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How George Galloway has inadvertently added to our derby rivalry

A goal like that clearly means that Boundary Park has to be a fortress, thus adding even more significance than usual to Sunday’s first home league game against our derby rivals Rochdale Hornets.

There’s nothing quite like an Oldham-Rochdale derby for making the hairs on the back of the neck stand up, increasingly so this year since new Rochdale MP George Galloway, leader of the Workers’ Party of Great Britain, has intimated publicly that Rochdale is in danger of becoming “a small town outside Oldham” given that it has an ‘OL’ postmark.

Now as someone who lives in Littleborough and has that ‘OL’ postmark I can well understand Hornets fans, and others who live on the other side of Summit, taking exception to the thought of somehow being subservient to Oldham and its peoples, writes ROGER HALSTEAD.

They’ve said the same of Leigh, in relation to Wigan, for many years, but that doesn’t alter the fact that Wigan, with Leigh, and Oldham, with Hornets, will usually be regarded as bigger clubs, hence the great passion of Hornets supporters to put one over on the lads from just up the road.

This year they will take heart from what happened when the sides last met in the group stages of the 1895 Cup ln mid-February. Oldham won comfortably 38-12, but it was12-12 in the second half and Hornets have since won well at Midlands Hurricanes and taken fancied Hunslet to two points at the Crown Oil Arena after leading 10-0 early in the game

Significantly, they have signed livewire hooker Johnny Openshaw, who had four games for Oldham as a 19-year-old on loan from Salford in 2022 and re-signed dangerous half-back Lewis Else, a player who always keeps opponents on their toes

Then there’s the old boys’ factor. Hornets may well play a lot of former Oldham players, including Emmerson Whittel, who signed for Rochdale after asking for his Oldham release.

Oldham should make it two wins from two . . . but there will be no room for complacency and they will need to perform for 80 minutes with the verve and vigour with which they stung Workington Town last time out.


John Etty

The family of the late John Etty, two-try hero of our 1957 Rugby League Championship win against Hull at Odsal, will be guests of the club at the derby.

There will be a minute’s silence before kick-off as a mark of respect to 97-year-old John, who was the last member of our fabulous fifties team to die.

Club official John Chadwick, who delivered an emotional eulogy at the funeral in Fleetwood, will repeat it in the Broadway Suite before kick-off.


Cian Tyrer

Winger Cian Tyrer has joined Workington Town on two-week loan.

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