Two Oldham Athletic fans tell us about their side’s erratic form ahead of the clash against Port Vale
About the fans
HarryBosch – My dad took me to my first game when I was three in 1978/79. I started going regularly at age 12 or 13 in 1987/88 which was perfect timing to have suffered just enough dross to be able to fully enjoy our imminent glory years. I missed most of two or three seasons in the mid to late 90’s (lucky me) due to living away but have pretty much had a season ticket ever since.
Ryan – I’m 16. My Dad took me to my first Latics game aged 8, on the opening day of the 2007/2008 season, which was a 2-1 victory against now Premier League Swansea City. Craig Davies scored a 90th minute winner and I was hooked from that point, I’ve missed few home games since. It was a fairly decent season with some flirtation with the play-offs but we eventually finished a solid eighth with a memorable FA Cup victory at Goodison Park that will stay with me forever. I’m yet to see that position bettered after our miraculous decline at the tail end of the 08/09 season. I’ve missed about five games in total this season so I consider myself a regular, I try to get to every game but that’s obviously not possible due to things out of my control.
How is your team faring this season?
We’ve been flirting with the play offs for much of the time and, thanks to the ineptitude of teams around us…
HarryBosch – Recent impressive wins against two decent sides in Notts County and Swindon have been offset by poor defeats to Barnsley, Colchester and Orient. Which kind of sums the season so far up. We’ve been flirting with the play offs for much of the time and, thanks to the ineptitude of teams around us, we’re somehow still in with a chance. Many of our supporters would have been perfectly happy with progress from last season, i.e. mid table, but the manager and players have had the attitude since back in August that we’re good enough and should be aiming for promotion.
Ryan – It has been such a frustrating season, we seem to be unable to obtain any points against the worst sides in the division with us being thrashed by lowly Yeovil and Leyton Orient. We’ve pulled off some very good victories such as that against high-flying Swindon. I really can’t put my finger on what it is which makes it all the more infuriating, perhaps there’s an element of complacency within this side. One positive is that pretty much all our remaining games are against those teams in and around us. Our current position is also much higher than that of recent seasons and maybe some of this minute success is going to our heads…
Where do you think you’ll finish?
HarryBosch – I think we’ll sneak sixth. When we’ve been good we’ve been better than we’ve been for at least 5 or 6 years and I reckon we just need to find one more decent run of form to see us over the line. We’re playing many of the sides around us in the table, Vale included, which seems to suit us better than the lower lights of the league and means our fate is in our own hands to a large extent.
Ryan – I think we might just do it and grab that final play-off spot; we’re yet to lose at home to anybody above 19th, virtually all of our remaining home games are against the sides around us.
Who should we watch out for?
Jonathan Forte has lost form a bit but has 14 goals and must surely add to them sometime soon…
HarryBosch – Jonathan Forte has lost form a bit but has 14 goals and must surely add to them sometime soon. Carl Winchester is a beautiful footballer and a scorer of great goals and he has recently found his shooting boots again. Liam Kelly on form is as good as anybody in the division and when he plays well we tend to win.
Ryan – There’s the obvious threat of Jonathan Forte providing he plays down the left; he’s very ineffective down the middle. Carl Winchester has been a revelation this season, he really is a class above. Joe Mills is a very good left-back at this level and is one of our main threats going forward, his defending is also more than competent for League One. I’m going to stop here as I’ve just realised that I could write about our full starting eleven as they’re all, bar Danny Philliskirk and Brian Wilson (who have been horrendously out of form for quite some time) very good on their day.
What are your thoughts on your manager?
Note: written before Lee Johnson left the club
HarryBosch – He’s doing a great job. We’re ninth as I write this and, as disappointing as ultimately missing out on the play-offs would be, a top 10 finish would represent massive progress. His signings have predominantly been good and he seems to have talked the board round to the merits of handing out two year + contracts which can either allow us to benefit from some continuity for the first time in years or benefit from some half decent transfer fees. His involvement, or lack of, in the Ched Evans debacle is shrouded in a bit of mystery and it’s unclear whether his being linked with various managerial vacancies of late is of his own doing or a by-product of his relative success. He’s a class act with the media and usually says the right things post match win or lose.
Ryan – I really like Lee but his seeming inability to spot the most clear-cut things is rather irritating. There’s obviously something there as he’s assembled a very competitive League One side on a League Two budget which is commendable. There are flaws but overall I’d say he’s done a good job; other teams are starting to enquire about him.
What are your thoughts on your board?
HarryBosch – The aborted Ched Evans signing had us in the news for all the wrong reasons and many are still angry with the powers that be for even entertaining such a hare brained idea not least because the apparent driving force behind the deal was our Supporter’s Trust’s representative on the board (who in the aftermath subsequently stepped down from the Trust only to be given a seat on the board in his own right)! Our owner Simon Corney makes no secret that the club is for sale to the right buyer but he continues to do his best under difficult circumstances and he has the backing of the majority of fans. Our new stand is almost finished and should be open for next season which will be a massive boost in various ways.
Ryan – It’s not something I wish to go into detail about but I’m not a big fan of our current board…
Any views on Port Vale?
I see Vale as a good League One outfit and expected you to be easily around that top six this season…
HarryBosch – You seem in a very similar position to us and it should be a close game and possibly a real six pointer depending on this weekend’s results. Tom Pope scored against us last time and we’ll need to keep a close eye on him.
Ryan – I see Vale as a good League One outfit and expected you to be easily around that top six this season after a good year last time around. Obviously you had a bit of a dip in form but you seem to be picking up again and are still very much in the running for that sixth spot like ourselves.
Did you attend the reverse fixture earlier this season?
HarryBosch – I don’t remember much about it but it was pretty much the same side, barring Jonson Clarke Harris who left for Rotherham and keeper Rachubka. I’d take another 1-1 draw, especially as looking back at results our best run of form all season started two games later.
Ryan – I did, I seem to remember a fairly even game at a decent standard. You were in form and we were very much out of it, an astonishing miss by Jonson Clarke-Harris sticks in my head.
Any views on players involved with both sides?
HarryBosch – I’m sure we’d both give various body parts for another Darren Beckford.
Ryan – I suppose there’s Lee Hughes but I wasn’t really old enough to fully understand what he’d done when he signed for us.
A score prediction?
HarryBosch – 3-1 to Oldham. Forte, Jones and Elokobi. Pope for you.
Ryan – Vale 2-3 Latics. Murphy, Forte and Winchester with the Oldham goals.