PTB Update – 03/07/2022

Shocked.  Elated.  Cautious.  Excited.  Optimistic.  All of these emotions and many, many more all in one mixing pot. Walking up to and looking at Boundary Park with an anticipation of what might have been coming and it’s amazing how something can look the same, but feel so different. 

Thursday was a big step towards a victory for fans, for doing things the right way.  It’s a victory for hard work, perseverance, dedication to the cause and a belief that things can change.  It’s a victory for the town but also for football.  All the times we were told by fans of other clubs that this day would come and how it would feel but nothing can prepare you for it when it happens. There were days when it felt so far away, but we knew we couldn’t and wouldn’t stop until we got what we all wanted. While everything isn’t signed sealed and delivered, we remain hopeful from what we have been told that we are dealing in formalities and it would be in nobodies interests for this not to happen.
As a fanbase over the last 4 years, we have endured a decline and a divide between club and supporters the likes of which we have never witnessed in our lifetime, and we hope we never see again.  The identity of our club had all but disappeared and we have seen fans treated with a level of contempt that has left loyal, lifelong supporters with no choice but to walk away from the club they love.  As we have stated time and time again, this is wholly unacceptable.  The good people we have lost from within the club, the numerous managers who took charge that can be filed under “right man, wrong time”, the bad press, the fallouts with senior players, the banning of supporters and all other countless issues we have faced.
We have tried our level best to unite the fanbase at a time when senior people within the club tried their best to divide us.  It didn’t work.  All this did was make us stronger, bring us closer together and over the last few months we have seen apathy disappear and had people step forward and try to make a fundamental difference.  This kind of passion, dedication & positive action can only reflect well on the fanbase and there is no doubt that this would have been seen by any potential new owner and has led us to where we are today.
When we were formed in October 2019, we said we would hold people to account for the good of the club and it’s fanbase, and this 100% still stands.  Once the deal is completed, we cannot allow ourselves to fall into the same trap again.  We have fallen so far, too far…and while we must not dwell on this, we have to learn from the lessons of the last 4 years (and longer).  Now is the chance to start again, to build something bigger and better than ever before and we need to do this TOGETHER.  The potential this club has is there for all to see and we have always believed this and never given up hope that this day would come.  We enter this new era with our eyes wide open and we, along with OASF, will not allow the same mistakes to be made.
We still feel that fan involvement/investment is fundamental to our future and future fundraising will form a key part of that.  Sunday was a huge day and one that was well received.  It was amazing to see so many smiling, happy Latics fans contributing their time and money to the future of OUR club and the money raised was the icing on the cake or so we thought….
We will look to engage with the new ownership, alongside OASF and ensure that they have all the access required to the knowledge and information we have gathered over the last 2 and half years.  We will also liaise with supporters to try and help build the foundations of the club once again.  It’s so important that now, we get this right.  There is so much hard work ahead, but at least in the short-term, let’s just enjoy the moment.

We would like to place on record our thanks to Darren Royle for inviting us to hear the announcement in the OEC yesterday. To be sat in a room alongside John Sheridan while being told that a deal had been struck, is genuinely something that we will never, ever forgot. We had the opportunity to ask questions, and were given answers based on what could be shared at the current time. The common denominator so far is each person we have spoken to is delighted with our (potential) new owner and feel that we have struck gold. We look forward to meeting them when possible and will obviously try and fully represent the views of the fanbase when we do.

Once the ink is dry and our due diligence is complete, our time and energy will be ploughed into supporting the new owner and as we said from day one, this is something that we always wanted to do. We were impressed with how Darren spoke, how passionate and engaged he was and the atmosphere he wants to build in and around the football club. The family name that adorns the North Stand has left a long lasting impression on this club and we truly felt that Darren wants to continue this legacy and do it justice. Shez was…well, Shez. He wants to get on with the task at hand and it is no exaggeration to say that there was more meaningful engagement in that 30 minutes than there has been in the last 53 months.

We await the outcome of the deal and for the ink to dry on all the paperwork, but we are hopeful and feeling incredibly optimistic about what the future may bring.
Danny, Steve, Will & Adam

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