NEW Oldham Athletic manager Frank Bunn has been reflecting on the spell spent at Stalybridge Celtic at the end of a playing career cut short by injury in his mid-twenties.
The striker was signed by Celtic manager Phil Wilson in the early 1990s after a serious knee injury ended his time at Boundary park.
Bunn, 55, admitted Celtic supporters never saw the best of him, explaining: “My knee was so bad I couldn’t train, but I managed to get away with playing, though not to the levels I wanted.
“I loved the game and I still got the enjoyment and satisfaction of playing while with Celtic.”
Bunn, who played for Latics in the 1990 final of the Littlewoods Cup against Nottingham Forest at Wembley, also played professionally for Luton Town and Hull City.
He admitted playing non-league football opened his eyes to a different side of the game.
“It was unbelievable and they were a different breed to the players in professional football, though it was still enjoyable playing at that level,” continued Bunn who made 36 appearances for Celtic between 1992 and 94.
Since retiring aged 27 from professional football, Bunn has had a variety of coaching roles at Wigan Athletic, Manchester City, Coventry City, Newcastle United, Rochdale and Huddersfield Town.
Bunn, who had two games as caretaker manager at Coventry and a short spell as assistant manager at Rochdale, had twice previously applied for the managerial job at Oldham.
He said: “It’s a case of third time lucky and extra special that it is at Oldham bearing in mind my playing days at the club.
“I think I’ve served my apprenticeship working with youth and U23 teams as well as being first team coach at Coventry for a number of years. It’s the next step up for me.
“For all the trials and tribulations about football management, it is a beautiful game and something in my blood, though the game is tough and the industry has its pitfalls.
“I have been around the game and done my apprenticeship and am keen to have a go at management, and this is a nice opportunity.”
Bunn, who replaced sacked Richie Wellens on a one-year contract, has appointed Andy Rhodes, another member of the 1990 Wembley team, as his assistant.
Though Bunn was at Boundary Park at the start of the glory days under Joe Royle, he admitted they are in the past and club has to look to the future having been relegated to the bottom division for the first time since 1971.
The Uppermill-based Bunn is hoping to reignite the club and put smiles back on the faces of fans who had endured a spell from 1997 to 2018 in the third tier and battles against relegation almost every season.
It was during Oldham’s 1989/90 season that Bunn wrote himself into the record books when he scored six goals in a 7-0 win against Scarborough – a feat that is still a record for the League Cup.
“They’re great memories, though, and hopefully I can create some more,” he said.
“I’ve always had an affinity with the club. I’m originally from Birmingham but I stayed in the area when I retired. I think a lot of the club and the people of Oldham.”
And looking ahead to the challenge after relegation, Bunn said: “We’re not trying to hark back to last season, we’re trying to look forward. We’re going to change the culture, certainly in terms of mentality and certainly at training.
“We’re trying to introduce a winning culture, which is something that’s been missing for a number of years.”