William James McBride, MBE, better known as Willie John McBride (born 6 June 1940) is a former rugby union footballer who played as a lock for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. He played 63 Tests for Ireland including eleven as captain, and toured with the Lions five times — a record that gave him 17 Lions Test caps. He also captained the most successful ever Lions side which toured South Africa in 1974.
McBride was born at Toomebridge, County Antrim. Owing to his father's death when he was five years old, he spent most of his spare time helping out on his family farm. Because of this he did not start playing rugby until he was 17. He was educated at Ballymena Academy, Ballymena and played for the school's First XV. After he left he joined the Ballymena R.F.C., and in 1962 was selected to play for Ireland. His first Test on 10 February 1962 was against England at Twickenham. Later that year he was selected to tour South Africa with the British and Irish Lions.
McBride continued to play for Ireland throughout the 1960s and played for Ireland when they first defeated South Africa (the Springboks) in 1965, and when Ireland defeated Australia in Sydney — the first time a Home Nations team had defeated a major southern hemisphere team in their own country. He was again selected for the Lions in 1966, this time touring New Zealand and Australia. He toured South Africa with the Lions again in 1968.
He was selected to play for the Lions in their 1971 tour of New Zealand. Despite being criticized by some as being "over the hill", McBride was made pack leader and helped the Lions to a Test series win over New Zealand; their first and last series win over New Zealand.
McBride's outstanding leadership qualities led to his appointment as captain of the 1974 Lions tour to South Africa. His partner at lock was the late Gordon Brown of Scotland. The Test series was won 3-0, with one match drawn — the first Lions series ever won in South Africa. It was one of the most controversial and physical Test match series ever played. The management of the Lions concluded that the Springboks dominated their opponents with physical aggression, and so decided to match fire with fire. Willie John McBride instigated a policy of "one in, all in" - that is, when one Lion retaliated, all other Lions were expected to join in the melee or hit the nearest Springbok.
At that time there were only substitutions if a doctor agreed that a player was physically unable to continue and there were no video cameras and sideline officials to keep the punching, kicking, and head butting to a minimum. If the South Africans were to resort to foul play then the Lions decided "to get their retaliation in first." The signal for this was to call "99" (a shortened version of the emergency number in the United Kingdom — 999). This was a signal for the Lions to clobber their nearest rival players. In 1975 as his international career was ending he played his last game for Ireland at Lansdowne Road. The game was against France and near the end of the match, he scored his first ever Test try for Ireland. It was the crowning moment of a great playing career. His last international game was against Wales on Saturday 15 March 1975.
After retiring from playing the game, McBride coached the Irish team and was manager of the 1983 Lions tour to New Zealand. Despite the test results being mainly poor, team camaraderie was high and some good wins were recorded in other games. In 1997 he was an inaugural inductee into the International Rugby Hall of Fame. He lives in Ballyclare. He has been asked to present Test jerseys and give motivational speeches to Lions players prior to matches. In 2004 he was named in Rugby World magazine as "Heineken Rugby Personality of the Century". He is a major supporter of the Wooden Spoon Society.
He is remembered fondly by members and supporters of Stockport Rugby Club for attending the Glengarth Sevens with a lion cub from Longleat, helping to raise money for the charity and adding to the fantastic atmosphere and help upkeep the strong reputation of sevens rugby at Stockport
John Gahagan is a Scottish former footballer who played as a left winger. Gahagan spent most of his career with Motherwell, spending twelve seasons with the Fir Park club, either side of spells with Clydebanklatterly Morton. During his time at Fir Park, Gahagan picked up two Scottish Football League First Division titles.
A fully qualified SFA coach, Gahagan worked as a football development officer in Clackmannanshire before becoming an after-dinner speaker, winning the MBN trophy after being voted 'Scottish Sporting Speaker of the Year' in 2001
We look forward to you visiting our next dinner and adding a few more memorable faces to this already illustrious line up.
is a former English cricketer, come cricket speaker. Watkinson was a key member of the Lancashire side whilst they enjoyed numerous successes in the 1990's and also captained the Lancashire side from 1992-1997. Along with his County team, Mike also played for England.
With an impressive near 400 first class games, 11000 runs and 500 wickets under his belt- there is not much Mike Watkinson doesn't know about cricket.
After retiring from playing, Mike decided to stick with Lancashire and went on to become Head Coach and later, Director of Cricket. Mike is an engaging and well informed speaker, always striving to do as well off the pitch as he did on it.
Jeff Winter :
as a linesman on the Football League for 6 seasons,then a referee for 3 seasons, completed 9 seasons as a Premier League Referee.
John Beresford was born in Sheffield on 4 Sept 1966. During his footballing career he played for the following clubs Barnsley, Birmingham, Man City Newcastle, Portsmouth & Southampton. He is most famous for his Newcastle United spell between 1992 and 1998, with his attacking tendencies being crucial to "the Entertainers". During this time Beresford formed a formidable partnership with the other full back, his doppelgänger Waren Barton. Beresford is also remembered by some for missing his spot kick in the 1992 FA Cup semi-final penalty shootout against Liverpool while playing for Portsmouth.
Beresford won two England 'B' caps in 1994, against Northern Ireland 'B' and the Republic of Ireland 'B'.
Graham Lloyd was born in Accrington on 1 July 1969 and is the son of former England star David Lloyd. Graham Lloyd was pigeonholed fairly on early on in his career as a one-day specialist, largely because of his no nonsense batting style and outstanding fielding.
He was a key member of the Lancashire side which dominated one-day cricket in the mid to late 1990s, although he failed in finals at Lord's. Perhaps he wasn't the big stage player - his six One-Day International appearances for England produced just 39 runs and he never looked at home. But his first-class career (1988-2002) record was impressive - 11,279 runs at 38.23 - including an impressive 24 centuries, but largely overlooked outside Lancashire. He retired in 2002 after failing to secure a regular place in the first team and went to play Minor Counties cricket for Cumberland, as well as coaching at Accrington, the club where both he- and father, David - started.
This is what the BBC Sport reported at the time ;
"Former Super League official Karl Kirkpatrick has become the first referee to switch codes and join union.
The 42-year-old quit rugby league after he was left off the Super League list following his decision to keep his banking job rather than go full-time.
"It's something that's never been done before and it's got my adrenalin going," he told BBC Radio Lancashire.
"Just like Jason Robinson, Andy Farrell and coaches crossing over, it's a question of taking a structured path."
Kirkpatrick, who has 14 years' experience at the top level, has been restricted to National League team games this year after refusing to accept the Rugby Football League's offer to go full-time.
And he was the notable omission when the League unveiled their panel of six full-time referees earlier this year.
He was sounded out by the Rugby Football Union before he took charge of the 2006 Grand Final and has begun work on the 15-a-side game at the West Park club in St Helens.
Kirkpatrick, who also controlled the 2004 Challenge Cup final, is being advised by former Great Britain forward Denis Betts, who is now on the coaching staff at Gloucester.
"Karl has enjoyed a very successful career as a grade-one match official and we would like to take this opportunity to thank him as well as wishing him all the very best for the future," said RFL match officials director Stuart Cummings."