Background to Rugby Oldham
Oldham has been a proud bastion of rugby league for well over a hundred years. The town's professional club has produced over one hundred international players, whilst its amateur clubs have nurtured literally thousands of players - many of whom have progressed to play at the highest level.
Nevertheless, in recent times the number of amateur clubs playing in the town has fallen and the financial problems surrounding the Roughyeds have been only too well documented.
The game locally was hit hard by the sale of Watersheddings. The professional club has since led a somewhat nomadic existence and despite Boundary Park being made available for use by both the professional and amateur game, there was a strong feeling that somehow it was just not the same.
There are many people both in and connected with Oldham that care passionately about Rugby League in the town at all playing levels.
In May 2005, a small group of people committed to ensuring the future of the greatest game in Oldham banded together and the idea of developing a Supporters Trust was born.
It was clear from the outset that establishing any kind of Supporters Trust would need to have a clear direction that would unite all supporters and evoke the enthusiasm and ‘trust’ of all rugby league people in Oldham - the people absolutely critical to its success. The single goal that unites us all is the desire for a ground that would be the focal point of rugby league at all levels in Oldham.
The original idea was banded about by a couple of people before getting a cross-section of supporters together for a meeting at Cuttle & Co. Solicitors on Union Street. At this initial meeting on the 19 May 2005, a Steering Group was created and the move towards establishing a Trust truly began.
On the 7 July 2005, a public meeting attended by well over 300 people was held at the Pennine Way Hotel with a unanimous vote to form a Trust. Amongst the various speakers that night was Terry Flanagan, ex Oldham Captain and Great Britain Loose Forward. Terry spoke passionately about how everyone involved in Rugby League in Oldham needs to pull together and spoke about his vision of ‘Rugby Oldham’ for the first time. This really caught the public imagination and the concept of ‘Rugby Oldham – A Rugby League Community Trust’ was born.