History 1 of 3

1. History 1

Sometime during the late fifties a certain gentleman who was a most respected member of the Manchester and District Society of Referees and also a former pupil of St.Joseph's College, Blackpool, moved back into this area and became an active member of the St.Joseph's college Old Boys Association. His name was Jack McCann. He brought a breath of fresh air into the Old Boys Association and one of his first ideas was to form an Old Boys Rugby Club.
The idea was not received with too much enthusiasm. The problems seemed insurmountable. How could we raise a team? How many fixtures could we get? Who would want to play for us? Where would we play? What about the jerseys, refreshments, transport, referees etc. However, Jack McCann kept insisting it was possible, and his idea gathered some momentum until, in 1959, when he was President of the Old Boys Association it was decided to form a club, thus Blackpool RUFC was born, except, at its birth, it was called St.Josephs College Old Boys RUFC.
The formation of the club coincided with my appointment as head of Physical Education at St.Joseph's College, although possibly it was not such a coincidence! The club had the 'bottom field' at the college as their home ground and used the school for changing and refreshment purposes, thanks to the then Headmaster, Bro.Carroll. The organisation, training and running of the club was mainly shouldered by Jack McCann, Ted Crosland, the captain and myself plus, I hasten to add, our respective wives.
It is a great shame that there is no trace of any minutes of meetings from those early days and no records of the first season. My recollections of those early days are of a very motley crew of players, usually about twelve in number, supplemented by a few schoolboys and one or two 'guests' and - grossly over matched fixtures. These had been arranged by our Rugby refereeing President who thought we should start at the top. We had a stronger fixture list then than we have now. We had played some of the 'cream' of the North West rugby world such as Oldham, Tyldesley, Southport, Davenport, Prestwich, Dehavillan and St.Edward's Old Boys. The players of these teams who trotted out onto our 'bottom field' all appeared to be six foot high and weighed between thirteen and sixteen stones. Our lads were all shapes and sizes and scaled between seven and eleven stones wet through.