This is only loosely related to memorabilia. I was clearing out some cupboards and drawers the other day and came across some old newspapers that I had saved with ORLFC related items in them. The most interesting was dated January 20th 1997 and was all about the closure of Watersheddings. It was the day after the last game ever to be played there, but what I found most interesting was a small piece in the bottom left corner of the inside page headed "Rallying Call"
Jim Quinn is quoted as follows:
"History is for reading. The future is all about planning and doing. We are proud of our past but must look forward to the new world that awaits us. With the help and total backing of John Battye and Oldham Council we faced up to our financial crisis, moved out of the second division into the old first division and earned a place in Super League where we held our own in 1996 and will do so again in 1997"
Councillor Battye is quoted as follows:
Plans for a 15000 all seater stadium are to go before the Council on January 29th following high level talks with ORLFC and OAFC. If Sheffield and Huddersfield can have a new stadium then why not Oldham. This has been a Rugby League town for over 100 years and the Council want to make sure it continues. 5000 fans watched today's game and if similar crowds will watch Oldham in Super League next season Oldham's fortunes will start to turn a corner"
It really makes you sit up and think doesn't it when you look at our new no seater (well almost)stadium and crowds of only 500. What ever happened to all those promises?
Of course besides the broken promises there was a certain NIMBY who took on the Council about the plans for the new stadium and won. I hope he is really proud of himself when he looks at what he achieved and what has happened to Oldham since those days. I firmly believe that if the new stadium had been built we would be in a far better position today. What a great guy eh? Of course if the Council had really been serious in their intention to make sure both clubs had a new home I'm sure that they could have found alternative sites but it strikes me they were just as relieved that the plans got dropped as the guy who lived near Clayton Playing Fields.