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Statement from the Supporters’ Trust - 8th June 2018
Following the club statement released earlier today the Swinton Lions Supporters’ Trust fully support the views of the club board of Directors regarding the issues highlighted.
We understand that in our present situation and to the end of the season, tensions will run high. But we would encourage that the passion of the fans should always be positive, as negative abuse never helps.
We are the Swinton Lions Family and in the LIONS we TRUST.
The club was saved from extinction in 2017 by a fantastic cummulative effort of everyone connected with the club and also the rugby league family. The first JustGiving page raised an outstanding £10,709, thanks to all who donated.
That page had to close down so as to allow the club access to the money as it takes 7/10 days for the funds to be transferred. As one of Betfred Championship clubs with the lowest RFL funding the fight to survive continues and another site has been setup. Please visit JustGiving.com if you would like to donate.
Total amount raised so far, £ Thanks to you all.
New Merchandise Hits The Trust Website
T-Shirts, Polo shirts and Hoodies now available, check out the merchandise page here
New Chairman announced
At the Trust meeting in May, club legend Steve Moyse was confirmed as the new chairman of the Trust. Steve, who's steeped in rugby league following lengthy roles at both Folly Lane and the Lions was delighted to add another role to his local portfolio. The Trust board would like to thank Steve Johnson in his role as acting chairman after Paul Davidson had stepped down due to his Folly Lane commitments.
Also in the meeting the board agreed to make a £400 donation to the players mid-season drinks following their recent historic Challenge Cup exploits.
In May Trust members along with Steve Wild, re-located the Lions Tales display stands to the hall in Swinton High School. The stands which had previously been in the Lancastrian Hall Library were sitting in the club offices until the offer was made to the headmaster at Swinton High who kindly agreed to be the new guardians.
Following the AGM, at the April meeting the new board agreed to make a monthly donation to the Swinton Lions Foundation of £250 for twelve months. The foundation does important work in the community
Swinton Lions Foundation
Thanks to everyone who does their online shopping via EasyFundraising as of April 2017 you have raised £62.89
Swinton Lions Supporters’ Trust
Notice of AGM. - Tuesday 14th March 2017 at the White Lion Public House, Swinton. 8pm
150th Anniversary Book
The Trust has donated £1,500 to the Swinton Lions Foundation to help with the publishing costs of the new book commemorating 150 years of our famous club. All profits from the sale of the book will go to the Foundation.
Lions Tales Project
The two years Lottery Heritage funding for the project has now come to an end. The final celebration event took place at Swinton Moorside Cricket Club in November 2012.
In attendance were pupils from the local schools who took part in the project who received certificates from former star of Swinton’s great sides of the sixties Bob Fleet. The schools involved who we’d like to thank are St. Ambrose Barlow, Chatsworth, Swinton High School, Irlam and Cadishead plus students from University of Salford.
Two boxes of memorabilia have been compiled that can be used in the community along with eleven display boxes that have been manufactured which stand three boxes tall. In December five of these boxes were place alongside a display from Swinton High School in the library at the Lancastrian Hall. The display boxes not only cover the club and but also the town of Swinton and Pendlebury.
A website has also been created which contains images of the club and also interviews taken with players and supporters, please take a look at www.swintonlionstales.co.uk. The website is still being added to and if you have any old pictures we could add please email Steve Wild.
It is with great sadness that the Trust has learnt of the recent death of lifelong Swinton supporter Jack Smith aged 94.
Jack was originally from Irlams o' th' Height and grew-up in a loyal Swinton household. His father even watched the legendary Swinton and England player James Valentine in the late Victorian period.
Jack witnessed all the great Swinton teams of the twentieth century including the all-conquering side of the late 1920s and the Championship side of the early 1960s. His earliest memory was watching games at the former Chorley Road ground as a schoolboy and marvelling at the skills of Bryn Evans and Martin Hodgson.
