Throughout the season we have been working through our A-Z of players in the matchday programme. Next to be mentioned is a striker who has become a cult hero at Boundary Park.
Andy Ritchie is regarded as a club legend at Oldham Athletic and one of the greatest players to play for the club, having served Latics as a player as well as having a spell as manager of the football club although he spent 12-years at Boundary Park.
The striker was born in Manchester and he began his career in 1977 with Manchester United and featured 35 times in the league and netted 13 goals for the Red Devils.
In 1980, Ritchie arrived at Brighton & Hove Albion and he spent three years with the Seagulls where he featured 102 times in the league and scored 26 times before moving back up north to join Leeds United in 1987.
Now 59, at the time he had two hat-tricks for the Whites during the 1984/85 season and he was part of the team which got Leeds to the FA Cup semi-finals in the 1986/87 campaign.
In 1987, Ritchie put pen-to-paper on a deal with Oldham Athletic and it proved to be a great piece of business by Latics and Joe Royle after agreeing a tribunal-fixed fee of £50,000 and as they say the rest is history. And in the 1987-88 season, Ritchie scored 20 goals in 38 games to finish joint-top scorer with Palmer.
The striker was part of the team and a key figure in the run to the final of the Littlewoods Cup in 1990 as well as reaching the FA Cup semi-finals in the same year as Latics took Manchester United to a replay in a season that saw him hit 28 goals - the pinnacle of his career.
Ritchie also helped Latics seal the Second Division title in 1991, but was unfortunately injured for the dramatic game against Sheffield Wednesday ensuring top division football for the first time in 68 years. Oldham stayed in the top flight for three years, becoming founder members of the FA Premier League in 1992, and reached another FA Cup semi-final in 1994.
Overall, Ritchie made over 250 appearances for Latics and impressively scored just over a century of goals putting him up there with goal scoring greats Roger Palmer and Eric Gemmell, despite suffering with injuries towards the end he joined Scarborough in 1995. However, after just two years with the Seadogs, he returned to Boundary Park as a player-coach and made 32 appearances and scored three goals.
After losing to Graeme Sharp as a managerial replacement for Royle, Ritchie returned to hit his 100th goal for the club in a 3-1 win at Grimsby on December 27, 1994.
Graeme Sharp was sacked as manager of Oldham Athletic and in March 1997 he was appointed as Neil Warnock’s assistant, but Warnock left to join Bury at the end of the following season and Ritchie was appointed as manager of Oldham Athletic. He managed 179 games, winning 59, drawing 45 and losing 75 with a win percentage of 32.96%.
Following his managerial reign at Latics, Ritchie became in charge of Youth Development at Leeds before managing Barnsley, where he guided the Tykes to promotion to the Championship after beating Swansea City in the play-off final on penalties at Millennium Stadium. In April 2007, he became the manager of Huddersfield Town before being sacked a year later in April 2008.
Remember, you can watch Andy Ritchie on the first episode of a "A Trip Down Sheepfoot Lane" tomorrow, Saturday 9 May 2020, on the club's official YouTube (OfficialOAFC) at 3pm.
Honourable mentions: Neil Redfearn, Steve Redmond, Bobby Reid, Andy Rhodes, Lee Richardson, Connor Ripley, Paul Rickers, Craig Rocastle, Miki Roque, John Ryan.
|Player (August 1987 - August 1995, February 1997 - May 2001)||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other|
|Appearances||201 (43)||9 (4)||19 (2)||3 (1)|
|Manager (May 1998 - October 2001)||Games||Won||Drawn||Lost|