Supporters' Association

News - 2011

History of Fartown.

The earliest record of a football match being played in the Huddersfield area is in 1848, when a team of men from Hepworth took on a team of men from Holmfirth near Whinney Bank in Holmfirth. Hepworth won a ...

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Club Honours

The club's first cup victory was in the 1889-90 season when the Yorkshire Cup was won for the first time.

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Membership

See how to become a member of the Supporters Association...

...here.

RFL Benevolent Fund

Support the RFL Benevolent Fund by following this link.

For all news about the Giants please visit www.giantsrl.com

AGM
50th Member Presentation
Games Night
Heritage Museum
HGSA President Presentation
Quiz Evening
Reindeer Race Night
Billy Thompson
Brian Blacker
Dave Woods
Ikram Butt
James Child
Ken Davy
Nigel Wood
Paul Watson
RFL Benevolent Fund: Paul Kilbride, Stewart Walker, & Craig Mosedale on this organisation
Rocky Turner
Tony Johnson

December

Friday 2nd. Reindeer Race Night

Santa [James] & his Glamorous Assistant, Diane

What a tremendous evening. Turnbridge was packed and anticipation ran high.
To start with, we must give Santa a huge... continued here with the Photo Gallery here.

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November

Tuesday 1st. Guest - Tony Johnson, Past Player

Tony Johnson & Mick Beevers
[Photo © Margaret Callaghan]

Tony was born in Jamaica and moved to England with his family when he was 2 years old to live in Paddock.

He started playing Rugby League at Royds Hall School where his teacher, Mike Crearey, noticed his potential and he had County trials at school level. This got Tony noticed by Fartown Directors and Peter Gronow signed him as a 16 year old. He at the same time had just got taken on at David Brown Tractors as an Apprentice Engineer.

Tony went in to depth about his playing career with Huddersfield and Hunslet, with loan spells at Wakefield Trinity, Bradford Northern inbetween. He also got into the 1979 Great Britain Under 24 Squad. His disappointment at not being picked for the Under 24s game in France in 1979 after training with the Squad obviously hurts to this day.

He handed round a scrap book and newspaper cuttings etc which his wife made of his playing days and the subject then turned to the infamous 1981 Division 2 Game against Wigan at Fartown where Tony came in for some brutal treatment from the opposition players. Everytime he was knocked down he just got back up and carried on determined to beat the Wigan tactics

Tony also mentioned his career in the Police force, which he is still involved in and his role as a mediator for the RFL (dispute/problems solving within the game from school level to professional).

Tony took questions and gave some very informative answers toi these questions.

Mick Beevers closed the meeting and Brendan Callaghan thanked Tony for a very informative and entertaining insight into his career.

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October

Wednesday 19th. AGM. Guests - Scott Grix, James Brammer

James Atherton [Treasurer], James Brammer [Giants' Marketing Manager], Scott Grix + Fartown Fez [Giants' Full Back], Dave Calverley [Chairman]

The Supporters Association of the Huddersfield Giants held their Annual General Meeting in the convivial surroundings of Turnbridge WMC on Wednesday 19th October.

After Dave Calverley, the outgoing Chairman, had welcomed guests Scott Grix and James Brammer, he gave his report on the first 18 months of the resurrected society.

There had been many positives in that time. These included the outstanding speakers on Tuesdays, the excellent visits [Heritage Museum, Galpharm Stadium] and fun events at Turnbridge [quizzes, games evenings, nostalgia events] on Wednesdays. Membership is now over 60 - more double the projected figure of 12 months ago. Read the full report here.

After thanking the committee for their enthusiasm and commitment, Dave moved on to the first presentation of the evening. This was the Association's 'Harold Wagstaffe Trophy', awarded to the player whom the members considered to be the club's most valued player, the player they would least like to see leave the Giants.

