A new fans fund to buy new players has paid immediate dividends for Oldham, helping the club pull off the signing of full-back Miles Greenwood.
Greenwood, who was born in Oldham, has joined Roughyeds on a season-long contract after spending the last four years with Championship side Halifax.
“It’s a hugely significant signing,” said club chairman Chris Hamilton, “and we’ve used the fund to assist us. We are grateful to the fans who have backed it and trust that others will see what a difference such a project can make.”
Despite missing most of 2010 with a knee injury, 24-year-old Greenwood scored 38 tries in 79 games for Halifax, for whom he was voted players’ player of the year in 2011.
A product of Oldham St Anne’s, Greenwood signed for St Helens at the age of 15 and later had a season at Leigh, scoring 16 tries in 26 games, before starting his four-year stint at The Shay.
“He’s quality,” added Hamilton. “He has had a lot of Championship experience over the last five years and, more than that, he has always played for clubs at the top end of that division.
“We’ve pulled off a fantastic signing, the timing and importance of which will give our supporters a terrific lift as we approach the start of the 2012 campaign.
“Every Oldham fan will be delighted to see Miles at the club.”
Amazingly, the Squad Strengthener fund was only launched ten days before Christmas when lifelong fan Nigel Marland, chairman of the Supporters’ Association (ORSA), appealed to fans to back an independently-run fund to be used purely for signing players.
Said Marland: “Squad Strengthener is still in its infancy. We never expected to be assisting the club so soon, but thanks to the fans who have supported us already we have been able to help.
“This is just the start of what I hope will be an on-going project as more fans and local businesses see the differences that such a fund can make to a club’s ability to recruit.
“The signing wouldn’t have happened without Squad Strengthener’s help . . simple as that.
“I hope more fans will now come on board. There’s no telling where this can take us if supporters rally round.”
A twist of sporting fate sees Greenwood coming to Whitebank and pushing for the full-back role which was once occupied by Ben Heaton, who has gone in the opposite direction to Halifax.