Saturday 4th September
This week kicked off with a 0-3 home defeat to @Jamieinfurness’s Barrow. Quite a low point in an already crowded field this season.
Feelings were high after the previous days revelations relating to our exuberant Athelticos having their banners & flags being banned.
The ban seemed a bit easier to tweet than to implement as Mike Miney had a popular tweet, accompanied with a photo -
“Within four minutes of the game fans hold aloft a banner in the Joe Royle Stand against the club’s owner”
Opta Joe didn’t help the mood any with this little nugget of info -
“Barrow’s 3-0 victory at Oldham was their biggest Football League away win since April 1971 (3-0 at Lincoln). Wheeling.”
Chorley Oldham summed up the feelings nicely -
“Just for the record……. I do love you Oldham Athletic Association Football Club. I just don’t like you that much at the moment.”
NB: If you think it was easy to find a tweet without an R rated word, you would be fucking wrong.
A lot of the immediate reaction was based on the 65th minute pitch invasion, with almost universal support for the action via the twitterverse.
Due to some recent coverage, and exposure, the plight of Oldham Athletic is gaining more attention - perfectly highlighted by this tweet from Gilly Clarke -
“I don’t support Oldham or have a real emotional connection. But if there’s one club in the whole of England that deserves to be run properly, deserves to be progressive rather than regressive, it’s Oldham Athletic. Keep the protests up, it’s the only way you survive”
OAFCEd made an impassioned appearance on Radio Manchester to succinctly describe the situation - Oldham getting a rare look in as Bolton were obviously playing on Monday.
The mood darkened as the evening progressed as this tweet from Danny Taylor expressed -
“We welcomed you back in 2018. We wanted you to succeed. We didn’t demand success. We demanded a club we could be proud of You ruined that. You didn’t listen. You didn’t engage. You’ve blamed EVERYBODY but yourself. YOU and YOUR brother are the problem. Sell!”
While most recognise the failings are higher up the food chain, a few members of Oldham Athletic Supporters On Twitter (OASOT - New name for users of #oafc? ) started to question the head coach’s position.
In a much more sinister twist, a couple of dark clad goons were highlighted seemingly attacking a fan, causing quite the speculation about where they had come from, and what their role was.
The Shirt Disciple offered a call for further action -
Sunday 5th September
Away from the terraces the Tics in Twitter (TIT - maybe not that one!) received feedback from the Supporters groups meeting with the club’s administration. The response from the club’s board was brief but both PTB and the Foundation put out strong statements including their plans going forward.
It soon became perfectly clear that the dreadful performances and contemptuous treatment of the fans by the clubs administration was simply a ruse concocted by the 2 supporters groups to swell their ranks as a membership drive by both the Foundation and PTB proved to be incredibly successful.
OASF posted on Sunday evening -
“306 new members today is a fantastic statement of intent from you, the fans of #oafc. Thank you.”
There was also a call to arms by PTB relating to orange wigs. They will be this seasons must have accessory - Get ‘em while they're hot! They’re lovely.
All in all, it was a busy weekend on the old(ham) hashtag.
Monday 6th September
Monday dawned with a whiff of hope. The word was beginning to spread beyond our little hashtag, as fans from other clubs offered tweets of support.
Chris Stringer was moved to write -
“Orient fans have been superb the whole time. Nice to see fans of "rival" clubs share their support too”
And even local rivals felt moved to pipe up with this message of support? @ChaffRAFC chirped in with -
“Do I want Oldham to get battered everywhere they go? Yep. Will I sing that song when they're losing? Yep. Do I want them to have to go through what Bury fans went through? Absolutely fucking not. This summer should have opened the eyes of Dale fans everywhere.”
TalkSport Radio asked to speak to our fans representative. Apparently, well-known lay-about Matt Dean had nothing better to do on a weekday morning than to chat to Danny Murphy about our trials and tribulations. He was well lauded on twitter for doing a great job of putting the record straight from a previous interview where one of the clubs directors had accused the fans of trying to kill the club.
OAFC Memories summed it up well -
“Superb @MattDean78. Amazing what can be done when someone lets you speak.”
Then, on Monday evening, the big one dropped.
Adam Millington -
“Very lengthy letter from #OAFC chairman Abdallah Lemsagem in response to OASF's open letter”
Via twitter, the Oldham News And Notes in Social Media (ONANISM - Do not google it!) unleashed on it, kicking off with an update from Ryan Hamer -
“League wins 1
Club Statements 8”
Our new Directors of the Oldham Athletic Supporters Foundation were extremely active this week. As well as the work they were obviously doing behind the scenes: Bradley Knowles was right on top of some utterly mental ticketing issues. Andrew Jones was setting out the three stage action plan on Radio Manchester. Jim Booth was regularly updating our Foundations new membership as it achieved a remarkable 1000 members and Matt Dean was everywhere, poking the Facebook bear in an attempt to engage in a discussion on the Boundary Park Alert System Podcast, a conversation we would all love to hear.
