Arsonists cause damage at Oldham ground

Mindless arsonists have struck again at Oldham’s Whitebank Stadium, setting fire to a full stand of seats which had been acquired by the club and which were stacked and covered, ready to be re-sited at the ground.

Damage will run into several thousand pounds.

Distraught chairman Chris Hamilton said: “We are obviously being targeted and it doesn’t appear anything much is being done to bring the culprits to book.

“We are constantly being raided, and have been for a few years, and to be honest I am not happy with the response from the police.

“I first raised my concerns with them at the end of May after we had suffered 11 or 12 incidents at the ground over a period of five weeks.

“I am thoroughly cheesed off and totally disheartened.”

The stand and its seats, about 500 of them, were stacked and covered and waiting to form part of the planned development of the stadium.

Flames were up to 15 feet high when fire fighters arrived to tackle the blaze late last night.

The cover and a large quantity of seats were damaged, many of them because the aluminium frames on which they were mounted were bent and twisted.

Added the angry club owner: “At the end of the day, who pays for all this lot ? Every time we are the victims of these mindless attacks we are having to stand repair bills etc and this is having a direct hindrance on the development of our club.

“What happens when Chris Hamilton says, ‘That’s it. I’ve had enough ?’. 

“Anyone else who might be interested in taking over is hardly going to be encouraged when they see this sort of thing happening all the time.

“Everything falls on my shoulders. 

“Why do I need to , or why should I, put up with all this in return for everything I have put in over the years, financially, emotionally and physically ?

“It’s absolutely gut-wrenching and at the end of the day all I’m trying to do is provide the town and its rugby league lovers with a team of which it can be proud.

“Considering all the problems and the number of times we get kicked in the teeth I don’t think we’re making a bad job of it, but I’ve got to admit I’m getting to the end of my tether.

“We’ve proudly survived everything that’s been hurled at us over 18 turbulent years and the lads on the field continue to do us proud week in and week out. They’re a great bunch of lads, and coached by a top man too.


“I hate to think that, after all the battles we’ve won on and off the field over many years, we’re going to be beaten by a bunch of mindless morons, but I’m getting thoroughly sickened by all this and the fact that little seems to be done to stop it.”

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