Oldham: While the managers of Leeds United, Luton Town and MK Dons were left to bask in the glory of their FA Cup giant killing wins, Oldham Athletic boss Paul Dickov was fighting for his future despite masterminding an epic fourth round victory over English aristocrats Liverpool.
Third tier Oldham's 3-2 win over seven-times FA Cup winners Liverpool on Sunday was the final offering of a week of Hollywood-like cup shocks in England. Fourth division Bradford City kicking things off on Tuesday by reaching the Capital One (League) Cup final at the expense of former European champions Aston Villa.
As Leeds celebrated downing Tottenham Hotspur, Luton pinched themselves at becoming the first non-league side to beat top flight opposition in 24 years with a win at Norwich and MK Dons toasted an unlikely 4-2 victory at Queens Park Rangers. Oldham boss Dickov, however, was left asking for permission to celebrate.
Seven league defeats in their last eight matches have left Oldham 19th in League One, just one point above the relegation zone, with the former Scotland striker not guaranteed to lead the side against Everton in the fifth round next month. "It's very awkward," Oldham chairman Simon Corney was quoted as saying by British media after the win at Boundary Park.
"We will have to chat about it tomorrow (Monday). Paul has his own decision to make. Days like this are great but the biggest thing is about staying in this division. "People come up to me now and ask how I can get rid of him after that, but, after the last league defeat, people were asking how can I keep him," the New York-based businessman said.
Dickov, who played for a host of clubs including Arsenal, Manchester City and Leicester City in his career, admitted he was in the dark about his future. "I very much want to stay and keep taking the club forward," said the diminutive 40-year-old. "It is a long time since we've had a full house here and I want to bring all those people back again for the Everton tie. "I don't know if it is enough (to save my job). Let me enjoy this first."
If it was Dickov's final game, his players produced a memorable performance for his possible swansong. They hustled and harried their illustrious opponents, who started leading strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge but, perhaps regrettably, error-prone backup goalkeeper Brad Jones and stand in defenders Sebastian Coates and Jack Robinson.
Matt Smith scored twice and Reece Wabara added a third as Oldham, who last played in the Premier League in 1994, hung on bravely at the end under waves of Liverpool pressure to reach the last 16. The club, who boast Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes amongst their supporters, have suffered financial difficulties since their relegations and have let go three members of Dickov's backroom staff to cut costs.
Corney said the windfall will ease the burden on the club based in the north west of England. "Rather than talking about relegation the whole time, it is a massive lift for the club and for the town," he told the club's website. "The finances are handy but we would have got through the season with or without the cup run. Now we get through it easier."
While Liverpool head to Arsenal for a key Premier League clash on Wednesday, Dickov will be hoping he is travelling on the Oldham team bus for Saturday's League One clash at mid-table Walsall. Corney expected his players to show a similar commitment at the Bescot Stadium. "I told the manager it is frustrating that the players proved they are good enough. "I am not saying necessarily to play like that level week in, week out but certainly to a much higher level than we have been."