Harold Genders, the founder of Fulham RLFC, has died on 9th February 2016 after a long battle with illness.
Genders played rugby league professionally for the likes of Rochdale Hornets, Widnes and Blackpool Borough before retiring in 1958 to concentrate on a construction career. However, he returned to the sport in the 1970s when Sir Oswald Davies taking over Warrington RLFC as he became a director of the club.
In the 1980s, Harold Genders approached the owner of Fulham Football Club, Ernie Clay, about approaching the RFL for a membership to start a rugby league team. Once the application was accepted, Genders resigned as a director at Warrington to become Managing Director at Fulham.
Fulham made a huge impact on the sport in it’s first year, winning promotion from the Second Division, with players such as David Eckersley and Tony Karalius making up their side. After years spent with the club, including victories over Leeds in the John Player Trophy and seeing over 15,000 pass through Craven Cottage, he left the club in September 1983 citing lack of resources to build a squad capable of challenging.
He later joined Swinton, in which they had success in reaching Divisonal Premiership finals, but left a club once more because of financial problems at the club. However, Harold’s legacy that he leaves behind is the national sport that rugby league has become, and the presence that rugby league now has in London and the South is partly due to the hard work of Harold Genders.
Our condolences to his wife Shirley and his family at this time.