Keith Curle has sympathy for disgruntled Oldham fans

Keith Curle (PA) (PA Wire)
18:23pm, Sat 04 Sep 2021
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Oldham boss Keith Curle admitted that he “understands” the fans after some of them invaded the pitch during the 3-0 home defeat by Barrow.

The match was held up for three minutes just after the hour mark as supporters vented their anger at the club’s ownership.

It capped a miserable day for the Oldham boss, whose team are still without a win at Boundary Park this term.

“First and foremost I was thinking about the safety of the players and officials, because these situations can escalate,” said Curle when asked about the pitch invasion.

“I understand the fans. I’m not immune to it. I understand what’s going on.

“I’ve had messages about it since and I’ll reply to them, but I’ll try and give balance.

“The underlying message from fans I’ve heard from tonight is that they’re behind me, they’re behind the team, but if there’s things being thrown onto the pitch, that just can’t happen.”

Curle added: “There’s a toxic environment within the dressing room, with injuries meaning we’re down to the bare bones, but today was about a lack of discipline, as individuals.

“We didn’t have enough disciplined players that did their jobs today, individually and collectively.

“We’ve let the fans down with that performance.

“There is a situation here with where we are in the league of course, but we’ve just got to work hard at it.

“I won’t shy away from my responsibilities here.”

Barrow struck early when ex-Oldham midfielder Ollie Banks drilled home from distance.

The hosts almost levelled just before the break when Paul Farman superbly saved Alan Sheehan’s curling free-kick.

A super solo goal from Offrande Zanzala and then Joe Grayson’s free-kick strike saw Barrow effectively home, leading to a toxic atmosphere and Oldham fans subsequently invading the pitch in the 64th minute.

Barrow boss Mark Cooper was delighted, and pleased that his players kept their heads in a tough situation.

“It was an eventful afternoon, it had a bit of everything,” said Cooper.

“It was a great effort from the players again, though, and in fact the whole squad.

“They gave everything and were really outstanding – it’s always nice to win on the road.

“We knew we’d have to be on the front foot here, and that worked a treat. We have to get after teams in this league.

“Paul Farman had to make a couple of great saves in the first half to keep us in it, but in the second half we were calm, controlled, in what was a difficult atmosphere with what was going on with the fans.

“The key thing is the concentration from my point of view.

“We had to make sure we kept our focus and just finish the game off.

“This is a great result and hopefully the pubs will be bouncing in back in Barrow tonight – you have to make the most of results like these.”

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