Nothing “new”

Date published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Roughyeds wish to assure supporters that there is nothing ‘new’ about the financial difficulties faced by the club and referred to in a story on this website yesterday (Tuesday).

The Oldham Evening Chronicle headlines its back-page story today: ‘Oldham in new financial crisis’, but the club believes the headline to be misleading given that the debt forming the substance of the HMRC winding-up order is a historical one and merely forms part of the Roughyeds’ long-standing battle to achieve debt-free status.

Said chairman Chris Hamilton: “We have known for months — and the RFL have been kept fully informed — that there would come a point where something like this would bring matters to a head.

“I have stated previously that you don’t clear debts caused by losses over 13 years in half a season, but fans can rest assured that, in conjunction with the sport’s governing body, we are working hard to make sure this latest situation is dealt with appropriately.

“I remain committed, as do all the staff at the club, to getting the club back on to an even keel financially and to turning it into a debt-free organisation. But this won’t happen overnight or on the back of eight games in our new home at the Whitebank Stadium. Things are moving in the right direction, but it will take a lot of hard work and a lot of time.

“When I took over the club again last November it was made clear then that we would have to make significant cuts to budgets, and that has happened this season.

“It was always going to be a difficult period financially, and the difficulties were made worse because we had to play our first few games of the season out of town at inconvenient times, with a subsequent loss of revenue through the gates.

“Fans can be assured, though, that everybody at the club is upbeat and optimistic about the future in the belief that all the hard work that is being done both on and off the field, by staff, players, coaches, volunteers and enthusiastic fans, will continue to be done in order to safeguard the long-term future of our great club.”

The club isn’t in the habit of ‘blowing its own trumpet’ but in these circumstances it is fair to say that everyone at the club is proud of what has been achieved already this season.

Last November the very future of the club was in the balance, but since then the club has performed minor miracles to secure a second-place finish in the Co-operative Championship One; to establish itself in its new and permanent home at the Whitebank Stadium; to fashion a reserve-team squad that reached the Reserve Division play-offs in a division dominated by the second teams from Championship clubs; to secure sponsorships and other backing from a host of local companies; to earn the support and goodwill of ever-increasing crowds and ever-increasing numbers of volunteer helpers; and to put iself in a position from which it can look forward with quiet confidence to the forthcoming play-offs and the big games that are associated with them.

Tony Benson as head coach and John Hough as reserve team boss can both hold their heads up high with pride on the back of their respective squads’ achievements this year. Tony’s tireless workers in the senior squad are one game away from going through an entire league campaign unbeaten away from home — an achievement that will surely be given due recognition if the team wins at London Skolars on Friday.

These are the things that fans can focus on as they look ahead to the play-off qualifying semi-final against York City Knights at Whitebank on Sunday, September 12. That’s a match that should pack Whitebank to the rafters and perhaps reach a capacity attendance.

The club is 80 minutes away from appearing in a Grand Final with promotion as the ultimate prize. Yes, it’s tough going on the financial front, but isn’t that true of any company — sporting or otherwise — in this day and age?

Roughyeds are no different to other clubs in that regard. Well, yes, they are different to many —- they have always paid their debts and have never once been subjected to insolvency penalties. Now isn’t that something else over which the club can “blow its own trumpet”.