Meeting success sparks follow-up get-together
Wednesday 5th December 2018 @ 13:21 by Mark Phillip
Sports
Excited by the goodwill and positive outlook of Tuesday night’s fans’ forum, Oldham RL Club plans to have a follow-up get-together with supporters in early season next March. 
“Now we’ve started this initiative we’ve got to keep it going,” said Julie Collins of Purpose Marketing, a keen Oldham fan who has offered her professional expertise and know-how, as a volunteer, to spearhead the club’s marketing and community programmes.
Nearly 50 fans, including reps of Rugby Oldham Supporters Trust and the Oldham RL Heritage Trust, met at the Vestacare Stadium to listen to the club’s extensive development plans for 2019.
Head coach Scott Naylor left pre-season training with assistants Pete Carey and Paul Crook and conditioner Adam Neal, to spend half an hour giving fans an insight into preparations for next season.
Also on stage were Julie Collins; office manager Anne Kearns; lottery administrator John McAndrew; media manager Roger Halstead; and two more members of the media team, Dave Naylor and Dave Murgatroyd.
Helping to run the event were Oldham Community Radio’s well-known double act of station manager Dave McGealy and presenter Gerald Brierley.
After an excellent three-hour forum, Julie said: “Everyone seemed to enjoy it. We’re all fans together and it’s by working together that we can take our club to where it needs to be.
“One of the objectives was to give supporters a taste of what’s going on behind the scenes. Another was to get some feedback and we got what we wanted — loads of it.
“The challenge for us now is to look at all the ideas and suggestions; examine them in detail; and implement some of them as we take the club forward.
“We need to have another event like this in three months and maybe keep it running after that on a regular basis.”
One fan asked about the health of club chairman Chris Hamilton, who had massive heart surgery earlier in the year.
Halstead explained that it was a bigger operation than was originally envisaged.
His long period of recuperation was going well and for the first time in his life the chairman had finally accepted that he had no option but to take strict orders from his post-op care team to avoid stress and tension.
Despite that, he was still beavering away behind the scenes in liaising with coach Naylor on the signing of players for next season (21 so far)
and having meetings with player agents and dealings with the RFL etc.
There were many suggestions from fans, ranging from greater engagement with schools and community clubs to making greater use of ‘the best club mascot in the game’, Roary.
It was stressed that the sale of season tickets was essential to provide off-season income.
They can be bought online via the club website; by post; or over the counter at the club office inside the Vestacare Stadium between 10am and 3pm this Friday, cash or cheque only.
Discounts are available until Friday, December 14.
By Roger Halstead