Whitebank here we come

Date published: Friday, May 7, 2010

***BLESSING CEREMONY TO BE HELD SUNDAY MORNING. see ground news for further details ***

RUGBY league in Oldham will enjoy a red (and white) letter day on Sunday when the town’s Co-operative Championship 1 side will be back on its own ground in the borough for the first time since 1997.

Roughyeds have RFL approval to stage their clash with York City Knights at the Whitebank Stadium (3.00pm kick off) where fans, staff and players — led by jack-of-all-trades centre Mick Fogerty — have been working round the clock to bring the ground up to minimum standards.

“The boys will be back in town on our own pitch for the first time since Watersheddings was sold off, and it will bring a tear to the eye,” said one of many volunteer painters, joiners and handy men.

The RFL has given temporary permission for Roughyeds to play home matches on the ground pending confirmation from Sky Sports that they will be able to broadcast from the ground.

Oldham are joint top of their division with seven wins out of seven, and five of their next six games are at home.

“Sunday’s game should be a fantastic occasion,” said chairman Chris Hamilton, “and we are urging supporters to turn up in numbers to share this historic day with the club.

“It goes ahead thanks only to dedicated staff, to fans who have rolled up their sleeves and to companies who have sponsored us or provided us with materials. I want to commend, congratulate and thank them all.”

To ease entry into the ground via two turnstiles, Roughyeds are selling standing tickets priced at £10 adults, £8 concessions and £3 under-16s from the club office in Lansdowne Road, Chadderton from 9am to 5pm today (Friday) and from 9am to noon on Saturday.

Standing season-ticket holders can upgrade to seating for an additional £10 for the season. Seats, brought in from the old Warrington ground at Wilderspool, will be guaranteed but unreserved and any still available 15 minutes before kick-off will go on general sale on payment of a £2 transfer.

Streets around the ground will be coned off, but there will be parking for £1 on official car parks behind the posts at the bottom end of the ground and alongside one side of the ground, both manned by stewards.

The clubhouse and bar will open at noon and the turnstiles at 1.45pm and fans are urged to get there in plenty of time.

Added Hamilton: “This will be a ‘first’ for everyone — staff, officials, stewards and safety officer –and we are asking fans to work with us on this and, if possible, to buy tickets in advance to ease congestion at the turnstiles.”