CHRIS HAMILTON has welcomed wealthy Dr Marwan Koukash’s interest in taking over Oldham Rugby League Club.
The owner, chairman and chief executive of the Roughyeds has confirmed that he has had ‘positive’ talks with the millionaire racehorse magnate and new owner of Super League club Salford Red Devils.
When news first broke of Koukash’s plan to buy Oldham Athletic FC and Oldham RL Club, and build a new stadium for them in the town, Hamilton said: “Fantastic . . . bring it on.”
Roughyeds are already linked to Koukash’s newly-named Red Devils under an RFL initiative which encouraged clubs in both Championship divisions to form associations with Super League clubs for mutual benefit.
Oldham coaches Scott Naylor and Lee Spencer both spent years on the coaching staff at Salford, while a current member of the Super League club’s fitness and conditioning team, Mike Hughes, has been responsible all season for keeping the Roughyeds’ players in trim.
Salford’s young hooker Adam Files has been on loan to the Roughyeds all season while centre Jon Ford, Championship One’s top try scorer with 19, has spent most of the year at Whitebank, either on loan or on a dual registration agreement.
Hamilton has had an unbroken association with Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd since its formation nearly 16 years ago following the demise of the original Oldham club with debts of more than £2 million.
He has never flinched in his resolve to keep the club afloat, but he has often said publicly that he would welcome interest from other parties.
He said: “At risk of becoming a bore, I will reiterate what I have said many times: if somebody comes forward who is in a better position than I am to take the club forward and fulfil the ambitions of fans, players, coaches and myself then I would welcome it.
“I’m not sure people believe me, but I’ve said it often enough and that’s how it is.
“This latest interest is positive news and hopefully it will develop.
“The meeting I had with Marwan was a positive one. We are still in the early stages, with a lot of work to be done, but we will continue with the process in terms of moving things forward.
“I can’t say more at the moment, but we will keep people informed.”
A big part of Koukash’s ambitious plan is to build a new stadium in Oldham for both of the town’s professional clubs and to develop it into a sporting venue that would also house other sports such as basketball and netball.
Meanwhile, there was heartbreak for Roughyeds who were beaten 32-18 by local rivals Rochdale Hornets in Championship One play-off final at Leigh Sports Village.
It was the fifth defeat in seven years for Roughyeds in the play-off final as Hornets join North Wales Crusaders in winning promotion to the Kingstone Press Championship.