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Your Love Alone Is Not Enough

Felt a bit like a funeral, didn’t it? Maybe a gangster funeral, given the amount of police. Our message was heard  - and seen, thanks to the plane – loud and clear, but it felt far more sombre than the protest last September, because we’ve been proven horribly, devastatingly right. The Lemsagams have no clue what they’re doing, they were always only taking the club in one direction, and even Lord John couldn’t stop us falling out of the league. I’d say we felt like a fanbase who have seen the worst happen, but I fear we haven’t yet.

I had to drag myself in the ground for the game afterwards. As much as I wanted to say goodbye, given that I don’t know when we’ll next be attending, I can honestly say (and apologies if this seems flippant or disrespectful, but it’s how I genuinely felt) that I felt less dread walking into the church for my dad’s funeral than I did going through the turnstile last Saturday. I stayed to applaud the names of the fellow fans we’ve lost during the season, but I couldn’t stomach watching our farewell to the Football League. I was in the pub watching Saints v Wigan in the Challenge Cup semi-final by 3.15pm. Sometimes it’s just really not your day.

There’s no time to be wallowing though. Don’t mourn, organise. It was great to see so many people at the fans’ forum on Thursday, and it needs to be the start of a massive escalation in the efforts to reclaim our club. One of the main messages from it, as Bob Geldof did not actually say, was Give Us Your Fucking Money. Push The Boundary and Oldham Athletic Supporters Foundation have identified buying Boundary Park as a goal. It would make the ground fan-owned, and it would make fans the club’s landlord. OASF have met with Simon Blitz, and he's prepared to sell. It’s going to take a lot of money, but if we’re going to stop the club’s decline, we have to think and act big.

"Six million quid? Are you bloody mad? Never gonna happen." Well not with that attitude it won't, Kevin. Of course its going to be a huge task, but it's also a huge opportunity. We don't want to come out of the current disastrous regime only to be doing crisis management again, we want to build the club we want to have. While the club and the ground being one entity under a good owner sounds like the ideal, imagine if Abdallah owned the ground. Imagine how much he'd borrow against it. You don't have to imagine. Look down the road at what Steve Dale did to Bury. If we own the ground, that can't happen.

"But you're asking fans to raise six million quid, Arlene, you thick Scouse mare." Alright Kevin, sit down and listen. There are potential investors out there. OASF and PTB have spoken to them. They're interested. But they want to know we're serious, and money talks. The more money we can raise, the more seriously we will be taken, the more attractive a prospect we are to local businesses, to people with serious money to invest. Money goes to money. That's capitalism, mate.

"But how do we know the money will be safe? DON'T TRUST THE TRUST!" Kevin, I've already covered this, but I'll go over it again. Any withdrawals from the fund will require the signatures of all three members of the 1895 Fund Committee, which consists of an OASF director, a Push the Boundary signatory, and an independent 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. Did Abdallah and Mo put it to a vote before spending your season ticket money on Urko Vera and Sonhy Sefil? No. They didn't. If you're wary of putting money into the 1895 Fund but you're happy to give the club under the current regime your money, I'm not sure what to tell you to be honest.

As someone rightly said on Thursday, the 1895 Fund isn't a contingency fund. The crisis, the emergency, is here, we're in the middle of it, and we have been for some time. This is a terrible time to be raising money, but if you can afford to, then please give what you can, do what you can. If we carry on down the road that the current regime are taking us down, we won't have a team to get behind in a few years. Your love alone won't save the club. Your actions will.

Written by Arlene Finnigan. Photo by Chris Stringer.

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