Oldham Athletic

Steve Ragg talks Latics

What have been your best and worst moments as an Oldham fan?
Seeing the team walk out at Wembley for the Littlewoods Cup final in 1990, then clinching the old Second Division title with a last-minute penalty in the final game the following year, represent a two-year spell that it is hard to see being beaten for a Latics fan. The worst: two last-minute goals, one against Leeds in the 1987 play-offs, the other, just too painful to mention.

Is Iain Dowie seen as the main factor in the club’s fortunes turning around lately?
The chairman’s money has been a major influence, until it ran out anyway, but Dowie has play­ed a key part in transforming us into genuine pro­motion contenders. He’s bright, enthusiastic and thorough and seems to be able to get the very best out of his players, away from home at least. Many see it as inevitable that he will move on one day and just hope he spends enough time here to put down some solid foundations for his suc­cessor.

How have playing standards in the Second Division changed in the six years Oldham have been in it?
When we arrived back at this level in 1997 we had been in the Premiership three years earlier, so even the best teams seemed poor. The standard is not that great now and it’s hard to say whether any per­ceived improvements are just down to the fact that we’ve got used to it. At a pinch, though, I would say that there has been a gradual improvement.

What are Oldham fans’ expectations for the club over the next few years?
Before we played with the big boys from 1991 to 1994, we had spent the previous 17 years in the old Second Division/ current First Division and most fans see that as our rightful home. If we can get there and re-establish ourselves I think that would suffice for the time being. The worry is, though, that if we don’t do it soon the latest financial cri­sis gripping the club may make it impossible.

Fondly remembered
Roger Palmer – All-time leading scorer Roger Palmer, who hit over 150 goals for the club. His name is still sung by fans now, and all sorts of souvenirs were sold adorned with his name: mugs, tankards, T-shirts and he even had a record pressed in his honour. Sadly, though, The Roger Rap didn’t quite make it into the charts.

Best forgotten
Ian Stott – Our chairman from 1982 to 1998, spent more time sitting on every FA committee imaginable than he ever did at Boundary Park. He was finally rumbled after being overheard discussing our merger with Bury and Rochdale, and has since reappeared in the boardrooms at Ninian Park and Spotland.

Milestones & Millstones
1899 Local side Pine Villa change name to Oldham Athletic, and we’re off.
1907 Oldham are elected to the Second Division, at the expense of Port Vale.
1915 Two home games to go and just one point is needed to be English champions. Needless to say both are lost. Second remains the highest finish.
1923 Relegated from the First Division after finishing bottom of the table.
1958 Finish 15th in Division Three North, three places off safety, to become founder members of Division Four.
1971 Third place in Division Four sees the Latics promoted. Also become only ever winners of the ill-fated Ford Sporting League, based on fair play and points for away wins and goals.
1974 A last-day 0-0 draw at Plymouth secures the Third Division title.
1987 Finish third in Division Two – for the first time not enough for promotion. Lose to a last-minute goal against Leeds in the play-off semi-finals.
1990 First appearance at Wembley, losing 1-0 to Nottm Forest in League Cup final. We also reach the FA Cup semis.
1991-92 A 2-1 win at Ipswich and it’s top-flight football again after a gap of 68 years. A year later, survival means founder-member status of the new top flight.
1994-97 After a heartbreaking FA Cup semi-final we fail to win another game and are relegated. Later leave the First Division in the wrong direction.
2001 New chairman Chris Moore arrives, and for the first time in ages we start buying. Skint a year later.

From WSC 194 April 2003. What was happening this month

Comments (1)
Comment by Crusoe 2010-01-09 10:56:38

Ha. Downhill all the way from this point.