Good Afternoon Latics Fans,
Following on from the update issued to supporters on Wednesday regarding the outcome of the meeting with club owner Abdallah Lemsagam, Push The Boundary held a meeting of their own on Wednesday evening to discuss our next steps as a group. We have listened to all your feedback and tried to ascertain the general consensus of fans at the current time.
After digesting the contents of the meeting on Tuesday, it remains clear to PTB that there was (and still is) an unwillingness and lack of desire to change the way the club is being run and a lack of both a short and long term strategy to bring a level of stability that fans could be content with.
We have seen the communication from the Athleticos this morning regarding the removal of banners and flags from the ground. It’s disappointing yet again to see the club reacting to an issue by trying to eradicate it, rather than deal with the root cause of why it’s happening to start with. It widens the gap even more between supporters and the club hierarchy.
On the back of this, we are firmly in the belief that the only way this club will have a stable future is with new ownership at the helm. Ownership that has the best interest of the supporters, the club and the town at the heart of everything they do. We have seen a litany of other clubs taken over in recent months, so we know that alternative ownership exists. We have also disclosed that on a number of occasions in the last 18 months we have been approached by people willing to buy the club. These people have only been put off by the unrealistic price tag placed on us by the owner.
We have to look at where we go from here. We cannot allow ourselves to get caught in the cycle of new players and new managers that buys more time for the regime in the hope that things improve, only to end up in the same position time and time again. So, what next…
Our proposed plan is made up of three logical steps:
1. Galvanise support
2. Provide alternative ownership options
3. Facilitate the exit of the current owner
To break down these in more detail, please see below what each item entails:
1. Galvanise Support
PTB have spent the last 18 months trying to raise red flags around our ownership and the trajectory of the club, this has included approaching local and national media to spread the word across the footballing community. This has definitely worked. We plan to use the contacts we have built up across various platforms to make sure OUR voice is louder now more than ever. Thanks to the passion of supporters, we have seen our plight catapulted onto a national stage and it would be foolish not to build on this.
There will be upcoming protests, starting with action taken at the Leyton Orient game, followed by a full protest at the Hartlepool home game on Saturday 18th September. All of these will be held in a safe, law abiding manner, and when conducted professionally this will only garner more support and attention amongst the media as well as the wider footballing community. By proxy, this will assist us with steps 2 and 3 of our plan.
Details of protests will be released over the next couple of days, and this will include a variety of ideas that we hope supporters will be happy with and feel they can get on board with. The theme for this will be “Your Protest, Your Way” as we appreciate that certain fans wish to continue to attend home and/or away game whereas others will choose to boycott all matches. We therefore need an approach that allows as many people as possible to be involved.
Due to time constraints of contacting relevant authorities (police, media etc) prior to the weekend, we have no plans to protest prior to the home game vs Barrow this forthcoming Saturday. We want any protest we do to have maximum effect and we don’t want to rush anything and for it to detract from our message.
The plan that we are providing will require a lot of support and a lot of goodwill in order for us to be successful. As such, we plead with supporters to continue to share the word of the current state of our beloved football club. We would also ask any supporters who would like to be involved in the planning process or would like to volunteer their services to get in touch with us via the usual means. We are most definitely all in this together and being only 4 people, we will need as much support as possible. Thanks to all those that have already offered their help in the past few weeks, we have made a note of everyone and will be in touch (if we haven’t already).
2. Provide Alternative Ownership Options
Supporters have aired concerns previously regarding alternatives if/when Abdallah leaves the football club. PTB knows that parties have been interested throughout his tenure and as mentioned previously, are aware of bids that have previously been submitted. These obviously need to be brought to the table and put in front of Abdallah once more, given supporters want the current owner to sell up.
As part of this point, we will be looking to meet any existing contacts we have that may bring more investors/potential parties to the table, in an attempt to provide viable & suitable alternative ownership options that would allow the current custodian of the club to step to one side.
PTB will be developing a wider database through gathering local company data through Companies House and look to make contact with suitable businesses within the Oldham postcode to ascertain any interest in our cause, whether that be financially or otherwise.
In addition to the above, and in conjunction with OASF, we will be looking to undertake a skills audit amongst supporters, where people can provide details of their personal strengths and what way they can volunteer to help. We have seen via conversations with other clubs Trusts’ that there are generally a wide range of skills that can be tapped into by people that are only too willing to help. We are sure the list will be endless! We will be discussing this shortly with OASF to ensure both parties have access to any volunteers who may pledge their help if/when necessary.
3. Facilitate The Exit Of The Current Owner
The final point of the current plan will be to facilitate the exit of the current owner in (hopefully) an amicable manner that is beneficial for all parties. We are all aware time is of the essence given the current trajectory that the club finds itself on and believe it is critical for Oldham Athletic to become under new ownership at the earliest possible opportunity. It is clear that with every passing day, the value placed on the club is diminishing and therefore it is better for the owner to mitigate his losses by imminently selling the club.
Our aim is to show that there are viable alternatives and also bring any investors/potential parties that we find to the negotiating table, as well as highlighting to the owner that in the eyes of supporters, the current relationship is untenable. We aim to keep communication lines open in the hope that the current owner sees that the logical next step is to put the club up for sale.
Alternatively, if the club do not want to cooperate with us over this, then we will of course continue to apply the pressure in different ways in an effort to make them see that they tenure at the club can no longer continue.
To conclude, the plan we look to bring to fruition will require a strategy, patience, help and most importantly support from the fan base of Oldham Athletic. This club belongs to supporters. The memories of many years live in the bodies of each and every one of us, the badge etched into the hearts and minds of us all and our football club, the past, present and future, deserves so much more. Keep supporting the cause, spread the word as much as possible because we will Reclaim The Faith once more.
Should anybody wish to add any ideas or provide any suggestions that may enhance us in our plan of action set out above, please do not hesitate to contact us via the usual methods of communication.
“Coming together is the beginning. Staying together is progress. Working together will bring success”