2019/20: An Incredible Journey. Match Day 15 – Saturday 19 October 2019: Oldham Athletic v Macclesfield Town

Matchday programme cover

The M62 motorway that runs east to west in the north of England is a main artery for travelling fans during the season. I’m on it again today as I make the twenty odd mile journey from Huddersfield to Oldham. Interestingly the footballing clash between the respective clubs is referred to as the M62 or A62 ‘derby’. Today though Oldham’s opponents are Macclesfield Town. It will be interesting to note which teams I see on the most occasions on this journey, this being the second Macclesfield match I will have attended, having also seen Carlisle twice so far.

Boundary Park the home of The Latics, is no distance at all when you turn off the M62 at Junction 20. The venue was originally called the Athletic Ground when it opened in 1896 for Oldham County FC. When they were disbanded in 1899, Pine Villa FC (founded 1895) moved in and changed their name to Oldham Athletic. Boundary Park is known as a cold ground and sometimes mistaken as the highest venue in the top four tiers, it is in fact second highest, the highest being the Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion, but do you know the third?

My memories of Oldham come from them reaching the Final of the League Cup in 1990 and getting promoted to the newly formed Premier League in 1992. There was also the 1993/94 FA Cup Semi-Final under Joe Royle, when Oldham were denied progress to the Cup Final when Manchester United equalised in the last minute of extra-time. I remember exactly where I was that night! I was watching the game in a pub on the Fulham Road, The Somerset Arms the local of my girlfriend at the time. When we got home, we found out that we had been burgled, and the Police informed us that we had probably disturbed them, so it’s all Mark Hughes fault for taking the game into extra time!!

View across to Joe Royle Stand

So to the action on the pitch, which in all honestly was a quiet one for the first-half. The only real moments of note were a header from a corner that ex-Oldham player Theo Vassell put wide and a long-distance effort from Oldham’s Tom Hamer that flew past the post shortly before half-time. Macclesfield edged the half on possession, but at the break it was goal-less.

The Latics came out better in the second-half and had an early chance from a free-kick, that Mohammed Maouche directed wide. However, Macclesfield gradually worked their way back into the game and Theo Archibald had a couple of decent half-chances as the last twenty minutes approached. The breakthrough for the visitors came with just four minutes remaining. Oldham conceded a free-kick on the edge of their box, allowing substitute Jack McCourt, who had only been on the pitch six minutes, to step up and fire past De La Paz and into the far corner. Oldham nearly snatched a point in the final minute of the game as a header from a corner was somehow cleared off the line. At the whistle though, it was The Silkmen who went back to Cheshire with the three points courtesy of a 1-0 win.


Saturday 19 October 2019

Sky Bet League Two

Oldham Athletic 0 Macclesfield Town 1 (McCourt 86’)

Venue: Boundary Park

Attendance: 4,428

Oldham Athletic: De La Paz, Hamer, Wheater, Stott, Iacovitti, McCann, Missilou, Sylla (Eagles 90’), Maouche (McKinney 69’), Smith, Azankpo (Wilson 59’)

Unused substitutes: Woods, Smith-Brown, Gaskell.

Macclesfield Town: Evans, Kelleher, Vassell, Gnahoua (Horsfall 90’), Harris, Ironside, Archibald, Welch-Hayes, Kirby (McCourt 80’), O’Keefe, Osadebe

Unused substitutes: Charles-Cook, Stephens, Gomis, Ntambwe


Steve Blighton

Book Review: Proud to be a Baggie – A pictorial history of West Bromwich Albion fans by Dean Walton

The 2017/18 season could not be described as one of the best for West Bromwich Albion (WBA). Not only did they suffer relegation from the Premier League whilst Black Country rivals Wolves leapfrogged them after being promoted, but Baggies legend Cyrille Regis unexpectedly passed away in January 2018.

Before he died Regis had provided the Foreword to Dean Walton’s Proud to be a Baggie, in which he said how playing for the Albion transformed his life and paid tribute to the fans who have followed the club at the Hawthorns down the years. They are apt sentiments for the book, since the focus is a photographic exploration of those who have watched WBA from the 1950s through to the 2010s.

The various images record the ups and downs and the triumph and the tears of the Albion faithful during that period, but also provide much more as they also tell the story of the changing face of football – from the black and white stills showing fans packed on terraces wearing flat caps in grounds long since demolished, to the colour images of Premier League Asia Trophy games in all seater stadiums in the Far East.

However, the real interest is with those moments in time from the era prior to the social media age, when taking pictures involved a camera and then waiting for them to be developed. Amongst these pre-camera phone days gems are a set of pictures from a snowy Anglo-Italian Cup tie in Brescia where just 196 brave souls witnessed Bob Taylor hit an eighty-seventh minute winner in December 1995.

There is some text which accompanies the images to give some background to the game and event featured which is helpful, but the decade by decade summaries provided are so brief that in order for them to be useful they would have to be expanded.

Of course, this book is aimed at Baggies fans, but anyone who follows their team will appreciate this collection, as the pictures of fans attending pre-season fixtures in far-flung and sometimes obscure places, as well as fancy dress outings, and those days of joy and despair are common to all in the football family.


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