A total of 10 players had been nominated but in the end it was a two horse race between Luke Robinson and Scott Grix. Scott narrowly pipped Luke at the post and was presented with the trophy by Dave. Genuinely pleased and surprised, Scott thanked the members for the honour they had bestowed upon him. In appreciation, he joined the ever-increasing number of supporters who wear the Fartown Fez.

Next a cheque for £250 was presented to James Brammer [Giants' Marketing Manager] by James Atherton [treasurer]. This was to be used to promote youth development both at the club and its catchment area.

In closing, Dave reminded the assembled throng about Tony Johnson's appearance at November's meeting, the trip to Ossett Brewery, also in November, and the Christmas Party incorporating a Reindeer Race Night.

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October

Tuesday 3rd. Guest - Dave Woods, BBC Commentator

Dave Woods

Dave readily admitted that he had the best job in the world. Why?

Dave's father was a farmer whose day off was spent working! He also made the transition from watching soccer to being an ardent fan of The Greatest Game after watching Leigh play Wigan. From there on in he started the young Dave [at the age of two] along the path of supporting Wigan.

When he was in the 6th form at school, his teacher told him to read 'There Is A Happy Land' by Keith Waterhouse who was a journalist with the Daily Mirror. This immediately made Dave realise that he also wanted to be a journalist. A journalist specialising in Rugby League.

Shortly after, he somehow he obtained Alex Murphy's home telephone number and rang him asked if he could have a story. Alex had just been made redundant from Wigan but gave an in-depth interview. Dave contacted the Bolton Evening News with the scoop. This was syndicated around various national newspapers - and a career was born.

After leaving school he joined a freelance agency in Wigan reporting on rugby and soccer in the West Lancashire area.

After one piece of investigative journalism, Dave was banned from Central Park for life by Maurice Lyndsay! David Stephenson was about to join Leeds because Wigan would not increase his pay. Because Wigan would not give him an interview, Dave obtained the ins and outs of the situation from David which was syndicated around the world!

A somewhat displeased Maurice rang Dave up telling him that David was NOT in dispute with the club: Wigan had made David an offer which he had refused to accept! Maurice informed Dave of the sentence but rescinded it the following day when he wanted Dave to publish a story on a different topic!

When a job for 'News & Sport' was advertised at BBC Radio Leeds, Dave applied for it. Due to being a little unprepared for the interview, he failed to land the position which went to Peter Drury. However, he was given a news reporter's job the week after which eventually led to him becoming breakfast show presenter - and the start of his next career phase.

When Harry Grayshon moved from 5 Live to become Rugby League's Public Relations person, Dave stepped into his shoes.

One of his first jobs was to commentate on one of his least favourite sports - football! However, this was to give Dave the opportunity to travel the world and work with many of his heroes.

Dave is still with 5 Live, but as a freelance reporter. He now includes Channel 5 and the Rugby League as his clients.

But Rugby League is still his first love.

He remembers that his first Challenge Cup Final was in 1974 and he has not missed one since. However, now, when he attends, he feels like a child waking up on Christmas Day: he commentates on the match for the BBC! "What an honour" he said. "There have only been 3 Cup Final Commentators: Eddie Waring, Ray French, and now me!!"

After an outstandingly entertaining talk, Dave went on to answer questions from the audience and gave some interesting thoughts about how, in his opinion, Rugby League should move forward in the immediate future.

Mick Beevers gave a heart-felt vote of thanks to Dave for such an insightful and humorous evening.

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September

Tuesday 6th. Guest - James Childs, Super League referee

James Childs

Not having the desire to follow his father's footsteps by playing rugby, James started his refereeing career whilst at junior school. The traditional dinner-time soccer games invariably involved arguments, so James and his friends decided that they wold take it in turns to referee. This suited him on two fronts: he did'nt like soccer and he found that he enjoyed refereeing.

17 years ago, at the tender age of 11, James was the 'man in the middle' for the first time at a Shaw Cross Under 9s match. As he grew older, so did the ages of the players under his charge until, at the age of 18, he refereed his first Yorkshire League match. He vividly remembers feeling apprehensive at having to control 30 adult males playing to win at all costs!

