New exhibition for the Oldham RL Heritage Trust at Gallery Oldham

THE Oldham RL Heritage cabinet at Gallery Oldham has been reshaped afresh and is ready for public viewing from Tuesday, July 11.

The new display will be centred on locally-born players who have made good in the game and will feature scrum-half Mike Ford, a Great Britain international and a tourist Down Under in 1988.

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The Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust cabinet at ‘Gallery Oldham’, newly refreshed in July 2023.

In recent years Mike has enjoyed a successful career in Rugby Union coaching, having worked for Ireland, England and several leading club sides, but now he is back living locally in the vicinity of his birth and, as managing director, he is the new ‘face’ of Oldham RLFC, which he has previously served with distinction as player, coach and player-coach. He was the captain when Hull K.R. were defeated in a remarkable come-back victory for the Roughyeds in the 2nd division Premiership Final at Old Trafford in 1988.

The display will also feature Arthur Lees. George Tyson, Edgar Brooks and Terry Flanagan.

Arthur Lees, from Lees village, made his Oldham debut as an 18-year-old. A half-back, he was appointed club captain in 1898 and became the first Lancashire captain to hold the Challenge Cup aloft after victory over Hunslet at Fallowfield, Manchester in 1899.

George Tyson, a winger, was born in the Tommyfield area in 1879. He topped the Oldham try list over three separate seasons and played and scored in every Test for Great Britain as they won the first RL ‘ashes’ series when Australia toured here in 1908.

Edgar Brooks, a hooker, signed from the Watersheddings junior club in 1933. By 1939, he had won the first of his three England caps. He also played for the Probables against the 1936 tour squad, giving an impressive display and scoring a try. By 1940 Edgar was considered a certainty for the tour to Australia and New Zealand until the second World War caused its cancellation.

Terry Flanagan, loose-forward, a ball-handler supreme, signed from Saddleworth Rangers in the face of extreme competition and, aged 19, became the club’s youngest ever captain. Represented GB at Colts and under-24 levels before winning the first of his four full caps. Toured down under in 1984 when Oldham had a record FIVE players on the trip, including Terry and his fellow Oldhamer, Des Foy.

On display in the cabinet will be shirts, caps and medals as well as imagery of the players involved.

The cabinet is situated at the entrance to Gallery One which features the “Oldham Stories” exhibition.

Many thanks to Karen Heatley and the gallery staff for all of their efforts on this project.