THE thoughts and condolences of everyone at Oldham RLFC go out to the family and friends of former Roughyeds forward John Rae, who has died in his native Cumbria at the age of 79.
Our thanks also go to Mike Turner and the Oldham RL Heritage Trust for passing on the news of John’s death and supplying us with the picture.
Our then manager Gus Risman, who for obvious reasons had his finger on the pulse of rugby league at all levels in Cumbria, signed John, or ‘Johnny’ as he was widely known, from Cumbrian amateur club Wath Brow.
The young forward was a native of Pica, a small village between Workington and Whitehaven.
A back-row forward, he played the first of his 41 games for Oldham (12 tries) on March 4, 1961.
When Bradford Northern, as they were then called, were re-forming in 1964 they asked other clubs for assistance with the recruitment of players and both John and centre Brian Lord moved to Odsal.
A year later, John was picked for Great Britain in the second Test against New Zealand and about the same time he helped Northern to win the Yorkshire Cup.
In his four seasons with Bradford he made 132 appearances (40 tries) before persistent knee trouble forced his premature retirement from the game at the age of 27.