|JPT - A Golden Opportunity|
|Written by Mark W|
|Wednesday, 09 November 2011 21:44|
Oldham’s 3-1 victory over Crewe on Tuesday night will have gone unnoticed by many, not because of the result or the performance, but because it came in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
It’s probably understandable that even many who shell out their money to watch Latics every week treat this competition with distain. Before our win at Scunthorpe in the previous round it had been four seasons since we’d won a single game in it. To make matters worse, all those defeats had come at Boundary Park. In fact, in the last ten years there have only been four campaigns where we recorded victories in the various guises of the Football League Trophy (Paint Pot Trophy, Mickey Mouse Cup, call it what you will).
This season, however, it is clear that Paul Dickov is treating the tournament seriously and I think it is about time the fans did too. I’ve not seen every game this year but I have seen enough to suggest that we are likely to finish mid-table. Saturday gives us a good chance to progress in the FA Cup and it’d be great to think that we could get to the third round and the chance of that money-spinning tie. We’re hardly likely to win it though.
The JPT provides us with a real chance of glory. There isn’t a side left in the competition that we are not capable of beating. Maybe I’m on my own here, but I support this club in the vain hope that one day I might see us win something. Perhaps the JPT wouldn’t be my first choice but I’m more excited about that than I am about whether we finish 10th or 14th in the league.
The lift that a trip to Wembley would give the club and indeed the town cannot be underestimated. I’m not saying that we’d suddenly find thirty thousand fans but I’d be surprised if we didn’t take fifteen to twenty thousand. The money that could be made from the merchandise alone must make Simon and Alan giddy in anticipation.
If we could go one step further and win the thing it’d lead to a real feel good factor. People who you’ve never seen at BP, or certainly not in the last twenty years, would suddenly want to be associated with the club “I was there at Wembley you know when they won the trophy”. While I doubt that crowds to league games would triple over night, there would be a marked increase especially if the confidence generated by success led to improved performances.
The money generated might even go some way towards helping with the redevelopment of Boundary Park (at the very least the sponsors might chuck in some paint).
This is Latics we are talking about though so there is still some way to go before we can really start dreaming. I’ve only ever seen a Latics’ captain lift a trophy aloft once in my lifetime (Isle of Man Steam Packet Festival and the Rose Bowl excepted). How fantastic it would be to see that open top bus once again whatever the competition.