Joe takes charge of Ex-players

HEYSIDE’S Joe Warburton, pictured second right, is the new secretary of the Oldham RL Ex-Players Association which is looking for new members in a major recruitment drive.

Membership has been extended to include anyone who has ever been involved officially with Oldham RLFC as a player, coach, physio, groundsman, spongeman etc, according to a recruitment leaflet currently being circulated.

It is 40 years since Joe, who succeeds the late Bernard Halford secretary, signed for Oldham RL having been recruited from Saddleworth Rangers.

Joe, until recently chairman of Heyside Cricket Club, had two years as a professional at Watersheddings in an era when the likes of Terry Flanagan, Andy Goodway, Paddy Kirwin and Ray Ashton appeared for them.

He later played before playing for Carlisle and Mansfield and after retiring he joined the police force.

Joe, a former coach of Great Britain women’s rugby team and England Under-18 boys, currently coaches the U7s at Oldham St Annes.

Joe is particularly keen at this time to hear from players who were involved in a Boxing Day Second Division derby at Rochdale in 1989. Hornets won 24-12 in front of a magnificent crowd of 8,150.

Hornets are inviting as many players as possible from that game to the next Rochdale-Oldham derby, which will be played at the Crown Oil Arena for the Law Cup on Sunday, January 12 at 3pm.

Thirty years ago Oldham’s line-up was: Gary Hyde, Charlie McAlister, Des Foy, Richard Irving, Paul Lord, Brett Clark, Mike Ford, John Fairbank, Richard Russell, John Fieldhouse, Trevor Croston, Keith Newton, John Cogger. Subs, Kevin Meadows, Keith Atkinson.

McAlister, Foy, Clark, Cogger and Atkinson live overseas, but that still leaves 10 players who might be able to represent their former club for one last time while also meeting up with former team mates.

Joe will be delighted to hear from any member of that team or from anyone else who has the credentials to join the association.

The association was well represented at Gallery Oldham on Saturday, December 7 when the Heritage Trust officially handed over their magnificent collection of memorabilia to Oldham Council for safe keeping and regular exhibiting, while also launching their new website, built, designed and programmed by Dave Naylor.

Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Ginny Alexander was present along with her consort husband Adrian, who doubled up as both a civic representative and a member of the Ex-Players Association.

Oldham RLFC chairman Chris Hamilton and local politician Debbie Abrahams were also in attendance as well as former club commercial manager Ray Hill, ex-club doctor, Dr Donald Walton and, among others from the ex-players Martin Murphy, Mike Elliott, Brian Clark, Joe Warburton, John Watkins, Dave Kenway, Frank Hilton and Tony Finan.

“The ex-players did us proud,” said Mike Turner, the lifelong fan and local historian who has devoted most of his time in the last 20 years or so to writing books on Oldham RLFC, tracking and logging the club’s history and running the Oldham RLFC Heritage Trust.

To contact Joe ring 07882 848340 or email him at: The treasurer is John Watkins 07974 612038.

Membership costs £10 a year and meetings are held monthly at Springhead Liberal Club, usually on the first Monday of the month.

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