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Everton travel to Boundary Park on Saturday to take on Oldham AFC, conquerors of the red half of Merseyside in the FA Cup. We spoke to Oldham historian Dave Moore about his team.
Royal Blue Mersey had the real pleasure of speaking with acclaimed Oldham historian and writer Dave Moore ahead of Saturday's FA Cup 5th Round fixture between Everton and Oldham Athletic. He commented on a wide range of topics, including the resignation of manager Paul Dickov. Dave also goes by the moniker 'The Chairman' on the OAFC Message Board.
RBM - Tell us a bit about yourself, and how you came to be an Oldham supporter.
DM - I’ve been supporting the Latics since the 1959/60 season and have witnessed all the highs and lows. I have also written books about the club (Oldham Athletic: On This Day; Oldham Athletic: Miscellany) so am a bit of an Oldham historian. I emigrated to Canada in 1990 but still manage to get back to England several times a year to watch the Latics. I still play amateur football and my team offered to chip-in to send me back for the Everton game if I wanted to go. Unfortunately, I couldn’t accept their generous offer so I’ll be watching the game live on TV in Canada.
RBM - Things haven't gone so well for the Latics this season in the League One. What were the expectations at the beginning of the season?
DM - As always, most teams start the season hoping for success but Oldham have lacked financial investment for some time now. Fans are always split – some want automatic promotion, others look for a play-off spot and the realists, like me, hope for a successful season by avoiding the drop and hoping for a good cup run.
RBM - Paul Dickov resigned as manager soon after the famous win against Liverpool. Did that come as a shock to the fans?
DM - Paul Dickov was well liked by all the Oldham fans. He is a genuine person who always tried his best. He even came out pouring cups of tea and coffee to fans who were waiting in a cold line for cup tickets. Although he was well liked – other managers would have been heckled out by the fans long before – his run of nine league games with only one point just wasn’t good enough. The fans were not shocked as his success must be based on his results. Even the win over Liverpool couldn’t help him avoid the inevitable.
RBM - What is the Latics' playing style? Who are the key players in the side?
DM - The Latics raise their game when playing higher opposition so I’m expecting another cavalier performance like the one against Liverpool. We deserved that win on effort alone and I’m hoping for a similar performance against the Toffees. Matt Smith will be the danger man if he recovers from injury (he hasn’t played since the Liverpool game) and watch out for 20-year-old James Tarkowski at the heart of the defence if he is selected.
RBM - What do you think is Oldham AFC's biggest weakness? Could this be a problem against Everton?
DM - The Latics biggest weakness could be the lack of a manager or backroom staff. Tony Philliskirk is currently acting as caretaker manager and is undefeated in his one game at the helm! We have three new signings who are also settling into the team so that could be a potential problem but the last league game showed that we can play when we try.
RBM - Everton sold out their Boundary Park allocation in no time. Will the fans turn out in numbers to support the Latics?
DM - The game will be a sell-out so I expect around 7,500 Oldham fans who should become our twelfth man again. It’s amazing what extra support can bring out of the team. It started at Nottingham Forest and you could see how it lifted the players. My only worry is that one or two Everton fans could infiltrate the Oldham sections when the final tickets go on open sale.
RBM - Finally, how about a score prediction for Saturday's game? Who are you expecting to shine?
DM - I’m going to stick my neck out here. Given that our Cup games against Everton since the late 80s have favoured the Latics we seem to be a bit of a bogey team for you so I’m going for a 2-1 win to Oldham. I expect the home fans to outshine your fans which will give us the impetus for another big Cup shock. All the best to you for the rest of the season!