The National Conference League soon followed. After a couple of years he was the Referee Of The Year.

Moving up the scale from Grade 3 to Grade 2, his debut in first team rugby was in 2006 when he was in charge of Gateshead v Workington. Rugby League policy at the time was to let up and coming referees be touch judges at a level above referee qualification. So it was at this time that James finally made Super League.

It was as a touch judge that James came to prominence. He was on the line at our Challenge Cup defeat against St Helens back in 2007 when he became the youngest person to officiate at a major final - a record he still holds. James has now run the line at 4 Challenge Cup Finals in addition to other major events including internationals.

He was lucky enough to be chosen to fly out to Australia to officiate in the Tri-Nations a few years back, an experience he will never forget. Unfortunately he had to watch the final from the stands as Great Britain failed to win enough matches.

James has now Grade 1 status and in 2011 joined the ranks of the full time Rugby League referees. He achieved this whilst studing to become a Chartered Surveyor, which he intends to be his career once he is too old to referee. In addition to refereeing, James is in charge of the Grade 3 touch judges.

After this brief resume of James's career, he fielded questions from the audience. His answers gave us an in-depth view of the life of referees and the processes they go through to ensure consistency on match days.

An appreciateive audience gave James a hearty round of applause in response to Mick Beevers' vote of thanks.

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August

Tuesday 2nd. Guest - Paul Watson, Giants conditioner

Paul Watson

Whilst being an Aussie through and through, Paul can trace his roots back to England only a couple of generations ago. His grandparents were from Hartlepool.

Paul has had a variety of professions prior to becoming a full time conditioner. He has been a landscape gardener, a chimpanzee minder in a zoo, and, at the age of 18, he played Rugby Union in Wales.

However, his main love has always been health and fitness.

Back in the early 90s, he worked at Crunella for 5 years under one of our ex-players, Graham Bennet.He then spent 5 years at Penrith with John Laing. Prior to teaming up once more with Nathan Brown at the Giants, Paul worked at Mumbai in the Indian Cricket League for 4 years.

His baptism of English rugby was a training session - in pouring rain! When it snowed, Paul wanted the team to train outside as in the Rocky film!

He runs daily, it being the safest way to give his three Great Danes the exercise they need! Sometimes he accompanies Nathan on his runs. [As an aside he told us that our coach runs from his home to the Galpharm most days.]

Paul's philosophy of life is to 'appreciate everything you've got' and to 'have the attitude of gratitude'.

Answers to the audience's questions gave us an insight into the training and conditioning methods he employs at the Giants. In particular, Rugby League fitness levels dip over a 10 week period. So hard training sessions are employed on a 10 week cycle.

Finally, to get out of an ugly, threatening argument, or to simply difuse a person's anger, he recommended saying "Can you smell bacon?".

Mick Beevers gave a thoroughly deserved vote of thanks.

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July

Tuesday 5th. Guest - Darren 'Rocky' Turner

Rocky Turner

Rocky is a Huddersfield lad born and bred. He spent a lot of his youth being mildly disruptive and his talent for aggression meant that the oval game was for him. He has never looked back.

He played his junior rugby at Underbank during which time he was selected as captain of the Huddersfield Schools side in 1985. This was his first appearance at Wembley, scoring a try in the process.

His second venture onto the hallowed turf followed in 1998. He repeated his earlier feat by scoring in Sheffield Eagles' defeat of Wigan in the Challenge Cup Final.

Rocky returned to his beloved Huddersfield after a spell at Leeds. He was instantly a crowd favourite, his enthusiasm for the game was there for all to see.

After retiring from the Giants, he returned to his trade as a builder. However, during a bleak, snow-filled winter, Rocky eventually answered an advert from the Giants for a Community Development Officer. A position he is extremely passionate about. One of his goals is to spread the net of junior matches watched by the Giants network of 'spies' to 100%. "There is so much talent out there, we HAVE to tap into it".

