On Thursday, I tweeted "In danger of having nothing to blog about this week. Baz is gonna put out a statement at 11pm on Friday night, isn't he." Well, not quite. His latest words of wisdom in the Oldham Times were published on Friday morning. The man will not let me know peace. His latest proclamation was about how we needn't worry about the club going into administration, and even by his standards this quote is a whopper: "(administration) is what a lot of fans from what I call the rebel element would like to happen, but it’s not going to happen.” HAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm sure he had a good self-congratulatory chuckle at coining the phrase 'rebel element', but it makes Push The Boundary, the Supporters' Foundation and all of us who are fighting for the future of the club sound cool as fuck. We're James Dean. We're David Bowie. We're Public Enemy. If we're the Rebel Alliance, then the current regime are the Galactic Empire, and Barry is Jabba the Hutt. Barry's claims about how financially healthy the club is have done nothing to reassure us. Apparently we're far better placed financially than we were before Abdallah Lemsagam took over. Well whoop de do. Everyone knows we were heading for administration or worse under Simon Corney. Expecting to be congratulated on improving on that is like me wanting a round of applause for my physical fitness because I'm in slightly better shape than, well, Jabba the Hutt. And are we 'far' better placed financially? Kieran Maguire says we're technically insolvent, which Latics fan (and accountant) Chris Lloyd backs up. But we'll be OK, according to Baz: "Yes, people could call their debts in, and that could have its consequences accordingly [consequences are by definition always accordingly Barry fucking hell], but a lot of people who are creditors don’t want to be the reason why a football club closes down." Oh good, so the plan is that, so long as the people we're taking the piss out of and not paying continue to show us good will out of guilt, then we'll be fine. What a tremendous business strategy. The one organisation not known for showing good will or patience (especially to football clubs in recent years) is HMRC, but we needn't worry about the £882k the club owes in tax, because Abdallah says the previous owner is responsible for it so he doesn't need to pay it. Phew. Now I feel better. We all need to cut Abdallah some slack, remember, because he's put £5m of his own money into the club, and found 'hidden debts' after he took over. Sounds to me like he didn't do his due diligence properly. And who was hiding these debts? And who at the club knew about it? Seems like a lot of shit happened on Barry's watch when he was a club director, that he apparently knew nothing about, but we should definitely trust him as the fountain of knowledge about all things Oldham Athletic now that he's back as an advisor to the regime that he was slagging off a few months ago. I'm not interested in how much Abdallah has put into the club. He's spent it terribly and the club is a mess. In a typically 'be quiet, plebs' quote, Barry told the Oldham Times "whatever the rebel groups think, this is his business". Well if you think that Oldham Athletic is just Abdallah Lemsagam's business, then he's a terrible businessman. Attendances have collapsed, sponsors have disappeared, the 'brand' (ugh) has gone from being a Football League one to a non league one. But here's the thing: Oldham Athletic is not just a business. It's a beloved football club, with over a century of history, it's a community asset, it's all of our memories. It's beating West Ham 6-0. It's Neil Redfearn's penalty. It's the Great Escape. It's Scotty Vernon putting the ball in the City net. It's Pete Wild doing star jumps at Fulham. And it's ours. Whatever Barry Owen thinks. Whatever Abdallah Lemsagam thinks. And we'll be here long after they've left. We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope.
Written by Arlene Finnigan
Image by @nathanoafc