MEAT pie, sausage roll…come on Oldham, give us a goal. Those were the words of a song that characterised homespun, north-west industrial town club Oldham Athletic, the club that gave me my break in management 32 years ago and which will always have a place in my heart. Goals have, indeed, been hard to come by this season for the Latics and I was as thrilled as any of their diehard fans to hear that they had scored in the last minute to pull off a dramatic 5-4 home win against high-scoring Peterborough on Saturday.
I was talking to a Latics fanatic the day before the match, and he was voicing his concerns that the team was not only finding it hard to hit the back of the net but also to keep a clean sheet. In the event, they couldn’t do the latter but, boy, did they deliver on the goals front, that last-gasp winner sparking scenes that gladdened my heart when I watched the re-run on TV. I only hope the result inspires the team and manager Lee Johnson to produce another tremendous performance in tonight’s home match against promotion favourites Wolves, who Latics knocked out of the FA Cup at Molineux a few weeks ago. A win against Wolves could really spark a climb up the League One table and that is something young Lee Johnson deserves, for I think the club has found a burgeoning managerial talent in this 32-year-old – that’s the age I was when I took charge – who signed a three-year contract extension last week.
Johnson, as I did all those years ago, is working on a shoestring budget, and finding it tough to get the results right now. But, believe me, his team plays good football and, if they can get a break or two, the fans at Boundary Park have every reason to think that better times lie ahead. Tonight is a big night of football in the Premier League, but the result from “Ice Station Zebra” – my nickname for the stadium when I was there, one designed to send a chill through those southern softies – is one of the first I’ll be looking for. #KTF