Former Salford Prop Forward, Terry Ogden, Looks Back At His Time As A Player At The Willows During The Seventies
Pt 1 His Early Rugby Career
Pt 2 He Recounts The Story Of Salford’s Rebirth
Pt 3 He Relates The History Surrounding The Willows Social Club
Pt 4 He Remembers Players From The ‘Team Of Stars’
Pt 5 His Post Rugby League Life
Part 1 His Early Rugby Career
Even had his parents known before he was born, that former Salford prop forward, Terry Ogden, was going to become a professional rugby league player, they could not have chosen a more fitting place to have lived and brought him up than where they happened to be living, at the time, as he explains:
“I was born in Adlington Street, Oldham, under the shadow of what was then the West Stand of Oldham Rugby League Club’s former ground, The Watersheddings. My mate’s father held a role in the backroom staff, and he provided us with the first rugby ball I ever played with, which turned out to be just the casing of one stuffed with newspapers, with no bladder to it.
“It did the job though because by the age of sixteen I was having trials with Oldham. I’d started off playing rugby union as a result of it being taught at my secondary school, and I even went on to play it at club level before changing to league with Greenacres ARLFC, where some of my friends were playing.
“I played second row or loose forward in what was a really good side, and it was from there that I ended up being picked up, by Oldham, for trials in their ‘A’ team. You were always assured that you would be in the team, whenever they happened to be playing at places like Workington or Whitehaven, or any other equally far-flung place.
“There were no motorways then, of course, so you had to wend your way through all the narrow winding lanes, which ensured that travel sickness took the edge off everybody’s performance before we even got there. The first team, by comparison, went on the train, and, on occasions, even stayed overnight in Keswick.
“I signed for them on my seventeenth birthday, in 1957, and, with them having such a great team in those days with the likes of Frank Pitchford, Derek Turner, and Frank Stirrup, it took me some time to break into the first team. My idol was right centre, Alan Davies, who later came to play with us at Salford while I was there, as also did Charlie Winslade, who became a good friend of mine as we used to travel to away games together.
“In 1961, Huddersfield came in to try to sign me, but we couldn’t agree terms, which was rather unfortunate because they then went on to become Challenge Cup runners-up to Wakefield, at Wembley, and then beat them the following week, in the Championship Play-offs Final. To cap that, when I did eventually join them the following season, we were knocked out of the Cup in the first round, at home, against Whitehaven of all people. I think we had been a little over-confident.
“The start of 1963 was the winter of the Big Freeze, which decimated fixtures for up to three months, with temperatures not climbing above zero for almost the whole time. We did manage to get an odd match in here and there, but it seemed an extremely long time before things got back to normal.
“During my time at Fartown, I became very great friends with Aiden Breen, whom I first met at one of our stay-overs in Keswick. He later became PA to Brian Snape, after Brian had become Chairman of Salford in 1964, and consequently signed for them. He then encouraged me to go down to watch a match at the Willows, which I did for a game against Keighley.
“I felt that there was a really good team spirit among the players and they had a few of note, such as prop Albert Halsall, stand-off Jackie Brennan, scrum-half Terry Dunne, and loose forward Arthur Hughes who actually played against us in the Challenge Cup semi-final for Warrington, from where we went on to play at Wembley.
“Money was very tight at Salford at the time, so in order for a deal to be agreed with Huddersfield, a player-exchange had to be arranged with my moving to Salford, and a Salford winger moving across to Fartown.”