On Tuesday 13th of July, Celtic will be playing their first friendly match of the season (after the disappointing cancellation of the game against Woodley Sports) against a strong Oldham Athletic team. It will kick off at 7:45pm at Bower Fold, though the committee of the Buffalo club will be available from 6:30pm in the Social club.
Oldham Athletic played their first game in 1894, though not at Boundary Park, which was where Oldham County played. After getting into Division two at the expense of Burslem Port Vale (who went bust), after missing out on promotion into the league by one vote, they moved into Boundary Park in 1907.Boundary Park as it is today.
Oldham got into the top flight of English football in 1910, and came second in 1915. This was to prove their best position, as four disappointing seasons saw them finally relegated into the second division in 1922. More disappointment followed as they struggled in the second division, before they finally fell into the third division north (as it was then) in 1935. Apart from a season long flirtation with the second division, they remained rooted in the League?s basement division (through a restructuring) until 1963, when they made it back into the third division. 10 year?s later they cantered into the second division and in 1991 achieved the holy grail of promotion into the Premiership. It was to be a rollercoaster couple of years, but after losing to a late Mark Hughes goal for Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final replay, their confidence took a knock and they plummeted out of the Premiership and through the first division, back into the second where they remain today.
They?ve had many great players through the years. Possibly their most revered pair are Andy Ritchie (who went on to manage them) and Roger Palmer, who remains their record goal scorer with 141 goals.
The Latics finished last season with an unbeaten in 8 games run (of 5 draws and 3 wins). Indeed, in the last 15 games, they only lost twice, though too many draws saw them finish a disappointing 15th. Their biggest win was a 6-0 thumping of Grimsby Town in February. Their biggest loss was 0-4 against Wrexham at the start of the season.
Their current squad is 40 strong, and at least one member of Celtic?s squad will know them, Ben Smith came from Oldham and despite playing for Celtic through the 2003/04 season, according to FIFA 2004 by EA Sports, he was still the preferred right winger at Oldham! The squad coming to Bower Fold will be drawn mainly from this list and include a number of first team regulars.
Celtic will be playing their first game of the season, and should be fielding new boys Calcutt, Sykes and Whealing.
Of course, both teams will field unknown players who are being trialled, but it should be a good game, none the less.
One final note, the new money raising scheme, The Buffalo Club, will be holding its inaugural meeting before the match, in the social club. If you have any questions, or want to pick up a standing order mandate to join in, then feel free to drop in. Hopefully the four committee members (Peter Hoctor, Peter Fenton, Trefor Williams and Bob Rhodes) will all be there.