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Hark the herald angels sing

Words by Will Holdaway, picture from @Magi.


There wasn’t going to be a blog this week. No acerbic wit, no overblown horror at the failings of Oldham Athletic; no overblown and premature celebration of our greatness; no caustic sarcasm about our travails. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.



Josh Stones arrives at Boundary Park.

There wasn’t going to be a blog because nothing has happened that you can’t cram into a sentence since the last thing that happened, which was we got torn to shreds at home by a dotcom experiment gone too far. Poor Suzanne and others have to write something for the Oldham Times even if nothing happens, but there’s no need for a blog. You can just sack it off.

 

People tell me there was a match last Saturday, but it can be summarised in a sentence or a tweet, so there's no need for me to write about it. (In a sane world, the Oldham Times would've carried just the score, goalscorers and times, and penalties result.) We beat a farmstead on penalties to scrape through to the next round of a competition to win a vase, and face a bigger test in the next round against a suburb. Hendon is a nice suburb to be fair, if you like suburbs.

 

Nothing happened so I wasn't going to write anything, but then we signed a striker (as per), late on Friday (also as per). Suzanne had her piece on the OT website at about 10 past 7 last night. Poor Suzanne.


I saw some of the commentary on Twitter about whether Josh Stones (pictured above, centre) is a good or a bad signing. Some say we already have enough strikers. Some went through the cast of strikers and concluded that we don’t have enough. Nuttall is on his way out, Reid is injured, Fondop is mercurial (which is to say fundamentally unreliable), and Willoughby isn’t fit enough or good enough to do any damage at this level. Ergo Stones.

 

I am profoundly ambivalent. There’s more questions than answers. Is he being brought in just to appease Norwood, who has not been shy on and off the pitch of expressing his frustration with his ever-changing cast of strike partners? If so, is Norwood now the manager?


Is Stones going to warm the bench in Reid’s seat while he recuperates?


In the context of our season, there’s more reason to be dispirited by this signing than there is to be happy or confident. It’s got the whiff of disorganisation and even panic about it as the play-offs recede from view, as the games tick by and as we go nowhere.

 

When I last wrote this blog, we’d just won two away games in a week. I’d not felt so optimistic since 1987 or so. Back then, a hundred or so years ago, our team and club was pregnant with potential. But then again I’m a dick for being sucked in by this football club, and have been for a very long time.

 

We’ve got Solihull away in the league today: an actual fixture worthy of a blog next week. I’m told that the bookies have us as marginal favourites. But the odds tell us nothing about the probability of the outcome. They just mean that plenty of our fans are still in denial about Southend, Fylde and Ebbsfleet (and on and on) and also that our fans have not heeded the many warnings against betting on Oldham Athletic.


I have nothing to say about faith this week, only that it comes and goes. Mostly goes.

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