ROBERT Hicks’s appointment as the Rugby Football League’s director of operations and legal is further confirmation of the sport’s standing in this area, given that the RFL now has two men in senior positions with significant connections in Oldham.
The other is Andy Wilson, the RFL’s head of communications, whose father and grandfather before him are and were mad-keen Roughyeds’ fans.
In sporting terms, Andy, a former rugby league writer on The Guardian newspaper, was brought up at Watersheddings and his father Ian is current secretary of Rugby Oldham, the Supporters’ Trust.
Robert, a lawyer and an Oldhamer born and bred, has been on the RFL’s panel of full-time referees since 2011 when he also joined the RFL’s legal team.
His father Ray, long-term licensee of The Three Crowns, Scouthead, played for Oldham and his grandfather, the late Ken Fisher, was a former chairman.
Robert’s primary focus will shift from refereeing to his new Operations and Legal role, although he will continue as a part-time official, offering support to the development of young, up-and-coming referees.
A former head boy at Hulme Grammar, he said: “I’ve loved being part of the full-time officials squad, as much for the team spirit and togetherness as for the big matches I’ve been involved in.
“But this is the right time and reason for me to revert to a part-time and mentoring role, allowing me to devote the majority of my time to operations and legal.
“It’s a wide-ranging role covering all areas of regulation, from the community game to the Super League.
“They are clearly key areas for the national governing body and I’m looking forward to working closely with Karen Moorhouse and other members of the RFL board and executive board as we all strive for the best for Rugby League.”