It says much about Paul Loughlin’s career that, even after 10 years in retirement, the former St Helens, Bradford and Great Britain centre can still command enough interest to publish From Grass to Glass, his revealing and witty autobiography.
Loughlin achieved so much as a player: he scored more than 2,000 points for St Helens, represented Great Britain 15 times and twice toured Down Under with the national team.
For some, he will go down as the unfortunate bloke who got to five Challenge Cup finals – and lost the lot.
But for most, the memories are of a classy centre who had natural talent. Loughlin admits he could have been even better had he been coached by the likes of Brian Smith at the start of his career, rather than at the end, but there are very few regrets in his story.
Loughlin and ghostwriter Andrew Quirke have deliberately tried to make From Grass to Glass an easy read, with plenty of warm anecdotes bringing to life some of rugby league’s most famous characters.
One particular incident involves Matt Calland and the M62, but we’ll say no more so as not to spoil the surprise.
But there are plenty more, including this gem from the day Bradford Bulls won the 1997 Super League title against Sheffield.
It was only 8-2 at half time. Matt Elliott got us into a big huddle and was telling us what we could do, that we could make history for the Bradford Bulls and make a bit of history for ourselves. He finished it by saying, “Remember Churchill’s famous two words” and he walked out….. We went down the tunnel waiting to get back on for the second half, and I was still thinking about the these two famous words that Churchill had said. I couldn’t remember what they had been so decided to ask Bernard (Dwyer). He turned around, looked at me and said, “Oh yes”.
From Grass to Glass makes a perfect read for St Helens and Bradford fans, but its appeal will spread to anybody who watched rugby league during the 1980s and 1990s. Well worth adding to your bookcase.