Colin Knight, a fan of 54 years, dies in hospital, aged 87

MIKE Elliott didn’t know what he was starting when, in 1963, he introduced his boss to rugby league at Watersheddings by giving him a couple of match tickets.

Colin Knight was immediately hooked and thus began his passionate support for Oldham RLFC which would span more than 50 years.

He died in Fairfield Hospital, Bury last week, after a short illness, and his funeral service will be at Oldham Crematorium tomorrow (Thursday, November 23) at 2.30pm. On view will be a rugby ball signed by the present-day Oldham players, whom Colin supported until the day he died.

Welsh wing Mike, who went on to score 153 tries in 446 games for Oldham between 1962 and 1979, was still finding his feet in rugby league when he invited his day-job gaffer to give it a try.

“It was my first job on arriving in Oldham from South Wales,” he recalled. “I went to work for C H Knight Electrical and Colin was the boss. He and his wife came to a game and for many years after that I don’t think they missed many, home or away.

“The last time I saw him was at Whitebank a couple of years back. He was just as enthusiastic even then.”

Colin and his wife Jean, who died nearly 20 years ago, would have seen most of the tries scored by the man who first promised them that there was something worth watching almost on their doorstep.

Said daughter Daryl: “We lived back then in Saffron Drive, at the top of Counthill Road, and they would walk down the hill to Watersheddings in all weathers. They would carry rugs and flasks full of hot drinks and cushions to sit on.

“Dad wouldn’t miss a match come hell or high water.

“When Mum died he still retained his interest. We managed to get him in a wheelchair to a couple of matches at Stalybridge last season and he absolutely loved it. Even when he was in hospital he insisted on watching a game. I think it was the Super League grand final.

“Oldham Rugby was a large part of his life. He was passionate about it.”

He leaves a partner Brenda, daughters Allison and Daryl, son Tony, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Oldham Rugby runs in the family. Grandson Leighton supports Roughyeds; nephew David Blackburn is a lifelong supporter and well known on the terraces; and Clarice, a sister of Colin’s late wife Jean, still travels to every home game from Timperley, Cheshire — at the age of 88.

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