New book on sale at Sunday’s big game

Date published: Thursday, June 4, 2015
ONE fan’s memories, stories, anecdotes and recollections of joy and despair over more than 40 years form the basis of a new book on Oldham RLFC —- and you will be able to buy copies signed by the author, Craig Halstead, at Sunday’s Whitebank showdown with North Wales Crusaders (3pm kick off).
Craig (49), a lifetime Oldham fan, will be stationed inside the ground from when the turnstiles open at 2pm in order to launch the book just in time for any fan looking for a Fathers’ Day present.
The foreword has been penned by our club chairman Chris Hamilton who writes: “The ups-and-downs of both the old club and the new club, as seen through Craig reflections, stir many memories of events, characters and fantastic games.
“This will be an enthralling read for any sports fan, especially those of us who have followed Oldham RLFC through thick and thin over many years.”
Several fantastic books have been penned about the club in recent years, but as far as we can ascertain this is the first one to be written from the perspective of a rank-and-file fan who might just as easily be chatting about his beloved Roughyeds to fellow fans over the bar of his favourite pub.
“From Watersheddings to Whitebank” (London League Publications Ltd, £11.95 paperback) is a collection of memoirs by a devoted fan who saw his first game at Watersheddings, aged five, in 1971. He has supported Roughyeds ever since.
Though living and working in North Wales these days — and NO, he won’t be cheering for Crusaders although his Welsh-speaking wife Yvonne will be here with him —- Craig will be at the game today and will be happy to sell anyone a signed copy of his work.
A book of 208 pages, illustrated with photographs from family collections, from the Oldham Evening Chronicle’s archives and from the Roughyeds’ official club photographer David Murgatroyd, with a foreword by Chris, the book provides an insight into how a lifetime of emotions and experiences, good and bad, can be fashioned for anyone who supports a club from childhood.
In the case of this new author, as with thousands of other Oldham fans, those experiences included the liquidation of one club and the birth and rise of a new one, like a phoenix from the ashes of Watersheddings, in the guise of Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd.
The new club continues to provide the town with a professional rugby league club of which it can be justifiably proud.
Craig, who has dedicated his work to Oldham RL fans past and present, says he is proud to have been associated with both Oldham clubs for all but the first five years of his life and proud also to be just as enthusiastic in his support of Chris, Scott and the boys at Whitebank in 2015 as he was in his backing for the old guard at Watersheddings in days of yore.
He adds: “Fans throughout the sport support their club through thick and thin — some more than others — and although I was born and brought up in Rochdale I will always consider it a great privilege to have supported Oldham all my life. I just hope the rugby people of the town realise what they’ve got and what life would be like without it.”