In addition, Rocky coaches the Underbank Under 9s, a team his son plays for. His goal is to instil into the youngsters both an enjoyment for the game and a 'never give up' attitude.

The meeting developed into a lively Question and Answer session which again showed Rocky's enormous enthusiasm for his beloved sport.

In closing, as Rocky announced, "you want any brickwork doing, you now know who to contact!".

An absolutely enjoyable and enthralling meeting was rounded off by Mick Beevers giving a vote of well-deserved thanks to Rocky.

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June

Tuesday 7th. Guest -Brian Blacker

Brian Blacker

In his youth, Brian spent most of his time playing soccer, his first love. The whole famly loved sport with his brother, Mick, playing at Wembley in 1973 at the age of 12. Brian himself went on to play for Town Boys and Yorkshire.

When he went to Rawthorpe Secondary School, Brian decided to try RL as soccer was not played there.

Showing immense promise, Brian went up to Underbank where he met Paul Dixon and they have been friends ever since.

Bob Valentine persuaded Brian, at the age of 19, to sign for Fartown. In those days of winter rugby, pre-match warm-up often consisted of a bottle of sherry!

Brian was one of the 'Gang Of Four' [along with Gary Senior, Wilf George, and Paul Dixon] who confronted the club owner, a certain Mr Bailey, asking for a pay rise. This was due to the following season's wages were to be cut from £45 to £15. The result was that Pal moved to Halifax, but Mr B wouldn't let them talk to Brian. Brian is most certainly not bitter that Paul went on to rugby succes both with Halifax and Great Britain!!!

Paul eventually went to Barrow, a 250 mile round trip. After 3 years he moved on to Hull, spending just over 3 years on the East coast. It was here that he met, and became friends with, Jon Sharp.

His beloved Fartown was his next port of call, playing under Alex Murphy in a resurrgent team which sowed the seeds of our current success. He played at Leeds Road against the Aussies, but had to leave the pitch injured. His consolation is that Fartown were winning at the time of his departure [2 - 0] and so cannot be blamed for the resulting 82 - 2 defeat!

Brian retird from the game in 1994 at the age of 30, and spent the next 5 years away from the sport. It was his pal Jon Sharp who brought him back, where he now is involved with the junior set up at the club.

After the usual Question and Answer session, Mick gave Brian a well-deserved vote of thanks.

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April

HGSA President Presentation - Ken Davy

Ken, Oliver, & Georgia

James, Ken, Liz, Oliver, Georgia, & Dave
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April

Wednesday 20th. Guest - Ken Davy

Georgia, Oliver, & Ken

The run of outstanding guests continued with the club Chairman Ken Davy talking and answering questions at the Supporters Association's meeting on Wednesday 20th April at Turnbridge WMC.

The evening opened with Ken being presented with a certificate in recognition of his, and Jennifer's, acceptance of being Honorary Presidents of the Association. Oliver and Georgia Atherton made the presentation.

Oliver then asked Ken what the best match was that he had seen. Ken's reply was that it was the semi-final against Leeds at Headingley in 2007. He also explained how he was the victim of a friendly hoax after he had joined in the Giants' fans celebrations at the sight of the Leeds fans leaving early!

Back in the days when Ken was a photographer on board cruise ships, he was introduced to Russ Pepperell's mother-in-law. After the embarrassing moments when she had to explain who Russ was, Ken became good friends with the Fartown cup-winning captain. He soon put this contact to good use by announcing to a young rugby-loving lady from Huddersfield called Jennifer that he was a great friend of one Russ Pepperell. What a way to impress a girl!

Ken explained how he had become involved with the Giants. He had been anonymously donating money to the club but was then made an offer he hadn't to refuse: become Chairman or stop donating! The rest, as they say, is history.

One thing which has impressed Ken over the years is the integrity of Rugby League. That, coupled with the fact that it is a family game, continually makes him realise that he made the right decision.

