A famous friend

Considering our game does not receive the coverage due to it in our national press, we do seem to attract some high profile supporters. I hear that Australian star of stage and screen Mr Russell Crowe is an avid follower of South Sydney Rabbitohs, Mr David Hinchliffe MP, watches Wakefield Trinity whenever his busy schedule allows, soccer player Mr Alan Smith is a Castleford fan and comedy actors Mr Johnny Vegas and Mr Ricky Tomlinson watch St Helens.

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On a recent visit to London, I had the very good fortune to bump into Lord Douglas of Hoyle when his Rolls Royce motorcar almost ran me over as I stepped off the platform of an AEC Routemaster omnibus at Marble Arch. Lord Douglas is well known to be a supporter of Warrington Wolves and I instantly recognised him as he wound his window down and ordered his chauffer to reverse and finish off “that stupid old sod”. How we laughed when he realised that I too was an aficionado of the Greatest Game!

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Being the absolute gentleman he is, His Lordship invited me to dinner at his stately home to be followed by a few bottles of beer while watching some of his extensive collection of Warrington RLFC home movies.

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Younger readers might not know, but Lord Douglas of Hoyle was former Member of Parliament for Wilderspool. He beat off some strong competition from the Social Democratic Party candidate Mr Roy Jenkinson and National Socialist Workers Party candidate a Herr Adolf Hilter. Herr Hilter took the defeat particularly badly and I later heard he shot himself on the step of his coal bunker.

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Anyway, Lord Douglas was a most worthy winner and passed a Bill in Parliament authorising the installation of those portaloos in the Railway End for which he received his Peerage.

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Dinner at the home of Lord Douglas was superb. The Beluga caviar was wonderful and the roast pheasant on a bed of lentils was delicious. The meat simply fell off the bone and the lentils were done to perfection. A particularly fine Chatteuneuf accompanied the meat course.  The crepe Suzette was light, with the correct hint of sweetness. The MEUKOW Napoleon brandy was excellent and according to His Lordship, a snip at only £95 a bottle.  A King Edward cigar and a cup of fine Columbian coffee rounded off a superb meal.

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We settled down to watch some tapes of his (and mine) Warrington RLFC. The sight of Sir Les Boyd thundering through the mud on a November afternoon at Wilderspool brought to life once again on a seventy two inch plasma screen TV brought back many memories. One could almost feel the bone crunching tackles as Lord Douglas re-lived every moment of the 1986 Premiership Final using his butler Rathbone as a tackle bag.

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The following morning His Lordship accompanied me to Euston Station to see me onto the train home. I remarked to that esteemed gentleman that a lifetime of devotion to the cause of Socialism had brought its own rewards and that in future, I too would devote myself to furthering the cause of the common working folk of this dear land. I set off to find my carriage while brightly whistling the tune of The Red Flag. His Lordship assured me that the train would take me to where I wanted to go. Two hours later I awoke to find myself at Bristol’s famous Temple Meads Railway Station, the Guard wondering why my ticket had’ Warrington Bank Quay’ printed upon it. A £200 fine and an eight hour delay later, I was back in my beloved City of Warrington. What an absolute card Lord Douglas is!

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Your old friend, M. Cheshire.