I AM far too young to have been lucky enough to see Billy Boston grace the Central Park turf in the flesh.
But for my generation and for many more to come, awareness of the venerated winger and what he did for Wigan – and rugby league – will always be strong.
To mark Boston’s 10 years at Central Park in 1963,
The Observer’s Jack Winstanley produced ‘The Billy Boston Story’ which cost fans 2/6 at the time.
I paid £3 for my copy according to the pencil inscription inside the front cover, and ironically found it at a programme fair in St Helens.
But moving on from the embarrassing detail of how I have spent Saturday mornings on the other side of Billinge Lump, a look inside the small book reveals a description of Boston which makes me wish I saw him play.
“Once in a lifetime an outstanding, unforgettable personality is thrust under the glaring spotlight of sport,”it reads.
“His extraodinary ability as a complete, natural player has made his name known beyond the Rugby League boundaries, too.”
This week marks the 60th anniversary of Boston’s first team debut for the Cherry and Whites.
ANOTHER great man I was fortunate enough to see play in the flesh was Steve Prescott.
The fact more than 2,000 people lined the streets at his funeral on Monday was a testament to how he touched the lives of so many people,because of his exploits on and off the field.
The young Wigan fan in me was angrily in awe of his two-try display in the 1996 Challenge Cup Final against Bradford – the first Wembley showpiece I’d seen not involving Wigan.
Many should take heed of how he confronted his illness but to justify the man with words is impossible.
SPEAKING to Shaun Wane this week and seeing the fixtures come out has already got us thinking about Super League. The Wigan boss has made working on skills his top priority ahead of the new campaign. With the World Cup careering towards a finale – hopefully involving England, admittedly with much improvement needed – there will hardly be time to reflect on the nostalgic feeling of seeing Tonga and Fiji offer memorable moments before our attentions turn to the World Club Challenge.
WELL, this is it.
When the fixtures came out, we all knew December was going to be pivotal for Latics and it’s time to dig into the most hectic fixture pile-up so far.
Owen Coyle’s men have a midweek fixture every week, as well as one on either Saturday or Sunday, and have a long trip to Slovenia thrown in for good measure.
You can’t help but feel that the next 11 games could define Wigan’s season. If they can come through it with their decent home form and defensive record still in good shape, it will set them up perfectly for the January transfer window and the second half of the season.
FINALLY, it is a great feeling to see Harry Coppell (below) make the shortlist for SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award.
Coppell is among a special band of young athletes and his achievements are remarkable.