Chest out, George is loud and proud

Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date published: 02 March 2017

HE has promised to get a tattoo of John Sheridan if Athletic end up finishing in the top 10 this season, but even without an indelible homage to the manager the sheer commitment to the cause of George Parkin can't be questioned.

A regular match-goer since the age of three, the trainee plumber has earned considerable terrace fame simply by taking his top off at matches - whatever the weather.

"I am never usually cold because I'm jumping around," said Athletic nut George, a former Saddleworth School pupil and proud member of the Athleticos 'ultras' group.

"I was at Port Vale this season, though. For some reason I always stand on my own at the front there at the bottom of the stand."

Asked how he came to first decide to expose his torso to the elements, George revealed that the decision to do so for the full 90 minutes came about thanks to the extraordinary 5-4 home win over Peterborough three years ago.

"I used to just take it off when Latics scored," he said. "Then when we were 2-0 down against Peterborough in 2014, I just took it off in frustration and it started from there.

"I might occasionally have put it back on that season, but not now. Not even at half-time."

George's whole-hearted commitment to the cause - he even shows up at some youth-team games with the Athleticos - means he is the most recognisable of the hardcore supporter group, devoted to revving-up the match day experience.

Not all fans are fully behind the Athleticos movement - "some people will have a moan about anything and that's life, but I think most Latics fans are in favour of it," George says - but the move to designate the top-right area of the Jimmy Frizzell Stand as the group's own loud-and-proud singing section has proved a hit.


The five-year-old group, officially named 'OA 95 Athletico Ultras', was formed by current drummer Ryan Green and is credited with helping to create some memorable atmospheres.

That's particularly true away from home, where renditions of "Sheridan's Blue and White Army" have been known this season to last four entire halves.

The aim now is to increase awareness. There are 60 members in the Facebook group, with a host of fledgling fans too young to partake in social media also keen to join in the fun.

"Our numbers have dropped, but we are seeing some new faces," said George, whose group rely on funding from supporters to purchase flags. "I think as results pick up on the pitch we will attract more fans and out aim is to get larger in numbers and louder in voice."

One of a hardy group of around seven fans who travel to away games by train, George has not missed a game since Shrewsbury away in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy early in the 2013-14 season and has rarely seen trouble.

Those not fully convinced of the benefits of a committed, loud and proud group of supporters can read the following citation from neutral fan website The 72: "The atmosphere (at Park), largely provided by Oldham's self-styled 'Athleticos' ultras, is excellent. This faction of the Latics fanbase are loud, passionate and supportive of the team - without causing any aggro. In short, they're what an ultras group should be."