Been a pretty quiet week by Latics standards, hasn't it? Boring, almost. I won't recap the interview with the FLG in any detail, but suffice to say, the North Stand isn't a death trap and Barry Owen is a duplicitous, wilfully obstructive, self-serving liar. Who knew?
The main talking point this week was Suzanne Geldard's five-part interview with Keith Curle, which further confirmed that the Club is an utter mess and the Lemsagams are completely negligent. The picture is one of no leadership, no communication, no fucking clue how to run a football club. Apparently Abdallah only spoke to Shahed Alam, the finance director, and Karl Evans was "totally excluded from everything". What kind of way is that to run any business? What kind of business owner doesn't talk to his CEO? This was part of the reason the EFL loan fuck-up happened: the terms of the loan weren't communicated to people who needed to know. It's one thing to be working on a tight budget; it's quite another to not be told that you can't sign players for more than £800 a week or on any longer than a one year deal. Players understandably didn't want to come here because they'd heard about the state we were in, and we couldn't get rid of the players we didn't want because, guess what, many clubs did not in fact want them. And while watching Harry Vaughan has been one of the few highlights this season, turning down Burnley's £250k bid for him, with the loan unpaid, was an idiotic decision. Perhaps the thing that summed up how disastrously badly the club is run was Curle's description of how the club took money out of the players' wages for the food they provided (which is a bit tinpot in itself), but didn't pay that money to the catering company.
As for the worst director in the Football League, and now the National League, it turns out he's even worse than we thought. Curle described how "when Mo went away everybody kind of relaxed", and how Mo had his favourites, spoke to them in French and created division in the squad. He also said Mo had a 'bar room mentality' and would storm into the dressing room if, say, a player missed a penalty. I couldn't help wondering why he didn't tell Mo to get the fuck out, as Dino Maamria reportedly did. We knew Mo was useless, we knew his recruitment was dreadful, we knew he doesn't let coaches do their job, but it would seem he's also spineless. "The manager has got to have somebody in place who you can speak to, who can make decisions, who the manager can go to and say ‘Can I do this? Is this the way that we go?’ and it’s got to be a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Not ‘I’ll find out’. If that person has to find out, there’s no point him being there." If Mo has to go and ask Abdallah before making a decision, then what indeed is the point of him? What exactly is he 'directing'? And if you're looking to Abdallah for leadership and guidance, you're in trouble. Our glorious leader apparently does nothing but moan about the media and the fans. As we all suspected, he's never had any kind of plan for the club. Unless you count him asking Curle if he wanted to switch dressing rooms because the home one was obviously unlucky. Yes, really.
There's a limit to the sympathy I've got for Keith Curle. I appreciate he couldn't come out and tell us all this when he was at the club, but some of the stuff he said about the Lemsagams when he was the head coach was downright sycophantic. And to be blunt, he ended up getting sacked anyway. He could have been at least a little bit more honest, kept his dignity, and the end result would ultimately have been the same. But his interview is yet more evidence that the Lemsagams are killing the club, have no clue how to stop its decline, and they have to go.
One bit of rare good news, though. Push The Boundary and the Supporters Foundation have organised a Fans v Legends game at Avro FC on Sunday 26th June to raise money for the 1895 fund. The Legends team includes David Eyres, Richie Wellens, Paul Murray and Fitz Hall, and is being coached by the greatest player I've had the privilege to see in a Latics shirt, Andy Ritchie. You can bid to play for the fans' team, you can sponsor a player, and you can get your tickets here. It's gonna be a cracking afternoon. A reminder of happier times, and a chance to help raise the money to buy Boundary Park and get our club back. And the food's not bad either. You don't want to miss this. Get down there and give Abdallah something else to whinge about.
Written by Arlene Finnigan