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The hardest thing in the world?

Has anyone been brave enough to look at the league table this week? I haven’t. It’s now been five defeats on the bounce, and the Shezurrection is looking more and more like a distant dream. Another penalty miss summed up the game vs Exeter (did anyone else spot the description of them in the match report on the official site as “A club with a unique identity and embracing the fan-owned model”? Hmmm….), and it’s a damning indictment of the state we’re in that I didn’t expect to get anything at home to Sutton and was delighted that we at least managed a consolation goal. It’s grim.

The fact that we’re staring relegation out of the league in the face, along with our perilous and uncertain state off the pitch, has put us in a very vulnerable position, and the vultures are circling. On the one hand, we’re attracting eccentric fantasists claiming they want to buy the club, possibly to raise their profile to apply for the next series of The Apprentice or Love Island. On the other hand, a certain former club director has found time to worm him way back into the Lemsagams’ good books, in between posting barely readable nonsensical tweets from his multiple accounts at all hours of the day and night. While we’re all hoping for Shez to pull off another miracle on the pitch, we need to get organised and start preparing for life beyond this season, whatever league we’re in. To quote what Bob Geldof actually said at Live Aid: The club is dying NOW! So give us the money!

Let’s be honest, this is an absolutely awful time to be asking for cash. It’s been a uniquely crap couple of years, lots of people have lost their jobs or their income has reduced, and now the price of everything is going through the roof. But if you can afford to, please, please consider donating to the 1895 Fund. If there’s an opportunity for fans to become part of a consortium to buy the club, it would be brilliant to be in a position financially to do that. If there is potential for the Foundation to buy more shares and have a bigger controlling stake in the club, it would be brilliant to have the money to do that. We’ve put pressure on Abdallah to sell up, and we need to keep the pressure on him to keep to his word and find a suitable buyer. Now we need a war chest to be in a stronger position to get our club back.

“But how do we know that the money will be safe? Didn’t a former director of the old Trust steal thousands of pounds from the Trust accounts?”, you would be perfectly justified to ask. Firstly, I’ve got considerably more confidence in the current Foundation directors to ‘do things in the right way’ than I ever had in the former detective on whose watch the fraud at the old Trust occurred on. Secondly, the 1895 Fund is being ringfenced in a separate bank account to the main OASF account, and safeguards have been put in place regarding transactions. Any withdrawals from the fund will require the signatures of all three members of the 1895 Fund Committee, which will consist of an OASF director, a Push the Boundary signatory, and an external impartial signatory, with OASF members and 1895 Fund contributors being consulted before they are added as a signatory. Any proposed release of funds will be discussed between the OASF board, PTB and the 1895 Fund committee, and before any release of funds can take place, an OASF EGM will be called, and a member vote taken. Now THAT is due diligence.

Like I said, this is a terrible time to ask for money, and I appreciate that not everyone can afford to contribute, but if you can, please do. Ignore the bitter incoherent old man on Twitter and his sidekicks; block them, don’t engage, don’t dignify them with replies. We’ve got better things to do. We all want what’s best for Oldham Athletic, we all want our club back, we all want to put an end to this shitshow. Let’s get behind the team and hope for the best on the pitch; let’s do whatever we can to save the club off it. The past was theirs, the future’s ours.

Written by Arlene Finnigan

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