Wigan legend Sullivan dies aged 82

Wembley cup final homecoming with Eric Ashton and Mick Sullivan in 1959
Wembley cup final homecoming with Eric Ashton and Mick Sullivan in 1959

Wigan legend Mick Sullivan - Great Britain’s most capped player - has died, aged 82.

Wigan paid a world record fee of £9,500 to sign Sullivan from Huddersfield in 1957 - and then that record was broken when they sold him to St Helens four years later, for £11,000.

A strong, athletic and aggressive three-quarter, he scored 84 tries for the Cherry and Whites in 125 appearances.

He twice won the Challenge Cup with the club on successive years from 1958, and was a part of their Championship success in 1960.

Current Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan - a lifelong fan - said: “I remember him signing for Wigan.

“I was at school in St Helens, I remember being at Shaw Street Station when I heard the news he had signed, and I was delighted.

“He played in a famous backline which included Billy Boston and Eric Ashton.

“I remember watching him at Wembley in 1958, when he scored against Workington - Billy played centre that day.

“He was a terrific player - tough, uncompromising - and I don’t know why Wigan ever let him go. It’s a great shame he’s passed away.”

Lenagan recalls him marking St Helens star Alex Murphy in a Championship semi-final - both players were sent off, and Wigan progressed to the final where they beat Wakefield.

In total, Sullivan appeared 125 times for Wigan - 104 on the wing, 18 at centre and three at stand-off - before his transfer to St Helens in 1961.

He then played against Wigan at Wembley months later, and finished his career with spells at York, Dewsbury and Junee, in Australia.

Sullivan’s tally of 46 Test appearances was later matched by Garry Schofield, and he was inducted into the rugby league Hall of Fame in 2013.

By coincidence, Lenagan recently bought Sullivan’s medals and caps to add to Wigan’s growing collection of club memorabilia.