PETER Gray, who films our home games for the official match video, was a very late convert to rugby league, having followed football for most of his life.
He retired from teaching in 2013, and wondered what he could do with the extra time on his hands, so he took a diploma in professional photography and started to cover football games for local newspapers. writes JENNY McGRANE.
He enjoyed the work a lot, so much so that he chose to go that bit further and delve into sports video work.
Coincidentally, it was about the time Oldham RLFC was looking for someone to film their games, which is a requirement of the Rugby Football League.
That apart, all clubs use video recordings for coaching purposes and co-operate with each other in the supply and circulation of the said film.
Four years on Peter is still grateful to the club for giving him this fantastic opportunity.
His favourite part of the job is chatting to the loyal Oldham fans and players before a game and having ‘the best seat in the house’, namely his filming position up the scaffolding in his wooden ‘den.
He gets the best view of the game, although it does have its drawbacks when the weather turns nasty and its cold and freezing. Having said that, he thoroughly enjoy every aspect of the job.
Peter says the biggest character at the club has to be its’s oldest fan, Clarice Stevens. He ‘simply adores Clarice’ and admire her for the distance she travels to see every home game at Oldham.
She travels, often on public transport, from Timperley in Cheshire, and then back again, so how good is that when some people say they can’t even get from another part of town on Sundays on the bus?
Clarice has been a great inspiration to Peter in his time at the club.
So, too, has been club chairman Chris ‘Mr Fantastic’ Hamilton.
“From the first Oldham game I filmed, Chris has always been kind to me in many ways. We often have a bit of banter, but he’s got a heart of gold even though we’ve had the occasional disagreement, usually because the coffee I make isn’t to his liking.
“His dry humour is second to none.”
If money was no object he’d like to see the recruitment of a player who could provide a cutting edge to the attack and a wealthy man who would spend a “few million quid” to improve our facilities and perhaps build us a new stadium.
And his companion on a desert island?
“I’d like to go on my own without any distractions.but if I had to take somebody I’d take the whole club so that we could celebrate promotion back to the Championship!
“We wouldn’t be disturbed and we could party on and have the time of our lives. Dream on!”
The first half of the season was mixed, he said,. He regularly watches every match video several times over while editing them and one thing that has struck him is a shortage of consistency.
“We have a great coaching staff as well as players who are striving to get us promotion and totally believe the club can achieve it.
“It is an extremely competitive league this year with several clubs vying for promotion.
“Having worked at Oldham for the last four.years I know that we will be up there in the end.
“There’s a lot of heart and passion in the club, but we need a consistent run of good form from now to the end of the season.
“Might I also express my deepest and grateful thanks to everyone at the club for their kindness and condolences over the recent sad loss of my partner. You were there for me in those sad times. A very big thank you to all.’