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Biography

Reluctant Hero – The John Holmes Story

CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT

By Phil Holmes Jr and Phil Holmes Sr

This is the long awaited biography of Great Britain and Leeds rugby league legendary ‘quiet man’ John Holmes. Uniquely told by his brother and nephew, it is littered with anecdotes and reminiscences from friends and former team mates and is the definitive guide to the life of one of the code’s true greats. Paperback, 288 pages.

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The absolute local boy made good, Kirkstall-born John Holmes will forever be an icon at his beloved Headingley; his exceptional, distinguished service in a glorious double-testimonial career seeing him become Leeds Rugby League’s longest serving player. Holmes honed his talents on a school playground with his elder brothers, learning and refining his abilities in the ultimate school of hard knocks to become the most durable and, arguably, best ever to don the colours he so cherished. A majestic ball handler, able to unlock any defence, he was a superb cover tackler and, perhaps most importantly, had a supreme rugby intelligence. Not that such influence was planned, his genius was instinctive. In a glorious 21 year career, he won every honour in the game, appearing in 625 matches for the Loiners including 19 finals and was the architect of victory in the majority of them. In 1972 he was integral to the Great Britain side that triumphed in the World Cup. It was a mark of the esteem with which he was held that, at barely a few days notice after his passing at the tragically young age of 57 in late September 2009, over 100 ex-players gathered on the pitch in silent tribute to him. His long awaited story, uniquely told by his brother and nephew, is littered with anecdotes and reminiscences from friends and former team mates and is the definitive guide to the life of one of the code’s true greats.

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Mr Rugby Leigh – The Tommy Sale Story

CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT

By Andy Hampson
With an introduction by the Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP

Mr Rugby Leigh is the autobiography of Tommy Sale, a rugby league hero, who devoted more than 80 years of his life to the sport – as a player, coach, administrator and fan. Beautifully written by Press Association journalist and lifelong Leigh fan Andy Hampson, this is nevertheless a story about much more than rugby. Paperback, 256 pages.

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Mr Rugby Leigh is the autobiography of Tommy Sale, a rugby league hero, who has devoted more than 80 years of his life to the sport – as a player, coach, administrator and fan. Since his initial involvement as a scoreboard operator for his beloved Leigh at the age of 10, Tommy’s enthusiasm for the 13-a-side code has rarely wavered. He broke into Leigh’s first team as a 20-year-old and became their first post-War captain. Away from the playing action, he spent month after back-breaking month overseeing the construction of the club’s former stadium, Hilton Park. And that dedication continued after retirement when, among a string of other roles, he triggered an audacious bid for all-time great Alex Murphy. Tommy Sale has remained at the heart of the Leigh club into his nineties. He still serves diligently as timekeeper and president. Only the Second World War interrupted Tommy’s love affair with rugby league, and his time at Leigh is punctuated only by a brief stint at Warrington and one glorious, career-defining spell at Widnes. Yet this is a story about much more than rugby. It tells of how one man can go from humble beginnings to being a pillar of society. Tommy Sale overcame an abusive father, survived the horrors of war and suffered intense personal tragedy. He has been a shopkeeper, council official, teacher and headmaster. Told with characteristic warmth and modesty, Mr Rugby Leigh celebrates the life of a rugby league legend.

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