Meacher steps in over Oldham Rugby row

Last updated : 31 January 2002 By Dave Moore
MP Michael Meacher will meet Latics chairman Chris Moore within the next few weeks to urge him to compromise to settle the long-running ground sharing row with Oldham Rugby. The Roughyeds cannot afford the £150,000 annual rent that Athletic are asking.

Mr Meacher said, “I want Mr Moore to consider how the facilities at Boundary Park can be used to provide a home for the rugby club as well, which he’s currently not prepared to do. Obviously I can’t tell Mr Moore what to do, but I want him to recognise that he is dealing with something very precious in Oldham. I shall be putting it to him that he has a public responsibility because -
while he is a private owner of the club - this is an important public issue as well. Oldham has a good record for rugby and a supporters’ club running into thousands of people. They expect, quite reasonably, that a ground will
be provided for their team.”

Mr Moore has agreed to hold talks. The Roughyeds have been forced to share
Ashton United’s ground at Hurst Cross after they turned down a loan of £50,000 offered by Mr. Moore. Athletic insist that they had not forced the Roughyeds out and were willing to resume talks at any time. They said the rugby club would retain car parking receipts from Boundary Park, collect the catering franchise and make money from match sponsorship. Oldham Borough Council has said a £520,000 new pitch was only laid at Boundary Park on the understanding it would be used for both football and rugby.