Will promotion be achieved?

Last updated : 17 April 2007 By Dave Moore
First of all, if Athletic do get into the play-offs I think we've a great chance of going up. This bad spell will make the team stronger if it can muster enough points to actually get to the play-offs. Where did it start to go wrong? Unfortunately, the book must stop directly at manager John Sheridan. Shez has played under managers who would have always rammed home positivity and not giving up on high targets until it's mathematically impossible. He displayed some negativity and lack of confidence and ambition by stating that the team needed seven points to achieve a play-off spot. This could be naiveity on his part in his first full management season, but he had better learn from this one if we don't go up.

Recently Shez has shown his weakness with his moods and has not looked like the manager of a side in such a fantastic position. The whole seven points target thing was more like a manager of a side in a relegation battle scrapping to get out. He asked for fighters, for people to stand up and be counted. The one player who showed that commitment and who halted the slide we went into after we went top now can't get a game. That's Rocastle (pictured)! Negativity has a nasty way of filtering right through sides and setting points totals to make the play-offs, when they were still in with a realistic shout of 2nd. place was ridiculous and meant that he was looking over his shoulder rather than shooting for the moon. As a supporter, I only gave up hope of second spot after Saturday's disaster at home to Cheltenham. If it's mathematically possible, you never know.

It's all baffling at times but the team will get by. Just think of the abuse that Ronnie Moore would have received after a performance at home like last Saturday. If Shez wasn't a golden boy at Oldham, some would be looking for a witchhunt already to oust another manager. The hypocricy of some "fans" turning on the players last season stunk. Granted, many of the players were letting down their manager. Isn't the same thing happening this year, coupled with some mistakes by Shez (just like Moore made mistakes)? This little saga has totally shown up these fickle idiots who call themselves fans. And we've got a lot of them!

I've followed the Latics since their fourth division days and gone through re-election to the league. The one good thing about the past was that there was more stability. Managers stayed longer, (Rowley, Frizzell and from recent times Royle) and were more committed to the club. There were more local players who had pride and less or no foreigh imports. It's just a business now and most people are in it for what they can get out of it. It's much like saying the Premiership is the best league in the world. How many English players are playing in it? I'm not sure if I'd welcome Premiership football at Boundary Park again or not, due to the aforementioned reasons. I do think that Oldham deserve Championship level football though as this league is getting boring. For the last few years it's been a case of "this is our best chance of getting out of this league" and where are we now?

Some people would even tolerate watching the football (or hoofball as some liked to call it) served up last season in the hope of going up. Scunthorpe against the Latics twice this season has proved that they're nothing special over us, but they do have determination and ambition. That's what makes a team. In some ways, Scunthorpe are very similar to Athletic last season and we'd be up there challenging for that top spot now had we kept that stablility.

If you let yourselves fall into what others are doing (shouting for managers heads every other week, you get nowhere). If, by some cruel turn of fate, we don't go up and have an horrendous start to next season do you think that Shez will be here that long? The fickle people of Oldham need to give managers a fair chance, at least two years. I'll bet even Tranmere will do that.

All this being said, John Sheridan is the man to take Athletic forward and I sincerely hope that the fans give him enough of a chance to prove himself. Rome wasn't built in a day. If we dont make it, let's hope that Shez learns from the experience and comes out stronger when we start this cruel ride again when next season kicks off, hopefully next time in the Championship.