The Visiter has today featured this obituary to former player Bob Burdell.
It makes reference to Bob being told that he was not welcome back at Southport RUFC (as it was then) once he started to play rugby league. As I understand things it wasn't Southport that mandated this, but a dictate from the powers above. That was what it was like in those days and it is a tribute to Bob and many others who trod the same path that this apartheid no longer pervades and that everyone can now enjoy playing and/or watching the two wonderful codes as they wish.
Southport should be enormously proud that it produced a player who graced the shirts of two of the greatest clubs in the game, Saints and Wigan, both incidently Southport played regular fixtures against at the same level in the club's formative years, and a Challenge Cup final appearance and all.
I don't know if Bob felt any bitterness about being ostracised because of his circumstance but if so it was certainly not apparent in the e-mail exchanges I was privileged to have with him over the past couple of years. He was very proud that his home town club where it all began for him as a teenager is flourishing and that he and his younger brother Ray were still remembered with great affection.
But for his health he would visited us at Waterloo Road on one of his trips home and have been welcomed with open arms. Sadly this is now not to be, but Bob is forever immortalised as part of the club folklore on the 140 Timeline (January 1957)
Rest in peace Bob.
Updated 09:32 - 14 Jun 2013 by Graham Ellis