FANS’ favourite George Tyson, the blond bomber, is back at Oldham.
As the 2017 squad being assembled by Chris Hamilton and Scott Naylor continues to grow in size and quality, Tyson has signed a one-year deal to seal his return to the club he helped to steer to promotion in 2015.
“It was an easy decision . . . just like going home,” said 23-year-old Tyson, who was one year into a three-year full-time contract at Sheffield Eagles when it emerged they were facing a financial crisis and would be going part-time again next year.
He became a free agent, whereupon Roughyeds moved swiftly to bring him back and reunite him not only with many of his mates from the promotion-winning side but also with three former Eagles pals in David Hewitt, Adam Neal and Nathan Chappell.
The reaction of Hamilton and Naylor shows how far Tyson has come since he first arrived at Whitebank in 2014 on loan from Salford and played his first few games in the Roughyeds’ reserve side.
Chairman Hamilton: “We are delighted he has chosen to come back to us. We know our fans will be too. He was definitely a fans’ favourite. He excites them with his all-action, no-nonsense displays on attack and defence.”
Head coach Naylor: “This is a brilliant signing. He was outstanding when we won promotion. We tried everything to keep hold of him and Adam (Neal) but they wanted full-time rugby and we could understand that.
“Bringing them both back underlines our ambition as a club and our desire to keep moving forward in the Championship.
“George will be a better player than when he left us and I’m looking forward to working with him again and to re-familiarising myself with the banter he brings to the dressing room and with the passion and aggression he takes on to the pitch.”
Equally at home at centre or second-row, Tyson graduated from reserves to first team in 2014 when, as a 20-year-old, he played in 16 League 1 games — 14 of them off the bench.
In the next season, he scored 13 tries in 23 senior games as Roughyeds moved up to Championship status and he was nominated for League 1 player of the year alongside his then club captain Lewis Palfrey, who won it.
Given that Eagles boss Mark Aston was often seen at Whitebank that season, it was of little surprise when Neal (for two years) and Tyson (for three) moved to south Yorkshire on full-time contracts.
Added Tyson: “I enjoyed my time at Sheffield, but due to the club’s unfortunate circumstances a return to Oldham was the right move.
“There are a lot of familiar faces here, including Scott, ‘Spanner’ (Lee Spencer) and Pete Carey (the three coaches). Peter coached me at Salford as an under-16 and an under-18 so it will be like home from home.
“I’ve a load of friends at Oldham and I’m getting a job outside rugby so everything is working out fine. I’m looking forward to putting on the Oldham shirt again.”