OLDHAM RLFC is delighted to announce that former player Adrian Alexander has accepted an invitation to become, with immediate effect, the club’s first-ever Ambassador.
As such he will operate closely with the Roughyeds' owner and chief executive Chris Hamilton in promoting the club, advancing its interests within the borough and beyond and doing all he can to “push” the Roughyeds brand whenever and wherever he can.
Announcing the appointment of ‘Alex’, as he is fondly and popularly known in the town’s rugby circles, Chris said the former Oldham prop-forward — a man who was also well known and highly respected in local political and civic circles — was “a big character in more ways than one.”
“He first made his mark in the town back in the 1980s when he turned pro for Oldham from Harlequins RU club in London and quickly became a fans' favourite. When his playing days were over, he didn’t only make our town his home; he threw himself wholeheartedly into local life and, as a long-serving elected councillor, he worked tirelessly for the local community and for the people in the ward he represented with distinction until a year or two ago.
“We felt the time was right to make an ambassadorial appointment — the club’s first ever — and we felt Alex was a perfect choice to fill a role which he has been doing unofficially for some time. This rubber-stamps his appointment and makes it official.
“He has already been very helpful to the club in various ways and there is no doubt whatsoever that he will continue to be a great help moving forward.
“There isn’t a job description, as such, but he is a rugby man through and through with Oldham Rugby at heart and he has a huge range of contacts and connections in various walks of life. He has already assisted the club significantly in terms of opening doors and getting us introductions and I’m sure this will continue.
“He’s also active in the Oldham Past Players' Association and we would like as many former players as possible to be involved in that association.”
As a rugby union player, he was Harlequins captain and he had also played for Middlesex, the Barbarians and an England XV when he followed his fellow Londoner Bob Mordell to Watersheddings in December, 1979.
As a young forward who was being widely tipped for a full England cap, his signing earned back-page headlines in national papers and was a personal coup for the late Frank Diskin, then on the club committee and the man behind that particular Roughyeds' raid on big-time rugby union.
Writing in his book, ‘Roughyeds - The Story’, Brian Walker wrote some years later:
“The signings of Bob Mordell and Adrian Alexander took Oldham supporters by surprise, but caused a sensation in ‘Southern England’ rugby union circles. Without warning, an unfashionable rugby league club had plucked from their midst two of their most formidable forwards.
“Alexander’s ball-handling skills and footballing ability added new dimensions to the Oldham pack. He still lives locally and takes an active interest in training youngsters.”
In total he played in 80 first-team games across four seasons, winning two promotions to the old first division in 1980 and 1982.
His playing days ended with a brief stay at Leigh, but he regarded Oldham as “home” from the day he arrived in town in 1979. It was here that he met and married his wife Ginny, who followed him into local politics and is now Councillor Ginny Alexander, the Worshipful the Mayor of Oldham, who is in an extended two-year term of office until May next because of Covid-19.
The role of Mayor is also an ambassadorial one and they are already working side by side, Mayor and Consort, husband and wife, in raising the profile of the borough and forging links with the private, voluntary and public sectors.
Aged 65, ‘Alex’ was a Labour councillor for Saddleworth West and Lees for more than eight years as well as fulfilling a role within council as chair of Saddleworth district.
“I am totally honoured to take up the role of Oldham Rugby League Club’s first-ever Ambassador and I intend to work hard to make the club the best it can be.
“I’ll be trying to get them playing on a ground which is in Oldham and, in the longer term, to get Roughyeds back into Super League.
“That might sound ambitious and a bit tricky, but I firmly believe that if you want to achieve anything in this life you have to reach for the stars and see where it takes you.
“The Mayor is right with me on this and we’ll be side by side, doing this ambassadorship together.
“I’ll also be calling on all my old mates, pals and contacts in rugby, in business and in life generally to get behind us and to help us as we strive to keep on taking the club in the right direction.”