12th December 2009
Match day by Kirstie Bowden
Photos by Martin Weiler
You can't buy much for £2 nowadays. That is, unless you went to Oldham versus Exeter where as a 'Christmas present' to their fans (with the match their last home one prior to Christmas) entrance was just £2. It was easily the cheapest entrance price since we have been back in the League (that wouldn't be difficult!), but not as cheap as trips to Woking and Morecambe back in the Conference where thanks to it being 'Ladies Day' all female Grecians got in for free! Despite the cheap entrance fee there was not enough interest for our normal bus to run. Therefore me and my family migrated to Grecian Travel, where we were reunited with all the usual suspects with whom we used to travel to away games. Marge was on fine form. To quote her, she was "up and down like a fiddler's elbow" with her onboard catering taking a roaring trade. This was despite a host of technical difficulties which led to cups of tea, coffee, and tissue being on the menu before the water went cold. Later when it had warmed back up again, soup was added to the menu. It went well until there was a little 'mishap' with its outcome being the offering of coffee 'with a hint of tomato'.
After parking up at Oldham we walked up a very steep hill to reach the away end. Here a transport survey was being undertaken. For reasons best known to Oldham they felt it necessary to ask away fans, with the first question posed to Marge "did you walk here today?" Despite her insistence that she was from Exeter he continued with his questions, asking if she'd ever travelled to a game by tram, whether or not she had an Oldham season ticket and his final being the brilliant "if we move to a new stadium will you come and watch us?" She declined disgracefully. Her exact response strictly cannot be repeated here! The reason for her annoyance? Her questioning had coincided with the team buses arrival, thus precluding her obligatory pre-match 'bertination'!
Waiting for the turnstiles to open I scrabbled £2 together using the biggest amount of coins I could. I regretted not going to the bank and getting out 200 1ps! I then, thanks to my bag, proceeded to get somewhat comically stuck in the turnstile. It took a couple of goes but I got in in the end! The pre-match 'entertainment' was Christmas themed with a whole host of very loud Christmas songs being played over the tannoy, with one being danced to by an assortment of dancing Christmas trees on the pitch. I was mesmerised! Unfortunately the game was less mesmerising. The highlight of the first half was a draw between Dan and Matts outstanding defensive display and the hilarious posturing and prancing around of Chaddy the Owl, the Oldham mascot, as he walked along the shared away/home end in which we were positioned. The highlight of the second half was unfortunately the blowing of the final whistle. Obvious lowlights were going 2-0 down with just 58 minutes on the clock, never looking like scoring, having to put up with the constant barrage of chant based abuse from the Oldham fans and watching Bertie leave the ground on a stretcher. Regular readers will no doubt be aware that I strive to stress the positive in any City performance. For this performance I can't. City were rubbish. Prior to this game our defeats had fallen into two categories playing well and losing, or just losing to teams that were simply better than we were. For the first time this season at Oldham we lost because we deserved to.
It had been unremittingly cold at Oldham, not quite as cold as the arctic blasts of Notts County last season, but still cold enough. Back on the bus talk of the performance was doing nothing to warm us up. Passengers were consoled with mince pies. One passenger who dared to mention the dreaded 'r' word nearly had one shoved down his throat by Marge. After a service station stop at Strensham, where we were joined by some miserable Argyle fans who had witnessed their Paul Mariner inspired 'new dawn' team lose 2-0 at Preston, it was back on the bus for the final leg of the journey. By this point the bus had got too hot. One passenger argued that should the bus not get cooler quickly he would be forced to strip. Cue Marge..... "Patrick don't take any more clothes off I've had enough shocks for one day"..