NEWS: Stan Wall book cover revealed

Stan WallIconic St Helens kit-man Stan Wall will release his autobiography next month, ghostwriter Andrew Quirke has revealed.

Wall, 79, will be at the book’s launch at Langtree Park next month. Quirke said: “Stan’s got a great story to tell.

“He was a miner and also part of a mine rescue team that was the first down the pit if there was an explosion or accident, a top referee in the 80s, assistant coach at Leigh and St Helens and then kit-man for St Helens, England and Great Britain.

“The book’s got a bigger cast than The Lord of the Rings. I think I’ve spoken to almost everybody in rugby league, and they’ve all had a tale to tell on Stan.”

Quirke added: “Stan’s nearly 80 and still does two days a week with St Helens, helping out on the captain’s run and then again on match day. I envy his memory and his energy – he’s in the best shape possible.”

Stan Wall will be available to sign copies of his autobiography, Stan the Man: The Life Story of Stan Wall, at 1.30pm, April 12 2014, at Langtree Park.

REVIEW: From Grass to Glass, by Paul Loughlin and Andrew Quirke

From grass to glass, by Paul Loughlin and Andrew Quirke

From grass to glass, by Paul Loughlin and Andrew Quirke

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. [Read more…]

INTERVIEW: The tackle that finished John Stankevitch’s career

Being John Stankevitch

Being John Stankevitch hits the shops this summer

This is the second part of John Stankevitch’s interview with Rugby League Books ahead of the release of his autobiography ‘Being John Stankevitch’. You can read the first part here.


October 4, 2003 started like any other match day for John Stankevitch.

The St Helens forward was preparing for a Super League play-off with Wigan Warriors.

Having already established himself in Ian Millward’s side, Stankevitch looked set for a long career at the top of rugby league.

But just 12 hours later, it was all over. [Read more…]

INTERVIEW: Former St Helens star spills all about Being John Stankevitch

Being John Stankevitch

Being John Stankevitch hits the shops this summer

John Stankevitch was only 25 when a serious shoulder injury forced his retirement from professional rugby league.

In this first installment of a two-part interview, the former St Helens and Widnes forward, who is now head coach at Rochdale Hornets, tells Rugby League Books about the ‘therapy’ he gained from writing his upcoming autobiography ‘Being John Stankevitch‘.

With 125 St Helens appearances under his belt, John Stankevitch never envisaged that a single tackle at Wigan would end his career in such juddering fashion.

Stankevitch was just 23 years old when he collided badly with Wigan’s Craig Smith in a Super League play-off back in 2003.

He went on to make 22 appearances for Widnes in 2005, but he never fully recovered from the devastating blow that left him with nerve damage in his left arm.

By August of that year, he’d called time on a promising career and was left to find his own way in the big, wide world.


Now, nearly six years on, League Publications are preparing to release his autobiography Being John Stankevitch.

Rather than use a ghost-writer, Stankevitch opted to write the book himself. It was a process he now looks back on with great pride.

He said: “It was a bit of therapy really. It was good to sit down, have a look through time and consider what’s happened.

“It meant I could just go over things in my own mind, and come up with reasons why I did certain things.

“I was so low at points after retiring, I was almost panicking. I bought a bar after I finished playing at Widnes, which looking at it now was a ridiculous decision. Financially there was just nothing in it.

“There is no way I’d have made some of the decisions I made then if I’d have been in the frame of mind I’m in now.” [Read more…]

REVIEW: Longy: Booze, Brawls, Sex and Scandal, by Sean Long and Nick Appleyard

Longy: Booze Brawls Sex and Scandal, by Sean Long and Nick Appleyard

Longy: Booze Brawls Sex and Scandal, by Sean Long and Nick Appleyard

Sean Long has done it all.

Record-breaking treble Lance Todd Trophy winner? Tick. Last-minute Grand Final-winning drop goals? Tick. National hero when Great Britain won in Sydney in 2006? Tick.

There’s been the daft stuff, too: a three-month ban for betting on St Helens to lose at Bradford, the end of his international career when he walked out on that 2006 Tri-Nations tour, and more silly haircuts than any of us can remember.

Longy: Booze, Brawls, Sex and Scandal covers the whole lot.

And the result is a book that is just as lively as Long’s career. [Read more…]

INTERVIEW: Ray French… and rugby – memories of a sporting great

Rugby league author Ray French

Rugby league author Ray French

Ray French is a rugby league legend. We’ve tried, but there is no other way of putting it.

A dual code international more than 30 years before the likes of Jason Robinson and Henry Paul, he won the Challenge Cup in 1966 before moving into radio and, more famously, television. He was the BBC’s commentator on every Challenge Cup Final between 1982 and 2008.

Asking Ray French about the magic of the Challenge Cup is like opening a box of chocolates: it can be difficult to know where to start.

For nearly 30 years, French’s unique voice broadcast the competition’s climax to the nation’s armchair viewers – but his personal love affair with rugby league’s oldest trophy is now well into its sixth decade. [Read more…]