St Helens have paid tribute to former player Brian Howard, who has passed away at the age of 83.
Howard, a back, was a part of Saints’ 1956 Challenge Cup final winning team, which was the first time the club had lifted the trophy.
A club statement reads:
“Hard-working, creative and defensively sound all describe Brian Howard’s rugby ability. He also had the requisite pace to score tries as well as create them. It may be a something of a cliche to describe someone as a ‘utility back’, but it is true that Brian, at various times, occupied every position for the club in the three-quarters, mostly as a left centre in his early career at Knowsley Road.
“Yet later on he became a stand-off, playing in the number six jersey on 57 occasions, with Alex Murphy as his scrum-half. This is where he enjoyed his most successful season, in 1958-59, when he turned out in 40 matches and scored 22 tries. Overall, he played 131 times for his home town club, including 48 tries.”
Howard also scored a try when Saints beat the touring New Zealand team in 1955.
Former Saint Brian McGinn recalls Howard’s contribution to the Challenge Cup win with excitement.
“I was there as a spectator that day,” he said.
“He was obviously a regular first-teamer then. I was sixteen and signed for the club shortly afterwards. Eventually, of course, I became a team-mate of his in both the A team and the seniors.
“He came through with the likes of Walter Delves, Roy Robinson and Josh Gaskell. He was a very good all-round footballer and a nice bloke off the pitch too.”