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There are more questions than answers

The fans’ forum on Thursday raised more questions than it answered in some ways. Firstly, who was meant to be hosting? How did those two reprobates off the Latics Phone-In end up doing it? And what the fuck were they wearing?

(Only joking lads, you did a great job. Still think you should have worn your Zen As Fook t-shirts though.)

David Unsworth didn’t quite look zen. The first question put to him was ‘what are your thoughts on Altrincham and Chesterfield, do you see them as our main threat? And why is the contract offer to Yarney still open?’. To which he responded “Good evening, everybody! Thanks for the nice easy start!”. He seems like an amiable bloke and a good lad, and I kind of like the fact that he doesn’t hide how uncomfortable he is doing these Q&A sessions. He’s definitely getting better and more confident at them, and his answer was pretty much what people were looking for. There was a verbal agreement with Yarney, it couldn’t be formalised because of international clearance issues, we made him a good offer, he turned it down, the club won’t be held ransom. “We call the shots, not the players and not the agents.” It’ll be a shame to see Yarney leave, but players come and go.

He also gave the right answer to both this question and a later question about who will be our main rivals: who cares about the other teams? Let them worry about us. It reminded me of an anecdote Alexei Sayle tells about the BBC getting a cease and desist letter from Disney when he did a piss take of the Mickey Mouse Club song as the theme tune for Alexei Sayle’s Stuff. He describes how he had to go for a meeting with the BBC’s lawyer, and he was expecting her to come out with a load of legalese and arguments about what they should do, and instead she just said “fuck Disney, we’re the BBC”. That’s the mentality we need to have. Fuck all the other clubs. We’re Oldham Athletic.

I’m not going to recap the whole forum – the video is on the club website and Suzanne Geldard’s live feed is on the Oldham Times website. It was all pretty much what we wanted to hear, though. Liam Hogan sounded very focused and positive and spoke a lot about the momentum behind the team, and how Stockport were in a weaker position when he signed for them than we’re in (they were part-time and training on Astroturf), but once the team started doing well there was a snowball effect. From what Darren Royle was saying, the club is still in the relatively early stages of a long term rebuilding project, but a lot has been achieved and we’ve got plans to do a lot more.

The main impression, though – especially as it was exactly a year ago yesterday that the news of the takeover broke – was how much better the relationship between the club and the fans – sorry, Frank, supporters – is, in a way we couldn’t have imagined a year ago. Could you imagine anyone from the Supporters Foundation having any kind of role at the forum at Royton Cricket Club? Could you imagine a club director laughing and joking with someone from OASF about the conversations they’re having? Can you imagine one of Lemmy’s head coaches joking about going on the Phone In but only if the team’s doing well?

I got quite emotional yesterday looking back on how we reacted when the takeover news broke. I think we all did, didn’t we? I remember thinking it must be a hoax, that it sounded too good to be true. I had to lock myself in the toilets at work to have a little cry when I realised it was genuine. It wasn’t too good to be true. We’re in an unimaginably better position now than we were a year ago, and I’m hopeful things are going to continue to get better.

One minor gripe from Thursday – Darren Royle said he doesn’t read social media and only reads the Oldham Times. I know that’s not true, Darren. I know you read this blog.

Have a great weekend, whatever you’re doing. I’ve heard there might be a kit launch next week, and I’ve heard that you might quite like it.



Written by Arlene Finnigan. Photos © Oldham Athletic.

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