WORK costing “several thousand pounds” is underway at the Whitebank Stadium to overhaul and upgrade the hot water and shower facility in both home and away dressing rooms.
It will be paid for by the club, assisted by a grant from the Rugby Football League’s Facilities Trust.
The project will be completed and the new system will be fully operational in time for Sunday’s home game against second-in-the-table York City Knights.
It will be four years and nine days exactly since the City Knights spoiled Oldham’s ‘house warming’ by winning 34-28 in the Roughyeds’ first-ever game at Whitebank, watched by a crowd of 1,110.
From that first game on May 9, 2010 visiting teams have been accommodated in a cabin, complete with its own shower facilities, situated close to the main dressing room area but separate from it.
The Oldham team and the match officials have been housed in the main building, but with separate facilities.
Said club chairman Chris Hamilton: “We have had ongoing problems for some time with regard to water pressure and the facility to store sufficient water.
“Over a good period of time we have been in discussions with various companies, experts and the RFL with the intention of coming up with a solution.
“We have been given differing opinions and possible solutions, which have merely added to our concerns, but a few weeks ago we got in a mechanical engineer who gave us a definitive outline of what needed to be done.
“Preliminary work started the week before last and the remainder will be completed in time for the new system to be up and running for this Sunday’s game against York.
“We are very grateful for the assistance and patience of the RFL Facilities Trust, without whose help we would not have been able to carry out these improvements.
“I’ve told the players that, by Sunday, the problems of the past will be exactly that.”
Philip Jones, chairman of the Facilities Trust, said he was “delighted” that the Trust was able to come to the Oldham club’s assistance.
He added: “The Facilities Trust is all about helping to improve facilities at the grounds of our community clubs and our Championships clubs. It’s what we are there for.
“We wish Oldham well with this important project.”
For the third year in a row Roughyeds find themselves at home on the Sunday of Magic Weekend at the nearby Etihad Stadium.
Unlike the last two seasons, however, they will not be interfering with the 3pm kick-off on Sunday for the visit of York City Knights.
Said Hamilton: “We have previously moved days and times in order to give our fans and our opponents’ supporters the chance to watch our game and also go to Magic Weekend, but it didn’t work and it didn’t make any significant difference to our attendance.
“As the York game can potentially provide us with one of our biggest gates of the season, with decent away support, we have decided to stick with the Sunday 3pm schedule and hopefully this won’t inconvenience too many people.”
The Supporters’ Association (ORSA) have a Quiz Night at Whitebank on Thursday (8pm start). Admission is £1 and star prize is the opportunity to win a £110 jackpot.