"Ten Things I Hate About You" by Owen Gartside

I want you to want me...It’s a simple request. And a fairly standard expectation of their club for a football fan I would have thought. I’ve been an Oldham fan since the late 80s. I’m from Doncaster, I’m a Yorkshireman (ducks), but my heart belongs to my little Lancashire football club. My cousins were Liverpool fans and tried to get me hooked – my first game was Sheffield Wednesday vs Liverpool and we went to the 1987 Littlewoods Cup final vs Arsenal.

But my dad was born and bred in Oldham. As a young lad


he worked at the brewery along with most of the Roughyeds team and he was an avid fan of both the football club and the rugby league club. He moved to Doncaster before I was born, and when I was old enough, he didn’t try to sell being an Oldham supporter to me, he just let it happen. He did have Joe Royle and that team helping him out to be fair but my desire to share something with my dad was much stronger than the desire to follow my cousins and their team. Or any of the other traditional “big” teams my friends at school supported.


Despite all the bottom half finishes, unnecessary barriers put up by various owners and many valid reasons to walk away, Oldham Athletic still remains a big part of my identity. I used to be a season ticket holder when I lived up north. Now that I live down south I may be out of sight, but OAFC is not out of my mind and I still feel part of a special and small community. Fulham away was a big reminder of that. I’ve got two young kids and I’ll hope they grow up and do what I did, and follow their dad to Boundary Park someday.


The love is still there for me and always will be to some extent as it's a bond I can always remember my dad by - the drives together over the Pennines, the Bovril's at half time, the post match debrief as we wait in the car park for ages. But is it an unrequited love now?

I’ve no idea if this needy nature of mine is a common feeling when it comes to fans in general! But if you’re still going to, listening to, reading or talking about Latics then you’re still interested and must still love the club in some way. And if you love something, there’s no better feeling than when it loves you back.


When the current regime took over, it all seemed positive. There was a tub-thumping video suggesting things were going to get better. The ground was renamed Boundary Park to get back to our “tradition and heritage”. But since then, there’s been little love given back to the fans. In fact, there have been many things over the last few years to convince me as a fan I’m not loved at all, and worse than that, I’m not even needed. This completely baffles me. The playing budget must get lower each year and fans must be spending less and less with the club. If anyone at the club happens to be reading this, I’ll let you into a little secret… we’re a pretty low maintenance bunch. There was a pitch invasion after a 1st round cup win against Tranmere FFS. Yet the list of reasons to be fearful still grows.


To pick a few…


1. The turnover of managers, even ones who’ve been lifelong fans.


2. The poor treatment of players/staff who are big fan favourites… Jack Byrne, Peter Clarke, Paul Murray, David Wheater to name a few (ok maybe the last one split opinion a bit but after that Disco2000 rendition he should be given club legend status).


3. The closure and lack of intent to reopen the Joe Royle stand for 2 years.


4. The passing of the 125th anniversary season with a whimper – yes covid destroyed it but why not move it to this season instead?


5. The poor treatment of fans who’ve sponsored the club.


6. Tying themselves up in knots in various club statements as they can’t keep up with the excuses they’ve given previously.


7. The pure contempt they showed for the fans at the cricket club forum.


8. Not wanting to advertise season tickets too much on social media as they’ve had negative responses to other posts.


9. Not putting Bradford tickets on sale, either because they’re useless or possibly for more spiteful reasons.


10. Not responding to a letter signed by 3000 of us, not begging us to come back, not asking us what they need to do to make us come back, not saying sorry for whatever they’ve done to push us away. Seemingly not wanting us as fans at all.


Does anyone else’s partner have a favourite film or tv show that you say is a bit shit, but in reality, you watch it every time they do and are now quite hooked yourself? My wife’s favourite film falls into this category - Ten Things I Hate About You. One of the songs in that film was in my mind when I started writing this, hence the title. Above is a list of 10 things I hate about Latics at the moment. But, when I think about it, I realise I don’t hate you Oldham Athletic, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all. What I actually hate is the way you have been treated. You’ve been treated just as badly as the fans have by the people in charge of you.


So, I’m begging those in charge of you to leave – if they haven’t learnt by now, they never will. And I’ll add my voice to others calling on all Oldham fans to be as proactive as possible, in whatever way works for them, to work towards that goal too as a collective.


Because after all, we’re just fans, in the stands of a football club (or not if boycotting), asking it to love us.

Thank you to Owen for submitting this week's fan post!


Matt met Owen at Bristol and Owen has since offered to help volunteer for OASF.




If you would like to submit a post, please contact us here or email bpalertsystem@gmail.com








Edited by Matt Dean



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