The radical idea of pooling resources, cutting staff and playing at a new ground was confirmed by the Oldham chairman, Ian Stott, on Thursday. All three clubs are struggling financially and Stott revealed they are considering the plan as the only way forward.
"I have already discussed the possibility with my counterparts at Bury and Rochdale and they see the long-term benefits of such a venture," he said. "There would be horrendous problems, fans from all three clubs who would be opposed to the idea. But it is a question of survival."
The new club would be based at a new stadium near Oldham. Under current Nationwide League rules on mergers, the club would have to commence its existence in the Third Division.
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