THE induction of TONY MARTIN to the RFL’s Roll of Honour is not only richly deserved and a great honour for himself and his family, but another reminder — and a timely one — of the Oldham Borough’s massive contribution to Rugby League.
Only yesterday, representatives of all the various Rugby League bodies in Oldham met with Oldham RLFC to present a positive and united front to Oldham Council’s top official, chief executive Harry Catherall, who was also present at the ‘partners’ meeting.
The plan is for Roughyeds, Oldham Council, Rugby Oldham, the Oldham Amateur League, the (Past) Players' Association, the Oldham RL Heritage Trust, the new Oldham RLFC Supporters' Group, Adrian Alexander (the club ambassador) and his wife Ginny, current councillor and a former Mayor of Oldham, to work collectively to promote the game at all levels in Oldham.
Leading the top-level talks, and absolutely delighted to have Oldham Council’s Chief Executive sitting to his immediate left, was Oldham RLFC chairman Chris Hamilton.
To his immediate right was vice-chairman John Roddy, who said rugby league in Oldham had a “unique” opportunity to work together for the advancement of the wider game in this area.
Tony Martin’s elevation to the sport’s Roll of Honour comes just one year and four months after the induction of another Oldhamer, Joseph Platt, first secretary of the Northern Union.
Originally from Royton, Platt played a key role in organising the meeting in Huddersfield’s George Hotel on August 29, 1895 at which the Northern Union was born.
He was appointed treasurer of the Oldham club in his early twenties and continued as secretary of the Northern Union until he stepped down in 1920.
Sixteen months on and it’s Tony Martin’s turn to fly the flag for Oldham. He is rewarded with this recognition for his three decades of outstanding service to the game as a match official.
In the first 25 Super League seasons from 1996 to 2020, he was one of that competition’s top touch judges as well as doing an enormous amount of work for the community game, especially in his native Oldham.
His major match appearances included ten Super League Grand Finals, five Challenge Cup finals and the 2000 World Cup Final.
He becomes the 44th member of the Roll of Honour which was launched in 2003 to recognise people who have made outstanding contributions to the game, both on and off the field.