Part 4 – HIS POST SALFORD CAREER
1975 saw Paul’s five-year career with Salford coming to its end, with a return to his native Cumbria, to resume his pre-Willows playing days back at Workington, as player-coach, with, it must be recorded, some significant success.
“I had quite a good team, especially among the forwards, to the extent that we won the Lancashire Cup in the first year of my taking over. I had the two Gourley brothers, together with Alan Banks, Eddie Bowman, and Derek Watts, as part of the team, so it is little wonder that we were a force to be reckoned with. The whole of the squad were good footballers, and extremely tough, without being dirty.
“I stayed with Town for about three years, before going to Blackpool Borough, where I played a further seven matches, bringing my total number of first team matches to 725, but, by this time the enjoyment had gone from the game for me. I had done so much throughout my career, I’d ticked every box I could, thanks, in part, to having had that little bit of luck, everybody needs, go my way.
“The person whom I most have to thank for it all was the Workington scout, Jim Kitchen, who was responsible for turning me into a professional rugby league player.”
A generation later, and Gary Charlton (pictured with Paul, above) was following in his father’s footsteps, though not as a fullback, but a forward, and then, just like his father, later taking over the role of coach with Workington, with considerable success, before moving to Whitehaven.”
Most people, when they get to Paul’s age, are either happily retired, or cheerfully continuing in some form of gainful employment, not so much for the money but almost as a hobby, which keeps them involved with everyday life. Not so Paul, who has continued to ply his trade as a joiner right through to the present day, and with no sign of scaling down his involvement and commitment.
“Work is vitally important in keeping us all going. In particular, it keeps the mind going. I was extremely fortunate that I didn’t get any serious life-changing injury, whilst I was playing, though I do now have two new knees. Some of the lads I played with, both at Salford and Workington, were subject to some very hard treatment as part of the game.”
Nor is his enjoyment of rugby league in any way diluted. Living Down Under, in Queensland, Australia, on the Gold Coast – a consequence of his 1974 GB tour – he still plays touch rugby three times a week with local teams, Tallebudgera every Tuesday evening, Mudgerabah on Thursday evenings, and at Palm Beach on Saturday afternoons.
Could we ever, remotely, imagine Paul Charlton without his having some rugby league connection somewhere in the offing?