Former Wigan RL coach Maurice Bamford dies

Former Wigan coach Maurice Bamford has died aged 83.
Maurice BamfordMaurice Bamford
Maurice Bamford

Leeds-born Bamford was one of the most well-known and respected figures in the game and coached Leeds and Wigan as well as the Great Britain Test side.He coached Wigan during the 1981-82 season, during a time when the club was still recovering from the effects of being relegated in 1980.Speaking to Wigan Today in 2007, Bamford said on taking over at Wigan: “I remember standing in the boardroom at Central Park waiting for my interview to start, when all of a sudden the floodlights went on and there were the red and white stands, the crush barriers and the most famous acre of turf in rugby league.“I just said, ‘Give me the contract, I’ll sign’.”As a player he has spells with Hull - where he did not break into the first team - and Dewsbury before beginning his coaching career in the amateur game.In the early 1970s he was appointed assistant at Dewsbury and he then went on to coach a host of professional sides including Wigan and Leeds.After retiring from coaching Bamford began a new career as an author and rugby league match reporter.His daughter Jane confirmed he died in hospital on Wednesday night. He had been ill for some time.On his time at Wigan, Bamford told the Manchester Evening News in 2013: “Of all the clubs I coached, the Wigan fans were the most knowledgeable and appreciative I ever came across.“They demand honesty and truth and expect the coach to win trophies."Wigan finished 11th in the season Bamford was coach, winning 12 of their 30 games and avoiding the four relegation places by five points, finishing above Whitehaven, York, Wakefield, Fulham and Castleford.And in his last game in charge, Bamford’s Wigan enjoyed a 23-5 win at home to St Helens, in which Shaun Wane scored a try.“My final game produced a win over arch rivals St Helens,” Bamford added. “You would have thought I was the crown prince of Europe the way I was treated. “Winning is everything at Wigan and I guess it takes a special kind of person to coach Wigan.”Bamford was the man who handed Wane, Wigan’s longest-serving coach in the Super League era, his debut, and between Bamford and Wane, there were 15 other coaches, among them Graham Lowe, John Monie, John Dorahay, Graeme West, Eric Hughes, Frank Endacott, Stuart Raper, Mike Gregory, Denis Betts, Ian Millward and Michael Maguire.