Nigel’s rallying call

Date published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NIGEL Marland, chairman of the Oldham Roughyeds’ Supporters’ Association (ORSA), has issued a rallying call to fans ahead of the club’s assault on the Championship One play-offs..

Barring a massive upset in Sunday’s North Wales Crusaders versus South Wales Scorpions game, Oldham will finish second and will, in theory, be the best-placed of the five play-off clubs to win a place in the final at Leigh on September 29.

To get there via the quickest route, Scott Naylor’s men must win at Whitebank on September 15, most likely against London Skolars or Rochdale Hornets, to go straight through.

Defeat, though, wouldn’t be the end. As reward for finishing second they would get another chance, also at home, on September 22.

“The next few weeks will clearly be extremely important ones for the club,” said supporters’ chief Marland.

“Coaching staff and players have provided us with a fabulous season so far and as fans we owe it to them to back them in this play-off series like we’ve never backed them before.”

The last two games at Whitebank and the derby at Rochdale on August 15 were watched by four-figure crowds — roughly up by 50 per cent and significantly bigger than four of the seven attendances in the last round of Championship (tier two) games.

Added Marland: “Those gates showed a marked improvement, but as supporters we need to make sure that backing for club and team continues to spiral upwards, and not just on match days.”

He urged fans to be at Whitebank on Saturday (3pm) for the friendly against a mixed Leigh Centurions side (admission £6 adults, £3 concessions); to buy club merchandise ahead of the play-offs; to support fund-raising events like tonight’s ORSA quiz night at the Lyceum (8pm); and to join ORSA for an annual subscription of £10.

Clarifying ORSA’s aims and ideals, and clearing up “certain misunderstandings”, he said the association did NOT raise money to assist Roughyeds with day-to-day finances.

ORSA was run totally independently of the parent club with its own dedicated bank account.

Committee members and hands-on workers, about eight in total, were keen to extend the association’s support of Roughyeds, recognising a need to strengthen links between fans and club.

ORSA’s role was to support players, coaches and backroom staff in a variety of ways, which included sponsorship of  Liam Gilchrist and Mo Agoro.

Sponsorship would be provided for two supporters’ player-of-the-year awards and, for the fist time, ORSA was also a shirt sponsor.

Funding was made available to backroom staff for post-training nutrition and equipment to assist with post-match recuperation.

In addition, ORSA administered Squad Strengthener, a separate fund which enabled the club to bring in new players as required over and above its annual player budget.

Added Marland: “Our role is endorsed by the coaching staff as a way of helping them to take the club forward, but to increase that assistance we need more members or contact from anyone who is able to contribute to our endeavours.”

To get in touch with ORSA ring secretary Grant Somerville on (01706) 844810.