Martin Offiah believes the then world record fee Wigan paid Widnes for him in 1992 would still create headlines now
Rugby league legend Martin Offiah says he will always be grateful to Widnes for the opportunity they handed him in rugby league before his big money move to Wigan.
The retired Great Britain winger will be discussing his career and answering fan questions at an event on March 30 at The Old Courts.
Before becoming a great at Central Park in cherry and white, Offiah had started his career in the sport elsewhere in the North West.
He said: “I’m thankful for my four years at Widnes. I had a fantastic time, and if not for my form there I would never have played for Wigan.”
“People believe my try at Wembley was the best I ever scored, but Widnes fans will probably say it was the one for them against Wigan in the 89-title decider at Norton Park.
“I think after that game Maurice (Lindsay) said, ‘we need to get that fella.’
“It probably couldn’t happen while Ellery (Hanley) was there but as soon as he decided to leave, I think they were hellbent on getting me.
“I think I was made for Wigan and Wigan were made for me at that time. It was probably the best decision I ever made.
“In the wider public I’m seen as a Wigan player, and a lot of my exploits at Widnes, where I did great things, are probably forgotten and I’m just remembered for my try in 94 or scoring ten against Leeds.”
Offiah says the hierarchy at Wigan put a lot of faith in him and believes the then world record fee of £440,000 would still turn heads now.
“They had that confidence in me, because even today, imagine if a team spent half a million pounds on a winger, it would create headlines, wouldn’t it?
“It’s incredible that Maurice had that confidence in me, and people always have,” he added.
“There was a lot of pressure, but I thought this is where I want to be, in this dressing room with these players, going to Wembley.
“They say be careful what you wish for, because when you get it, you need to be able to handle it.
“What we achieved in that first year was fantastic.”
“It was a bit of a low point for me in 1993 getting concussed at Wembley, but obviously I came back the following year.
“I always like to think I was an internet sensation before the internet existed.
“A lot of people see my tries now on social media, and they still stand the test of time all these years later.
“Scoring and celebrating tries was what I loved, creating a moment someone will remember forever.”
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