ORSA push for funds for a stronger team

Date published: Thursday, December 15, 2011

OLDHAM RL fans are being asked to put their hands in their pockets to actively support the club’s push for promotion in 2012.

The plea comes from lifelong fan Nigel Marland, chairman of the Oldham Roughyeds’ Supporters’ Association (ORSA), who is proposing the setting up of a fund to be used exclusively for bringing new players to Whitebank during the coming season.

His plan to establish the Roughyeds’ Squad Strengthener will be formally submitted to ORSA’s committee for approval if he is satisfied that sufficient interest is generated in the early stages.

The association, he says, would create a special bank account and would administer it independently.

He has circulated ORSA members with his proposals, but he hopes to arouse interest also among other supporters, the town’s wider rugby league community and the borough’s commercial and business sector.

He said: “Promotion to the Championship in 2012 is vital before the reorganisation of Championship 1. With four promotion places available there will never be a better time to get out of this division.

“ORSA has done well in raising money for the club since it was formed just over 12 months ago, but we need to step up the tempo now to help the parent club with team building in a vital year.

“Tony Benson (head coach) already has an excellent squad at his disposal, one which has a good balance of up-and-coming local players with seasoned professionals, but if more money was made available the squad could be strengthened further not only for the start of the season but for mid-season topping up when injuries start to hit hard, as they invariably do.

“Donations would hopefully come from individual fans, associations, businesses and companies and I would suggest a minimum donation of £5 a month (no upper limit, obviously) by direct debit for at least 12 months.

“In the current financial climate this may appeal to companies who would like to back their local professional rugby league club, but who might be reluctant to get involved with full sponsorship packages.

“Anyone donating would automatically become a member of ORSA with full voting rights.”

Anyone seeking more information or willing to express an interest is asked to contact Nigel as soon as possible by email (marlandnigel@hotmail.co.uk); by phone (07884261745 or 0161 624 4087) or by letter (115, Stoneleigh Street, Oldham OL1 4LF).

Said Oldham RLFC chairman Chris Hamilton: “This could be vital to what happens on the field next season. Similar schemes have been tried and tested at other clubs with varying degrees of success.

“We are not the wealthiest club in the game and support from wherever it comes is very much appreciated.

“This gives people the opportunity to have an input on the playing side of the club and in the main that’s what fans are interested in.”

The Junction Inn, Ripponden Road, will lay on free transport from that side of town to Whitebank for the Law Cup clash with Rochdale Hornets on Monday, January 2 (3pm kick off). The bus will leave at 2pm, but bookings need to be made in advance either over the bar or on 0161 633 2759.

The Junion is also planning to run a bus to the pre-season game at Whitehaven on Sunday, January 22, price £14.