CRAIG Halstead’s second book on Oldham Rugby, ‘Roughyeds, Against All The Odds’ (London League Publications, £12.95), will be regarded by many fans as the perfect gift for Christmas.
Since the ‘new’ club was launched in late 1997, after the liquidation of Oldham Bears, it’s been a roller-coaster ride for the past 20 years and the author has captured the Roughyeds’ ecstacy and the agony over two decades by talking to club officials, coaches, players and supporters.
This well-illustrated, 238-page paperback has a different slant to most books of its kind because Halstead, himself a lifelong fan, has painstakingly contacted players from the many different teams to wear the Oldham jersey since 1998 and has also spoken to a lot of supporters, many of whom follow the club’s fortunes from different parts of the country — and even the world.
As for the players, he tells THEIR story and THEIR thoughts on THEIR careers in the red and white, having been in touch with loads of players, including Mark Sibson, John Hough, Shane McMenemy, Gareth Barber, Lee Doran, Paul Norton, Lee Marsh, Tere Glassie, Damian Munro, Andy Gorey, Neil Roden, Ian Sinfield, Lucas Onyango, Byron Ford, Tony Tonks, Martin Roden, Chris Baines, Valu Bentley, Mark Brocklehurst, Danny Whitmore, Jon Ford, Lewis Palfrey, Sammy Gee, Gareth Owen and George Tyson.
If that’s not enough you can read what coaches John Harbin and Steve Deakin thought about their spells with the club — and read former director Sean Whitehead’s revealing reflections of the years he spent on the board.
It really is a not-to-be-missed read for all Oldham fans. Indeed, every rugby league fan will enjoy the story of the birth of the ‘new’ club and the battle against all odds, led by chairman Chris Hamilton, to keep the sport alive at professional level in one of its traditional hotbeds.
The book is available at the club office at The Vestacare Stadium, Whitebank Road, Limehurst Village, Oldham OL8 3JH (tel: 07904 898177), 11am to 3pm on Mondays to Thursdays inclusive and 9.30am to 3pm on Fridays.
Alternatively, it can be ordered from London League Publications Ltd, website www.llpshop.co.uk post free in the UK. It’s also available on Amazon, Abe Books and from all good bookshops. An E-book version is available for Kindle readers on Amazon.