The Saracens Hall of Fame aims to recognise the contribution of Saracens playing 'Greats' to the history of the Club. Those currently inducted to the Hall of Fame are:
John Steeds MBE 1938 – 1950
John Steeds first played for the club whilst still at St Edwards School, Oxford. He then played the occasional game whilst at Cambridge University between 1934 and 1938.In 1938/39 he became a regular in the 1st XV. Following war service with the Royal Navy he rejoined Saracens and played for both Saracens and Middlesex Hospital from 1946 –1950. First capped for England in 1949, he won five caps between then and 1950.
Tony Turner 1946 – 1949
Tony Turner played the odd game for the club during the war between 1942 and 1943. He became a regular member of the 1st XV in 1945/46 and was Captain for three seasons from 1946/47 until 1948/49. A fine full back as well as Captain, he was forced to retire following a knee injury which he aggravated whilst playing cricket for Southgate.
Vic Harding 1951 – 1964
Vic Harding joined Saracens in 1951quickly establishing himself in the second row. In 1952, following what was reported as a match played in a ‘friendly’ atmosphere with Cheltenham, he was selected for Middlesex. In 1955 despite being on regular duty with Middlesex he proved an inspirational Vice Captain. He took over the captaincy for 1956/57 but this proved a disappointment as he fractured a shin whilst representing London against the South African Universities.
The following season however he played for London against the touring Australians and was a member of the Saracens side which reached the Final of the Middlesex Sevens. In 1958/59 he not only won the first of his three ‘Blues’ at Cambridge but was selected for an England trial, represented the Barbarians, played for Middlesex in the semi-final of the County championship and led Saracens to victory in the Surrey Sevens.
In 1961 when winning the first of his six caps for England he scored against France and he was also picked against Scotland and for the Barbarians. For the season1961/62 he was away playing for Sale but he returned to the club the following season.
Ken Bartlett 1959 – 1962
Ken Bartlett joined the Club in February 1959 having already played for Dorset and Wilts in the County Championship. He scored on his debut for the 1st XV against Taunton. Then in the Autumn of 1959 he was elected Vice Captain and played his part in what was a most successful season, scoring14 tries as well as representing Dorset and Wilts again. For the 1960/61 season he was rewarded with the Captaincy. He was elected Captain again for 1961/62 and represented not only Dorset and Wilts but also Southern Counties against the Springboks. Unfortunately in mid-November he sustained a serious shoulder injury which effectively brought his playing career to an end.
However his contribution to the Club did not end there, as in 1967 he was appointed as the club’s first official coach. In this new role he proved an outstanding and revolutionary coach, developing playing and tactical skills as well as emphasising the need for increased fitness training. During this time he was not only Coach to Hertfordshire but also a key member of the Advisory Coaching Panel to the RFU which succeeded in getting them to adopt the then radical ideas of coaching and training players together.
James Wyness 1961 – 1968
Jim Wyness was introduced to Saracens from Cambridge by Vic Harding. Moving swiftly from second to back row he became Captain the next season, a role which he filled until 1965. He was an inspirational Captain of the 1st XV and with George Sherriff and Ian Player made up a back row which was recognised as one of the best in the country. It was during this period that Saracens significantly improved their fixture list close to first class status. This was based on a rapidly improving playing record, helped by a number of outstanding players joining the club – Ian Player, George Sheriff, John Lockwood and Mike Alder to name a few – together with the hard work of skilful and popular fixture secretaries.
Jim continued playing for the club in 1965-1967, as well as leading the pack and occasionally captaining Middlesex, including the side which beat Lancashire in the County Championship Final in 1966. Under John Dawes leadership he also played for London in this period together with George Sheriff, and scored the winning try in the victory over Paris out there. A shoulder injury and work limited his commitment to rugby thereafter. However from 1993 to 1996 he returned as President at a time when all his professional skills as a City lawyer proved invaluable in securing the future of the club into the professional age.
George Sherriff 1963 – 1973
George Sherriff is universally recognised as one of the most outstanding players ever to have represented the club. He was discovered by a Saracens Committee member who identified him as a ‘natural’, having the perfect physique for a fast strong rugby forward. Despite the fact that he only started playing rugby at the age of 24, just two years later in 1963, he was commanding a regular place in the 1st XV. Making his debut in the second row against London Hospital he scored two tries and by the end of the season had taken his personal tally to nine.
