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oldhamer

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  1. oldhamer

    Fred Hall

    I will get in touch with Rob today, Freds son and ask if that helps?
  2. Oldham Rugby was a passion for me, ever since my dad took me away from watching Man United after football became a breeding ground for 1980s violence. My first game was Oldham V Hull at Sheddings, and I was hooked. Since the Grand Final at LSV where Hornets triumphed, my interest died in professional rugby that day. Why you may ask? For me it was down to two things. One being that the RFL was destroying the professional game outside SL, and it was accelerating at an alarming rate. And the second, was that the club had something great that they could not see, and it was right under their nose. That isn't a swipe at Chris, as I know what effort he has put into the club and is someone who I have a lot of respect for. But he has at times done it single handed, and hasn't the financial resources to take the club to the next level. Instead of getting players from Wigan, Salford and Huddersfield academies, Oldham should of taken a gamble on some of the talent the community clubs were putting out from 2013 onwards. Just because some of those players hadn't been picked up by a blood sucking SL academy at 14 year old, didn't mean they were not good enough. Remember, RL is a proven sport for late developers, so who knows how a player will turn out at 21, if he has been released by Wigan at 15 because he isn't 'big enough'. That is, if that player returns to the sport having smoke blown up their backsides by professional clubs, and after listening to certain scouts that spout that much bile, they believe it themselves. There is no care, or pathway for these players even today and the RFL stand back and do nothing. Fair play this season, Oldham have dipped their toe in the water by signing the likes of Barran, Hartley, Fletcher and Owen. However, I feel it's been 8 years too late. For me, I fell out with the professional game due to the people who run the sport. We have to face facts, that in 2021 the RFL are only interested in one competition, Super League, and that is starting to fail - fast! They are desperate to keep the world cup this year, as it could end up bankrupting the RFL if it doesn't go ahead. They are that desperate for cash, they are asking the Community game to come up with 700k to keep the amateur game going in its current form. Whilst they have helped destroy clubs like Oldham, Halifax, Widnes, Keighley etc, they are hell bent on steam rolling over the grass roots clubs as well. There are too many within the RFL who are on the gravy train, whilst funding is being pulled left right and centre. Has the drop in funding occurred due to previous funding being used in other areas that it wasn't intended for? Why not ask the professional clubs to fund the amateur game, the 12 clubs could stump up 60K each to help keep it afloat. After all, with all the money going on players wages and little in development, they have helped destroy the academies and reserve grade - where will the players ply their trade and train when there is no competition for them anymore? The Community clubs. But we all know that the SL would rather play £300k per year on a player from down under who plays three games and goes home, whilst they release players from their academy who then give up the sport completely. Without community clubs there will be no sport. For years before and after SL formed, Oldham were consistently producing talent through St Annes, Saddleworth, Waterhead etc and the town team was a jewel in the crown. Most of these teams at 12s to 18s would regularly spank their SL counterparts over a 5 game series. The RFL did not like that, and neither did the SL clubs. How dare a Service area who was run by volunteers be better than a professional run organisation. It was then the RFL wanted to try and get Huddersfield, and then later Salford take over within the town. I sat in many meetings and could not believe what was being suggested. They couldn't stomach that they could kill the pro game in Oldham, but the amateur game was going from strength to strength - and today, it is even stronger due to how these amateurs clubs are run. It was no different when Houghy and Ashy had success in the Reserves, that also made the the RFL nervous. I am sorry for the length of post, but I really want the game to change, and want Oldham to be successful. But even if you had Richard Branson as CEO - Oldham doesn't not fit the blinkered model SL has. For me, expansion is good, but only expand the sport when you have it 110% correct in the areas that have high interest. Get it right, and then move on. Pre SL we could sell out, or come close to full houses for Challenge Cup semi finals -not a double headers. The Cup Final was more or less full at Wembley, and Old Trafford boasted a high attendance on Premiership Finals day. We struggle to get half full for semi finals, even when its a double header, and the Challenge Cup final is becoming embarrassing on the attendance front, as the RFL have devalued the competition since the inception of SL. As Oldham fans, we loved being the underdog in Divison Two toppling Wigan, and the World Club Champions, Widnes. Those days for any club outside the top flight to repeat those great is sadly a fantasy these days. Before SL, clubs that sit outside SL today had much bigger attendances, as did clubs like Wigan. Fans that have been lost at Oldham, Halifax, Keighley etc have migrated to SL clubs, which is a shame. For me, professional RL in the UK has a supporter base of 80k fans, spread from SL to Championship One, and the governing body has done nothing to increase this. Their answer is to fabricate teams in south Wales, London, Toronto and Paris which have all failed, instead of getting it correct in the heartlands. Catalan are the exception to the rule, but RL has always been the sport in that region. SL has been the ruin of the sport, and for me the only way the game can save itself is if it goes back to the semi professional platform it was before. Clubs cannot survive much longer in SL and will suffer the same fate as the Championship and Championship One clubs. Only clubs like Wigan, Leeds, St Helens, Leeds and Catalan, Hull and Hull KR will probably be the only ones that could remain full time. TV money is decreasing, sponsorship is poor - look at the quality of sponsors on board today, Bachelors Peas, Oxen (another kit manufacturer), Pizza companies - it's embarrassing. Having watched recently Oldham play St Helens at Watersheddings in 1994 on Sky this week, how quick and exciting was that game in really ###### weather conditions. Four quality half backs in Crompton, Topping, Cooper and Goulding - something the current game lacks - skillful halves. Again, my view is that the game has got better in terms of players fitness, and the quality of stadia and pitches - but the game has become robotic and sterile. Games become predictable. Braun rather than skill wins games these days. Some may say my view is that of a dinosaur. You maybe right. But if you extract the DNA, you can turn it back into a roaring beast once more, if the conditions are there for it to grown and flourish.
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