspective on the struggles of owning a lower-division football club and the rollercoaster of emotions.
These range from the highs of beating the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Manchester City in the FA Cup to the financial challenges, struggle to relocate and latterly redevelop Boundary Park.
Here Mr Corney looks back on his decade at the club.
It has been an experience I never thought I would do, and I have been very fortunate in many ways.
It has been at a cost and I don’t only mean financial but at every level, emotionally, family wise and in terms of commitment.
I am often asked whether I would do it again. There are times when I say every day of the week and there others when I say no.
Unfortunately it is a drug and has become part of me. I love it but, at the same time, it is a danger to your health.
HOW IT BEGAN
Though Simon Blitz, Danny Gazal and I officially took over in February 2004, we were here from the previous September.
By October, we had done a deal with the administrators and put in the money to keep the club afloat so we were funding the club by then.
Simon Blitz and I were big football fans, have been and always will be. And we were fortunate to be in a position in which we were able to make a move and finance it by buying a club.
We believed it would be very different to what we ended up with. We thought it would be easier, that is for sure.
We had to contend with a lot of people questioning why we came here and was it for the right reasons.
The thing which leaves a bitter taste in my mouth is that before we arrived, the club did not own the land which many people don’t realise.
We bought it off Oldham Council and they could have done a deal and sold it to anyone. It just happened to be the piece of land our business sat on which made sense to do, but it could have been anywhere.
If anybody thought we would get remotely close to ever getting our money back, that is laughable. And people don’t have an understanding of what has gone on.
It is just when I have heard certain things said about our motives that I feel let down.
In tomorrow’s article, Mr Corney reveals the hardest part of owning a football club and also the difficulties of going it alone after his two partners pulled out.