Oldham’s season has been nothing short of disastrous so far and they look to face a real battle to retain their Football League status this season.
After eight matches, they sit bottom of League Two with four points from one win, one draw and six defeats. They have failed to score in five of those games and already have a goal difference of -10.
They kicked off the campaign with a 1-0 home defeat by Newport, which was followed by three straight defeats – at Bradford (2-1) and Bristol Rovers (1-0) and at home to Colchester (2-1).
The Latics finally got off the mark in their fifth fixture – spoiling Sutton’s first home game in the League by scoring two late goals to earn a 2-1 win.
However, they have failed to score a goal in League Two since – losing 3-0 at home to Barrow, 4-0 at Leyton Orient and then on Saturday drawing 0-0 with Hartlepool.
Even their progress to the third round of the Carabao Cup has come courtesy of two penalty shootout wins. They beat Tranmere 4-3 in a first-round shootout after a 2-2 draw, and then saw off Accrington 5-4 following a goalless draw.
They have earned one cup victory this season, however, beating Salford 1-0 in the Papa John’s Trophy.
The club has also been beset by off-the-field problems, with fan protests against the club’s owners at home games. These have included tennis balls being thrown on the pitch at one match, and fans coming on to the pitch and staging a sit-down in the centre circle in another.
It is all very sad for a club which was one of the 22 founder members of the Premier League in 1992 and which has spent a fair bit of its Football League life in the top two divisions.
In 1914/15, they finished League runners-up, just one point behind champions Everton.
Most recently, they spent 17 seasons in the old Division Two (now the Championship) from the mid-1970s to early 1990s, before going up to the old Division One (top flight) for its final season before the start of the Premier League, where they spent two years.
After three seasons back in the second tier, they then spent 21 consecutive seasons in the third tier, before being relegated to League Two in 2018, where they have had three bottom-half finishes.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Keith Curle took charge of Oldham in March this year – becoming the club’s eighth manager since the summer of 2018 and succeeding Harry Kewell in the post.
The Latics are the seventh team the former England defender has managed.
The first club he took charge of was Mansfield, and that was followed by spells at Chester, Torquay, Notts County, Carlisle (where he was manager for nearly four years) and Northampton.
As a player, Keith began his career with Bristol Rovers and he went on to play for Torquay, Bristol City, Reading and Wimbledon before he cost Manchester City a club record £2.5m in 1991.
He spent five years at Maine Road, before moving to Wolves for four seasons. He then finished his career with Sheffield United, Barnsley and Mansfield, where he was player-boss.
Keith won three caps for England, playing in the group game against Denmark in the Euro 92 finals.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Oldham were regular opponents for Brentford from the late 1990s to the early 2010s in the third tier (Division Two/League One), during the Latics’ 21-year stay at that level.
Our last meetings came in our 2013/14 promotion season.
A last-minute Jonathan Douglas header gave us a 1-0 pre-Christmas win at Griffin Park in Mark Warburton’s first game as manager following the departure of Uwe Rosler.
The return at the end of March was a goalless draw which left us second in the table – six points behind leaders Wolves with a game in hand, and four ahead of third-placed Leyton Orient having played two games fewer than our fellow Londoners.
Tuesday night will be our first meeting in the League Cup, although we have met in the FA Cup in five seasons. with the Latics going through on three occasions.
Q – Looking on the pitch first, why have results gone so badly for Oldham so far this season?
A – There’s possibly two factors behind this. The club certainly haven’t hidden behind their budget, that they are operating on the one of the lowest in the division. In a recent statement from the owner there was a reference to Salford City – perhaps at the other end of the scale.
They also have a lot of players out injured (between five to seven first team players out). Manager Keith Curle remains confident that once they start to come back from injury, the results will pick up.
Q – Can you summarise the latest off-the-field position, which has led to regular protests from fans?
A – There was a large protest at Saturday’s game at home to Hartlepool. This saw fans gather outside the main entrance of Boundary Park and included some carrying a coffin and laying it outside reception, and one fan dressed as the grim reaper. The reason behind it all is simply against the ownership. Fans believe the club could become the next Bury or Macclesfield – something the owner strongly denies.
Supporters have issues with performances on the pitch – under the near-four-year reign of Abdallah Lemsagam the club have been relegated to League Two and haven’t finished higher than 14th. There are concerns for fans off the pitch too – from finances and staffing amongst others. Again, the owner has written a lengthy statement countering arguments made by fan groups. For some supporters though the owner’s time has to come to an end – with banners unveiled at games showing: “Enough, sell the club”.
