Warriors saddened by the death of ‘Mr Waterhead’ Kevin Hobson

TRIBUTES have been paid to Kevin Hobson, a former Waterhead Warriors chairman, who has died at the age of 75.

Although Kevin had recently returned to his home in Wilkes Street, Moorside, after a long hospital stay in Manchester, his passing in the Royal Oldham Hospital shocked the local rugby league community and especially all his many friends at the Waterhead club.

Kevin devoted much of his life to the Waterhead club where he had connections for about 40 years, including a long spell as chairman which spanned more than a decade.

Current club chairman Jon Perks said: “Kevin and a true club man and friend. He will always be Mr Chairman to me.

“Clubs are built around people like Kevin who was the heart and soul of our club.

“Kevin was great to have a drink with and nobody had a bad word about him.

“When I began playing as a boy, Kevin was steward at the club, but he later joined the committee and was chairman when I was a senior player.

“He was a great bloke, and it was really sad to hear of his death.”

Barrie McDermott, the former Warriors player who went on to become a legend in the 13-man game, added: “Kevin Hobson was a good man who absolutely loved the club.

“He gave me many a Sunday sub to see me to my next wage packet. Thankyou Kev.”

Roger Halstead, media manager at Oldham RLFC, was the rugby league writer for the Oldham Evening Chronicle throughout the years Kevin was the Waterhead chairman.

He said: “In local media terms back then, Kevin was known as ‘Mr Waterhead’. He was devoted to the club and to rugby league, but especially to everything that happened ‘on the park’ behind Watersheddings.

“During his chairmanship, lots of local lads received a grounding in the sport which not only enabled them to reach the upper echelons as players, but which taught them core values for which rugby league is renowned, such as teamwork, hard work, sportsmanship. loyalty, courage and comradeship.

“Kevin, whose personal handicap was never, ever seen as that, displayed all those qualities in abundance. I was privileged to know him, first in a professional capacity but in more recent times as a friend and fellow rugby league fan.”

Phil Bradbury, secretary of the Oldham Amateur Rugby League, added: “Kevin used to be a steward at the Waterhead club before he took over as chairman at a time when the club was really struggling and needed a leader with the right qualities.

“Under his command, the club began to move forward and to establish the roots for the strong club it is today.

“A key element of the club’s development was the refurbishing and re-organisation of the clubhouse and Kevin had a lot to do with that before he finished.”

Kevin is survived by Sue, his wife of 50 years, son Kevin, daughters Suzanne, Claire and Kate and 10 grandchildren.

• Warriors were saddened to hear of the death of former player Craig Jinks aged only 53 following a lengthy illness.

Craig, whose son Brad currently plays for Warriors having had spells in the professional game, was a hooker for the club in the late 1990s. He also played amateur rugby league for Tameside and Shaw.

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