PTB Statement

Good evening Latics fans, we hope you’re getting ready for the festivities over Christmas!

Following our statement released on Saturday (details of which can be found on our website) we imposed a 5pm deadline on the football club to respond, as per the terms laid out in our original statement dated 11.12.2019, briefly summarised as follows:

– No NDA’s to be signed by any member of PTB

– Fans would be given the opportunity to submit questions prior to the meeting

– We would also be asking our own questions

– We would report back fully and in good time to fans, with tangible measurable outputs

We requested a written response to confirm that we either would, or would not be granted a personal audience with the chairman to discuss our concerns around the way the club is being run as well as discussing future plans that would be relevant to supporters. This deadline has not been met.

Knowing full well that this may happen, in the correspondence (written and verbal) with Natalie Atkinson, we made it clear what would happen if we didn’t receive the courtesy of a response. Sadly this is now the position we are in.

When we failed to receive a response from  the club we called Natalie to discuss the lack of response and whether a meeting would take place, the details of the call were as follows:

– The club preferred all correspondence to go via the Trust. A trust that has since been heavily criticised. With all due respect to the Trust, we advised we would not comply with this request. We are an independent fans group and we would continue to operate independently and deal with the club directly.

– It was commented by Natalie that Abdallah had not agreed specifically to meet with PTB and the interview given stated “fans or groups of fans”. We kindly reminded Natalie that we were aware of this and have made previous reference to this via the press and in our own statements. We are indeed a “group of fans” and would therefore expect to be offered the same opportunity to meet the Chairman as any others. Today’s announcement would suggest only a quarter of our group is able to attend. In our call, Natalie believed a face to face meeting would be a “best for both parties and would be encouraged”. Let us reiterate that we had no issue with any other meetings taking place for the wider fanbase.

– We were invited to attend the newly formed ‘Match Day Working Group’ on the afternoon of the meeting but we questioned why the wider fan base was not invited to this, indeed it was only mentioned by the club at the recent meet and greet event that was attended by 18 people. We don’t feel this was an appropriate platform given the numbers in attendance and would have expected this to be advertised publicly. The inaugural meeting has taken place and was attended by 4 people, with 5 apologies. We are yet to see the minutes from this meeting.

Following this call, a further conversation took place later in the day (instigated by Natalie) following a conversation with Barry Owen, we were asked to release a statement in support of the Chairman and of our willingness to work with him. We advised we are not prepared to put out a statement of any kind in support of the Chairman as he has not provided us with any shred of evidence to suggest we should support him at this time. We advised Natalie that we have stated our willingness to work with him for the good of the fans and the football club on numerous occasions, but have to date received no commitment or desire whatsoever from the Chairman in return. We therefore declined and felt perplexed, bemused and quite frankly disappointed that this request had even been put to us.

As a group, Push The Boundary are well aware that the club has no obligation to meet with us, but we have reiterated to them that it is in their best interest to meet with a group who are associate members of the Football Supporters Association, that have garnered the support of a large percentage of the fanbase. We also reminded them that our involvement of the press and media means that their decision making and conduct is now being scrutinised on a national level. This appears to be of no concern to the club.

We have noted the article released by the club today 23.12.2019 where another fans Q&A has been arranged with Abdallah. This has come as something of a surprise to us following a conversation with Natalie on Friday when we chased up our prospects of a meeting. It seemed there was no initial return date pencilled in so this couldn’t be arranged. Due to our interest Natalie had advised when a date for his return is known, we would be the first to know so we could arrange dates for the meeting to happen. Something we took with the best of intentions. This communication hasn’t materialised. We yet again feel let down that despite numerous attempts to meet Abdallah, the best the club is offering PTB is one place at an open forum. It was mentioned by Natalie that the same fans from the first Q&A wouldn’t take priority over new attendees in order to give everyone a fair chance, so we live in hope that this is adhered to.

The acts of the club have been divisive.

We have, as a group, received correspondence that a small number of parties have made enquiries about the availability of the football club, only for these offers to be rebuked. We therefore feel that there is sufficient interest to take us forward, should this opportunity present itself. This should ease fans concerns should Abdallah decide to walk away.

We have given the Chairman ample opportunity to directly engage with us via the survey results (which the club have admitted to using despite not having the decency to respond to us to acknowledge this, this was only discovered during the phone call to Natalie), the letter from fans and our most recent request for a meeting. As fans first and foremost we feel we deserve answers to the most pressing issues that face our club and it’s future existence. This club has a proud history and a loyal fanbase but this loyalty is being severely tested and the Chairman needs to understand the consequences of his current actions and how they are damaging the reputation of the football club that we all love.

As a result of this blatant disregard for the fans of this club, we have been left no option but to proceed with our plans for to encourage a full food, drink and programme boycott for all fans, home and away at all future games at Boundary Park for the foreseeable future. This boycott will be the continuation of many different and varied actions to raise attention and awareness of the precarious position our club finds itself in. We hope we have as much support as possible from the fanbase.

This isn’t action we take lightly, as with the protest, but testing times call for testing measures and this will send a message that we shall NOT be ignored and treated with disregard in our efforts to bring back a sense of pride in our club.

As with all statements we make, please feel free to provide any comments and/or feedback you may have and we shall endeavour to respond. We are here for you all and all ideas are welcome and will happily run alongside