Tuesday 7th September
Push The Boundary then got in on the act, with Chris Stringer talking to Radio Manchester, explaining the fan group’s reaction to the open letter from the clubs ownership.
Tuesday evening with what would best be described as a large pot of urine on a stove being brought up to a temperature where it begins to vaporise, as a rumour began to circulate that Garry Caldwell was being lined up to put his coat on a new wobbly hook, next the hole in the wall where a hook had just recently wobbled out. (The people who put the lettering on Training gear at #oafc must be thinking about ordering a superyacht by now).
a: This turned out to be incorrect and Keith Curle was able to concentrate on preparing the team for Saturday.
b: This turned out to be correct and Garry Caldwell had to quickly throw a team together with no time for tactics or changes in structure.
( delete accordingly).
The result of the game will be unaffected.
Wednesday 8th September
Wednesday was a quiet day on the Oldham hashtag… Only joking. It was insane!
Mr Lemsagam had a pre taped interview played on TalkSport, and one of our own, Matt Dean was offered the right to reply. The twitterverse seemed to have given up on this particular route of publicity as, according to #oafc, Simon Jordan & Jim Smith appeared to have an agenda that didn’t have Oldham Athletic Supporters best interests at heart. It’s understood that Simon’s “Block” button had to be replaced after 20 mins due to exhaustion following the interview, and subsequent “light hearted ribbing”.
Club legend Ian Marshall tweeted to set the record straight -
“Sadly @talkSPORT miles off the truth this morning Pundits way off the pace not done their homework .The Oldham Owner is a charlatan needs to sell up ASAP no favours from the media @talkSPORT spouting rubbish!!”
After the owners promises to reduce the number of mistakes, work with the fans & respect the differing opinions, @OfficialOAFC sent out an innocent enough looking tweet -
“A change in the ticketing arrangements for upcoming fixtures.”
This turned out to be a freeze on season ticket sales, and a severe restriction on purchasing tickets for the Leyton Orient trip, plus a suspension of all tickets for the Hartlepool match. This was met with the same emotion that a furious bull enjoys when it meets a waving red rag.
Ryan Hamer was on the ball again -
“League Wins 1
Club Statements 9”
By Wednesday evening #oafc had gone well and truly international with World Soccer Talk -
“If you think your team is a mess, meet Oldham Athletic. They've banned their own fans from attending the next home match because the supporters have been protesting against the owners of the club #OAFC”
The Rants And Complaints In Social Media (oh no - that one is even worse ), then teemed in, and very few were to thank the club for the statement, and wish it well.
The more scallywag element of the fanbase was up in arms, but still taking time out to congratulate the new darling, @EmmaRaducanu on the Tennis open circuit. Craig Simpson was one such wag of scally -
“Brilliant Emma, Once you have finished with your old tennis balls can you please send them to @OA95Athleticos thank you”
A message crafted by Push The Boundary highlighted the Oldham fans excellent reputation away from Boundary Park, and called for respect at the away games -
“I think we have to make it clear we need as much support from the wider football world. You never know which prospective owner is watching.”
Leyton Orient’s fan groups were linked into these communications, our next away opponents, and a team that were bought by an owner who saw the fan’s passion to be rid of a dreadful owner.
The support was building and messages of appreciation started to filter through from Facebook, Twitters more insidious cousin, with this gesture to PTB, OASF, and the Athelticos from MAK -
“Thanks for all you are doing We are stronger together and very much have the Football Family on our side Check out the supportive responses”
Thanks for the message & the tip MAK, but we wouldn’t touch Facebook even if Mark Zuckerburgh promised to go back in time and wipe out Mark Hughes’ equaliser in the semi-final. ( Well..maybe. Let’s talk!)
Thursday 9th September
Thursday was a special day, The Boundary Park Alert System! Podcast brought an anniversary to our attention -
“Today is Rick Holden's birthday, so amongst the madness, let's all take a moment to wish a true #oafc legend a very happy birthday!”
The Peterborough owner Darragh MacAntony waded in a bit on the podcast “The Hard Truth”, and he did not mince his words. It was quite a nice tonic after the fawning support of the current regime by the ill informed, or just arrogant, Jim Smith & Simon Jordan but a cheeky U-turn by Jordan suggested he’d heard enough to know he had backed the wrong horse.
Leyton Orient decided to open the game on Saturday so fans could pay on the day.
