Once his time with Salford had drawn to its conclusion, Doug returned to the club from whence he had come, Huyton, but not merely as a player but as Coach, and Social Club Manager, not to mention window cleaner, and groundsman, all of which speaks volumes for his affection and commitment to their cause.
“The lads there were not as talented and speedy as the Salford players were, but just like them, they liked their rugby, and that was good enough for me. Having been away for around four years, though, things had changed, and it did seem different from how I’d remembered it. I was the coach, for a start, and I only played if we were against a significantly better team, in order to give the lads that extra bit of experience.”
It probably was not only the Huyton club which had changed; Doug himself will undoubtedly have changed after having been in the ranks of such an illustrious team as Salford, during the interim.
“I had gained considerably in my self-confidence through having been at Salford, and I used this to instil the same in my players. I used to tell them that the fact that they were in the team showed that they were good enough, so then it was up to them to go out and prove they were, on the pitch.
“Even against much more difficult opposition you could always go out and give it everything you had, which was what I had always done.”
At the end of his second year, there was one more change for him to make, as he moved back to this area to join Swinton, for one final season. A change of job, at the end of that season led to his working away from home in Saudi Arabia, and consequently brought his time in the sport to its conclusion, although having grown to appreciate the importance of friendships and comradery, he still fully enjoys those relationships in his present life.
“The whole time I was in the game I loved it, and, if I hadn’t been able to play professionally, I would still have loved playing as an amateur. It requires strength, speed, courage and everything else that goes with it.
”It was fantastic playing for Salford especially, and I still remember it at night when I go to bed. It was the highlight of my life; it really was.”
Now that Doug’s own playing career has been confined to the annals of history, his interest in the game has been restored by the signing of his grandson, Ben, by Widnes, and his express wish is that Ben will go on to surpass all that he, himself, attained in his own playing days. Some little task, for sure!
Part 1 – His Early Rugby League Career
Part 2 – His Playing Days At The Willows
Part 3 – His Teammates And Coaches
Part 4 – His Post Salford Career In The Game