Newton swaps boots for beer mats

Terry Newton has put his rugby league ban behind him to launch a new career – behind the bar!

The former Wigan Warriors hooker and his father-in-law Keith Holden have bought the Ben Johnson, on Warrington Road.

The pair have spent thousands transforming the iconic pub and Terry is looking forward to the next chapter in his life – just weeks after last orders was called on his long and successful playing career.

He was banned for two-years for taking human growth hormone while at Wakefield, but is refusing to dwell on the disappointing end to a 15-year career that brought two Challenge Cup triumphs and numerous Great Britain Test caps during spells with Leeds, Wigan and Bradford.

Terry, 31, said: "I believe everything happens for a reason and after what has happened to me recently, I can now focus fully on making the Ben Johnson a success.

"I regret my stupid mistake, I made a big error of judgement and I really hope it will warn others of the consequences of taking a banned substance.

"But I've got to look forward now and I'm positive about my future.

"We bought the Ben Johnson a few months ago and this is something I always wanted to do after I'd hung up my boots.

"Obviously that's come earlier than I planned, but it's given me a chance to throw myself into doing this and I've really enjoyed it.

"My father-in-law has 25 years' experience in the pub game and we're confident it can be a success."

Terry and Keith have overhauled the Ben Johnson – a freehold pub – replacing the seating and bar area and giving the interior a fresh new look, complete with signed sports pictures on the wall.

It officially opened its doors for the first time on Wednesday.

"It looks great," said Terry, who spent six years at home-town club Wigan. "It looks like a new pub."

Asked whether locals would be seeing Terry serving from behind the bar, the ex-hooker joked: "I tried pulling a pint yesterday and I'm not joking, it had a bigger head than Terry O'Connor!

"I couldn't get the hang of it, it looked like a pint of ice cream – all it needed was a flake putting in it!

"I think I'm safer kept away from the bar, but I've been really busy helping to get the pub ready and it's been eye-opening for me – I've learned so much in such a short space of time."

Terry, who will release his autobiography later this year, added: "I'm really looking forward to the next stage of my life."