John Houghs coaching talents take him to Giants

Date published: Tuesday, November 8, 2011

JOHN Hough’s unbroken 14-year association with Oldham RL Club is over.

On the back of coaching Roughyeds’ reserves to a Grand Final victory last season, he has accepted an offer by Super League club Huddersfield Giants to coach their under-20s squad.

“The Oldham club will always be a part of me,” said 35-year-old Hough, “and I leave with a heavy heart.

“I’ve experienced ups and downs over the last 14 years, but it’s been a fantastic period in my life.

[singlepic id=992 w=320 h=240 float=left]”The opportunity to move to a Super League club, however, was too good to turn down. Opportunities like that don’t come very often and when they do you have to grab them with both hands.

“I’ve worked and played alongside many great colleagues at Oldham and I would like to thank each and every one with a special thank-you going to Chris (chairman Chris Hamilton) for all he has done for me going back to 1997.

“Whenever Huddersfield duties permit, I will still be at Oldham’s games as a fan and my wife Sharon will continue to help behind the scenes at Whitebank on match days and on other occasions whenever she can pitch in.

“We’ve made some very good friends at the club and we would never let a career move like this undermine friendships that mean so much to us.”

A talented hooker, Hough was the first player to sign for the new Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd on December 1 of that year and he went on to play in 228 games over a ten-season period which earned him a testimonial.

Remarkably, he missed only two games in the club’s first three seasons and after six seasons in the Roughyeds’ No 9 jersey he had figured in 180 out of a possible 195 outings.

Only Neil Roden, with 273, has played more games for the club than Hough, who on his retirement as a player was appointed coach of the Roughyeds’ reserves team when it was re-launched in 2008.

Over the last four seasons he has supervised the development of many young players, including Chris Clarke, Ben Heaton (now at Halifax), Michael Ward and, more recently, Jamie Dallimore, Danny Langtree, David Cookson and Alex Thompson, the quartet who have signed pro forms after impressing in last season’s trophy-winning under-23s team.

“John and I go back a long way,” said chairman Chris Hamilton. “He was the first player we signed back in 1997, and he has been at the club ever since. It’s the end of a long association.

“In more recent times he has played a big part in bringing through a number of promising lads, but he felt the opportunity to join Huddersfield was one he had to take.

“We are sorry to see him go, and we wish him well.

“Our reserve team’s success has not gone unnoticed within the game and that will enable us to continue to attract good players.

“It goes without saying that we will be carrying on with our plans for the reserve team and striving to build on what was achieved last season.

“There is no immediate rush to find John’s replacement, given that we are currently out of season, but I’ve got some meetings arranged over the next few days which will hopefully put us in a position to make plans moving forward.”