Remembering 30 Years Since Oldham Athletic’s Last Premier League Season

THE 2023/24 season has been one of quiet evolution at Oldham Athletic, with Frank Rothwell instilling a sense of calm as club owner – compared to the chaos and vitriol of what had come before – and Micky Mellon providing a safe pair of hands in the dugout.

The Latics were just eight points off a play-off finish this term, so perhaps it will be the 2024/25 campaign in which they finally get in the mix for promotion from the National League.

The end of the season is often a time for reflection, as well as a reminder of how football can change so quickly. Let’s take a walk down memory lane to the second-ever Premier League season 30 years ago in 1993/94. It would prove to be Oldham’s last in the top flight…

Unfamiliar Faces

The Premier League odds from Paddy Power for 2023/24 help to reveal the fluctuating fortunes of the beautiful game.

Those Premiership title odds have Manchester City as the 4/11 favourite ahead of Arsenal (7/4), with Liverpool – mathematically at least – having a chance of lifting the trophy at 500/1.

Boundary Park

Rewind three decades and the Premier League table reveals much different fortunes for those three protagonists. Arsenal finished fifth in 1993/94, but some 21 points behind champions Manchester United, while Liverpool were down in eighth.

As for Manchester City, they finished 16th – just three points clear of the relegation zone. Of course, that was in the days before they were powered by the oil riches of Abu Dhabi.

For readers who have only started following football in recent years, some unlikely teams were plying their trade in the Premier League. Blackburn Rovers finished second – they would go on to win the EPL title in 1995 before falling away to the Championship, while Wimbledon (not AFC Wimbledon as we know them today) were knocking on the door of the European places.

At the wrong end of the table lay Oldham and Swindon Town, two teams that are not synonymous with Premier League heritage, sadly.

Valiant Attempt

Financially speaking, Oldham punched above their weight in both of their seasons in the Premier League – the inaugural campaign of 1992/93 and the subsequent year, in which they would battle for survival right up until the final day of the term.

In 1992/93, the Latics had pulled off one of the most remarkable ‘great escapes’ that the Premier League has ever seen – winning their last three games in a row, completely against the run of form, to survive by the narrowest of margins courtesy of goal difference.

Sadly, history would not repeat itself in 1993/94, with Oldham needing to defeat Norwich City on the final day to have any chance of avoiding the drop. However, a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road brought an end to the Latics’ Premier League stay.

The club’s supporters will perhaps remember the season more fondly for their run to the FA Cup semi-finals, in which they led Manchester United 1-0 until injury time… before Mark Hughes popped up with a late, late equaliser. The Red Devils would win the replay, meaning that Oldham just missed out on a famous day at Wembley Stadium.

Thirty years is a long time in football, as Oldham’s current non-league status attests. But who knows: maybe the Latics are starting an upward curve once more.

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