An early mistake was the speed with which the Giants achieved his first objective: that of attaining Super League status. The infrastructure was not fully in place resulting in the four dismal years of being the whipping boys of the game.

Whilst the relegation to the lower division was one of his darkest moments, it did give the club the chance to correctly sow the seeds of sound organisation, the benefits of which are being reaped today.

Ken closed by impressing upon the assembled throng the need for increasing the attendance at matches. Whilst a 400% increase in 15 years was a tremendous achievement, we still need a further 25% for the magic 10 000 average to be reached.

The evening was closed with Mick Beevers giving Ken a vote of thanks for both his talk and for saving the club.

More photos here.

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50th Member Presentation at the Galpharm

Mick Murphy became the 50th member of the Association. He was presented with a commemorative certificate at the Warrington match by Chairman Dave Calverley.

Dave congratulating Mick, 50th member

Dave congratulating Mick, 50th member

Dave congratulating Mick, 50th member

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April

Tuesday 6th. Entertainer - Billy Thompson

Billy Thompson

What a night - again!

Billy Thompson was amongst the world's leading Rugby League referees from the late 1960s to the early 1980s and is one of the sport's great characters.

Billy was brought up in a rugby household [his father played for Fartown on the opposite wing to Albert Rosenfeld whilst his uncle played for Wakefield Trinity and Broughton Rangers]. However, he played soccer [with Gillingham in the 3rd division south] until he sustained a career-ending injury. It was at that point, in the early 1960s, that he became a Rugby League referee.

He took charge of his first major final when Leeds met Castleford in the in 1969 Championship decider. Over the next decade and half Billy refereed in 1 more Championship final, 3 Challenge Cup finals at Wembley, 3 Premiership finals and 11 Lancashire cup finals. He was also a first choice referee on the international stage, officiating in 3 World Cup competitions, including the final of the1977 tournament at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and 3 Great Britain test matches against Australia. Billy was also the first referee to send a player off in a Challenge Cup Final [Sid Hynes, when Leeds lost to Leigh in 1971].

A born comedian, Billy recounted many tales from his illustrious career, best summarised by this dialogue with his wife Joan:
Billy "I reckon I could do well on that Millionaire game".
Joan "I doubt it".
Billy "Why's that then?".
Joan "You'll have a problem if you need to phone a friend".

Mick Beevers thanked Billy for such an entertaining talk to which, after the rapturous applause, Billy replied "I can go home now and tell the wife I nearly had a standing ovation!".

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March

Wednesday 16th. Heritage Centre Visit

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March

Tuesday 1st. Speakers - Paul Kilbride, Stewart Walker, Craig Mosedale - RFL Benevolent Fund.

Craig Mosedale, Stewart Walker, Paul Kilbride

What a night!

A packed Turnbridge listened in awe to 3 great, unsung heroes of Rugby League. Paul Kilbride and Stewart Walker gave their accounts of their life-changing spinal injuries.

At the age of 17, Paul got up and had an unexceptional day - until half-way through his rugby match. He woke up the next day in hospital with a totally paralysed lower body. That was in the days before the Rugby Football League Benevolent Fund had been formed.

Thankfully his club raised a substantial amount of money to help Paul start to put his new life in order - a wheelchair, changes to his house, care, etc.

Around 2005, whilst playing for London Broncos, Matt King also broke his neck. Matt can now only move his head. This resulted in the Rugby League setting up the Rugby League Development Fund with the aim of helping players through times of adversity.

Each year Paul and other wheelchair-bound ex-players attend the Cup Final where they are wined and dined in style. The Grand Final and Huddersfield Giants have also taken this idea on board, giving Paul and his friends a chance to remain in touch and fraternise with the world of Rugby League.

Stewart decided early on that he did not want to give up his beloved game. He became a RL wheelchair player, being a crucial member of the extremely successful Halifax side. He adapted so well that his efforts were recognised by the fact that he was selected for the England team to play in the RL Wheelchair World Cup held in Australia.

