Roughyeds book marks club’s 20th anniversary

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has helped Oldham Rugby League Football Club to mark its 20th anniversary by writing an introductory article in a new book titled, ‘Roughyeds — Against All The Odds’, that chronicles the club’s history.

Debbie, who attended a special gala dinner held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Oldham on Friday (Nov 3), said: “It was such a pleasure to rub shoulders with many great people who’ve been part of the Roughyeds’ story over the last 20 years.

“The atmosphere at the dinner was amazing and it was so much fun listening to the many stories being shared between supporters past and present, who all share a common bond; an absolute love of rugby league.

“As I said in the book, Rugby League is interwoven into Oldham life and adds to our rich history. It is a part of our community and I very much look forward to the next 20 years and beyond.”

Chris Hamilton, Chairman of ORLFC, said: “This latest book by Craig Halstead is another cracker. The title underlines the obstacles the club has had to overcome just to exist. And the tales, reminiscences and memories of so many people who have been directly involved with the club will bring our adventure against all the odds back to life for all Oldham RLFC fans.

“It’s a great read and a must for Roughyeds fans young and old.”

The book’s author, Craig Halstead, said: “It was with great pleasure that I accepted an invitation by Chris Hamilton to tell the story of the club’s fortunes over the last 20 years. I thoroughly enjoyed talking, among others, to past and present Oldham players who have worn the jersey with pride and passion.

“Through them, I have attempted to give an insight into what the club has achieved and what it has had to overcome since it was launched in 1997. My thanks to everyone who has contributed and best wishes to the club for the next 20 years. Happy reading. Hope you enjoy the memories!”

‘Roughyeds — Against All The Odds’ costs £12.95 and can be ordered from the London League Publications Ltd website – post free in the UK.

Also available on Amazon, ABE Books, from Oldham RLFC on 07904-898177 or email: – it can also be ordered from all good bookshops. An E-Book version is available for Kindle readers on Amazon.

Debbie’s introductory article to ‘Roughyeds — Against All The Odds’:

Rugby League is interwoven into Oldham life and adds to our rich history.

Oldham Football Club was established in 1876 at a meeting which took place at the Prince Albert Hotel in Union Street West. It became one of the founding members of the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895 when a group of northern clubs came together to say their players could no longer play without compensation of lost wages. They decided to split from the Rugby Football Union when their proposal for payments was defeated.

The club became known as the Oldham Bears from 1996 as the Super League was established. However, with the club facing financial difficulties, fans faced a turbulent time and, despite a proud 121-year history, the club went into liquidation in 1997. A consortium under Chris Hamilton then came together to form a new club which would be known as Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd with the nickname Roughyeds. A new era had begun.

Oldham RLFC has had its ups and downs. There have been wins and losses, relegation and promotion and there have been various stadium moves too! As in life, we will face good times and bad, we will face doubt, even failure but it is in these moments that we learn the most about ourselves. And so it is with Rugby League and with the Roughyeds. But there has certainly been plenty of grit, determination and passion at this club.

Sport can do so much to bring communities together. A club is a community – it unites us in a common endeavour as we coalesce around a group of players, whose hopes and dreams we share each weekend. And somehow, we come through it all, although it feels like a rollercoaster, week after week, season after season.

A club is held together by its players, management, the backroom staff and most importantly its fans and volunteers. I salute you all. It’s clear the ethos of this club and this great game is built on this tradition of coming together. I have seen this for myself when I have attended games. And long may it continue.

Oldham has a proud heritage of producing great players who have gone on to inspire others and I have no doubt we will continue to do so. I hope we can grow the game across the Borough so more and more young people can feel the benefits of its ethos and tradition. I am trying to play my part with the ‘Diversity in Rugby’ project I launched last year with the Rugby Football League. Twenty years since its establishment, Oldham Rugby League Club is a part of our community and I very much look forward to the next 20 years and beyond.

More information:

John Ramsden – 07896 992 975

ORLFC – telephone 07904 898177; email:

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