Talking Sport: Lockers’ memories make for super read

Rugby league legend Paul Loughlin
Rugby league legend Paul Loughlin
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A COPY of Paul Loughlin’s autobiography belatedly dropped through my letter box the other day – and I’ve hardly been able to put it down since.

As someone closely involved in covering Saints during the 1980s-1990s and beyond, Paul’s book, entitled From Grass to Glass – A Rugby League Journey – has brought back many memories of successes and failures in a topsy-turvy era for the club.

Sadly, the Great Britain centre is saddled with the unwanted and heart-breaking record of losing in five Challenge Cup finals – three during his time at Saints, and two following his move to Bradford at the birth of summer rugby.

But he didn’t bow out of the game without helping Bulls claim the Holy Grail of the sport in 1997 (the Super League title) to add to his other major triumphs at St Helens – the Premiership title in 1992-93 and the 1987-88 John Player Special trophy.

Paul talks about all these ups and downs in his 146-page book, including the initial bitter disappointment he felt when told that he, Sonny Nickle and old pal Bernard Dwyer were on their way to Bulls in 1995 as part of a swap deal, which led to Paul Newlove heading in the opposite direction.

“I was gutted at leaving Saints after 12 years,” says the former Great Britain international centre, “but once I quit playing, all the bitterness disappeared.”

The autobiography, written by Saints fans Andrew Quirke, also recalls the characters Paul played with and against, and reveals much about his life off the field, including many anecdotes.

The book can be ordered direct from London League Publications, PO Box 65784, London NW2 9NS, for £12 post free (cover price £12.95).

It is also available at Wardleworths Book Shop, St Helens, and other well-known outlets.

n THE Original Saints Supporters’ Club will be running coaches to all away fixtures this season, but have asked me to stress that there are set times when bookings will be taken at their HQ, the Black Bull Hotel, Knowsley Road.

Fans can book seats on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 3.30pm, and Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon.

n WHAT a nice gesture, young man! Despite having been involved in a tough, all-action 80 minutes, scrum-half Jonny Lomax still found time to trot over to a group of Saints fans gathered by the perimeter wall at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday and have his photograph taken with one young starry-eyed.

It’s something the youngster will treasure for the rest of his life.