In the shadow of two of the planet’s biggest football clubs lies Oldham Athletic. Next to the hospital where my son Chris was born.
As the mid-wifery team whisked his mum away for a post natal shower, I was left with the young chap in my arms for the first time. Slightly scared of the responsibilities ahead. Love welling up inside me alongside that natural fear of dropping him.
As I became more confident holding him, we wandered over to the window and looked down Sheepfoot Lane to Boundary Park football stadium. I held him aloft, almost like the FA Cup, to show him what a football ground looks like for the very fist time.
I’m not sure the vision quite registered with a babe less than half an hour old. But it’s a location we eventually made our key “lad and Dad” point as the years progressed. He was a ball boy as Latics defeated Liverpool in the FA Cup. Sat beside me at Goodison Park days after my tonsillectomy, witnessing a stunning 1-0 win. And witnessed numerous 0-1 defeats as the years rolled by.
For his whole life Oldham Athletic have played in the same division. Most of it in the bottom half of that division. He’s attended a single play-off season and numerous relegation scrape seasons. But never a promotion or relegation. Yet we seem to love it. The disappointment, frustration and occasional moments of unparalleled joy.
It’s a club that needs new ownership. The existing man either doesn’t have the funds to bankroll the club or the will to do it. And for the last few months a Dubai based Morrocan businessman has been in talks about taking it over.
Today an announcement that subject to dotting a few I and crossing a few T bits of paperwork the takeover is nearly done.
Although nobody seems to know how wealthy Mr Abdallah is he seems to offer new hope to long suffering Oldham Athletic supporters. Perhaps a decade of glory lies ahead. And I really hope it does.
And then it happened. The tears flowed freely. Not tears of joy, but tears of anguish. I’m going to miss out on this revolution in Oldham Athletic’s fortunes. I won’t be able to share the good times with Chris. In spirit perhaps. The best news for the football club in years having a surprisingly negative emotional impact on me.
Geanted, I’m over that now. I hope the Decade of Glory is about to commence. But I’m rather frustrated I’m going to miss it.