To the Oldham Athletic family
It is likely to be of significant concern to all Latics fans that the club is starting the new season without utilising facilities within the Oldham Event Centre (OEC) on a match day. These facilities were developed principally to benefit the football club and support its long term sustainability. There is no comparable alternative available and securing the full use of the OEC on a match day should be an absolute priority for the club.
The current situation would appear to cut off a major source of revenue for the club via the sale of hospitality packages to businesses and fans within a purpose built, modern facility. We also acknowledge the reputational damage being caused. This damage won’t be easily repaired.
Boundary Park is not owned by the club and a contract for the use of the OEC on a match day has to be agreed with the owners of the ground via a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Clearly any such contract has to be on terms which are financially beneficial to the club.
Trust Oldham has met with the ‘Fan Led Group’ (the FLG) – who now operate the OEC on behalf of its owner – in relation to this matter. There has also been some discussion with the club through the club Board which Trust Oldham is represented on.
Trust Oldham is an external party in this matter and doesn’t have complete information at its disposal. However we have sought to understand as much as we can. Needless to say there is a difference of opinion and conflicting information and points of view have been provided.
To the best of our knowledge the club is being offered the opportunity to utilise facilities within the OEC on terms which are not materially different to previous seasons. As ever, matters of detail may need to be negotiated but given the potential financial implications, it is extremely concerning that these have not been dealt with as yet. Importantly nothing we have heard or seen would indicate that this matter is not readily resolvable through a commitment to sensible and pragmatic dialogue between landlord and tenant.
This is what we strongly urge and hope is now happening.
We believe that anyone genuinely acting with the club’s interests at heart would do their utmost to ensure this matter is resolved as a matter of urgency. That would appear to be within easy reach. It is the ultimately the football club – the one thing that unifies us – and its fans which will suffer as a result of the current situation.
Trust Oldham will continue its efforts to engage with the Board of the club and FLG in relation to this matter, though we sincerely hope this is not necessary.