ROB Gorski, Stalybridge Celtic’s chairman and majority shareholder, admitted the club would have been walking a financial tightrope in the remainder of the season had Oldham Rugby League not returned to groundshare at Bower Fold.
“For Celtic, the return of the Roughyeds is an absolute saviour. Without their financial contribution moving forward, it would have been a struggle and we would probably have had to cut the playing budget to make ends meet,” he conceded.Mr Gorski, who forecast the groundshare will earn Celtic a five-figure sum, admitted he had never taken a keener interest in a Roughyeds game than their Betfred League 1 promotion final when they beat Newcastle Thunder 18-14 to clinch promotion.
“I followed every kick of the match and punched the air with delight when the final whistle went,” he said.
Mr Gorski was aware Roughyeds’ Vestacare Stadium home would fail the grading for Championship rugby and they would need a new home ground for the 2020 season.
A number of venues were suggested but Mr Gorski was always confident Roughyeds would return having developed a friendship with Roughyeds’ chief Chris Hamilton from when they previously played Championship rugby at Bower Fold.
Mr Gorski admitted Celtic have been struggling financially once again this season after giving manager Simon Haworth the same playing budget as last season.
After last season’s financial ills, it had been envisaged the wage bill would have been reduced sharply for the 2019-20 season.
He continued: “Two areas of income we had been hoping for have not been forthcoming and it has left a big hole in the budget.
“The size of the income from Oldham RL moves up to another level and I am delighted they are returning.”
“It is no secret we have been struggling financially and we have put several posts on our website to inform fans about the situation,” he said.
Mr Gorski continued: “I don’t want to name names but one devoted fan has given us £1,000. That is the fifth time he has handed over a cheque for the same amount.
“I had somebody else who came up to me, shook my hand, thanked me for everything I have done for the club and put £60 in my hand. It is genuinely touching and brings a tear to my eye that people are so caring about the club.
“Without people like them, the club would be in a far poorer position. The fans have been great.”
Looking ahead, Mr Gorski is optimistic, explaining: “Going forward I am encouraged for next season.
“I would like to be able to give Simon a bigger budget.
“We are striving to get things right off the pitch for Simon to get in right on the pitch.”
Mr Gorski made a renewed appeal to local businesses to become involved by either sponsoring a game or placing an advertising board on the ground.
He said: “We would like to reach out to local businesses to come and join us as we are a community club.
“We would love them to come and see what we are trying to do for the town and we would like to have closer ties with them.”
Mr Gorski is also looking to strengthen the board of Celtic directors.
He said: “We need more directors, people with contacts and ideas and who have the time.
“I would love to have new blood on the board and we have an open door to speak to any entrepreneurs about driving the club forward.”
Mr Gorski added the long-term vision is to install an artificial pitch and develop facilities so Bower Fold can be used 24/7 and not once a fortnight.
He believes that is the only way for the club to have a sustainable and successful future rather than living hand to mouth at the present.