History starts here - for both finalists
Stop Press: The Manchester Evening News has finally remembered that Hornets exist. And, thankfully, they understand the magnitude of of the weekend to come. "Rochdale Hornets are preparing for one of the biggest games in the club's history," they said - though that depends on where you start counting.
Chair of the Hornets co-operative Mark Wynn expressed how much this weekend means to what is essentially a four-year old venture carrying the weight of 91 years of expectation. Speaking in the MEN, he said: "We are all really excited at the moment, people have worked really hard. We are not so much nervous as we know we have, so far, done the best we can do.”
Whilst Hornets' participation in this weekend's final is a fantastic validation of the community-focused, supporter-owned model, the rumblings from the Oldham camp emanate from a very different end of the spectrum.
Where Hornets directors, officials, players, fans - and even the media - are buzzing about the possibility of being the first Rochdale Hornets team since 1922 to bring home a trophy, it's interesting to see - ahead of the biggest game of the season - that the real Oldham story seems to be focused on the potential takeover by Salford Red Devils owner Marwan Koukash.
With Chris Hamilton this week reporting 'positive' talks and Koukash bullish as ever saying: "Why can't I take charge of three clubs? I know I can and I fully intend to…" it gives Sunday's game an extra angle of interest as it becomes a battle of contrasting orthodoxies: one club seeing its future secured by big ideals, the other looking to secure its future through big money. One where the fans buy-in and the club becomes theirs - the other where the ownership of the club is taken out of the Oldham community and placed under the patronage of another club, where it becomes something else: a subsidiary, a trading name. Not really our cup of tea here at TLCRF80mins Towers, thanks.
All of which brought us to the point where we came to wrap-up this article. We considered a rousing call to arms, an emotional cris de coeur, a plea for passion and belief. But we really couldn't beat the words of Hornets' senior statesman Ray Myers, speaking in the MEN.
“It will be a bit special if we win - and more so because of who we are playing. We have got to think about winning now.”
Amen to that Ray, amen.