MEMBERSHIP of Hunslet’s `Spirit of 1973’ scheme, and other packages for supporters near and far, is growing at an impressive rate – and two recent additions have especially strong links with the proud history of the Betfred League 1 leaders.
Richard Murray and his son Charlie signed up earlier this week, partly in homage to Richard’s beloved granddad Gordon Murray, who passed away last October and who was a driving force behind the formation of New Hunslet when the old club folded in 1973 as a result of the sale of its famous Parkside ground.
Ironically the impact of the coronavirus pandemic came to play in Richard signing up. He said: “I was born in 1974, so I obviously don’t have any direct recollection of that era, but I’ve a host of happy memories of my granddad telling me how it all came about, and of the characters who played for the club.
“One of those was Kenny Sykes, a club legend who is now chairman of course. And when I read his statement recently about how Hunslet are battling their way through the effects of the pandemic, and how they are keen for supporters to get behind the club by joining `Spirit of 1973’, it prompted me to finally get around to sending in my form.”
Pressing work commitments – Richard is director of a property technology company – and family life had, as is so often the case for so many of us, put his best intentions on the back burner but he confessed: “I’m still busy, and I’m confident my company will survive in what are difficult times for everyone. I do have a bit more spare time just now, though, and Kenny’s statement inspired me to `get my finger out’ and complete applications for Charlie and me.
“I’m so glad I’ve done it. I live in Surrey but Hunslet Rugby League club is dear to the heart of the Murray family. I was very close to my granddad, even though he lived in South Africa. I‘d go over and visit him and he’d come over here regularly, and it was clear that of all his many achievements, including setting up a successful business from scratch that gave us all a good start in life, what he was most proud of was what he did with Hunslet.
“He’d meet up with his great mate Jeff Stevenson, the former Great Britain, Hunslet, Leeds and York scrum-half, and Laurie Graham, who had the Garden Gate in Hunslet. Like my granddad, both fantastic characters, and I’d just sit there spellbound as they enjoyed the moment and reminisced about the old days.
“Granddad told me about how he set up the Leeds Sporting Lottery, which was a key factor in giving New Hunslet financial stability, and of how he sold a season ticket to Brian Clough when Cloughie was manager of Leeds United for a short spell.
“I learned from my granddad what a tremendous club Hunslet is and I’m delighted to be able to give something back to them now. And although Charlie and I are some distance away geographically, hopefully we’ll be able to get along to watch the lads when sport eventually resumes.
“In fact I’d advise anyone who has had any connections with Hunslet at any time to reconnect with a truly great club.”
Hunslet have a number of attractive packages to suit all requirements and budgets, ranging from the `Spirit of 73’ Geoff Gunney Membership (in homage to the all-time great who helped launch New Hunslet following the sale of Parkside in 1973), which costs from £5 per month, to the £50 per month Frank Watson VIP membership, which secures a season ticket, match-day hospitality and a seat at the directors’ table at an away match.
The Graham King Gold Membership, at £26 per month, secures a season ticket and other benefits, while the Mick Coyle Silver Membership (£21 per month) offers a £50 discount off a season ticket, plus benefits.
All packages can be purchased online by visiting https://hunsletrlfc.com/i-am-hunslet-memberships/ , by ringing 0113 271 2730, or by calling at the club’s offices at the South Leeds Stadium.