This shouldn’t have been a very controversial move, but due to Oldham Athletics recently introduced restrictions, it offered all the travelling fans a chance to see how a club can be run well. The respective fan groups coordinated, and a protest at the 4 min mark ( representing 4 years of turmoil ) has been planned.
OASF tweeted a short thankyou -
“We've had so many messages from fans & media! Thank you for connecting, sharing our story & encouraging us. Special mention to @BlackpoolST, @daletrust & @LOFansTrust & all who've offered to help us. We are grateful, we are focused & WE are football #oafc #bfc #lofc #rfc”
While the messages of support kept on coming in.
Port Vale Supporters @ValeSupporters -
“Football is for the fans, we saw last year it's nothing without them. Stay strong Oldham fans, we're all with you!”
Neville O'Neill, @nevilinski -
“Oldham fans were the loudest and best at @AFCWimbledon and sung us an anti franchise song at the end. Wombles with Oldham”
Oldham fans know some pretty niche songs.
On Thursday evening, #OAFC was offered some sobering perspective on our current plight by one of our humble red neighbours, @sanchoout, in replying to @nathanoafc and @FootballlForAll -
“Just be grateful you don’t have the Glazers as your owners!”
I think it’s important that we consider that we could have an owner who takes out hundreds of millions of pounds from the club leaving it with only hundreds of millions of pounds to survive. It’s not as though they have just bought the worlds leading goal scorer in International football.
Be careful what we wish for!
Friday 10th September
In his Friday column, Daniel Storey of inews wrote -
“Oldham Athletic are a club in civil war, tumbling ever further into ignominy. The only hope now is that the wreckage will be salvageable.”
Suzanne Geldard also added a bit of fuel to the fire with this follow-up article in the Oldham times -
“Ticket freeze was club’s choice and not based on external influences”
After the club’s administration had inferred otherwise earlier in the week., the Twitterers Of Oldham Town ( TOOT - mmm, not sure about that ) were not best pleased, though few were surprised. Among the more outlandish responses, Luke made a heartfelt, though ultimately deluded plea -
“Can you not just go a day without a fuck up @OfficialOAFC or being found out to be lying to fans again You know.... Like a normal club”
Mark Mills - “Logged on a bit late today and missed the morning piss boil “
What you need is some sort of roundup for the week of all the pissboils. We might have something for you Mark.
On a more light-hearted note, the EFL decided to troll Oldham Athletic fans in their choice of match official, as Lewis pointed out -
One of our intrepid directors from OASF infiltrated The Lo Down, the fans podcast of Saturdays “lambs to the slaughter” Leyton Orient. Matt Dean gave an emotional recounting of the story so far, leaving the hosts a little bit rattled and emotional. He also got a dig about the result too.
It was heartening to hear how other clubs have gone through and survived the sort of chaos we are experiencing, returning stronger and better for it.
Friday evening credit up on us and #oafc tried to settle down and prepare for the festivities at Leyton Orient tomorrow. The PTB lads sent a message before signing off -
“It’s been one hell of a week. Time to relax and enjoy the rest of the day before a massive day out tomorrow. You really are amazing. Thank you from us 4 for your support and suggestions and if you see us tomorrow, please come and say hello”
Saturday 11th September
Well it’s the big day. A lot of tweets have been twittered, but today was the day the Oldham fans and the friends they made along the way had to show what it was all about.
Is the north stand open? @joeroylestand sent this message, responsibly recognising that they may have a drink or seven, and so reminded themselves too -
“Everyone (including me) who’s off to Orient today - don’t go on the pitch, don’t throw stuff on. #oafc Let’s make our voices heard in the stands throughout the game, but #lofc have been a great help and we need everybody on side.”
This was the theme of the morning as the week had obviously raised the profile of our plight, and we were, more than ever before, in the shop window for a potential new investor. The message had obviously been reinforced enough TheTweeterFormallyThoughtToBeAHappyClapper @appyclappyclare to tweet -
“Seriously guys, I think people have got the message about behaving today and not going on the pitch”
While the majority of football fans on #oafc appreciated the empathy offered by Leyton Orient fans, it wasn’t universal as Del Boy @DelBoy54174357 offered an alternative opinion -
“Why are our fans wanking over Orient lmfao they only want your entrance money you sad clowns once your in the ground they don’t care get a grip you sado’s”
But it didn’t curry a lot of support, and in some cases raised a little concern - Steve howe @Stevehowe13 suggested a little introspection might be in order -
“You seem a little bit obsessed with wanking and thinking about other people doing it, cant be healthy”
“Just gone on the home commentary and heard Roy's phone ring”
Comforting to know that even though we have made new friends along the way, some things never change.
A Week in Tweets is written by Robin McGrother, who lives in France and is active on the hashtag as @McgrotherRobin.