By the 1964/65 season he had moved to Number Eight and he rapidly formed an impressive back row unit first with Jim Wyness and Ian Player, and then alongside Ian Player and Chris Sherriff (no relation).There is no doubt that he learned rapidly from playing in such a quality back row, especially from Player who amazingly had originally joined the club as a fullback.. The change of position meant that he was able to make full use of his strength and speed, scoring eleven tries and gaining selection for both Middlesex and London. Then in 1965, just four seasons after taking up rugby, he was capped against Scotland. In 1966/67 he was capped again against Australia and played for Barbarians as well as Middlesex, followed in 1968/69 with a third cap against New Zealand. He also represented the Barbarians as well as the combined Midlands, London and Home Counties side against the All Blacks.
Astonishingly he did not win any more caps, but he continued to represent the club until the end of 1973, scoring many more tries as well as representing Middlesex in the County Championship. On his retirement from rugby George concentrated on building a highly successful timber distribution business. He became President in 1989 a fitting acknowledgement of his playing record, and a role in which he proved a great ambassador for the Club.
John Lockwood 1963 – 1977
John Lockwood, one of the longest serving members of the 1st XV astonishingly never received international honours, although he was nominated as a non-travelling reserve against South Africa and Australia. However he made many appearances for Middlesex (initially he also played for Sussex) as well as London Counties. He made the position of hooker his own throughout the time he was playing apart from a spell when he went on a teaching exchange to America.
When in 1968/69 Roger Weaver, the new captain, contracted glandular at the start of the season and sadly had to miss most of the season, John as Vice-Captain took over and led the side on what was a most successful campaign culminating in a memorable tour of the USA. He returned as Captain from 1970/72 a period which included a John Player Cup semi-final and a remarkable 34 all draw with a British Lions/International XV in memory of Brian Goodchild. Brian was a 1st XV member who collapsed and died during training. It seemed absolutely right when the club celebrated its centenary season in 1976/77 that John should return as Captain in the final season before his retirement.
Mel Williams 1966 – 1976
Mel Williams played 1st XV rugby from 1966 onwards although not on a regular basis and over a number of seasons he became a very experienced and successful captain of the Extra 1st. However in 1973 he had to take over leadership of the 1st XV for the major part of the season. This followed the enforced retirement due to injuries, first of John Heggadon the elected Captain and then by injuries to Vice-Captain Roger Headey.
In 1974 Mel became elected Captain holding the post until 1976, during which time his leadership helped the side build on the developments of the early 1970’s. The 1974/75 was outstanding as it produced 31 wins and no home defeats, still a record for the 1st XV Mel also led the side which won the Oxfordshire Sevens and reached the semi-finals of the Middlesex Tournament. .He also played county rugby, skippering Hertfordshire to two county championship quarter finals and losing to Gloucestershire in both. He continued playing 1st XV rugby for another year. Finally in 1999 he became President of the Club. In this role he was able to kick start the re-establishment of Bramley Road as a home for the amateurs alongside the professionals, working at the improvement of links between the two sides.
Floyd Steadman 1980 – 1990
Floyd Steadman came to Saracens from Borough Road College and rapidly made the scrum half position his own and apart from injury held it for the rest of the decade. Early in 1982 in only his second season with the club, he found himself taking over the captaincy when Andy Harrower departed for the Metropolitan Police. He also became top scorer for the club with nine tries. He remained Captain for the next season and took over again in 1988/90.
These years were critical in the club’s development with the introduction of merit tables, a precursor of the leagues and the need to maintain the club’s claim to top class rugby. He also played regularly for Middlesex whom he had represented at every level and subsequently captained. Floyd was a consistent try scorer and was fundamental in the development of a young side. Although he never gained international honours he was honoured in 1990 with selection for the Barbarians.
Lee Adamson 1983 – 1994 (and 2000 – 2007)
Lee Adamson has a remarkable record as a player, captain and administrator. He played and captained the club during the eighties into the nineties and subsequently returned to play a vital role in the re-establishment of the amateur club. He represented Middlesex and Saracens in both the back row and second row and his speed around the pitch was reminiscent of George Sheriff at his best. He became Captain in 1987/88 where his experience with Middlesex, Met Police and Wasps proved invaluable. In 1992 he celebrated his 500th first class game against Nottingham. Selected for the Barbarians on three occasions Lee also achieved the remarkable record of playing for Middlesex at senior level through four decades - from the sixties through to the nineties. Returning to play for the 1st XV in 2000, he became President in 2005, a role in which he was exceptionally active and his enthusiasm saw the amateur club start to grow again and the revival of Bramley Road.