Jack served in the army throughout the Second World War and he returned to continue watching the Lions at Station Road. It was during this period that Jack's wife Norah became secretary of the Swinton Supporters Association. The side of the 1960s gave Jack particular pleasure and he fondly remembered the likes of Alan Buckley, Kenny Gowers, Dave Robinson and John Stopford.
In later life Jack lived in Poynton and he never forgot the Lions; he even attended a game at Park Lane and made a speech at the end of season presentation in 2009. Jack was a true gentleman and a real pleasure to know. He will be greatly missed.
Ian Watson Presentation
At a Trust meeting towards the end of last year it was decided that we should mark Ian’s record of international appearances for Wales.
We decided on a inscribed tankard which along with the words to commemorate his achievement there was a Dragon on one side and a Lion on the other.
It was after the Lions Tales event on the precinct back in January when Dick Evans attended that it occurred that Dick would be the ideal person to present our tankard with him being a Welsh international because of his mothers birth.
It wasn't to be as Dick hadn’t left his contact details so the search began for someone else with Welsh connections. It wasn’t long before a Welsh rugby league legend was in our midst.
Landlady of the White Horse, Angela Dainty, had contacted the club for some pictures of the Lions that she could put up in the pub. Angela as luck would have it is Billy Boston’s daughter.
We asked Angela if she would ask her Dad and we were delighted when he accepted. The presentation was made after the Batley win in April.
Memorabilia Day - 3rd December 2011
As part of the Lions Tales project the Trust in association with the FSC will be holding a memorabilia day on Swinton precinct on Saturday 3rd December.
Supporters are invited to bring along their old items which will be photographed or scanned-in for use in the project. Students from the University of Salford Manchester will be organising the event and we hope to see as many people there as possible.
Sixties Legend - Bob Fleet
Bob has kindly donated to the Trust his personal collection of Swinton memorabilia that includes a suitcase full of programmes.
Of more significance though is his collection of medals including the 1969-70 Lancashire Cup Winners medal pictured below.
Bob said that his daughters didn’t share the same passion as himself as well as us and were happy for him to make this generous donation. The Trust were amazed and humbled that we’ve been honoured to hold these important pieces of Swinton Rugby League history.
Still in his back garden is a Lion given to him by Norman Sydall while at Station Road, Norman told him it went back to the Chorley Road ground. It is waiting for the Agecroft stadium to be built where he will gift it to the club.
Billy & Jack Pearson
Recently we’ve been sent photo’s by Ray Pearson a relative of two Swinton greats from previous centuries!
Pictured are two caps won by Billy - one a Lancashire Rugby Union cap and second his Swinton cap. Also you can see a photo of the medals won by Billy’s son Jack in Swinton’s legendary ‘four cups’ season.
Billy was an outstanding half-back who played for the Lions throughout the 1890’s in both rugby codes winning Lancashire caps in both.
When Swinton joined the Northern Union a year after the split, it was to the dismay of the great Jim Valentine and he resigned from the club. Billy was given the role of captain in his place though it wasnt to last long as Jim surprisingly had a change of mind and did turn-out for the start of the new campaign.
His son Jack was a goal-kicking full-back who made his debut for the Lions on new years eve 1921 at Batley. He kicked 5 goals in a 25-2 victory. Jack’s first medal came not long after a 1923/24 runners-up medal in a Lancashire Cup Final defeat to St. Helens Rec. at Wigan.
It was at the end of this season that Jack suffered torn knee ligaments which kept him out of the whole of following season. He made his re-appearance in a Lancashire Cup Semi-Final victory over Barrow at Chorley Road and on 9th December 1925 Jack was full-back in Swinton’s first ever Lancashire Cup win - a 15-11 victory over Wigan at The Cliff. The victory parade called in at the Duke of Wellington where Jack’s father was mine host.
Another winners medal was to follow at the end of the season - this time the more coveted Challenge Cup. It was the first time the final had been the subject of a live BBC radio commentary broadcast and it proved to be Swinton’s first success since 1900. The Lions defeated Oldham at Rochdale 9-3.
