Matthew Fogarty signs for Oldham

Date published: Tuesday, November 9, 2010

WE are delighted to announce that Roughyeds have beaten off stiff competition to sign a teenager lauded as the best amateur in town at under-18s level.

Saddleworth Rangers’ centre Matthew Fogarty, who will be 19 in March, has turned down Super League club Huddersfield Giants in order to sign a one-year contract for the club on his doorstep — the Roughyeds.

“He is an outstanding prospect,” said Roughyeds’ reserve team boss John Hough, who has worked with Fogarty for the past few months in his capacity as Oldham under-18s town team (Service Area) coach.

He added: “I have high hopes of Matthew. If he puts his mind to it I think he will be pushing for first-team selection pretty quickly. He will start off in the reserves under me, but the pathway to the first team is in place — that was proved last season — so the opportunities will be there for him to grasp.”

Fogarty has already had three years in the development scheme at Salford City Reds and, more recently, Huddersfield offered him a place in their reserves side when they discovered he was back at Saddleworth.

His father Gary said: “He should have been starting with Huddersfield any time now, but John (Hough) was keen to take him to Roughyeds and Matthew opted for that. He told me: ‘Dad, to play for Oldham is a dream come true.’

“One of the things that swung it in Oldham’s favour was the prospect of making the first team sooner rather than later and then kicking on from there. Also, he knows a few of the Oldham boys who are now at Roughyeds. He was at Salford, for instance, with Danny Whitmore and Ben Wood.”

Fogarty, who lives in Lees, went to Counthill School. He played at Rangers from the age of eight to 13 when he moved to Waterhead, from whom he signed for Salford. On leaving the Willows he returned to his roots at Saddleworth.

“I used to watch Oldham every week when I was a small boy,” he said, “and I once told my dad: ‘I’m going to play for them one day.’ Hopefully, that will now come true. I can’t wait to get started.

“John is a good coach and I’ve enjoyed playing for him in the Service Area side. I played stand-off for the town team, but centre is my main position. I’m sure that to stick with John and to sign for Oldham is the right thing for me right now.

“I have long-term dreams like playing in a Grand Final at Old Trafford and turning out for England against the Aussies and the Kiwis, but I know that if those things are ever going to happen they are a long way down the line.

“For now I’m just glad to fulfil my dream to play for Oldham.”

Across both squads — first team and reserve team — Roughyeds now have 22 players under contract for 2011. Of those, 12 are aged 21 or under and ten are Oldham born and bred.

Said head coach Tony Benson: “We have two separate squads and we are establishing a pathway of opportunity, especially for young players, from one to the other.

“Movement between the two will be pretty fluid and in selecting my first team I will always go for the best man for the job at any given time.”