There has to be a tipping point in a season when any faint hopes of a promotion bid that may have been harboured are laid aside and plans made for the following season.
Of course, the later that decision is made the better for all concerned. Nobody wants to see all hope abandoned before the Christmas fixtures have been tackled, but when you’ve been a supporter of Oldham Athletic for any length of time, giving up on promotion any time after the end of January is seen as a successful campaign.
At present, Oldham lie 8 points short of the last playoff place and would need for argument’s sake, 75 points to be in 7th place at the end of the season. That represents another twelve wins from our remaining 17 games which is not impossible but at present seems highly improbable. Unless we are about to sign some incredibly gifted players in what remains of the transfer window and, announce a new manager who promises the earth. Then we might as well get used to the idea that our remaining games are going to be used to blood youngsters and give fringe players a chance to put themselves in the window before they are inevitably let go in May.
The days when supporters accepted that a manager had a plan to rebuild a side that might take a season or two are long gone. Six games appear now to be the length of fans patience, and I might well be being charitable. Given the amount of money that is now associated with the game, any new owner is automatically expected to dip into their wallets and finance the drive towards the league title. Of course, it has worked in certain circumstances but expecting Oldham owner Abdallah Lemsagam to break the bank at a League Two club with little over 4000 supporters is close to expecting the impossible.
However, it is unclear whether Lemsagam’s ambitions match those of the supporters – even the ones who believe we have reached our allotted place in the League Pyramid. According to a statement in August last year, he reiterated that he was at the club for the long haul and that protecting the club from winding up orders etc was his long term goal.
That might not sit well with those who expected us to buy our way out of the division, but history has shown us that clubs who take the path of boom or bust inevitably end up in the type of situation that Bolton Wanderers find themselves in and whilst a short stab at glory is great for morale, it is rare that a club struggling for support beneath the shadows of its illustrious Premier League neighbours can maintain that position for long.