OLDHAM Athletic have been accused of trying to "divide the fan base" after the club announced the suspension of season ticket sales and matchday ticket sales for the next two games.

Latics say their decision was taken following meetings with local authorities, including Greater Manchester Police, in light of recent protests and plans for future protests against the club's ownership.

Two home games have been disrupted by fans' action - with tennis balls thrown onto the pitch forcing the Carabao Cup clash with Accrington Stanley to be halted in the fifth minute, while a pitch invasion in the second half of Saturday's defeat to Barrow at Boundary Park caused both teams to temporarily leave the field of play.

As a result, despite a full season played behind closed doors because of Covid-19 in 2020/21, the club have chosen to restrict tickets for Saturday's trip to Leyton Orient to Season Card holders only - in person from the ticket office, between 10am and 4pm tomorrow (Thursday) and between 10am and 3pm on Friday, on a one ticket per card basis - while Leyton Orient officials will inform the club on Friday whether a pay-on-the-day facility will still be in place.

In addition, match ticket sales for the home game against Hartlepool United on September 18 have been suspended both online and from the ticket office, while season ticket sales have also been suspended until further notice.

The Oldham Times understands this was the club's decision, with no involvement from footballing bodies.

And the move comes despite owner Abdallah Lemsagam - less than 48 hours earlier - declaring in an open letter to fans: "I want to work with the fans and not fight with them.”

The revised ticketing situation has prompted an angry response from supporters, with fans group Push The Boundary calling for supporters to stick together.

PTB yesterday revealed plans to unite with Leyton Orient fans to "make their feelings known" in the fourth minute of the game, after Leyton Orient endured hardship under former owner Francesco Becchetti.

Today they have issued a statement in response to the club's ticketing decision which, in full, reads: "In light of the recent club announcements regarding the ticketing situation we felt it appropriate to speak up and speak out.

"The recent pitch invasions and corresponding action that has been taken by fans is something that we don’t and would never condone. That being said, fans do not take this action without the feeling that there is no alternative, especially when they see their football club being decimated in front of their very eyes. At this stage, the issues at home matches is a separate issue.

"Onto away matches, it is worth pointing out the behaviour of supporters away from Boundary Park this season has been nothing short of exemplary. You have supported the team at Bradford, Bristol Rovers and Sutton and sang your hearts out when performances on the pitch did not match our expectations. This is what symbolises who we are as fans.

"We feel this is yet another attempt by the custodian of our club to divide the fan base and to deflect attention away from the issues that are ongoing at the club under this ownership. The frustration that has been shown in recent times is a combination of numerous issues and is not solely born out of results on the pitch, as recently indicated. We implore fans to remain calm in light of this recent ticketing news, to stick together and keep our focus on the end goal of doing what is best all the while remembering that the right way, has right of way.

"As we saw with the North Stand situation that commenced 18 months ago fans are once again being used as collateral damage in an effort to silence dissenting voices and we feel this is wholly unacceptable. We have seen similar tactics employed elsewhere and they bear all the hallmarks of a regime that is fighting a losing battle.

"We have contacted the Health and Safety officer at Leyton Orient and advised that we would want the POTD (pay on the day) option to be retained as there are many supporters who have already booked transport for the game, and there are a number of non-northern based fans (OASIS etc) that simply won’t have the time to get tickets from the ticket office beforehand.

"We have stressed once more that our behaviour both towards each other and Orient fans would be respectful and there have been no such murmurings of any form of physical protest for Saturdays game. We remain hopeful that this will be an option for us all.

"We retain dialogue with Leyton Orient and will keep you updated."