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This is a low

Thanks for all the nice messages over the last few months, everyone. Me and my family really appreciate it. It's been a pretty awful time and I've been really touched by how supportive people have been.

Special thanks to Will Holdaway, who's been looking after the blog, and to everyone who's written for it over the past few months. Turns out Will's a pretty good editor, he should think about doing it professionally.

Even bigger thanks go to Will, and to Matt Dean and Darren Royle, for the incredible welcome I got when I returned to Boundary Park last Saturday for the first time since October. Not gonna lie, having red wine behind the bar in the Rocky that actually literally had my name on it was something of a dream come true. Cheers lads.

The match, on the other hand, was a bit of a nightmare. I guess we should consider ourselves privileged to have witnessed the greatest match in Hendon's history. Fair play to them, they wanted it more than us, they outplayed us and they deserved to win. We had no cutting edge up front, and it was criminal how little pressure we put on a Southern League Premier Division South club's second choice keeper. The defence were all over the place, the midfield was anonymous, and what in the name of fuck has happened to Magnus Norman? He was so good at the start of the season, but he had a shocker on Saturday. He was slow to react for the first Hendon goal and we'll all be having nightmares about him halfheartedly slapping the ball away to gift them the winner.

Fair play to Norwood for, ahem, 'using his experience' to win a very soft penalty, but we didn't deserve anything from the game. It was a fucking good job I was full of red wine.

Mellon didn't sugar coat things after the game, saying "first and foremost, we know it's nowhere near good enough". He was rightly disappointed that players who'd been given an opportunity to perform did nothing to suggest they should be playing more regularly, and apologised on behalf of the management team and the players. He told Latics Player "our absolute focus is on the league" - well we've not really got any other option now, have we? Obviously given the choice we'd all have taken promotion over winning the FA Trophy, but we shouldn't have to choose. We should be going to Wembley twice. We're Oldham Fucking Athletic.

We were probably the only people pleased that the rearranged game vs Boreham Wood got postponed again, as we couldn't make it. We were in Northern Ireland for Andy's cousin's funeral. She was only 54. Life really isn't being very kind right now. Anyway, it was the right decision to call it off early, there was no way it was going ahead with the cold weather and snow, and having a expensive new pitch doesn't mean it's not going to freeze when it's - 3C.

In happier news, we've finally signed a right back, England U19 international Sai Sachdev. He said he's been looking for a move into men's football, and he likes to get up and down the flank and take men on, which hopefully means he's going to be like a right sided Mark Kitching. Mellon said that "Sai fits the profile of what we're looking for in an out-and-out wing back", so fingers crossed. Let's make him welcome and not jump in his back as soon as he makes a mistake, eh?

We also announced the signing of Oliver Hammond last night from Nottingham Forest but it was at 7.30pm and I'd already started on the wine by then so you'll have to go to Suzanne for thoughts on that.

So, a new low on the pitch. And, for quite a few of us, a pretty shit time off it. But it still felt like a privilege to be back at Boundary Park last Saturday. I've been to Anfield. I've been to Old Trafford. The CEO of the club doesn't put red wine behind the bar for you. We all know loads of fans of Premiership clubs. Their clubs' directors don't come and give them a hug when they go to their first game after being away for a while. There's a lot to hate about supporting Latics, but there's a lot to like and be proud of, too.

Safe journey if you're off to Eastleigh today. I hope there's plenty of bantz about how the Lancaster pissed all over the Spitfire. Obviously there'll be plenty of opportunity for that when the game gets called off at midday. We'll be in Dublin preparing to cheer on Watty Graham's Glen in the All Ireland final on Sunday. I can only apologise to my family for the amount of time I'm spending going back and forth over the Irish sea when I should be helping to organise my mum's funeral. It's not often you get to see your cousin's lad have the chance to captain his local club to become champions of Ireland though. Ádh mór, lads. UTW. And KTMFF.

Written by Arlene Finnigan

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