IN anticipation of their two biggest gates of the season during ‘Awesome August’, Oldham RLFC can announce that attendance figures at the Vestacare Stadium are already well up compared to the 2018 season.
The RFL has revealed that, up to the end of June this year, Oldham attendances were up by 21 per cent — the third highest increase among Betfred League 1 clubs.
Of the eight league games played at the Vestacare in the 2019 season so far, every one has shown an increase on the equivalent game last year.
Game-by-game comparisons (league games only) are as follows (2019 first, last year in brackets):
Hunslet 652 (544); Keighley 591 (530); Skolars 709 (419); Workington 765 (486); West Wales 552 (274); North Wales 616 (466); Whitehaven 546 (413); Coventry 451 (373).
Chairman Chris Hamilton and his management team are expecting their biggest crowd this year when high-flying Newcastle Thunder come to the Vestacare this Sunday (3pm).
The same game last year was watched by 455 so it will have to increase by more than 300 if it is to beat the season’s previous best of 765 which turned up for the Workington game on the opening day of the season back in February.
There’s one home game left after Newcastle and that’s against Doncaster on Sunday week, August 18 when the club stages its Mayoral Day and 999 game.
Rangi Chase alone — who thought we’d ever see him at the Vestacare Stadium — should pull in some numbers in addition to those members of the emergency services and the NHS who might be attracted by the admission price of £9.99 (get it ?) on production of their ID cards.
Civic dignitaries will be present, headed by the Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Ginny Alexander and her Consort husband Adrian, a former Oldham player of some repute. What a nostalgic day it will be for him.
There will be lots of stalls and activities for children and for a donation of £1, which will go towards the Mayor’s charities, fans can have their picture taken with the famous Rugby League World Cup.
What odds against the biggest crowd of the year this Sunday and then an even bigger crowd seven days later?
They’re not massively improving, but they are definitely on the rise — and that’s a big step in the right direction.