Neil Roden Testimonial Dinner

Date published: Tuesday, July 29, 2014
TIME is running out for fans who intend to attend Neil Roden’s testimonial dinner, for men and women, at Whitebank on Saturday, August 9 (7pm for 7.30pm).
Present on the night in support of their former team mate — a player who has given our club absolutely brilliant service over many years — will be Roughyeds stars of the past such as Phil Farrell, Paul ‘Knocker’; Norton, Joe McNicholas and Leo Casey, to mention just some of the boys who have worn our colours with pride and joy in years gone by and will be there on the night.
There are plenty of tickets still available (£25), but Neil and his organising committee need to finalise plans with caterers, speakers etc and complete other arrangements associated with organising an event of this kind and require, as soon as possible, a firm idea on numbers.
Said Neil: “I enjoyed every single minute of my playing career, most of it proudly wearing colours. We had some disappointments, but we had great times too and I would like to thank everyone with whom I shared those ups and downs, team mates, club officials and fans, who always supported me through thick and thin.
“I would love to see as many fans as possible on the night, but if we are to enjoy a great evening and recall some of the great times we have shared together over the past decade or so I really do need people to commit as soon as possible and to confirm their bookings ple.”
To book and pay for tickets (cash or cheque only) you can ring John McAndrew, chairman of ORSA, on 07980129541 or speak to the club office on (0161) 624 9630 Ext 70552, as soon as possible please.
Andy Gregory, the former Wigan and Great Britain star and one of this country’s best-ever scrum-halves, will be guest speaker and the MC will be Oldhamer Ian Smith, who started refereeing in the amateur game, rose through the ranks to become a top, full-time Super League referee and is now employed by the RFL as a coach to match officials as well as being one of the best-known of the video referees.
Both reached the pinnacle of their careers in rugby league and both will have plenty to say on what should be a fascinating evening as well as one which gives Roughyeds fans the chance to pay tribute and give a very big thank-you to one of the club’s longest-serving and most loyal and dedicated of players.
In two spells with the club, Neil chalked up 296 league and cup appearances and scored 113 tries — both of them club records which are unlikely ever to be beaten.
His playing career finished, he still remained at the club and is now coach of the under-20s side, giving the players of tomorrow the benefit of his vast experience and, in Scott Naylor’s view, doing a splendid job.
Said Scott: “Neil deserves all the support he can get in his testimonial year, and at his dinner. Much of his final season as a player was spent as a valued member of the backroom staff and he handled the transition brilliantly.
“He was as professional about it as anyone could ever be and we were delighted when he took on the job of under-20s coach, where he is now doing sterling work.”
Our chairman Chris Hamilton, who signed Neil as a 19-year-old in 2000, added: “Neil has made a massive contribution over the years, not only to the Oldham clubn, but to rugby league in general.
“He was a model professional at our club for something like 12 seasons, in his two spells, and was a fantastic player and never a minute’s trouble —– a wonderful role model for any aspiring young player who has ambitions of doing well in our sport.”
Other messages of support came from ORSA chairman John McAndrew and our club’s media manager Roger Halstead.
Said John, speaking on behalf of fans, “On and off the field Neil has done our club proud for many years. Fans now have the chance to show their appreciation for all he did, and is still doing for the club.”
Said Roger, who reported on nearly all of Neil’s 296 games: “Neil will always be remembered for his sublime skills with ball in hand. He was a good ‘un, a real good ‘un, and also one of the nicest and most helpful blokes you could ever wish to meet.
“He started his Oldham career as a bright-eyed young kid who was keen to learn and finished it here as an elder statesman who was passing on his knowledge to the first teamers of tomorrow.
“Of all the players who, down the years, have worn the Oldham jersey with pride, few can match the contribution of this talented rugby league man from Wigan who, in rugby terms, was proud and privileged to become an adopted Oldham.
“Well done, pal — and thanks for the memory.”