AS a devotee of all printed material regarding Rugby League and a supporter of Wakefield Trinity since the mid 1950s it was sad to read in last week’s edition of the Wakefied Express of the death of J C Lindley.
Charlie Bullough paid tribute to his meticulous record keeping of the club’s history and his editorship of the club’s programme. Older readers will remember his [along with D W Armitage] ’Dreadnoughts’, A History of Wakefield Trinity, 1873-1960, as well as the ‘100 Years of Rugby’.
These publications acted as benchmarks for other clubs’ histories. With the possible exceptions of Phil Caplan and Phil Daly, compilers of the Leeds Programme, and Alex Service of St Helens, few club programmes have reached the standards set by J C Lindley.
Not long ago Harry Edgar in his ’Rugby League Journal’ paid tribute to the Trinity programme under John’s stewardship.
Apart from the usual tables of players’ current tries and goals appearances and career totals [sadly lacking in today’s publication] John was not afraid to use the programme to discuss topical and often controversial issues pertaining to Rugby League.
Those were the days when you could have a point of view without having to worry about the reaction of the Sky paymasters.
Issues discussed throughout the 1960s included the screening of live games, the retention of possession after a tackle and the play the ball rule and the use of substitutes.
What may surprise younger readers is John once posed the idea of not rewarding the tackled player with possession. To many of us that smacked of a return to Northern Union.
Nonetheless, compared to the banal offerings in many of today’s publications, the jottings and comments of J C Lindley whet the appetite for what was to come on the field.
We must not forget John was a member of a committee who presided over the greatest years in the club’s history. My generation has been truly blessed.
Not only did we have a magnificent team on the field for most of the years John was at the club but we could read about their exploits and wallow in their successes through his marvellous publications including players’ benefit brochures.
When John severed connections with the club it seeemed to coincide with an alarming drop in the club’s fortunes both on and off the field. Since 1968 all we have had to shout about is the Yorkshire Cup in 1992 and a promotion winning Grand Final in 1998.
I hope the Newmarket move ushers in a fresh era of success for the club and a successor to J C Lindley may emerge to document it. He leaves a rich legacy and if the new club’s administration ever gets round to instituting a Hall of Fame J C Lindley’s name is on the list.
Whitehall Road East