BEST news of the night at Oldham RLFC’s second fans’ forum in the Vestacare Social Club was provided by the number of Roughyeds supporters who were now signed up to the OuRLeague app.
Figures released by the RFL revealed that Roughyeds had 748 OuRLeague subscribers last September, but 1,214 currently — an increase of 466 in little more than five months.
We were 11th out of the 26 Championship and League 1 clubs last September.
Our current placing wasn’t available, but an idea of how well we were comparing with many other clubs could be seen from the fact that if we been in a position last September to claim 1,214 we would have been fourth out of 26.
“We’ve had a huge push and that’s very encouraging,” said a delighted Chris Hamilton, the Oldham chairman.
He was on the platform with other members of the newly-formed managerial team, including Julie Collins, who led the forum on the back of her second professional presentation.
She said afterwards:
“It was another very successful evening and we plan to have these fans’ forums every three months.
“After all, our supporters are the the people who make the club and it’s only right that we periodically give them an opportunity to ask questions and to learn what’s going on behind the scenes.”
It wasn’t all good news though. No sooner had Chris lifted everyone with news of OuRLeague membership, than he brought the forum back down to earth with a bump by revealing that in terms of last season’s average home crowd figures we were 20th out of 26 with an average of 567.
The six below us were Hemel Stags, Coventry, the two Welsh clubs, Toronto (who are not required to produce figures) and London Skolars.
“That’s sad — very sad,” said Chris. “And it show how much work we have to do.”
The average for the two games at home so far this season was nearly 100 up on 567 so that was a step in the right direction, but there was still a long way to go.
He made another impassioned plea for fans to be club ambassadors and to encourage friends, neighbours, relatives or work mates to come to matches.
Julie reported that a mountain of work was going on behind the scenes in efforts to increase attendances, bring in more revenue and raise the club’s profile.
Roary’s Pride, a new junior members club, would be launched at the London Skolars game on March 24, dovetailing on the same day with the club’s pledge to show our allegiance to the big Oldham Schools’ initiative called The Oldham Pledge.
The club was also engaging with Failsworth School, more of that later, and with Saddleworth Rangers, Oldham St Anne’s, Limehurst Lions, local Scouts and Guides, the Oldham Foodbank and Oldham Athletic.
Consideration was being given to the creation of a family zone for parents and children — one of several ideas that were in the pipeline.
Having attended a major meeting of Championship and League 1 clubs with the RFL earlier in the day, Chris said clubs and the governing body were now working towards a position from which they might be able to negotiate their own TV deal in 2021.
The RFL’s requirement for clubs to tick boxes; to work hard off the field on the new ‘Return on Investment’ initiative; and to have central funding dependant on comparison with what other clubs were doing, was designed to prepare clubs outside Super League for the tough challenges that would inevitably come in a year or two.
Once the meeting closed, some fans joined the club’s lottery; others submitted their names to become match-day volunteers; and the view was expressed generally that the club was moving in the right direction.