Tag Archives: EFL

Rally Cry: Hill Needs the Fans Support in Crucial Time

There was yet more heartbreak in Rochdale fans season on Tuesday night, in their rearranged league game against Wimbledon.

Rochdale started well with Rekeil Pyke putting them in front two minutes in, Joe Pigott fired Wimbledon back in it in the 36th minute.

Rochdale determinedly took little time re-establishing their dominance, with Ethan Hamilton turning away from his man and firing smartly into the bottom corner. This wasn’t to last though as Pigott bagged his second of the match almost instantly in the first minute of the second half. Then Wimbledon took the lead for the first time in the match when in the 76th minute, Anthony Wordsworth gave them the lead.

Rochdale’s Captain, Ian Henderson followed up Matty Done’s driven effort in the 81st minute. The game was becoming a classic for a neutral, but the point escaped Rochdales grasp as the visitors dispatched a contentious penalty in the last minute of added time to win 4-3.

This result has seen Dale drop to 5th bottom of the table and worryingly, with only 13 league games left Rochdale have to improve on only 4 home wins so far this season to have any hope of league one survival.

And with; Wycombe, Southend, Accrington, Scunthorpe, Plymouth, Gillingham, Bristol Rovers, Shrewsbury and Oxford still to play and with them all in the bottom half of the table, their destiny is still in their hands.

Now more than ever, the fans support is crucial. There is a growing contingency of the fan base that believes Kieth Hill should already have been sacked and replaced. They are entitled to their opinion, but for the good of the team, no matter what, Rochdale needs the fans to support in an effort to turn this dire run of form around.

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Win, Lose, Draw: Scholes’ First Three Games Analysed

Detailed analysis of a new manager is something that has existed for a considerable period of time and is unlikely to ever change. I cannot ever remember hearing anybody say “Let’s give him 10 games to find his feet and then review his performance before we pass judgement”. Unheard of.

Given that Paul Scholes was always going to attract more attention in the Oldham hot seat than lesser mortals, he will be well aware that every team selection he has made and tactic employed will have been poured over by Latics keyboard analysts around the globe.

Rather than stun everyone into disbelief with a trio of victories, Scholes has lived up to his rather safe and uncontroversial demeanour with a win, a draw and a defeat.

The win against Yeovil and Scholes’ first game was rightly hailed as one of the season’s best home performances. It was arguably Oldham’s best side that started the game and despite losing Tom Hamer to injury early on, the introduction of Rob Hunt who seemed to have lost favour with Frankie Bunn was seen as a sign that Scholes had as much faith in the full back as many Latics fans have.

Three home games in seven days, however, were always going to put a strain on a threadbare squad and a pitch that cuts up easily. Fellow play-off hopefuls Crewe were the next visitors, and Scholes had to do without Hamer for the game. Callum Lang put Latics in front but a late equaliser from Crewe earned them a point. It was a game Latics should have won but a draw and a win in Scholes first two games was seen to be good progress.

It certainly helped Latics keep in touch with the playoffs and, a win over lowly Morecambe would see us within 3 points of seventh place. Once again, however, changes had to be made to the starting line up but they were obviously too disruptive to the smooth running of the side. Mohammed Maouche was on the bench having had a lengthy run in the side, and young Jamie Stott introduced for only his third appearance of the season.

An early strike for the visitors put us on the back foot for most of the game and, another late goal was conceded to give Scholes his first taste of defeat at Boundary Park. Losing in such a manner brought back memories for Latics fans of past games, where we have gone behind early and had to chase the game and lost out in the dying seconds because of a lack of concentration. The Morecambe game had both these problems.

Of course, all will be forgotten if Scholes can rally the side to win against Bury and edge us nearer the top seven. However, he may well have his eye on next season and a squad he has built himself, rather than trying to work miracles with a ragtag assortment of players who know that their future at the club is short lived.

Bury v Oldham. The Latics extra home game.

Latics fans like a decent away outing, it’s in their blood. Some might say that they jump at the chance to get out of the town for a few hours, and that may be true but when the away trip is just down the road, it’s almost embarrassing to admit that you didn’t turn out.

As expected, the club have been given an extra allocation of tickets by Bury which makes sound financial sense given the Shakers apparently perilous financial position. Having 3354 Oldham fans in Gigg Lane might not do much for Bury’s hopes of having the home crowd lift their side, but at least they can pay a few bills when they count the takings after the game.

The fixture at Oldham didn’t capture the imagination of the Bury fans, for some reason with only 1262 making the trip back in December when a Chris O’Grady hat trick helped Latics to a 4-2 win. There’s a great deal of pride at Latics, especially this season in the numbers who turn out for away games. The 4000+ at Fulham earned respect from all quarters but it is local derbies that rally the troops. Rochdale, Blackburn and Bury have all been serenaded with “We’re taking over your town again” in the past, a popular ditty to the tune of “Love will tear us apart”.

