Football

Oldham Controversy Continues As Fans Protest Irish Midfielder's Absence

Oldham Controversy Continues As Fans Protest Irish Midfielder's Absence

The current situation at Oldham Athletic continues to frustrate their fanbase, as the current fiasco involving Irish midfielder Jack Byrne remains unaddressed.

Per the Oldham Chronicle, Byrne was reportedly suspended by Oldham Athletic at the end of last month. The former Manchester City player had been critical of certain elements within the club on social media. He has not been involved in the squad for any of their League two fixtures this season, a 2-1 loss against MK Dons and a 1-1 draw with Forest Green.

The 22-year-old has represented Ireland at every level from U16 to U21. He signed for Oldham Athletic in January after stints with Man City, Cambuur, Blackburn and Wigan.

At Oldham, the turmoil in the aftermath of last season's relegation continued into their pre-season. Club captain Anthony Gerrard was sacked after arguing with fans on Twitter and immediately signed a deal to join Carlisle. Former League of Ireland Player of the Year Patrick McEleney left the club six months after joining to return to Dundalk and was highly critical of the hierarchy in an interview with the Herald. 

People think the grass is always greener and everything is better away from home but it’s not, that wasn’t a step-up for me and I wouldn’t advise someone else to do what I did... It just didn’t work, it was a weird club, it was run different to anything I’d seen before, not paying players on time or just deciding when to pay players.

Oldham Boss Frankie Bunn was interviewed by the BBC at the start of the month and asked about several issues surrounding the club including reports of an unpaid tax bill and winding up petition, the loss of Anthony Gerrard and the Jack Bryne situation. He stated he had 'no comment.' When pressed, he simply responded "That's in-house. You have mentioned it, it has been dealt with in-house. That is as much as I can say."

Jack Byrne's continued absence has led to fan protests online, with supporters taking part in a campaign using the hashtag '#FreeJackBryne.'

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On Monday, Bunns did not directly address Jack Byrne's position but did comment on the current atmosphere around the club. The Oldham boss told the Manchester Evening News that the negativity isn't helping and called on fans to back the team: "We have to build from here and we need positive support to do that, we don't need doom and gloom. We've had enough of that over the last five or six years, and probably even longer."

Next up, Oldham Athletic play Frank Lampard's Derby County in the League Cup on Wednesday, although it is unknown whether Byrne will be involved.

Maurice Brosnan

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