Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor shows sympathy and support for Oldham Athletic supporters' plans for 'peaceful protest'
Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor has supported Oldham Athletic supporters’ right to protest during Saturday’s League Two match at Boundary Park, as long as it is kept peaceful.
The Latics’ start to the League Two season has been dominated by discontent behind the scenes with supporters continually protesting the ownership of Abdallah Lemsagam.
Fans have staged four pitch invasions during home matches with their most recent home game against Barrow being held up in the second half due to fans entering the field of play.
The off field struggles have compounded on the pitch as well with five defeats from their opening six matches seeing Oldham at the foot of the Football League.
Supporters group ‘Push the Boundray’ have confirmed that there will be an organised protest before and during the Pools game with fans encouraged to make their voices heard ‘in the correct and lawful manner’.
And Challinor is hoping his side can secure their first away win of the new season on what is shaping up to be an unpredictable afternoon in the north west.
“I don't know what to expect,” he said. “There is obviously a lot of unhappiness and discontent within the football club, especially with the supporters which can impact things on the pitch.
" They've had some injuries which has changed their team quite a bit. They've played different shapes so we expect anything really.
"We just need to tweak things slightly but the main thing is to concentrate on us and hopefully be effective in both penalty areas.”
While Challinor backed Oldham supporter’s rights and reasons to protest, he hopes things are kept civil – unlike the previous match at Boundray Park.
“As much as I can stand and agree and sympathise with the discontent, I don’t think, regardless of what your thoughts are, you should be affecting what happens in a football match,” he added.
“What it is for us is something that we can’t control. At what point do authorities get involved? What you don’t want is Oldham fans protest and affect games on a Saturday.
"Ultimately the way to punish fans and clubs is to dock them points or is to forfeit games and things like that. No one wants to see that.
“I’ve got absolutely no issue at all with protests. I think that protests that affect 90 minutes on a Saturday or a Tuesday go beyond the line.
"I’d be more than happy to back them for what they’re doing because they feel that their football club is going in the wrong direction. I totally get that and I totally understand that.
“I would back and agree with what they’re doing if that’s the way they feel but in terms of affecting football matches, that for me becomes a little bit wrong.
"I think they are still massively behind the players, it’s the other things they have an issue with. We don’t want to find ourselves in a situation where we’re in a good place in the game and then a protest causes it to stop for 15-minutes.”