Sadly there seems to be a concerted effort to keep Latics fans out of the pubs in Bury, which will only mean they’ll drink elsewhere and arrive en masse at about 2.55pm stretching the resources of the police and stewards no doubt. Having watched football for longer than I care to remember, I’m still of the opinion that if you treat people like animals they’ll behave that way and very few clubs and local police forces are keen to change that stance.

The game promises to be a classic, however, with Bury flying high in the top three and Paul Scholes getting his first taste of a local derby as the new Latics manager. Form goes out of the window for a fixture like this and although it might not compete for attention with City v United or Everton v Liverpool, it means a great deal to both sets of supporters.

Oldham may well be looking forward to playing on a different pitch, than the one at Boundary Park which cut up somewhat after 3 consecutive home games in seven days. Whatever the outcome, local derbies remain an important part of the enjoyment of watching football and, even if Bury do escape League Two this season, Latics fans and players alike will be keen to rekindle the fixture in the very near future.

Iverson, Surridge and Lang. Oldham Enjoying Their Best Ever Season For Loan Signings

Loan players are usually met with a mixture of apathy and frustration by supporters hoping for that ‘big’ signing but when you’re in the football league’s basement, even bargain buys are hard to come by.

The loan system has helped Oldham a great deal in the past and although the skills of some of the players we’ve had have been questionable to say the least, there are others who have worked their way into the hearts of the fans and were sorely missed when they departed.

It cannot be just a coincidence that Oldham’s position in the league has coincided with the inclusion of three of the best loan players the club has ever had, but it was their performances in the FA Cup at Premier League Fulham that we have to thank them for.

Daniel Iverson

It is not unusual to get a goalkeeper on loan from a club much higher in the league pyramid as they usually have several all hoping to make it into the first team. Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel seems to be enjoying an extended run in goal this season which left Daniel with little hope of inclusion. That was great news for Latics fans however who have really taken to Iverson.

His solid performances have led to the club having a positive goal difference for the first time in many years, and he will be remembered fondly for a long time to come.

Star moment: The penalty save at Craven Cottage.

Sam Surridge

There were a few Latics fans who had mixed feelings about Surridge at first but once he got the feel of football at this level he showed that he had skill in abundance. Gifted with excellent balance and an eye for even the slightest of goal opportunities, Sam made some useful contributions before returning to Bournemouth. His success at Boundary Park was rewarded by his inclusion on the bench for the South coast club’s trip to Anfield.

Star moment: His penalty at Craven Cottage

Callum Lang

Oldham have got much from Wigan over the years, much to the annoyance of our fans who maintain that we are the only club entitled to call ourselves the Latics! However, this season we’ve managed to secure the services of one of the best forward players to be seen at Boundary Park since Andy Ritchie strutted his stuff.

20-year-old Lang was on loan at Morecambe last season so knows what to expect from League Two. He has contributed nine goals this season with none more important than the winner against Fulham. An extremely likeable character who is always the last to leave the field after applauding the fans. He should have an excellent future in football. If it’s with Oldham for longer than the end of this season, Latics fans would be delighted.

Star moment: The winner at Fulham

The Future is Ginger? Winning Over the Oldham Supporters – Paul Scholes’ Greatest Challenge Yet

With the dust having now settled, after the whirlwind that surrounded the appointment of the new Oldham manager. There will be a very short period of calm for Paul Scholes before he has to face the reality of life at Boundary Park, in front of supporters who believe we should be playing at a much higher level.

He will be well aware of the views of a large section of the support having sat amongst them on numerous occasions and, may well share them of course. However, as he is now the person who is responsible for picking the team and must face the consequences of how they perform, he will no doubt see a side to the club that is hidden from the rest of us.

There are still pockets of resistance among Oldham supporters who would have liked to see someone with experience given the job. We should not be in the business, however, of giving second chances to people who have failed elsewhere. Neither should we be a springboard for those who have aspirations to be managers, but have few contacts in the game and fewer ideas about how a club is run.

I honestly believe that Scholes lies somewhere in the middle of those two options and as such, is ideal for the job. He has been variously described as dour and lacking in charisma, but he is here to win games and steer Oldham back on a course to promotion and not to perform stand up comedy. He was quite right in pointing out that the chance of getting into the playoffs might have eluded us this season, which rubbed a few people up the wrong way but the reality is that we are still six points short of the playoffs and running out of games. However, it will not have escaped the notice of Latics fans that if we win our game in hand, that reduces it to a very achievable three points.

Scholes’ appointment seemed to be ideally slotted in to maximise his chances of getting off to a good start, with a run of three consecutive home games against sides in the bottom four of the table. I’ve seen similar scenario’s go horribly wrong of course, but Scholes overcame the first and arguably most difficult of the three hurdles by beating Yeovil emphatically on his managerial debut.

Scholes arrival didn’t put an extra 1000 on the gate, it was a damp Tuesday night in February after all but there will be very few Latics fans not relishing the next two games.

