Lifelong Latics fans banned for "being vocal about the club's ownership"
Date published: 20 December 2021
Bradley Knowles, centre, with protest banner
Two Latics fans have been banned from attending any games at Boundary Park for three years following criticism of owner Abdallah Lemsagam.
Bradley Knowles and Nathan Price received a letter this morning banning both fans from all first team and youth games at Boundary Park and "at any other ground where either team are playing for a minimum period of 3 years."
The letter, signed by General Manager Steven Brown, accused the men of promoting "your dislike of Oldham Athletic Football Club, its management and its progression; and you are influencing others to do the same. You are taking deliberate steps to harm the Club and cause distress."
Speaking to the Oldham Chronicle, Mr Knowles, from Lees, said he was upset by the banning order.
"I've not hidden the fact that I am vocal about the ownership of the club. I've attended protests, and held up banners saying 'Abdallah Out', but I've never taken part in disruption on the field.
"I'm a director of the Oldham Athletic Supporters Foundation (OASF), and I don't get involved in things like throwing tennis balls or flares onto the pitch."
"I'm absolutely flabbergasted."
Bradley, 26, says he's travelled the country with Latics, is a season ticket holder, and has been supporting the team since he was six years old.
"What I want to know is why Nathan and I have received this order, but nobody else has. Yes, I'm vocal, and I have a reasonable following on Twitter, so maybe it's just about that."
Fans have been showing their frustration against Lemsagam's running of the club, with protests around the ground, pitch invasions, and throwing of flares and tennis balls. Both Knowles and Price deny involvement in anything but protests, and unfurling banners in the ground, calling for Lemsagam's resignation.
Lemsegam hit back in an open letter to fans in September saying he had "no intention" of "walking away from his investment".
He continued: "I receive emails and texts, and so do those close to me, on a daily basis calling me all sorts of names and asking me to “go home”; many of them are outright racist. Since I took over in 2018, I accept that mistakes have been made... But each mistake has been made honestly, and with an intention to help the club."
The club owner made a number of commitments in the same letter, including regular meetings with fan groups, the appointment of a 'Fan Director', and commitment to a 3-year plan for the club.
OASF say the Oldham Athletic has reneged on the promises made in the letter, and have turned down the offer of a meeting with Paul Hughes, former vice-chair of OASF, who now works voluntarily at the club "a couple of days a week".
In an open letter to Mr Hughes, Matt Dean of OASF said: "With all due respect to yourself and your own honourable intentions Paul, we were promised direct, monthly contact with existing directors of the football club, which you are not.
"I have, both individually and as part of the board, spoken directly to Abdallah, (Non-Executive Director) Richard Bowden and (Director) Adam Morallee, all of whom, at the time, stressed that they understood the need to communicate directly with us and that they understood our frustrations. Their response since? To cancel the board to board meeting we had arranged for October , deny us access to accounts and not reach out to us again to re-arrange."
The Oldham Chronicle has approached Steven Brown at Oldham Athletic for a comment on the banning orders but have not yet received a reply.
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