THE subject of our next staff focus is our head of security, Phil Black.
Phil has lived in Widnes all his life and supported the game in many ways, including being a youth coach, a development coach for the RFL and, for the last 23 years, a safety steward at the Halton Stadium in Widnes.
When the Oldham club moved to Whitebank in 2010, it had to employ a Ground Safety Officer and the RFL gave club chairman Chris Hamilton Phil’s contact number.
They had a good meeting and Phil was pleased to become Oldham’s Safety Officer, a role in which he took great pride.
His favourite part of the job is working with the management team and, most importantly, the fans.
He has always believed in trying to communicate with fans when issues arise, as they inevitably do. He wants fans to feel they can approach him and talk through things that concern them.”I cant always promise to agree, but i will always listen”, says Phil.
In his opinion the biggest character on the playing side is head coach Scott Naylor, who has a dry sense of humour.
But he thinks also that some of the club’s biggest characters are to be fund among the fans.
He told JENNY McGRANE:
“We have some wonderful characters among the supporters. They are some of the best in Rugby League. There are too many to mention individually,but I love it when I get the time to chat with them.’
Phil would love to see the arrival at Oldham of big, barnstorming prop forwards in the mould of ex New Zealand players Esene Faimalo and Emosi Koloto, who played for Widnes and established the platform for the halfbacks to control the game.
He would take Dave Hewitt to a desert island with him as
‘that man has a serious work ethic and always seems to be looking to give 100 per cent — an invaluable quality if I have to survive on a desert island’.
Thoughts on the season so far?
‘On the field its been a mixed season. We always play hard but hopefully the team will continue to perform well and win enough games to finish top of the table and earn automatic promotion.’