Statement from the Chairman

Date published: Thursday, April 1, 2010

This is a statement from Christopher Hamilton, Chairman of Oldham RLFC 1997 Ltd on a historic day for the club.

This is an historic day for Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd. When we were told we could no longer use Boundary Park and we went to Oldham Council for help little did I think that we would ever be in the position we are in today.

The project has been immensely time consuming — I have personally put in a lot of time and effort — but I hope every single supporter of the club will take a step back and realise what an incredible difference this is going to make to the club.

It is merely the start of another journey in terms of the work we have to do, but for the first time we can take up the challenge in a positive frame of mind because we will be working for ourselves or, to put it another way, we will be working for the benefit of our club.

In business, and I am often told this is a business, a basis to have even a chance of success is to be in control of your own destiny and this opportunity gives us that for the first time since 1997 and beyond.

The enormity of what has been achieved will take a long time to sink in, but there is no doubt that it is something the staff, players, coaches, sponsors and supporters throughly deserve. It is now up to us to seize the moment and to make sure we make the most of what is the dawn of a new era.

It is the club’s intention to do its best to allay the fears of local residents. We want to make the White Bank Stadium facility something they are very much involved in and feel a part of. This will begin this evening with the public consultation meeting with local residents.

There has been an unbelievable amount of work done to get us to this stage, not only to complete the deal, but in terms of planning and organising the move forward.

We are grateful to the Rugby Football League for their assistance so far and for the fact that they have recognised what a momentous event this is in terms of the club now being able to lay down roots for the first time since it was launched more than 12 years ago.

We have a work list to complete before the RFL will allow us to play matches here, but a lot of that work has already gone on behind the scenes in readiness for today’s big announcement.

The club wishes to place on record its thanks to Howard Sykes, Jackie Stanton and John McCann for their support and assistance in this project and I would personally like to thank Mark Prestwich of Oldham Council for all his efforts and hard work as lead officer in this project.

Thanks also to all the staff and volunteers at the club who have been, as ever, 100 per cent behind what I have been trying to do. Their efforts are very much appreciated, as always.

Over recent weeks we have worked hard on selling a dream to companies that have not previously been associated with the club. We have outlined our ambitions and explained how they can go along on the ride with us and be part of local sporting history. The response we have had from many different companies has been immensely satisfying.

The club would also like to recognise the assistance and help given to us by Oldham Borough FC and, in particular, their manager Tony Mills and their chairman Mark Kilgannon. Throughout what has been a difficult period for them off the field they have embraced from day one the concept of Oldham RLFC moving into White Bank and they have been only too willing to work with us.

For the next two seasons Oldham Borough, should they wish to take up the option, will be able to continue to play at White Bank Stadium and we look forward to a continuing successful relationship with them.

Finally, I would also like to thank the loyal and dedicated fans of Oldham RLFC for their support throughout the last 12 years when we have had to lead a nomadic existence. We sincerly hope that the move to White Bank will provide the springboard from which the club can take the leap into a long and successful future.