Brian Davies 1990 – 1996
Brian Davies joined the club in 1990 as part of the ‘Southend connection’. He stepped into Floyd Steadman’s shoes at scrum half in brilliant style becoming a crucial member of the tightly knit side which took Saracens into the professional era. In 1992 he succeeded John Buckton as Captain at a crucial time with relegation of the club from Division One. This meant the loss of several players but he led the rebuilding of the side and under his leadership the side continued to develop an attractive free running style of play which produced some outstanding victories. However a number of defeats in crucial matches meant promotion eluded them until 1994.
One of Brian’s proudest moments must surely have been the collection of the Second Division Championship at Bramley Road in 1994 in the last match of the season – despite having lost to London Scottish! Selected for London Division both at home and for their tour to Australia he will be most remembered for his outstanding leadership in the highly competitive seasons leading up to professionalism in 1996.
John Buckton 1984 – 1996
John Buckton, one of the most outstanding three-quarters ever to represent the club, joined Saracens from Hull and East Riding teaming up alongside the 17 stone Laurence Smith to form a highly successful centre partnership. His deceptive snipe-like running made an immediate impact, and he scored eight tries in his first season. He was also selected for the Northern Division against Romania in December 1984.
1985/86 presented a new playing challenge with the introduction of the John Smith merit tables. Although Saracens failed to gain promotion, finishing third in the table the season was a great success with 28 wins and 134 tries being scored, John contributing eleven. His try scoring prowess continued regularly and he won County honours for Yorkshire and Divisional honours with the North. In 1987/88 he received an England trial, as well as selection for the Barbarians and England B. He subsequently went on the England tour to Australia and Fiji but sadly injury forced him to make an early return.
In 1987/98 John was selected again for the North against the Wallabies before playing for England B. He finally won his first cap against the Wallabies when he replaced Will Carling in the dying minutes of the match at Twickenham. He then played for England B in 1989/90 and in 1990/91 after winning two caps against Argentina he took over the captaincy from Floyd Steadman continuing until1992. He played for the club into the professional era, finally retiring from the first class scene in 1996.
Michael Lynagh 1996 – 1998
Michael joined the club at the advent of professionalism in 1996 after retiring from a glittering 12-year international career with Australia as the world record points scorer with 911 and a World Cup Winner (1991).
Michael's arrival at the club was the first major signing after Nigel Wray took control of the club and he acted as a beacon to attract other players and fans alike. After a season of bedding down with his new teammates Michael helped Saracens to have their most successful season to date.
In the 1997/98 season Saracens battled it out with Newcastle for almost the whole season for top spot in the league and when the two sides met in April 1998 Saracens needed to win to stay in touch. In front of a crowd of nearly 20,000 Michael slotted a match winning drop goal in the dying minutes to send Vicarage Road into raptures and create a moment in Saracens history that still brings a lump to the throat of Saracens supporters there on that day. A month later he was on hand to steer Saracens to their famous Tetley's Bitter Cup 48-18 victory over Wasps at Twickenham bringing the curtain down on a season to remember. Throughout the year Michael's input had been second to none with his accurate kicking, perfectly weighted passing and all round ability to control a game and when he retired from rugby at the end of that season his loss was felt.
Michael will always be remembered at the club for helping to take the club from its humble background to the dizzy heights of being one of the best clubs in the land.
Philippe Sella 1996 – 1998
Philippe joined Saracens in 1996 from French side Agen. He, along with Michael Lynagh, was the catalyst for Saracens as they made the transition into the professional era and his presence helped other players make up their minds about joining the up-and-coming club. For France Philippe made a World Record of 111 appearances, a record recently beaten by Jason Leonard, and is one of the only players to have scored a try in every game during a Five Nations season.
Philippe was the lynch pin in the midfield where he operated alongside stalwart Steve Ravenscroft, a player that will surely be up for nomination for induction soon. His experience, pace and vision helped Saracens to become a potent force in 1998 and his appetite for defence was amazing. Philippe scored the opening try in the Tetley's Bitter Cup final in the same year, a trademark Sella finish. He showed pace, power and vision to run, swivel and crash over the line with his try then signalling the way for the floodgates to open.
He retired from rugby later that year at the age of 36 and returned to France with his family.