Q – Reaching the third round of the Carabao Cup must be a welcome distraction at least, but how seriously is the club taking the competition?
A – I think like any club at this level they’ll take the cup seriously as it provides a financial incentive, and boost. Up the road, it’s part of Rochdale’s model to do well in cups for this reason. It’s also an opportunity for a scalp, a famous day. Three seasons ago, Oldham went to Premier League Fulham in the FA Cup and won – the atmosphere that day still lives well in the memory.
Q – What style of football should Brentford fans expect to see from the Latics, and who are the men to watch out for?
A – I’ve seen two real Jekyll and Hyde performances from Oldham this year. Against Bradford it was free-flowing, attractive passing, a little bit of flair and the defeat was harsh on them. Against Barrow it was woeful. The players heads went, there was some poor defending and the attacking was poor.
Q – Are Oldham fans looking forward to their first visit to the Brentford Community Stadium?
A – Who doesn’t love a trip to a new stadium? One to tick off the list. But one thing about Oldham fans is they always travel well, and always create a great atmosphere. They’ll make themselves heard! I know one fan who lives in Brentford and texted me before the draw and joked about the ideal tie. He got his wish!
Q – Finally are you able to give me a possible Latics line-up and formation for the tie please?
A – Keith Curle likes to go with wing-backs, so expect 3-5-2/5-3-2.
Tickets are on general sale to any fan, not just season ticket holders or Bees members – details here.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAME IF YOU CAN’T BE THERE
If you can’t get to the Brentford Community Stadium for Tuesday’s 7.45pm kick-off, there are various ways of following the game.
Radio – There will be reports on BBC Radio London.
iFollow – If you want Brentford commentary, iFollow audio coverage is available again this season via monthly or seasonal passes. Coverage starts half an hour before kick-off and is advert-free and on Tuesday night, Mark Burridge and Karleigh Osborne are your commentators.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Oldham fans coming to the Brentford Community Stadium for the first time, there are plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).
When at Griffin Park, Brentford was well known for its four pubs – one on each corner of the ground. Three are still operating – The Griffin is closest to the old away end and has always been very popular with away fans – but also very, very busy. The New Inn is on the other side and has also been popular with away fans. The Brook pub is the other option if you want to be around what is left of our old home.
From the New Inn, you can walk down Green Dragon Lane and then turn left on to Kew Bridge Road where you will find the Express Tavern – an ale pub with a retro feel. If you sit in the garden, you can see our new stadium towering over you.
Across the road is One Over the Ait – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge. This pub is situated on the location of the now-demolished Oxford & Cambridge pub where Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889.
Cross the bridge and there are two pubs on Kew Green – the Cricketers and the Greyhound.
North of the river along well-to-do Strand on the Green, you will find The Steam Packet, in an old Cafe Rouge, The Bell, City Barge and the Bulls Head – two pubs side-by-side in which you would often see Ant and Dec hanging out.
There is also The Pilot – close to Gunnersbury station.
Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) …. The Globe (Windmill Rd) & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and about one minute walk from each other …. frequented by “away fans in the know”. And there are plenty of other pubs in and around Brentford High Street.
The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields.
The ‘Northfields run’ makes a much better pub crawl route than South Ealing – getting off the tube at Northfields station, turning left and stopping off at The Plough (2 min walk), The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before ending up at The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe). There’s also a relatively new tiny microbrewery pub in Northfields called The Owl and The Pussycat (Northfields Ave) – right turn out of the station away from the ground as opposed to left.
If you decide to get off at South Ealing station, we’ve heard a few people pop into Roddy’s Bar. If you like your craft beer, another fairly new pub worth checking out is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road, which is fairly busy before and after the match. There is a pub right by Brentford mainline station referred to as … the Pub by Brentford station.
For real ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman (Ealing Road) can probably hold 15 of you at a push. The Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) is a cosy boozer by the river.
Getting to Brentford from town – get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) and then take the Overground train to Kew Bridge, which is right by the stadium.
You can also get the tube to South Ealing or Northfields stations from King’s Cross or Euston (even less from Paddington) on the Piccadilly Line. The stadium is around 25 minutes’ walk from South Ealing or you can get on the 65 bus across the road which will drop you almost outside. You can also pick up the 65 from Ealing Broadway.
You can also walk to the stadium from Gunnersbury station, but note that it is closed for entry for one hour after the match.
You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.