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Match Previews

🔎The Opposition: Oldham Athletic

Lowdown on the Latics

11 November 2021

League action returns to St James Park as Oldham Athletic are the latest side to come to Devon.

Ahead of the game, here’s a lowdown on the Latics.

  • Founded: 1895
  • Nickname: The Latics
  • Honours: Division 2 (1990/91), Division 3 (1973/74), Division 3 North (1952/53).
  • Home Kit: HUMMEL Blue shirts with red and white trim, white shorts and blue socks
  • Away Kit: HUMMEL Orange shirt with black trim, black shorts with orange trim, orange socks
  • Form: LDLDL (22nd in League Two)

It’s said that in 1895 John Garland, the landlord of the Featherstall and Junction Hotel, decided to form a football club. As Pine Villa FC, the club played in the Oldham Junior league. In 1899 the professional team in the area, Oldham County, went into liquidation and one of the administrators persuaded Pine Villa to takeover residence at Sheepfoot Lane, become professional, and change their name to Oldham Athletic.

North East of Greater Manchester, Oldham was one of the centres for the cotton and textile industry in the Victorian era. At its peak, the town produced more cotton than Germany and France combined. Almost 30% of Oldham’s population was employed in the industry which took a massive hit between 1861-65 amidst the aptly named, Lancashire Cotton Famine.

In 1907 Oldham Athletic were promoted to Division 2 and joined Division 1 just three years later. The Latics floated between Division’s 2 and 3 for the next 35 years before being relegated to Division 4. Oldham won their first league title, the Division 3 North in 1953.

Jimmy Frizzle took over first team duties in the 1969/70 season with the Latics hovering nervously over Division 4 again. By 1974 Oldham were flying and won the Division 3 Title to return to the second tier for the first time in 21 years. The Club locked themselves in Div 2 for the rest of Frizzles reign before the appointment of Joe Royle in 1982.

In 1987, Oldham missed out on promotion back into the first tier after losing to Leeds United in the first ever play-off final. In 1990, the club reached the League Cup final where they lost to Nottingham Forest. The season later, Oldham triumphed in the league and got promoted back into the top division, as champions, for the first time in nearly 70 years. Oldham can pride themselves knowing they were one of the founding members of the new Premier League.

This season Oldham have started in slow form and currently sit in the bottom three going into Saturday’s affair.

Manager

Keith Curle

This will be the eighteenth time Keith Curle has managed against Exeter City which is more than any other manager has mustered against City. The 57-year-old won three England caps in 1992 whilst leading the back line for Manchester City.

Curle.jpg

Accustomed to change, Curle born and began his career in Bristol for Rovers before moving to Plainmoor in 1983. His 700-game playing career overlapped into management at Mansfield Town in 2002. After spells back in the English Riviera and Notts County, Curle joined Carlisle United in 2014.

After failing to take the Cumbrians into League One, thanks to Jack Stacey for one, Curle took up a new challenge at Sixfields and gained his revenge on City- when a managerial masterclass regained Northampton’s third tier status.  

He departed Northampton mid-way through last season with the Cobblers struggling on their League One return and walked through the proverbial revolving door at Oldham, replacing Harry Kewell.  

Stadium

  • Name: Boundary Park
  • Capacity: 13,513
  • Year opened: 1896
  • Address: Furtherwood Road, Oldham, Lancashire, OL1 2PB

The third highest football stadium in the Football League (After the Hawthorns and Vale Park), Boundary Park sits at over 500ft above sea level, but the record it does hold is that being the coldest football ground in the country, earning the nickname “Ice Station Zebra”. With Saturday’s weather set to be in the minuses, being able to watch at home on iFollow, does not seem such a bad option.

Boundary Park.jpg

In 1986, Joe Royle installed an artificial pitch at Boundary Park, to help generate more income and in 1989/90 the Latics had what is regarded as the clubs best ever season, reaching the final of the League Cup and Semi’s of the FA Cup, beating Arsenal, Everton and Villa along the way. When more regulations came in at the start of the 21st century, Oldham were forced to revert back to grass.

The Latics have had several attempts at moving away from Boundary Park including as recently as 2008, however fans rejected the notion as the new stadium had a Manchester postcode rather than one an Oldham one. In 2019, the new owner also realised he does not own the stadium so has also threatened to leave the historic ground.

One To Watch

Dylan Bahamboula

An engine needs its spark and for the Latics Dylan Bahamboula provides it. Bahamboula is a tireless worker for the Blues and this season has been prone to a number of worldies, too!

With four goals and two assists in this term, the midfielder has been the ignition for everything going forward in Keith Curle’s side. The Congo international has been a silky addition to Boundary Park after signing from Tsarko Selo Sofia in October.

Dylan Bahamboula.jpg

Accustomed to many a YouTube montage, Bahamboula has added flair to League Two since his arrival. His athletic frame makes him tough to tackle, and tough in the tackle as well. His main asset in taking on his man, usually down the Oldham right.

Dylan Bahamboula had a brief spell in Hungary after much of his early career in France. This has been his first foray into English football and after the start he has made at Oldham, certainly looks one for the future too.

Head to Head

Since the very first meeting in a 3-0 FA Cup win for City in 1937, there have only been 32 fixtures since. Exeter have had the better of the Latics though and the two clubs have shared 100 goals between them. City have found the net 54 times compared to Oldham’s 46.

Exeter City wins: 14

Draws: 8

Oldham Athletic wins: 11

Recent encounters

Oldham Athletic 2 Exeter City 1 | League Two | Boundary Park | March 23, 2021

The Latics held on to secure the first win in Keith Curle’s reign, as Jack Sparkes’ second half strike proved little consolation.

Exeter City 1 Oldham Athletic 2 | League Two | St James Park | November 21, 2020

Randell Williams’ opener was cancelled out by George Blackwood’s curling effort and Danny Rowe’s 40-yard piledriver to end City’s 13 game unbeaten run.

Exeter City 5 Oldham Athletic 1 | League Two | St James Park | February 11, 2020

A demolition job at the Park as goals from Jayden Richardson, Matt Jay, Archie Collins, Ryan Bowman and Brennen Dickenson thumped the Latics.

And Finally

Kenny Chaytor became the youngest-ever scorer of a Football League Hat-trick when he netted a treble for Oldham against Mansfield in 1955 at the age of 17 years and 72 days. His record stood for 16 years before being broken by Birmingham City prodigy, Trevor Francis.


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