The plain and simple fact here, following our relegation to the National League, is that a clear line must be drawn in the sand. Or perhaps in this case, a line must be drawn in the stand. We encourage people to read this entire statement, obviously, but the take-away message is clear…please consider very carefully whether purchasing a season ticket for next season is the right thing to do. We are asking fans to strongly consider a boycott of Boundary Park for the 2022/23 season.
Oldham Athletic Football Club will start next season in the 5th tier of English football, a league where some teams operate on a semi-professional basis, only training twice a week (once if there is a game) and we could even be competing against teams such as Brackley Town and Maidstone United.
Could this situation have been avoided? Yes, this 100% could have been avoided. In reality, in the vast majority of cases relegation can always be avoided in some way shape or form. Our relegation was not sealed by bad referees, missed penalties or late goals we’ve conceded. Our relegation was sealed because of a fundamental failure from the people at the top of the club. This wasn’t well intentioned decisions that turned sour, this was down to neglect, plain and simple. The decision to take an EFL loan has crippled us in the transfer market and ultimately played a large part in our demise, but let us be honest and say that given the hierarchy at the club, we were already crippled to a considerable extent.
This week, we have seen club statements released in consecutive days. The first stated how relegation represented a ‘complete failure’ and asking for support following our relegation to the National League, the second stating that any fan who ran on the pitch would be searched for, found and banned from Boundary Park. It is clear that within the club, the ability to keep their finger on the pulse and to gauge the mood of supporters is as absent as it has been at any point over the last four years.
We have also seen John Sheridan appointed as manager for the 2022/23 season. John is always a welcome face at Boundary Park for everything he’s done. He was hamstrung upon his return and the finger of blame doesn’t point in his direction, but we thank him for coming back and trying. We understand that John’s intentions are well meant and he just wants the best for the club and it’s long suffering supporters, how can you not love him for that?! We obviously wish John all the best for next season, but a line must be drawn here. We backed him in our fight, but we can’t allow John to be used as a pawn by the owner and the board, who will inevitably cast him off when it suits them. He deserves better than that. We are in this battle for the long haul and can’t be thrown off course by short-termism. A poll conducted in the week by Oldham Times reporter Suzanne Geldard, said only 46% of fans (based on 631 responses) wanted to see John back in the dugout for next season.
As we have stated on numerous occasions, it is the decision of each and every supporter to make their own decision with their own money, and no one else should judge them for that either. However, based on all the facts presented above, we feel people should think long and hard about whether the club have given us all enough confidence and satisfaction that attending home games next season is the way forward. Push The Boundary along with the Athleticos and Foundation Oldham will be boycotting Boundary Park next season to send a clear message to the owner that we haven’t forgotten his promise to sell the club and also to show that despite an up-turn in attendances and atmosphere, this was to fight for survival, and not a signal that the opinion towards him has changed in any sense.
The contingency fund has been set up as a joint measure from both OASF and PTB to raise money for a specific set of reasons and we live in hope that this will give OASF, a 3% shareholder of the football club, access to the negotiating table as and when required. We have seen a number of amazing donations in recent days/weeks and for those that won’t be purchasing a season ticket, we would encourage you to donate to this fund, as it will give supporters a much bigger voice when deciding our future. It is abundantly clear that this represents the way forward.
We’ve had another busy week with good conversations and despite our relegation, the mood amongst PTB is one of defiance and determination to finish the battle that we started in November 2019. There are great people in this fanbase, clever people who want the best for the future of the club and we have been fortunate to speak to and meet a lot of you, and it’s now time to give those people a platform to create the club we all deserve.
Reclaim The Faith