Pies, Paint & Potholes

The Ipswich Town FA Cup replay, was the first game at BP I have attended since before covid, when I had been going with my dad and a friend for about 26 years. Unfortunately, I have seen the steady decline both on and off the field in that time. I decided to go to meet up with a family friend and it was a real eye opener, noticing all the things I don’t see when I went regularly.


The first thing I noticed as I approached was a dark car park, full of potholes, where there’s nowhere to walk safely for pedestrians and children, who all have to dodge between the cars. Then there was a choice of walking through mud, up a slope or around on the concrete which has what can only be described as a river running down it when raining. I approached a turnstile at the Rochdale Road End and was forced to have cash available to pay to get in. I know a lot of people carry cash but I don’t tend to and have been attending a few non-league games recently where it’s pay by card for everything. The first thing I saw on approach was chunks of paint all over the floor where it had peeled off the walls. The refreshment area looks like it hasn’t been touched in the whole 26 years I have been going and in this day and age it isn’t hard to get a nice tasting hot drink, but the tea and coffee look like something out of Alan Partridge’s travel tavern! I went into the toilets, which are appalling, they are falling apart, again, all the blue paint on the floor has rubbed off, there are signs on the door that say “”out of order” and all the advertising spaces on the walls are either ripped, out dated or non-existent.


Inside the stadium I enjoyed seeing the pitch looking great. Tuesday nights always feel a better atmosphere and I was surprised by the number of people still attending, people who clearly have the love of Oldham at their heart and who need to be congratulated. We sat in the seats where we used to have our season tickets and chatted to the people who used to sit around us back in the day. For me, this is what going to the game is all about, community, meeting friends and enjoying conversation with everyone there. One of the things that is always apparent to me is that Oldham has large populations of non-white residents who are not represented in the ground. More needs to be done by the club, to engage with these communities and encourage them into the ground on match days, it should be a home for everyone and anyone.


Aside from the glaringly obvious issues in the stadium, the game was enjoyable and I thought Oldham had enough in the first 70 minutes to win it, as Ipswich were relatively poor. The tactic of three slow central defenders spread across the pitch seems one that is doomed to fail week in week out and will ultimately lead to numerous goals being conceded. In possession the tactic was fine but as soon as we lost possession in the wrong area of the pitch, the opposition only needed to play one ball down the wings and the defence were all over the place and we were in trouble. Why we have managers who insist on one upfront (Bahamboula was not playing upfront) is beyond me. At home people want to be entertained and Hope seems to have no pace, strength or the ability to play that role by himself. In the second half the lack of substitutions killed us and we had no real plan of what to do except go deeper and deeper, until eventually, the inevitable goal came. There was no rush to get any subs on (too late anyway) and when they came, were like for like, as though we had given up (a strange parallel of how it feels to a lot of supporters about the club).

To cap it off at the end, we left by the bottom of the stand straight into a pile of mud and puddles! You can either decide to jump/jog down a short, but steep slope onto tarmac or skate further across the mud until you hit some form of hard ground, before returning through the car park, whilst attempting to avoid cars racing for the exit.



It was an experience I enjoyed for nostalgia, but not one I will be repeating anytime soon. It’s a sad state of affairs all-round when so many improvements could be made quickly with the right people in the club. I’m not going on Saturday against Port Vale, but I hope you enjoy packing the park if you are.


I hope that the club, the land and the stadium can soon be under the same ownership together and a new owner or consortium, who have the best intentions, the desire and the drive can be found, bring the fans back, improve the facilities and make the experience much better for everyone.


Matthew Fielding


Thanks to Matthew for subitting this weeks fans post.


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