This week we saw the announcement of the league 2 fixtures, a day when we are busy looking for the grounds we’ve yet to visit, our favourite away days, where we are on boxing day, New Years Day and where we are for the last away game of the season…
Following a busy week where we have seen Latics sign 5 new faces and appointing a new commercial manager (Steve Brown), we wanted to give you all an update from our perspective.
First of all we want to welcome Hallam Hope, Sam Hart, Harrison McGahey, Jayson Leutwiler and Jordan Clarke to the club! We hope your time at the club is a happy and a successful one and that you buy into the fabric of the club, the history and have an understanding of what fans expect from you! Every player that pulls on the shirt has an opportunity to become a fans favourite and to go down in the clubs history. The support from fans will be there for all to hear this season.
Since our last update regarding our ‘Away Days’, we have spoken with all clubs in league 2 for next season to advise of our intention to pay on the day away. We would like to thank the clubs who have already replied in support of our stance and have agreed to help where possible. It is encouraging that clubs see our plight and want to support it. At the present time, Covid is still very much a part of our day to day routines, but we have hope that our match day experience (and ultimately attendances) will be back to normal by the start of the season. This follows the news that 60,000 fans are to be allowed into Wembley in the coming weeks for the European Championship semi-finals.
When we announced this action, we knew that this was always going to be a factor and that things could potentially be subject to change. This remains the case and we will adapt accordingly with whatever is within our control as a group and as fans. We also appreciate that there will be certain games where an ‘all ticket’ scenario is unavoidable, Rochdale away for example.
Rest assured that we are doing all we can to ensure that as many of us can pack out away grounds up and down the country for the upcoming season. Should there be any issues around away fans attending games or these being restricted we shall update supporters as soon as possible. We will continue to monitor Government guidance on this. This was never our only course of action so if it cannot be executed in the manner that we want, then we will move on to other ideas.
We have also contacted the EFL and FSA regarding our concerns over the ticketing situation for away days, as well as a lack of engagement from the owner and have requested intervention from them to address the urgent issues fans have with the North Stand, the apparent disregard of supporter interaction and a failure to address a petition by near on 3,000 supporters. The club have once again shown supporters that they would prefer not to face a problem head on, but to try and circumnavigate an issue by deflecting attention elsewhere. What supporters are asking for is far from unreasonable.
We had our call with Angela Rayner last week, which we felt was incredibly positive. As we mentioned last Friday, we do have more work to do on this and we are in the process of compiling this so we can move things forward. We also had our call with Debbie Abrahams and Jim McMahon to discuss the plight of our club and again this was received positively. Now all parties have been spoken to, we can work towards coming together. It was important to address the key issues in the time we had and we think we did that well. We find it very encouraging that people are coming forward to try and create a platform for change by listening to supporters views. We have also reached out to others who we believe can offer some assistance.
It was great for fans to hear the story of Blackpool Football Club on the Boundary Park Alert System Podcast, as told by Christine Seddon. Christine has been inspirational (along with others) in enforcing change at her club and while there are similarities to our journey as a club, we appreciate there are also areas which differ. However, the overriding message is that fans CAN make a difference and that constantly banging on the door and applying pressure via various means, will eventually pay dividends.
Finally, you will have seen a recent appeal for members to join Oldham Athletic Supporters Foundation. This is a message we support as the coming together as fans is vital to the success, and the future of the club.
We have read the June statement from The Foundation and we have to admit we are incredibly disappointed. We are disappointed because this was not ‘PTB’s’ letter, it was a letter signed by nearly 3,000 people, based on a strength of feeling in the fanbase. This would include people who have also signed up to the Foundation to be represented by them. Just because our actions seemingly don’t merit approval in the boardroom, does not mean that they don’t warrant discussion and require resolution. Fans voices have been ignored for far too long now and this is precisely the reason why PTB were formed, and why we will continue to be around. We don’t see this matter as closed and will push on behind the scenes rather than play the situation out for all to see.
It was also mentioned that there is no plan B. We have made it abundantly clear that bids are being made for the club, reasonable ones considering our situation, and the owner is holding out for an unrealistic price, effectively pricing us out of the market. We have asked the owner to consider these bids based on the weight of public opinion against him. We have seen time and time again, that people DO want to buy football clubs, regardless of the nuances (league position, land, stadium etc) attached to them. We firmly stand by this.
If the Foundation want to work with the club, then this is entirely their prerogative, but we don’t feel it’s appropriate for major issues such as fan dissatisfaction to be ignored or not given an appropriate platform. Collectively, we have found ourselves in the situation of trying to work with the owner before with very limited (if any) signs of success. Fans have mandated that the club should be held to account by its Foundation, but we are yet to see any public evidence of this following the election took place in September 2020.
To have a divided fanbase only has one winner…the party or parties that seek to divide them. We have no intention of letting that happen and we therefore implore you to join the Foundation and make sure that you can have your say on how we approach these conversations within the boardroom. While this is about right now, it’s also about YOUR club over the next 10, 20 or 30 years. Only we are capable of shaping this how we want it to look and to make it the effective, working Foundation that the fans deserve for their 3% shareholding in the club. This 3% is fan power that is yet to be fully recognised in the way it should be and we feel it’s time to utilise this. You have until 30th June to sign up and membership freezes prior to the AGM. This is your chance to make a difference.
As always, we thank your for your support, your patience and your ideas. We are on a journey and we want you to come with us. As always, all feedback and any ideas you may have is welcome.
Reclaim The Faith
Push The Boundary