The following season saw Swinton as rugby league champions for the first time, although Jack missed-out on the play-off and Challenge Cup final due to injury. One bright spot of the season for Jack was a late match-winning drop-goal against the New Zealand tourists.
Injury was also to dog Jack’s ’four cups’ season. He won a Lancashire Cup medal in victory over Wigan but missed out on the two other finals through injury. He played his part up to his absence, in particular kicking the winning goal in the Challenge Cup semi-final.
Lions Tales Launch Event
The launch event for Swinton Lions’ Tales and More took place at the town hall on Wednesday 12th January. In all there were five speakers including the key note speach by editor in chief of the Independent newspaper Simon Kelner.
Simon Kelner and Bob Fleet at the launch event.
Visit the Lions’ tales page for a full write-up.
Heritage memorabilia starts to build
Visit the Lions’ tales page where you can see some old cine film shot at Station Road in 1964 as Swinton lift the champions trophy for the second year running. Also you will find a season ticket from the last season at Chorley Road.
Swinton Lions’ tales will be told, thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund
A new generation will be able to re-live the past glories of Swinton Rugby League Football Club thanks to a local history project supported by a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Residents, supporters and former players with memories to share, going back some 60 years, will a have chance to get involved.
Swinton Lions’ Tales and More is co-ordinated by the Staffordshire-based Federation of Stadium Communities. Working with local volunteers, students and schoolchildren they will trace the clubs history from its foundation in 1866 through its heydays in the 1920s, 1930s and 1960s, to its more recent change of fortunes.
The idea for the project came from the positive feedback to a similar but smaller enterprise carried out with the Swinton Lions Supporters’ Trust and a local primary school. Over the next two years volunteer interviewers will record reminiscences from up to 50 people and these will be used to create a DVD and six short films. A series of short animated films will also be made by pupils from three primary schools.
Historical research will be led by pupils from Swinton High School helped by staff from Salford Museum and Art Gallery and Salford Local History Library. Recorded interviews will be digitised with help from Salford University students. The finished recordings will be archived at the Rugby League Museum at Huddersfield University.
A dramatic performance will be created based on the club’s history and achievements. An exhibition of memorabilia and photographs will be gathered together and boxes containing a range of such items will also be made available to schools and community groups for future use. The project culminates in a grand celebration due to take place at Swinton Town Hall in October 2012.
Those taking part in the project have much to celebrate looking back on the club’s achievements as rugby league champions on six occasions, challenge cup winners three times, Lancashire cup winners four times and top club in the Lancashire league in six seasons. In addition, there will many memories of the former Station Road ground that hosted international test matches plus championship finals, challenge cup semi-finals and Lancashire cup finals on many occasions.
For the Heritage Lottery Fund, Head of HLF North West Sara Hilton said: "This project will capture the stories of a club that was a major part of the local community in years gone by. At the same time people of all age groups will be able to learn new skills in the gathering and re-telling of the club’s history for the benefit of a new generation."
For the Federation of Stadium Communities Chief Executive Judy Crabb said: "This is a great opportunity not just to capture and re- tell important local history but to break down barriers between younger and older people, develop new partnership working between people who have not worked together before and create imaginative materials that will have a life beyond the project."
Find at the Local History Day
A gentleman from Walkden, after seeing us the previous year, found the Trust table and presented a coin he’d had in his posession and thought there might be a connection to the rugby club. The obvious connection is the White Lion but also he thought as the shape of the coin is a rugby ball he put two and two together and came up with the famous Lions.
’A Wilkinson’ was the landlord at the pub around the 1900's and the club's base until 1898 was the White Lion. The price 2d is, in today’s money, worth about 50p. So, is the coin connected to the club? If anyone has any idea then please email Lions Trust. The images below are roughly twice the size of the actual coin.
