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Former player, alongside local businessman, purchases League One club

Oldham RLFC have announced new ownership in the shape of a group led by former player and coach Mike Ford, who also played for Castleford Tigers, Wigan Warriors, Leigh and Wakefield, as well as a local businessman Mick Harrington.

They have successfully purchased the club.

Following this Ford, said:

“We are really excited about the future of the Roughyeds. It’s close to all our hearts and we know the importance of a vibrant, thriving Oldham Rugby to the town and its people. We certainly don’t take our responsibility as club custodians lightly and it’s our vision to give the people of Oldham a rugby league club they can be proud of. A club that they are excited and inspired by and one that they can identify with. We cannot wait to get started.”

Meanwhile, Harrington added: “This is a historic day for an historic club. We do not want to get ahead of ourselves and we know there is a lot of hard work ahead – but we feel that we can do something special here. Oldham remains a rugby league hotbed and we believe the potential – especially with Boundary Park now as our home – is huge.”

Departing owner Chris Hamilton meanwhile underlined his pride at what he has accomplished at the club:

‘So, my time as owner of Oldham Rugby League Football Club has come to an end. That is probably a sentence I never envisaged I would write given how long I have been involved with the club!

‘When I started on this journey 25 and a half years ago, little did I know that it would take over my life and that everything I did would revolve around this club.

‘Everybody knows that this has not been a journey full of glory, or of continued success but it has certainly been an eventful one for sure.

‘In 1997 I was one of four people who wanted to make sure that professional rugby league in Oldham carried on. Of course, for quite a long time now I have been the only one of those four who was still in place.

‘As I think about my time at the club there has been an incredible amount of hard work by a number of people to ensure we still have a club today. I wish to thank everybody who has helped to keep the club going.

‘In addition, it would be wrong not to thank all those people and clubs who have helped us by providing grounds for the club to play at since 1997, particularly Stalybridge Celtic when we have been in the Championship and, our current hosts AVRO FC.

‘Of course, we have achieved much more than simply maintaining a club. Our promotions to the Championship, the number of Grand Finals we have played in, being one match away from Super League. The list could go on and on.

‘However, this is a time for looking forward also. With the new owners coming in, the recently announced move back to Boundary Park, the potential for major development at Melrose Playing Fields, then it is not too hard to think that the club is gaining some traction in moving forward.

‘I sincerely wish my successors all the very best in their efforts with the club and hope that all of this positivity currently surrounding the club is rewarded with increased numbers at games to back Stuart Littler, Brendan Sheridan and all the squad as they strive to gain promotion back to the Championship this year. Now wouldn’t that be fantastic – first game back at Boundary Park being a game in the Championship!

‘I could go on for a long time in this final statement, but it has all been a bit of a whirlwind and the focus must remain on the team and the upcoming match at North Wales Crusaders this Sunday.

‘As for me, I hope to be there, cheering the lads on. I will do whatever I can to help the new owner in the transition at the club and will be looking for a new job too – now that will be strange!’

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