ANNE Kearns, who’s running Oldham RL Club while chairman Chris Hamilton is laid up after major heart surgery, is appealing to women to play a lead role in increasing attendances at the Vestacare Stadium.
Launching what she calls THE FEMALE FAN CHALLENGE, former nurse Anne is urging every woman who supports Roughyeds regularly to take a female friend, neighbour, relative or work colleague to this Sunday’s home game against Workington Town or next week’s visit by West Wales Raiders.
Using her own experience as an example, she said:
“There must be thousands of women out there who are completely oblivious of rugby league yet who would love the sport if somebody took the time and interest to introduce them to it.
“Until three years ago I was one of them. They don’t play rugby league in Bury, where I live, and I was completely unaware of it. The first time I was invited to an Oldham match I wondered what on earth I was letting myself in for, but I was fascinated by everything about it.
“I was immediately hooked on the atmosphere, the banter of the fans, the stirring, honest-to-goodness action on the pitch and the fierce, yet very sporting rivalry, of the players.
“I’ve hardly missed a game, home or away, ever since and when I got even more involved by offering volunteer help behind the scenes it opened up a whole new chapter in my life.
“We have lots of women among our fan base and I firmly believe that together we can make a huge difference if we all pledge to spread the word among other women in our lives and bring another woman with us to the next home game.
“They won’t all take to it bit I’m sure the majority will — and it’s a challenge that can snowball if we all work hard at it .”