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Don't break my heart, Micky

Another quiet week at Boundary Park. Cheers for waiting until 6.30pm last night to announce Mellon, lads. Really appreciate it.


Last Saturday, with hindsight, was Thompson’s last chance to pitch for the job permanently, and it started very well. It’s been a while since we missed a goal through getting into the ground late. Went to the Greyhound instead of the Rifle and underestimated how long it’d take to walk to the Chaddy End. Oh, and having picked Norwood as first scorer in the OWTB Prediction League for most of the season, I switched to Reid last Saturday. You’re all fucking welcome.

Ironically, we’d have had a cracking view of the goal if we’d been in, as we were sat way nearer the front than we usually would because it’s a struggle to find a seat in the small bit of the Chaddy that’s open for home fans, that isn’t covered in mud and bird shit. They really need to clean them if they’re going to carry on trying to have us in both ends.

It was the same old story, unfortunately – dominant first half, faded in the second. Fondop looked a handful when he came on and had a great chance that he should have finished. Having won a header on the halfway line (flattening their player in the process), he made a good run down the middle, had a shot that was blocked about 25 yards out, but, having won the ball back, his follow up shot was tame and went wide. It was a shame, he’d done the hard work.


Their equaliser felt like it came from nothing, but again, we’d not being keeping the ball well enough and had been inviting pressure. It didn’t seem like that dangerous a chance, but we were slow to react, and it was a decent looping header. Both teams could have won it in injury time – I really thought Fondop’s header was going in but it went wide, and it was a huge relief when Kendall’s shot for them went right across goal.


Thompson was quite rightly disappointed after the game and was keen to stress that he believed that our lack of stamina in the second half was a mental issue and not a fitness or physical one. He clearly wanted to carry on in the job, saying he knew what we needed to take the team forward and that we need “another 3 or 4 players”, and that recruitment “can’t be on hold”. It’s not unreasonable to point out that, as Head of Recruitment, he bears a fair bit of responsibility for the squad we’ve got.


On Thursday it was announced that Steve Thompson and Neil Redfearn had left their positions as the interim management team, that Paul Murray would take training ahead of the Altrincham game, and that “An announcement in relation to the managerial position will be made in due course”. The interim management team leaving before the new permanent manager is in place? Having to appoint a caretaker manager to take over from the other caretaker manager? This is Oldham Athletic. We do things differently here.


I’m not going to speculate on the circumstances of Thompson and Redfearn leaving, or comment on whether they or the club did the right thing. I’m sorry to see them go in the circumstances they did, Thompson did a decent job as caretaker, it was lovely having Redfearn back at Boundary Park (however briefly), and I wish them both well.


When the confirmation of the start of the Mellonball era finally came on Friday night, it wasn't really a shock. We'd been waiting for it all day. Some more impatiently than others. Once again, Wadmin excelled. Giving the job to them until the end of the season might not have been the worst thing.


So, welcome Micky Mellon, then. He certainly looks like the right man from his CV. He’s won promotion 5 times, twice from the National League. He took both Fleetwood and Tranmere out of this division, and won back-to-back promotions with Tranmere, before they were cruelly (or hilariously, depending on your point of view) relegated on the Duckworth Lewis method in the COVID-curtailed 2019-20 season, despite having won the last three games they played that season, and them having a game in hand.


He's certainly saying all the right things, calling us a "wonderful football club" and speaking about the job as a "genuine privilege". And James Norwood is very happy, which is nice. Hopefully we’ll now win all our remaining games and win the league. Let’s not shout too much abuse if we don’t, though.


In wider football news, congratulations and good luck to Southend United and Scunthorpe United, who have both been taken over by consortia, which hopefully should bring them security and stability. Having been there ourselves, it’s important to show solidarity when other clubs face difficulties that threaten their existence, unless of course that club is Milton Keynes.


A group calling themselves (ugh) DonsAction have put out a statement calling on their board to sack manager Graham Alexander, and bemoaning “years of cutting corners off the pitch”. Aw, so the fans who’ve spent years revelling in their club’s franchise status and gloating about stealing an established club’s place in the Football League are unhappy, are they? Cry me a river. Maybe you should form a phoenix club and work your way up the pyramid, lads. You know, like your club should have done in the first place. Oh, and drop the ‘Dons’. You’re not Wimbledon and you never were. Fuck off.


Have a great day out if you’re off to Altrincham today. I wish I was joining you, but family duty calls, and I need to build up some brownie points if I want to go to Rochdale next Saturday. (Huge respect to Alex Reid for repeatedly calling them ‘Dogdale’ on the phone-in, good lad.) Say hiya to Micky Mellon if you see him in the stand. And, as always, KTMFF.

Written by Arlene Finnigan. Photos by Thomas Lee Stacey.

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