I have no doubt that there was one particular fan kicking every ball and urging the players on against Yeovil, and that was Peter Wild who was given glowing praise by Abdallah Lemsagam as he returned to his duties with the Academy players. If we do sneak into the playoffs, it is good to see that the club recognises the part he has played this season.

AWAY FANS SERIES: How Noel’s Uncle Inspired His English Club Preference

As part of our Away Fans Series, I caught up with Maltese Rochdale Fan Noel, who was inspired to start following the Dale through his uncle…

Ian: How long have you been a Rochdale fan?

Noel: Since 2012 it’s the first time I went to watch them play

Ian: How did you become a dale fan?

Noel: I have relatives that live there, my uncle use to live on Drake Street at the beginning of the 60s.

Ian: You say you live in Malta?

Noel: Yes, but I visited England 14 times.

Ian: How do you keep up to date with everything Rochdale?

Noel: From the official Rochdale FB page, supported chat and I’m a member of Rochdale supporters trust

Ian: You said you have been to England 14 times, how many times did you get a chance to go Spotland?

Noel: April, it’s my 15th time in England and my 10th time at Spotland. It’s a must I visit Rochdale each year

Ian: What do you make of this season?

Noel: We’re not that good we need to invest more in good and permanent players

Ian: Do you think they’ll stay up?

Noel: I hope so, but it’s gonna be difficult like last season, we had to win the last game

Ian: Over your 7 years as a supporter, what’s been your best game?

Noel: Last year v Spurs, it cost me €400 but it was worth it

Ian: I bet, what a memorable tie that was!

Noel: Yes, after the game against Millwall I phoned my cousin to buy me a ticket but were sold out. Then a friend called me that the club has hospitality package for €107 so I called the club to book one

Ian: Brilliant and what commitment! Do you plan to set up a Maltese supporters club at all?

Noel: I wish, and I have friends who are coming with me in April to watch Rochdale, maybe who knows, one day will have a supporters club here in Malta. Each time I visit I spend about €150 from the club shop to give as souvenirs to my friends

Ian: Brilliant, get the Rochdale name throughout Malta and hopefully, in the future, a supporters club. Thank you for your time mate

AWAY FANS SERIES: A League Cup Semi Final 19 Years Ago Had Jimmy Hooked on The Super Whites Ever Since

As part of our away fans series, we caught up with Jimmy – A Belgian fan, who loves the family feel Bolton brings and has just purchased his first season ticket…

Ian: How long have you been a Bolton fan for?

Jimmy: Since the League Cup semi-final in 2000, so that is about 18-19 years – that semi-final was my first game

Ian: What made you choose Bolton?

Jimmy: I met a Bolton fan who worked in Belgium and he took me to my first game which was enough to get me hooked.

Ian: You said to me before that you’re a season ticket holder. How long for?

Jimmy: Since this season, I felt the time was right to come over more often to watch Bolton

Ian: Do you get to every game?

Jimmy: I try to do as many home games as I can, but it depends on flight prices, sometimes they go to £250-300 while normally it is £30-40

Ian: big fluctuation there! What do you make of this season?

Jimmy:Yep, the main issue is the moment you book your flight.

About this season we started like a rocket and since then it went downhill, we’ve probably not got as much quality as most of the other Championship teams. We’re often are not helped by referee decisions – I still believe we can save ourselves but it will probably be nerve-racking till the last game, then again the buzz you get when you save yourself like we did last year is amazing.

Ian: I bet you’re hoping you don’t have to go through that again though?

Jimmy: Of course, but if it has to happen again I would be confident we can do it again.

Ian: Do you have a supporters club in Belgium?

Jimmy: No up until now I am the only one flying over that much, most Belgian fans go for the likes of United, Liverpool, City and other big names.

I don’t want that as to me they are plastic teams, because of there multi-billion owners nothing real about it. In Bolton, we are still a family club where I always feel very welcome. When players see me they always say ‘Hey Belgian boy how are you, how was your flight?’

Ian: That’s brilliant, yes outside the Premier League you get that kind of interaction, which makes the journey over worth it, especially after a win I bet?

Jimmy: After a win, it is even better but even after a loss players are most kind. Last year after the Forest game I had a jager drinking contest with David Wheater – which I lost.

Since the moment he won player of the year from the fans I often give him Belgian chocolates, which resulted in him giving me his match worn shirt. Such a friendship you can’t have with Premier League players

Ian: That is amazing, what are your thoughts on the suggested takeover?

Jimmy: Well I refuse to believe everything that is written in the press nor do I believe blindly what is written in the notes of the chairman. I have decent contact with a lot of people who, I believe more because then you can see whether they are lying or not.

But to return to the initial question, Ken said he lacks the funds to fully rebuild us, so I hope he does the good thing and sells us. I still believe we have our place in the Premier League. My only fear is that a foreign investor might try to ruin the family feeling that is within the club.

Ian: Jimmy, Thank you for your time mate

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