Date published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oldham Council and Oldham Rugby League Club are set to conclude a groundbreaking deal to confirm the club’s future in the Borough.

Jim McMahon, Council Leader, and Chris Hamilton, Club Chairman, met this week for talks about the Championship One outfit’s home at Whitebank Stadium.

The negotiations followed the completion of a complex deal between Oldham Council and two landowners at the Limehurst Village venue to bring together two parcels of land. The Local Authority has now:

  • Acquired the Freehold interest in 4.85 acres of land owned by Molson Coors Brewery Company (UK) Limited;
  • Sealed agreement to lease the adjacent 2.28 acres of land owned by Enville Estate.

A formal legal agreement will now be signed between the Council and the club within days which confirms a long-term lease on the site.
Jim McMahon, Council Leader, said: “Our discussions with Chris Hamilton were extremely positive and we are delighted to have been able to reach agreement on the way forward.”

“As with the recent talks with Oldham Athletic it was vital for us to be able to find a solution to what has been a long-running problem that has held back this club’s development for around 14 years.

“The Council has had an agreement in principle with the club for some time about Whitebank but that was always dependent on the success of these complex legal negotiations about the site.

“Now that these have been concluded we are happy to commit to a more formal partnership agreement with the club – and one which will be key to their future.

“This deal not only gives the Roughyeds security of tenure – and ensures they stay within the Borough – but also enables them to look ahead with renewed optimism.

“The club can now potentially access grant funding from the Rugby Football League to progress plans to develop the stadium, for example, and also focus on proposals to expand their fan base and income sources with greater confidence.”

Chris Hamilton, Oldham Roughyeds’ Chairman, said: “We are naturally pleased that the conclusion of this deal is now in sight.”

“The problems the club has endured since its formation in 1997 have been documented on many occasions, so to have secured the long-term future of the club in the town is an achievement of which I am personally very proud.

“It is also one which will give the club renewed vigour to take forward into the future.

“The fans who have remained loyal to the club since 1997 have played their part by demonstrating that they were not prepared to allow the club to wither and die, and I thank them for that.

“We are also grateful to Oldham Council for their help and assistance in this matter and we are looking forward to working closely with them on a number of projects involving the ground as we move forward into a new era.”