MIKE and Viv Travis have been hooked on Oldham Rugby for years — and it’s a family affair to this day, writes JENNY McGRANE, a member of our media team, who should know what she’s talking about. She’s their daughter!
In 1966 Mike watched his first game, aged 11, with his late father, Norman, who was a season-ticket holder at Watersheddings.
Even though it was more than 50 years ago, Mike clearly remembers watching the players leaving the pavilion and walking down the back of the stand and out on to the pitch.
Over the next few years, he enjoyed supporting Oldham Rugby so much that he was keen to introduce his new girlfriend Viv to the game, which he did in 1974.
Mike continued to watch and support Oldham for the next 23 years until the club went into liquidation. There was no one happier when Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd was formed a few weeks later.
He continued his loyal support throughout the nomadic years until 2010 when he joined many other fans in helping to get Whitebank ready for the club’s first season there by painting the metal work around the ground.
Viv, now Mrs Travis, came back to the game five years ago and hasn’t looked back since. She is now as keen as ever and rarely misses a game, home or away.
Mike’s favourite player of all time was that courageous little full-back of the 60s, 70s and 80s, Martin Murphy, and his current favourite is Liam Bent, whom he admires because of his determination to keep pushing for the full 80 minutes.
Viv’s favourite past player is former captain and stand-off Lewis Palfrey while, of the present squad, she most admires forward Jack Spencer.
Mike would love to have seen Peter Smethurst play with our current squad while, on a similar theme, Viv would have been happy to see Kevin Sinfield back in his home town and working to push and develop rugby league on his own doorstep.
They both feel the Oldham team is improving after a slow start and needs to avoid lapses in concentration that sometimes marred its performances early in the season.
They also believe we’ll win promotion to the Championship, hopefully by finishing top and going up automatically, but they acknowledge that “we always seem to do things the hard way.”
They enjoy the family, friendly atmosphere on match days and are proud that both their children and their youngest grandson are following the family tradition in supporting the Roughyeds.
“We hear a lot about the rugby league family and I can vouch for the fact that it’s very much alive within the Oldham club.
“Everyone is made welcome, whether or not he or she understands the game.”
Mike enjoys his role as the club’s time keeper even when it is so cold at the ground that his stopwatch face ices over.
He should have tried time-keeping at a floodlit evening match at Watersheddings in the middle of a severe winter. Now that’s what you call cold!