Boyhood Dream Comes True
Michael Fogerty's rugby league dream came true last night when he signed for the club he supported as a boy.
The 28-year-old former Keighley Cougars and Rochdale Hornets centre grabbed the opportunity to join his home-town Oldham club on a one-year contract and couldn't disguise his elation.
"I'm thrilled to bits -- and my friends and family will be as well," said Mick, who lives in Derker, works for a Dobcross-based storage equipment firm and cherishes memories of his time as a Roughyeds ball boy at Watersheddings with friends like Chris Hough, James Campbell, Gareth Barber and Kevin Sinfield.
Roughyeds beat off competition from Swinton Lions and Rochdale to acquire Fogerty' signature after reserve-team coach John Hough had played the lead role in getting the high-scoring former Higginshaw and Waterhead centre down to the club for training.
"I've been at Oldham for the past couple of weeks, and I've really enjoyed it," added Fogerty.
"I had spoken to Rochdale and a couple of other clubs, but when Tony Benson talked to me at length about joining Oldham and moved me up to train with the first team I knew that something special was happening to me.
"Every Oldham boy who plays rugby league wants to play for his home-town club at some point in his career, and I'm glad it has finally happened to me.
"I was 24 when I left Waterhead to turn pro with Keighley, so I suppose I would be classed as a late starter. I'll soon be 29 but when I play my first game in an Oldham jersey my friends and family will be there in force -- and with a lot of eyes watching me I'll be as nervous as a teenager.
"I'll just have to do what I do best and let my rugby do the talking. This means a lot to me and to many other people as well."
A distant relative of Oldham-born Terry Fogerty, the hugely talented former Halifax, Wigan, Rochdale and Great Britain forward (and first winner of the Harry Sunderland Trophy for his performance in the 1965 championship final), Mick signed for Keighley with his Waterhead team mates Terry Fitzgerald and Darren Nixon.
Fogerty and Nixon, joint centres, scored 60 tries between them in their last season at Waterhead Park before Foggy went on to enjoy three seasons at Keighley and then one at Rochdale.
One of his biggest fans for most of that time was family member and lifelong Roughyeds supporter Tony Finnerty, who died last year in his seventies.
"He had closely followed my career," said Mick, "and he would have been very proud indeed had he been here to see me sign for his beloved Oldham club. I'll be thinking of him when I make my debut."
Said Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton: "Mick has loads of experience at this level and at the age of 28 he is looking ahead and taking an interest in coaching. He is a big unit who has always enjoyed playing against us so now it is up to him to show us what he can do playing for us.
"The one thing we can offer him is an opportunity. As an Oldhamer he was keen to take that on board and it is now up to him to make the most of it."