Whitebank Stadium

Date published: Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oldham Rugby League Club have confirmed, for the first time, that they are hoping to establish a home base in the borough at White Bank Stadium, Limeside.

With the Northern Rail Cup already up and running and the start of the Co-operative Championship 1 season less than two weeks away, Roughyeds owner and chairman Chris Hamilton has moved to assure fans that the club is involved in “complex and delicate discussions” with Oldham Council and other partners to deliver a long-term solution to the club’s problems.

Although talks are still ongoing, Roughyeds’ adult and OAP season-ticket holders are invited to a meeting at White Bank, home of Oldham Boro FC, this Friday, February 19 at 6.30pm. And Roughyeds plan further meetings at the ground soon with pay-at-the-turnstile fans and also with local residents.

Speculation linking Roughyeds with a move to White Bank has been rife for weeks, and the rugby league club has now confirmed that the football ground off Hollins Road is where it is hoping to realise its long-term hopes and ambitions — and that’s official.

Said Chris Hamilton:

“We have been trying for a number of weeks to bring to an early conclusion our attempts to find a suitable ground within the borough. This has not yet been possible, and that underlines the unique problems we face at the club.

“We are very aware of the need to let our fans know what is happening. We thought we would have been able to do so before now, but the fact that we haven’t does not mean anyone is to blame — it is simply a reflection of the complex and delicate process of discussions that have been ongoing since late last year.

“With the dawn of a new season, however, and having already had to play one game outside Oldham with another one coming up when we play Sheffield next Monday at Sedgley Park, we have to let our supporters know what is happening.

“It is an open secret that we wish to play our matches at White Bank Stadium, home of Oldham Boro’ Football Club, and that is the position we are working towards finalising.

“We are advised that this will hopefully be confirmed within the next couple of weeks. In the meantime we continue to be patient in working with Oldham Council and other partners in this scheme to deliver a long- term solution to the club’s problems in not having a base within the town.

“Ultimately, that is what everybody connected with the club — fans, staff, coaches, players and sponsors — wants to see and we believe that is what will happen.

“A little bit more short-term pain will bring long-term gain and I again stress my appreciation of the fans’ support and patience in allowing us to deal with this matter.

“The length of time it has been subject to public speculation has inevitably led to the leaking of the venue but now that it is in the public domain we want to assure fans that we are working hard to make sure it happens.

“We wish to further show our appreciation to those fans who purchased season tickets without knowing where we would be playing by inviting them to a meeting for season ticket holders at the ground on Friday, February 19 at 6.30pm so that we can thank them personally for their support.

“The meeting will be for adult and OAP season-ticket holders —- ie, those who bought tickets on the basis that they could have a refund if they did not like the venue —- and anyone in those categories who wishes to attend must contact the Roughyeds office on 0161 628 3677 as soon as possible to book a place.

“Season-ticket holders must have their books with them on the night to gain access to the meeting, at which they will be able to upgrade their tickets from standing to seating should they wish..

“As soon as we are able, hopefully in the very near future, fans without season tickets will be invited to another meeting at the ground, at which they will be shown around and shown the facilities.

“The club is fully committed to working with local residents in relation to this venture and we will be holding a meeting with them also as soon as things are finalised.

“In thanking fans for their support of the team so far this season, I feel sure they not only understand the difficult position we are in regarding the ground but also appreciate our efforts to rectify that as soon as possible.”

+It is now confirmed that Oldham’s home game with Sheffield Eagles in the Northern Rail Cup will take place next Monday night, February 22 at Sedgley Park, kick-off 8.00pm