Flying Oldham’s flag at Wembley

Date published: Monday, August 24, 2015
ADRIAN Tierney is in his second season as Oldham RL Club’s kit manager. More than that, he is a self-confessed Roughyeds fanatic and has been since he first stumbled across rugby league by chance nearly 30 years ago.
Aged 49 (he celebrated that birthday on the team coach going up to Newcastle), he is a character in his own right and, as his new club nickname of ‘Tucker’ would indicate, he is infamous for the number of sausage rolls and meat pies he stacks away on long coach trips while for ever tipping the scales at 11 stone wet through !

Adie is well known to Roughyeds fans at Whitebank, but come Saturday he will appear on a rather bigger stage when he flies the flag for Oldham RLFC at the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final between Hull KR and Leeds Rhinos at Wembley.

Pre-match promotions on the hallowed turf will include special celebrations to recognise the 120th Anniversary of the birth of rugby league at the George Hotel in Huddersfield.
Every club will have a representative, but the pitchside parade will be led by the 22 founder clubs, including Oldham, who attended that historic meeting in August, 1895,
“To walk out at Wembley carrying the Oldham flag will be a dream come true . . . a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” said Adrian, who watched his first Oldham game in 1987.

He recalled: “I wasn’t particularly interested before then, but I’d be about 21 at the time and the club appealed for volunteers to clean the stands at Watersheddings.

“Two of us turned up and they gave us a ticket for the next home match against Castleford. It was a brilliant game; absolutely enthralling; I was hooked for life and I’ve watched Roughyeds regularly ever since.”

A member of the site maintenance team at Oasis Academy Oldham, Adrian succeeded Paul Hulbert as Oldham kit manager and he says it was the best decision he ever made.

“In fact, when I was asked if I’d be interested by Chris Hamilton (club chairman), I snatched his hand off,” said Adrian.

“Nearly two full seasons into the job, I can’t believe how brilliant it is. We’ve got a great chairman, a great set of lads, a fantastic coaching and backroom staff headed by Scott and ‘Spanner’ and some great supporters, of which I am one.

“If it’s left up to me, it will be a long time before anybody else gets the kit manager’s job at Whitebank, I’ll tell you.

“As for the Wembley trip, I’ll be proud and privileged to fly the flag for this club, for this town and for this great sport.

“Had anyone told me, all those years ago when I was cleaning the stands at ‘Sheddings, that one day I would be representing the club on the pitch at Wembley before a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final I would have said they were crackers.”

* Niel Wood, project manager and consultant to the RFL on the sport’s 120th Anniversay celebrations, wishes to publicly thank Oldham Council and its rep Cameron Boland for their ‘outstanding’ help and co-operation in assisting with the Founders’ Walk as it passed through the borough.