The Club was contacted a couple of weeks ago by Dan McManus, grandson of former player Bill ‘Blackpool’ McManus. Bill was 87 on 23rd November and Dan explained how he still holds the Club and his former team mates in great affection and esteem.
Blackpool born Bill, a hooker or flanker, played for the Club in the 1950s, mainly in the ‘Extra 1sts’. He remembers a number of well known players and team mates including Rex Blackledge, Malcolm Phillips, Arthur Bell and Peter ‘Polly’ Bighton. Amongst these legendary names, Polly Bighton was a particular character who conducted research into certain anatomical human attributes which, out of a concern for the sensitivity of our audience, can’t be outlined here! Secretary Mike Hornby will explain this in person to any interested Member …
Bill attended St Joseph’s College in Blackpool where he came across a very talented scrum-half. The pint sized youngster was George Carmen who went on to become the most celebrated barrister of his generation. Carman’s case list was matchless: Jeremy Thorpe, the spy Geoffrey Prime, the Sun against Gillian Taylforth, Elton John, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Ken Dodd on charges of tax evasion, Imran Khan against Ian Botham, the Guardian against Jonathan Aitken, Mohamed Al Fayed against Neil Hamilton. It’s not known if ‘Gorgeous George’, as he became known, ever played rugby at the Woodlands.
Bill’s current health precludes travelling to the Woodlands from his West Yorkshire home but he proudly did visit us in the 2010/11 season to watch a 1st XV home game and was absolutely delighted to meet Sir Bill Beaumont, Jason Robinson and other Club Members who gave him such a warm welcome. He is pictured proudly wearing his Fylde tie alongside ‘Robbo’ together with his son and grandson.
So, Bill, very happy though belated Happy Birthday wishes from everyone at the Club!