Tributes to great character of RL

Geoff Fletcher
Geoff Fletcher

One of the great characters of Rugby League has died at the age of 74.

St Helens pig farmer Geoff Fletcher was the heart beat of perennial strugglers Huyton RLFC and helped keep the club alive and kicking between the 1960s and 1990s despite several other name changes, including Runcorn Highfieldld, Runcorn RFLC and Prescot Panthers.

Geoff - affectionately known by the fans as ‘Piggy’ Fletcher for obvious reasons - had a long playing career which included three spells at Leigh and stints at Oldham Wigan and Workington Town among other clubs.

He was also known as ‘Mr Huyton’ and his dedication and determination to keep the club afloat during those difficult and struggling times was perfectly illustrated by my press box colleague Ray French.

Ray, who had retired from playing the sport a few years earlier, was sent to Alt Park by BBC Radio Merseyside to cover a Huyton match and when he arrived he found Geoff looking a little perplexed.

The Huyton legend then turned to Ray and said words to the effect of “you are on our subs’ bench ... I’m a player short.”

It was probably one of the only afternoons in RL history that someone had been seated on the bench and at the same time commentating on the match for his local radio station!