England reached the final where they beat the much fancied Australians. Stewart's World Cup medal is proudly on display in the Heritage Centre at the George Hotel in Huddersfield.

Craig is the odd one out in this trio.

He was a local amateur player whose fledgling professional career ended with a cruciate ligament injury whilst at Batley Bulldogs.

Since then Craig has pushed himself to the limits of fitness: rowing marathons, triathlons, and, in 2012, an Iron Man contest. What makes Craig a role model for youngsters is that he finds sponsors for himself and then donates the money raised to the RL Development Fund.

These three made a huge impression on the audience and, hopefully, more will spread the word of the excellent work the fund does. The downside of the evening was the fact that the only Super League club to invite wheelchair-bound ex-players is the Giants. Come on SL, it doesn't take much.

More details about the RFL Benevolent Fund can be found at www.tryassist.co.uk.

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February

16 - Games Night

Photos here.

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February

1st - Speaker - Nigel Wood [RFL Chief Executive]

Nigel in full flow

Surprisingly Nigel does not have one particular team that he supports. This despite being brought up in Bradford, playing for Fartown, and being MD at Halifax. Instead he supports the family of Rugby League.

In explaining this, Nigel told how, when he was young, his uncle would look at the fixture list on a Saturday and decide which was the best match to watch. The pair of them would then set of on public transport to take in the game.

Although he started his working life at the BBC, Nigel always wanted to be a Rugby League player.

Nigel explained how his pedigree included an outstanding career with Fartown - his only first team appearance was as a 2nd half substitute in a bottom-of-the-table clash against Mansfield Marksmen in those heady days of the 1990s!

The highlight of his carrer was when the A team got to the semi-final of the Yorkshire Senior Competition. Unfortunately they lost to a strong Castleford side. His 'professional' career ended at Hunslet when a youthful Sonny Nichols tacked him resulting in Nigel's leg being broken.

Afterwards, Nigel answered questions and gave his opinions on a wide range of topics from an extremely intentive, and kowledgeable, audience.

In closing, Mick Beevers thanked Nigel for an entertaining and thought-provoking evening.

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January

18th - Speaker - Ikram Butt [Former player]

Ikram explaining his point of view

Ikram started the proceedings by explaining how he wasn't the first Asian to play at the top in Rugby League: his brother Tony preceded him. Tony was a prop for Leeds. Their father was in the Pakistan Air Force where he became a championship boxer.

As a youngster, Ikram wanted to play the round ball version of football - he played for Leeds City Boys. However, the oval ball gradually took preference and he took the bus - by himself - from Headingley to Bramley to train with the latter's Under 11s.

Eventually Ikram followed Tony to Leeds. But after 4 years without being able to command a reglar first team pspot, Ikram moved to Australia. 3 months later Peter Fox contacted him and told him to join him at Featherstone! During his 5 year contract, Peter was replaced by Alan Agar.

London was next. Prior to this move, Ikram had had 9 injury-free years. That now changed. Together with a non-Ikram style of play and a desire to move back North, his desire started to wane, the enjoyment dissipated.

His next full-time club was Huddersfield before ending his playing career part-time at Hunslet. This latter move suited Ikram as it meant he could spend more time with his family - and a take-away business with his brothers."Unfortunately," Ikram said "our family had the sport gene, not the Pakistani business one!"

A 'proper' job followed, that of Rugby League Officer for Bradford Council. During his 10 years in this role, Ikram formed the British Asian Rugby Association [a dual code organisation]. Ikram stressed that this is an all-inclusive group despite its name. He was one of the organiseres who took this team out to a tournament in India and won.

Ikram's goal to to get as many people as possible playing the World's Greatest Game - Rugby League.

Afterwards, Damian answered questions from an impressed the audience.

In closing, Mick Beevers thanked Ikram for an extremely interesting talk.

Oh, Ikram did just happen to mention in passing that he has written a book!! [‘Tries and Prejudice']

Follow this link to hear Ikram tell some of his stories: Ikram Butt

 

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