John Clough

Date published: Thursday, November 25, 2010

OLDHAM RL Club’s restructuring programme continued today with the capture on a one-year contract of former Salford, Leigh and Blackpool hooker John Clough.

A native of St Helens, 26-year-old Clough has spent the last three seasons with the ill-fated Blackpool club and is now looking to relaunch his career.

“John knows pretty well all there is to know about the hooking role,” said Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton. “We are delighted to sign him. He will be a more-than-useful addition to the squad.”

Clough was a member of the National League under-21s representative side, managed by Hamilton, which played several games in France in 2002.

He later went up into Super League with Salford, for whom he made 17 appearances in the elite competition between 2004 and 2006. While at The Willows he also had a brief spell on loan to the old London Broncos club.

He had one season at Leigh under Darren Shaw in 2007 before he became one of Martin Crompton’s first signings when the former Oldham Bears captain was given the job of rebuilding the seaside club in 2008.

“Blackpool hadn’t won a game for two years when Crommy (Crompton) got the job there, and signed me from Leigh,” said Clough. “We put in a lot of hard work and had some success. It was a shame it had to end in such unsatisfactory circumstances.

“It’s tough on players when there are broken promises, uncertainty about the future and nobody knows for sure exactly what’s happening. But all that’s behind me now.

“Oldham is a good club with a good reputation and I’m looking forward to the new start it will give me. Tony Benson (head coach) had a chat with me a while ago and it all moved on from there.

“I’ve trained with Roughyeds for the past couple of weeks and I’ve really enjoyed it. Tony’s approach is a lot different to Crommy’s. John Gillam was the only Oldham player I knew well, but they all made me feel welcome.”

A product of amateur club Blackbrook, John is the elder brother of St Helens forward Paul Clough and a neighbour and lifelong friend of former Roughyeds winger Gareth Langley.

Added John: “When I told Gareth I was thinking of joining Oldham he said he couldn’t fault the club. He said it was a good club to play for. When you hear that from a friend it goes down well.

“I just hope we can progress one step further than Oldham managed last year and finally win promotion for the club after so many near misses.

“I know a little bit about what it’s like to play in four consecutive Grand Finals and lose them all because the same has happened to my brother Paul at Saints.”

He has played nearly all his professional rugby at hooker, although he had a spell at Blackpool last season when he was picked at loose-forward.

“I’ll play anywhere,” he added, “but my preference is hooker — that’s where I feel most at home.”

Away from rugby, John works in Billinge at a special school for children with challenging behaviour.