FEATURE: Five Wigan rugby league books

Pint Size: Andy Gregory - Heroes and Hangovers

Pint Size: Andy Gregory - Heroes and Hangovers

Often described as the world’s most famous rugby league club, tales of glory litter Wigan’s past.

Andy Gregory was a central figure in Wigan’s 1987 World Club Challenge victory over Manly. His autobiography, Pint Size: Andy Gregory – Heroes and Hangovers, goes through a roller-coaster career with brutal honesty.

Seven years on from one of Gregory’s finest moments, Jason Robinson was scoring Wigan’s third try in their 1994 World Club Challenge win in Brisbane.

Robinson went on to become a cross-code legend, playing in a rugby league World Cup final as well as scoring England’s only try in their 2003 rugby union World Cup final triumph. Jason Robinson: Finding My Feet earned rave reviews at the time of its publication and still remains a fascinating read.

Simply Rad, by Kris Radlinski

Simply Rad, by Kris Radlinski

Simply Rad: The Kris Radlinski Story is an equally interesting read on one of Super League’s finest players.

Radlinski’s heroics in the 2002 Challenge Cup final are etched in rugby league folklore, and his contribution to Wigan – both as a player, and now as the club’s general rugby manager – has been simply outstanding.

Radlinski’s book was among the top 10 rugby league books of 2010, along with Ewan Phillips’ work The Wigan Warriors Miscellany.

And finally, Graham Morris’ Wigan Rugby League Football Club: 100 Greats is sure to bring back the memories for Wigan fans young and old.

REVIEW: Coming Clean, by Terry Newton and Phil Wilkinson

Coming Clean, by Terry Newton and Phil Wilkinson

Coming Clean, by Terry Newton and Phil Wilkinson

Terry Newton’s death was the most upsetting, gut-wrenching rugby league story of 2010.

Now Coming Clean, Newton’s autobiography that was published just weeks beforehand, stands as one of the most poignant sporting books in recent memory.

Newton had his troubles. But he was undoubtedly one of the finest hookers to grace Super League.

Leeds, Wigan, Bradford, Wakefield and Great Britain all benefited from his guile, guts and determination – not to mention his craft around the play-the-ball.

Coming Clean is Newton’s story, from signing for Warrington as a 14-year-old through to the day a letter arrived from UK Sport notifying him that he had become the first athlete in world sport to test positive for human Growth Hormone (hGH). [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…]