WITH 29 of Oldham’s 30 Kingston Press Championship matches stacked up ahead of them in their first year in tier two, Scott Naylor has revealed that the club’s long-term plan is to fight its way back to Super League.
Interviewed by a BBC film crew at Bower Fold ahead of the London Broncos game, for a piece put out last evening on North-West regional television news, Naylor said: “Hopefully, this is just the start of a long road in which we will get the club back to where we think it deserves to be — in the top division.
“The town is a huge rugby town.”
Owner/chairman Chris Hamilton and fans were also given the opportunity to air their thoughts on what had happened to rugby league in Oldham since the birth of Super League 20 years ago and the liquidation of Oldham Bears in 1997.
Said Hamilton: “Like most clubs, we incur losses and ultimately that comes out of my pocket.
“The situation is symptomatic of problems we inherited when the old club went bust. We (Oldham RLFC 1997 Ltd) started with literally nothing, including no ground.”
Fans were in general agreement that to assist progress going forward the club needed a stadium in Oldham that would meet minimum standards.
Four of the 12 Championship clubs — Leigh Centurions, Sheffield Eagles, Bradford Bulls and London Broncos, who won 22-0 in Oldham’s opening league game — enjoy the benefits of full-time professionalism.
Commenting accordingly, Naylor said: “It’s tough to work and play rugby. Mentally, you have to prepare like a full-time pro, but the realist in you says you are not a full-time pro, you are part-time.
“We have less staff and less money to spend (than the full-time clubs), but these are excuses and I don’t like excuses.”
Three of Oldham’s first five games are against full-time opponents and the other two are against Dewsbury Rams at home and Featherstone Rovers away.
Said Naylor, speaking to League Express: “That’s some welcome to the Championship. It will do us good. These are the games we have to get used to quickly.
“We don’t want to be a one-season wonder. We want to be back to where we feel we belong. We want it to be like the old days when Oldham drew big crowds and played the best teams.
“This is the start of it. It’s taken us a long time to get here and we intend to stay. It’s exciting.”