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Dublin: 1°C Friday 7 May 2021

Oldham fans start campaign to 'free' Irish star who has reportedly been suspended since July

Jack Byrne still hasn’t figured for troubled Oldham this season.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

OLDHAM FANS HAVE begun a social media campaign to have Irish midfielder Jack Byrne ‘freed’ from his apparent club exile.

The former underage international was reportedly suspended internally in July for publicly unspecified reasons. Anthony Gerrard was also reported to have been sacked by Oldham at that time.

It was subsequently confirmed by the club on 9 August that Gerrard’s contract was terminated for “gross misconduct arising from certain social media posts which brought the club into disrepute” – posts which are believed to have included his telling a fan on Twitter to “go throw shite at yourself pal.”

However, there has been no update offered as to Dubliner Byrne’s status at Boundary Park: his somewhat more mysterious alleged suspension has still never been confirmed nor denied by Oldham.

Manager Frankie Bunn did vaguely allude to it on 1 August – some eight days before Gerrard’s release was confirmed – when he told radio station Revolution 96.2 that he would offer further information regarding both players’ situations in due course.

Byrne still hasn’t figured for the Latics this season but it’s understood he has continued to train with the club as normal.

Jack Byrne Jack Byrne in action for Ireland U21s in 2016 Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Oldham welcome Frank Lampard’s Derby County to Boundary Park in the first round of the Carabao Cup this evening having failed to win either of their first two League Two fixtures.

A campaign thus-far blighted by off-field issues has led to mass fan frustration, and Jack Byrne’s exclusion for both the Latics’ 2-1 home loss to MK Dons and 1-1 draw at Forest Green has been deemed inexplicable by many.

His Wikipedia entry has been edited to suggest that he has “recently been put under house arrest and is unavailable for selection,” while hordes of fans have begun tweeting the #FreeJackByrne hashtag in the hope that the 22-year-old’s return to first-team action could spark a change in the club’s on-field fortunes.

Many have gone the extra mile, with pleas for Byrne’s return now being incorporated into all sorts of imagery by way of Photoshop or other picture-editing tools.

It’s unclear as to whether Byrne will be selected for Oldham’s matchday squad for tonight’s Carabao Cup clash with Derby.

A hero’s welcome awaits the former Manchester City youngster should he ever make his return from the wilderness.

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