Celebration Dinner 2009
There was a full Swinton Park Golf Club on 6th November to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Lions’ 1969 Lancashire Cup victory together with the 2009 awards ceremony.
There were three generations of players in attendance that evening as Paul Mellor, Swinton’s star full-back of the eighties was there to present the 2009 awards. Winner of the player and players’ player of the year was Richie Hawkward where as the John Stopford man of steel award went to Gary Hulse.
Another eighties hero, hard-tackling centre Jeff Brown was present as a special guest to award ‘super-fan’ John Spellman with a token of appreciation for his 30 years and over 1000 games without missing a first-team game, an achievement un-surpassed in rugby league. John for the first time in all those years was speechless.
Guests were treated to memories of old when 91 year-old Jack Smith entertained everyone with his recollections of the old Chorley Road ground and players of the great teams of the 1920’s and 30’s. The sprightly Jack would have still been talking now if time hadn’t permitted.
Ten of the surviving team from 1969 were presented with inscribed tankards on the night by Dr. Kearns, who was Chairman of the club at the time, and the Lancashire Cup decked in blue and white ribbons, was presented to the captain Bob Fleet by current player Richie Hawkyard.
The evening ended with an enjoyable question and answer session with Bob Fleet and two of his team-mates Peter Kenny and John Gomersall. Peter had flown in from his home in Chicago and John had only landed the previous evening from his base in Kenya.
Bob told the audience how Alex Murphy, when the scores were level at half-time, bet him a fiver that his Leigh team would win the day and Bob took him up on his offer. Alex did pay-up and the captain went home with £45 though his team-mates had to settle for the forty pounds winning pay.
Not one person went away disappointed and Peter Kenny reflecting on the evening from America, said via email ‘There was a special vibe there for lots of people’ which movingly summed up a special evening.
In all £1,700 was made on the night which has been donated to the Agecroft Community Stadium Fund.
40th Anniversary Dinner
Swinton Supporters’ Trust in association with the club’s management committee have arranged a dinner to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Swinton’s Lancashire Cup Final victory over Leigh.
Peter Kenny, Scrum-Half and Drop-Goal expert on the day, had the idea three years ago and is coming over from his home in Chicago especially for the event. Come and celebrate with the players of that day, who will be there along with the Lancashire Cup itself.
The dinner will take place on 6th November at Swinton Park Golf Club and the Lancashire Cup will be on show on the night. Tickets are £27.50 and available by ringing 07536 050436, all proceeds to the community stadium fund.
The Trust invited back to Local History Day
Salford Heritage Service have invited the Trust back to their annual Local History Day. We hope to build on last years interest as part of the Trust’s heritage project "Lions’ Tales".
We hope to see lots of our fans and if you have any tales to tell or indeed memorabilia please bring it along to our stall.
The event will be held at: Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Peel Park, Crescent, Salford M5 4WU on Sunday 20th September 2009, 11am to 4pm. There is a free car-park opposite the gallery which is used on weekdays by the council office employees.
Caps of Dai Davies brought to light
Continuing the Trust's heritage project, the great, great grandson of Dai Davies, the welsh half-back signed in 1899 has provided the trust with pictures of Dai's caps, click on the Lions' Tales link to view the pictures.
The Trust invested £2,500 into the club in April and has also donated £1,000 into the stadium fund. In its further support of the club the trust is sponsoring the Hunslet match at the end of June.
The Trust has invited along the mayor and special guests Ken Gowers and Bob Fleet. Ken will be bringing along his grandson to his first Swinton match who has recently expressed his interest after the club had been into his school teaching tag-rugby.
Among those also invited include local businesses Wilkinsons, Chappels, The White Lion, Puccini's and McLellans. We hope everyone has an enjoyable day.
Successful results from Local History Fair
The Trust had a hugely succesful series of results from the Local History Fair at the Salford Museum at the Crescent on 16 November 2008.
