TOUGH-GUY forward Frank Foster, who transformed Oldham’s fortunes in his one and a half seasons at Watersheddings in the early 1970s, has died in Barrow, aged 79.
A formidable opponent, he was renowned as one of the hardest and meanest forwards of his era, while possessing sublime ball-handling skills and the strength to hold off defenders while slipping defence-splitting passes to supporting colleagues.
In short, Frank Foster will go down in Oldham RL folklore as a forward to match post-war Roughyeds greats such as Derek Turner, Don Vines, Charlie Winslade and Sid Little.
He came from Barrow in January, 1972 in the twilight of his career and at a time when Oldham were struggling in the bottom four of a one-division set-up.
They had won only six, and drawn one, of the 21 league games they had played so far that season but with Foster as pack leader; the equally experienced Cliff Hill at outside-half and the innovative Graham Starkey as coach they lost only one more game out of 13 . . . and that was in the last minute at Warrington.
At the end of Foster’s first season, by which time Oldham had moved 15 places up the division, local historian Mike Turner wrote: “In more than 35 years watching Oldham no player has ever made the same immediate and positive impact.”
Foster had previously played for Workington, Hull KR and Bradford and he only managed 47 appearances at Oldham before hanging up his boots at the end of the 1972-73 season and returning to Barrow as coach.
Details of his funeral will be given as soon as they are known.
In the meantime the deepest condolences of all at Oldham RLFC go out to Frank’s family and friends.