Tony Atherton

OVERALL STATISTICS

BIRTHAGESIGNED ONFROMDEBUTLAST MATCHLEFT
24-12-1953
N/A
13-09-1973
St. Helens Colts
03-03-1974 v Castleford
Castleford
1974- Retired through injury
CAREERAPPEARANCES (SUBS)TRIESGOALSDGOALSPTS
1973-1973
1 (0)
0
0
0
0

BIOGRAPHY

Tony Atherton by Alex Service

A local lad, who attended Holy Cross and St.Albans Secondary School, Tony Atherton was a sports-mad youngster who wanted to play for the Saints. A County representative, he showed great potential early on in his career, making progress through the ranks at Knowsley Road before being given his First Team debut against Castleford on 3rd March 1974 in a league match. Saints won 25-5 and Tony was replaced late on by Geoff Pimblett, who had at that time played at number six, with David Eckersley at full-back. Welsh winger Roy Mathias also scored a hat-trick.

It was always his ambition to play for the Saints and the press reports intimate that he had tried almost too hard to impress on his debut. His pace was his major strength which made him ideal for a place in the threequarters, but he was at his best at stand-off, where he could go for the gap. Tony, who had signed full professional forms for the club at the start of the season had scored some marvellous tries for the second string during the campaign and it was only a matter of time before he would make the grade. He was a fine kicker too.

The 20 year old was back in the A Team the following week, against Leigh at Knowsley Road with the likes of Graham Liptrot and Dave Hull. He played in the centre that afternoon because Saints had a trialist at stand off, believed to be Peter Glynn, when tragedy struck. In what was a particularly fiery encounter, he was badly hurt after a tackle and although it was first thought to be concussion, his condition deteriorated and he was moved from the Providence Hospital in St.Helens to Walton, where a three-hour operation was undertaken to relieve the pressure of four pieces of his skull which were causing pressure on his brain. His situation was critical and the Last Rites were given at one stage.

Fortunately, after a life and death struggle, during which time he was paralysed down one side and suffered other distressing side-effects, his condition improved. He was later moved to Whiston Hospital and returned home by Easter, but his playing career was, sadly, at an end. An Appeal Fund was set up on his behalf and his plight was featured in several articles in the Daily Mirror and News of the World, where the dangers of playing such a tough game with apparently minimal compensation were highlighted.
Tony has kept his scrap-book of his career, including the terrible times when the injury happened. It is a fine document of his progress through the ranks at St.Helens, but also a record of his great courage and tenacity to overcome almost impossible odds.

Tony Atherton Scrapbook


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SEASON STATISTICS

Season (Official Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
1973~74 0 0 0 1
TOTALS:0 0 0 1
Season (Other Matches)TriesGoalsDGoalsMatches
TOTALS:

ALL MATCHES

DatePosOpponentsCompSeasonVenueFTFTOTGDGNPS**
3rd Mar 1974 W 6 Castleford L 1973~74 H 25 5 V
*Unofficial Match. **Non Playing Sub.
CALCULATED APPEARANCES : OFFICIAL 1 OTHER 0 = 1
ACTUAL APPEARANCES (inc 0 Subs) = 1
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