The highlights include:
* Links with the Swinton and Pendlebury History Society and exploring the possibility of future collaborative work
* Pictures of the Swinton caps and medals of Lawrence Critch who played scrum half for the Lions between 1901 and 1906
* Getting in touch with a surviving relative of Pendlebury-born Walter Bumby who played for the Lions in 1880s and toured with England in 1888
* Noting the memories of Trust members and other people who visited the stall who recall Swinton fan Mad Eric and other memorable events at Station Road
Click on the Lions' Tales link for the cap and medal of Lawrence Critch.
The Trust to take part in Local History Day
Salford Heritage Service have invited the Trust to their annual Local History Day in November. We hope, by attending this event to raise the profile of the Trust's heritage project "Lions’ Tales" and also promote interest from fans both past and present.
We hope to see lots of fans pop-in and if you have any tales to tell or indeed memorabilia please bring it along to our stall.
The event will be held at: Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Peel Park, Crescent, Salford M5 4WU on Sunday 16th November 2008, 11am to 4pm.
Press Release Regarding our new Honorary President
The Swinton Lions Supporters' Trust have announced their new Honorary President as Les Holliday. Les will take over the role from Alan Buckley whose death earlier this year left the Trust without its figurehead.
Les, who started his professional career at Swinton in the eighties and went on to tour Australia with Great Britain while at Widnes, said he would "be honoured to fill Alan's boots" when agreeing to take on the position.
As a former pupil of Cromwell Road (now Swinton High) Les began playing rugby at local amateurs Folly Lane along with his brother Mike, who also went on to play for Swinton. He joined the Lions in 1982 and later captained the winning premiership side of 1987 at Old Trafford.
After leaving in 1988, Les returned as a player seven years later and went on to further roles as head coach and director of rugby at the club.
Speaking to the Trust members, Les said "The Swinton supporters and I have always had a healthy respect for each other and although now is not the best of times for the speccies they are some of the most dedicated in any sport and I admire them for their passion."
Chairman of the Trust, Martin McDonough said "It's difficult to find a replacement of the same calibre of Alan Buckley who is a legend to all Swinton supporters. Alan was a hugely respected man both in the rugby world and on a personal level and was a well-known local figure. Out of respect we left the position open for some time but when the Trust committee met to discuss whom to ask, Les Holliday was the automatic choice and we are delighted he agreed. Like the rest of us he has blue blood in his veins and at these difficult times I hope the supporters will be enthused by having Les at the head of the family."
Documenting the Voices of Swinton RLFC
Swinton Rugby League Football Club has a rich sporting history dating back to its formation in 1866. The club has also played a central part in the social and cultural environment of the local community. Lions’ Tales is a project co-ordinated by the Swinton Lions Supporters’ Trust which aims to bring together the sporting and cultural heritage of Swinton, Pendlebury and Clifton as well as further afield by documenting the voices of the players, officials and supporters from Swinton RLFC.
So, if you are willing to be interviewed or write about your Swinton memories; or if you have Swinton RLFC memorabilia that can be made available, then contact the numbers presented below. In particular, any of the following items would be useful for the project and please note all items will be copied and recorded before being returned safely.
- Programmes (especially pre-1960)
- Photographs (action shots or team line-ups)
- Medals and/or caps
- Scrapbooks, yearbooks etc.
- Swinton RLFC playing shirts etc.
- Season ticket, match-day passes etc.
This project is supported by Supporters’ Direct and the Federation of Stadium Communities (FSC) with the view to establish how an area can connect with a local sporting club. So far, permission has been granted by the British Film Institute (BFI) to use images of Swinton RLFC from the Mitchell and Kenyon Archive from 1901. Also, research is underway to identify the numerous rugby-related drawings and paintings of LS Lowry who lived close-by to the former Station Road ground in Pendlebury. It is hoped to display all the material and memories in local schools and libraries for educational purposes and publish the results in a book.
For further details please email Ian Jackson.