ERNIE
AT THE BLOOD CLINIC

The
big fella walked into the waiting room after leaving the surgery
where we were all waiting to enter what I call the Dracula (blood
test) clinic. He was a bit slower and less steady on his feet than he
used to be, when thousands of supporters of the rugby league world
saw and remember him as a rampaging and fearless forward. When this
once great rugby player saw me, he graciously held out his hand and
shook mine,

in comparison a mere imposter of a player with Hunslet in the old
Parkside days.

As
those of us who played there know full well, this great personality
was synonymous with the name of the Hunslet Club he loves so much;
and also has always been faithfully to his birthplace, when,had he
been a player in that other ball game soccer, his ability would
probably have seen him move to live with overpaid soccer players out
Weatherby way. But in hindsight, probably not.

Aware
of this or not the man still has a presence when one sees him,
probably because those of us know him, know also of his feats on the
rugby pitch. But it is not just that, for as with most star players
in sport or walk of life they have about them a presence. Known as
personality, of which there are so few around today. We hold them in
a sense of awe and respect which is as it should be. In this instance
I am talking about Geoff Gunney MBE, otherwise known as ‘Mr Hunslet’,
along others a man who wore the Hunslet jersey with consummate pride,
exhibited by many, but few with such devotion and dedication.

On
looking back it is perhaps just a coincidence that some of Hunslet’s
greatest all had surnames beginning with the letter G: But two that
stand out irrevocably connected to this famous old club are
Goldthorpe and Gunney. The first making his reputation in the early
days of the Hunslet Club and the second, more recent, but both
players were prepared to sweat blood for the club they loved.

Being
a few years younger than Geoff, I remember the time when I was just
getting about after a hardly successful cartilage operation, and
hobbled down by the Old Cockburnian sports field, were three young
players were still playing schoolboy rugby. The three were Geoff
Gunney, Brian Gabbitas and Colin Cooper. It seemed to be no time at
all before Geoff had been selected for his first tour down under,
perhaps the youngest player ever to obtain the honour ? .

After
Geoff had left the clinic, while waiting to meet the needle, I
couldn’t help reflecting upon all that has past since that day back
in the early 50.s; while also comparing events with today. Where has
the time gone? But those of us who saw Geoff play will never forget
the sight of him in full flight down the field, a free spirit with a
rugby ball in his hand playing for his beloved Hunslet. Now that was
really a sight worth seeing.

Ernie
‘L’

By the way Peter you were a big handsome beggar on the last picture you put on the Blog. Would have made a good James Bond.

Thank you for that comment Ernie I have always wanted to be 007, but some say I resemble my ‘OLD’ smiley pal
Ken Eyre