Oldham still has a long way to go

Date published: Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WITH income from only three more home games to come this year, Oldham RL Club (1997) Ltd still had “significant” debt and was still fighting to balance the books, warned chairman Chris Hamilton today.

The club had done “fantastically well” to overcome the crisis it faced last November, but the financial battle was still raging.

He and his fellow director Sean Whitehead were hugely encouraged by the response of fans since the club moved into its new home at Whitebank Stadium in May.

But he added: “I don’t want people thinking we are now home and dry. Far from it. Losses over 13 years are not wiped out by five games at Whitebank.”

Further losses were incurred early in the season when attendances in the five games at Sedgley Park didn’t even cover costs.

He went on: “We have made fantastic progress in the last seven months and we aim to be more or less debt free by the end of next year.

“Crowds have improved a lot at Whitebank, but in moving in there has been a lot of cost to the club as well.

“I can’t speak too highly of the support we have had or thank people too much for the help we have received from local firms and loads of fans. But we have still had to spend heavily on labour and essential materials.

“Long term Whitebank gives us a great opportunity to progress and a base on which to build, but right now the club is still facing a difficult situation.

“Sunday’s home game against Swinton will be our first since June 13 — and after that we will have only two more to come in the regular season.

“We get nothing from away games, but we have still to run the club, pay staff, meet travel expenses and pay players, most of it winning pay I am delighted to say.”

Both first team and reserve team were giving fans everything they had to give, he said, and in that respect the future looked bright.

He went on: “If the club is to emerge from debt and then make progress, however, it is essential that people back us in good numbers, not only on match days but when we put on events.

“We must maximise Whitebank’s potential so we will be staging events to suit all tastes and pockets at about one a month, details of which will be released soon.

“Another way for fans to help the club is to join the Club Cash lottery. That gives us income 52 weeks of the year. If every fan were to join that for only £1 a week it would make a massive difference.”