After his entertaining career as an outspoken pundit, Paul Scholes is under no illusions about what he is letting himself in for as he takes his first steps into management.
‘I’ve left myself wide open,’ the new Oldham Athletic manager acknowledged with a smile. ‘I’ve been quite critical.’ One Portuguese recipient of a Scholes verbal volley (or seven), may well take a keen interest in goings-on at Boundary Park.
‘I think he’ll be watching results,’ the 44-year-old said of former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. ‘Whether he’ll be at Oldham watching games I’m not too sure.’
Paul Scholes has made his long awaited move into management with Oldham Athletic
Scholes held his first press conference as Latics manager on Monday afternoon
The new boss was presented with a Latics shirt with his name on it at his unveiling
Scholes will use his Manchester United contacts as he takes his first steps into management
He said he had received messages of support from his fellow Class of 92 members
But this is not Old Trafford, where he won 20 major trophies. Money is tight at the League Two club and on Friday following a row over payment, the main stand was without hot water after the gas meter was ripped out.
There are other issues. Sources tell of interference in team selection from owner, Moroccan agent Abdallah Lemsagam, with three players understood to have previously been barred from the starting XI. Again, Scholes appeared to be ahead of the game. ‘As the owner, he is going to be interested in his team,’ he said. ‘But he won’t be picking the team, I think we are quite clear on that and I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t confident on that. Not confident — sure of it.’
The reality of the task is not lost on him. ‘It might be the biggest mistake of my life, I don’t know,’ he said. ‘Or it might be the best thing I ever did. There’s an uncertainty there, I don’t doubt that.’
Scholes sat alongide owner Abdallah Lemsagam (right) and new assistant Mick