Rugby Renegade (1958)
by Gus Risman
with a new introduction by Tony Collins
“Many people in Wales refuse to recognise the right of any man to capitalise his talents. To hear them talk you would think that as young Augustus John Risman played in the streets of Tiger Bay, Cardiff, he was dreaming of turning professional…” Such were the words of Welsh rugby legend Gus Risman in this, the first rugby league autobiography ever written and, appropriately enough, the first book in Scratching Shed’s Rugby League Classics series. Paperback, 256 pages.
“Many people in Wales refuse to recognise the right of any man to capitalise his talents. To hear them talk you would think that as young Augustus John Risman played in the streets of Tiger Bay, Cardiff, he was dreaming of turning professional…” So begins Rugby Renegade, one of the very first autobiographies of any Rugby League star ever written. First published in 1958, Gus Risman’s seminal sporting work long ago went out of print, until rescued by Scratching Shed Publishing Limited as the ideal book with which to open our new series of Rugby League Classics. At the time of writing, Gus Risman’s legendary playing days with Salford, Workington and Great Britain were well behind him. As player-manager of Workington Town, he had led the Cumbrian outpost club to Championship and Challenge Cup glory, and was now embarked upon a new management career at the Willows. In Rugby Renegade, Risman relates a never less than eventful personal story while, in the process, sharing his lively opinions on the current state of rugby league in the late 1950s, and the direction in which he saw the game headed. Along with the original text, this updated edition of Rugby Renegade also contains a brand new introduction written by esteemed rugby league academic Professor Tony Collins; a bonus reprint of How To Play Rugby League Football, Risman’s contribution to the Foulsham’s Sports Library series published in 1938, nowadays almost impossible to find; and the modern-day recollections of Gus’s son, John Risman.