KYRAN Johnson has a double cause for celebration this week . . . it’s his 25th birthday on Saturday and he and his long-term partner Chloe (21) have announced their engagement after seven years together and a teenage romance.
They’ve got a holiday in Florida planned for October and when they get back they’ll start planning and preparing their wedding.
They live together in Featherstone — not far from the Post Office Road ground where they first met, Kyran as a 17-year-old Rovers player and Chloe as a 15-year-old Fev fan who used to cheer him on from the terraces.
It’s taken him a long time to pop the question but he finally did it; Chloe said yes; and in his own words Kyran is ‘over the moon’.
His bride-to-be is no stranger to life in a rugby league family because her uncle Gareth (Raynor) played 186 Super League games as a winger for Hull FC and also won Great Britain honours.
“She always supported Rovers as a girl but she doesn’t any more. She supports Oldham now — and me. She usually comes to watch when I’m playing.”
Our pacy full-back or winger says full-back is his favourite position but goes on to say he has occupied most roles, including half-back where he played a lot of games for Featherstone reserves, or ‘A’ team as it used to be known.
“At school I even played at prop a few times,” he said. “I’ll bet you don’t believe that, do you ?”
It was difficult to believe because if there’s anybody in the Roughyeds squad who looks less like a prop he isn’t known to regular supporters, who have come to relish the sight of this lean, slim Yorkshireman burning up the metres and slicing defences apart with his speed and nifty footwork.
Born in Pontefract, he played his early rugby in Castleford for the junior sections of Lock Lane and Castleford Panthers before signing for Featherstone Rovers when he was 16.
He’s currently in his second season at Oldham, having signed a one-year deal ahead of the 2018 season and then renewed on a two-year agreement covering the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
A a night shift warehouse worker in Normanton, he has made a big commitment to train at Oldham three times a week and then play on Sundays.
He drives to Oldham for evening training on Tuesdays and Thursdays and then dashes straight to work for his night shift.
On Saturday mornings, when Roughyeds have their Captain’s Run early, he comes off the night shift and heads straight for the M62 and the journey into Lancashire.
He and Chloe don’t have a lot of free time for socialising and dining out but when they do he loves nothing better than a Chinese curry.
His all-time favourite player was ex-Wigan full-back Kris Radlinski.
His worst moment in Rugby League: playing for Featherstone academy and losing 116-0 to Hull KR.
His best moment ? Kyran thought long and hard. Then:
“I’m still waiting. Hopefully, it will be when we win promotion later this year.”
He went on :
“I would say we’ve made an average sort of start, but as the season goes on I think we’ll be right up there pushing for promotion. Once we get some consistency and get a roll on we’ll be hard to stop and I don’t think it’s over-stating our case to say we’ll be aiming for top spot and automatic promotion.”
He’s enjoying his time at Oldham even though the travelling when he signed last year was something of a culture shock because he was working in Barnsley and he never seemed to be out of his car on return journeys between Featherstone and Oldham, Featherstone and Barnsley or Oldham and Barnsley.
“It’s a lot better now though, first because I work not too far from home and secondly because I have a couple of travelling partners in Danny Grimshaw and Aaron Jones-Bishop.
“Danny lives just round the corner — not literally — and we pick up Aaron in Dewsbury. It’s miles better now.”