Featured image courtesy of Mark Fletcher | MI News
Oldham Athletic have been struggling in League Two since they were relegated down to the fourth tier in 2018 and this season they really are at the wrong end of the table. Other clubs such as Scunthorpe United, Carlisle United and Stevenage have their problems too but the struggles at Boundary Park have gone on for such a long time.
I'm too young to remember the highs of Oldham in the late 1980's and early 90's but I can remember in recent times some romantic FA Cup runs over the last decade. In 2013, beating Liverpool in the fourth round and playing Everton in the fifth, these I imagine will be treasured memories for the Latics, but among the cup runs is a decline. It's a decline that has led to fans having had hardly anything to cheer about.
Before 2018, 21 seasons above League Two since 1997 did result in play-off finishes in League One, but right now those days seem distant. The current owner Abdallah Lemsagam, a Dubai-based Moroccan and former football agent, is treating the club with contempt and fans quite rightly have had enough. Managerial departure after managerial departure, protests and an upcoming boycott at their next home game, times are tough for Oldham. There is no question about relegation from the EFL for the first time in club history being a genuine threat to the Boundary Park faithful.
Football is more than just the Premier League. There is nothing wrong in talking or writing about it, but while we all focus too much on whether the Ballon d'Or is too stale with Lionel Messi winning once again for the umpteenth time, troubling stories off the pitch at Oldham and clubs feeling the financial pinch are for me the real footballing stories that deserve more attention. From a personal point of view, the podcasts I've hosted so far have covered the top flight too much and that needs to change.
My thanks to Andy Halliwell, a devout Oldham fan through thick and thin for joining me on the podcast to talk about the disastrous state at his club. Andy presents and produces as one half of The Boundary Park Alert System! Podcast alongside fellow fan Matt Dean. I promised Andy a link to the podcast, so do check it out here!
For this episode we also have time to talk briefly about the recent publication of an Independent Fan-Led Review of Football Governance, chaired by former sports minister Tracey Crouch MP, where I'm hoping to expand on this topic further in future episodes.