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We're not your sinners, our voices are for real

Hiya Barry! Thought I was gonna have nothing to write about this week but God bless you, I should have known I could rely on you to deliver. Why on earth would I think the end of the season meant a respite from the panoramic craporama that is Oldham Athletic? Let’s pour a drink and have a read, eh.

I can see why you chose to put out a statement yesterday about the on-pitch peaceful protest during the Salford game. Pitch invasions are very much the issue of the moment after a number of unsavoury incidents this week. The idiot who assaulted Billy Sharp after Nottingham Forest’s play off semi-final won against Sheffield United was swiftly dealt with and jailed for 24 weeks. I can only hope that by the time you’re reading this, the police and FA investigation into whether Patrick Vieira kicked a fan who allegedly taunted him during Everton’s mostly good natured celebrations on the pitch after securing Premier League safety on Thursday has concluded with “fuck around and find out”. Seriously, who picks a fight with Patrick Vieira? He’s a massive hard bastard. I wonder if they swung by Duncan Ferguson’s house on their way home. There were a number of other pitch invasions in the play off games, and both the FA and PFA have issued statements calling for better matchday security. As is usually the case, the problem isn’t limited to football. Following their victory at Warrington on Thursday, St Helens issued a statement condemning “a small selection of supporters” who threw flares and beer at the players and the home supporters.

So yes, I can see why you thought “YES! We MUST crack down on this hooliganism! Polish those truncheons, lads! But first, a statement.” Here’s the thing though, Barry: not one punch was thrown during the on-pitch protest at the Salford game. Yes, encroaching onto the pitch is a criminal offence. But running on the pitch then walking towards where the directors should be with a banner is not the same as running to the dug out and headbutting a player. Don’t think we haven’t clocked that you put out your statement about a peaceful protest on the same day as the FA issued a statement condemning “the rise in anti-social behaviour from fans” in an attempt to create false equivalence between a peaceful protest and assault.

“The Club is working in close co-operation with Greater Manchester Police in these respects.” Olololol, classic Barry. Entirely superfluous last three words added to the sentence because you think it adds gravitas. But I digress. Come on Arlene, focus, you’re not analysing a poem for A level English literature, this isn’t about the bad grammar.

“The first group of identified fans will receive letters notifying them of a Club ban of three years.” ‘The first group’? Are you prioritising them? Categorising them? How many groups will there be? Will the subsequent ones get a different punishment? We need more information here, Baz.

“In future, the Club will operate a zero-tolerance to all breaches of the law.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Glad to hear it, mate. Wait til you hear about fire exits being blocked, even chained shut on occasion; stewards assaulting fans; pension contributions and taxes not being paid…. The numerous employment tribunals that the Club have settled out of court doesn’t exactly scream ‘we do things in the right way here’ either.

"Those receiving Club bans should be aware that there is no appeal process in place." Wow, someone's changed their tune on the right to appeal, Baz. But then these people have committed a SERIOUS CRIMINAL OFFENCE, unlike what your beloved Ched was accused (and originally found guilty) of.

The recent rise in aggressive violent behaviour at football is a concern, of course it is. I’ve seen several people linking it to increased cocaine use, which, anecdotally, I can well believe. There does seem to have been an increase in coked-up aggressive dickheads at the match, and I’d really quite like to see the back of them. But trying to link a peaceful protest at the catastrophic state our club is in to violent disorder is wilfully disingenuous nonsense. Identifying young people who ran on the pitch in utter frustration at what’s happened to us shouldn’t be your priority. Identifying potential buyers should be. We want our club back, and no amount of pompous bluster from you is going to stop us fighting for it. We’re not going to get tired or bored before you do. Get out of our club, and take the Bollock Brothers with you.

How’s that for a fucking statement.

Written by Arlene Finnigan

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