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Biographies

Marshall Carson

Marshall joined Old Longtonians in the fifties through his contact with former Presidents, Bernard Hallam and Dave Bourne, the former through Scouts and the latter through work. He became a prominent figure in organising the annual Screamline show involving scouts doing a variety show at the local theatre.

In his playing days Marshall was a keen and determined second team prop forward who always gave 100% commitment whilst demonstrating his leadership qualities.

Marshall was President from 1980 – 91 and held the office with pride and dignity. He was also very much a working President, not afraid to climb ladders to paint the posts, and was at the forefront of cooking duties at the annual barbecue.

He was also known for his sartorial elegance with his highly decorated dress shirts at Club dinners. Wife, Lillian was a prominent member of the Ladies Committee whose contribution to the development of the Club cannot be underestimated. Lillian is perhaps best remembered for her superb voice, particularly on Christmas Eve when carols were sung to the accompaniment of Norma Horton on piano.

In his professional life Marshall was a senior figure in the pottery industry working for Wengers and James Kent in the supply of colours, frits and glazes to the industry.

Regrettably, he suffered a heart attack and was ordered to shed some of his weight which he did to great effect. However, a few years later he suffered another heart attack, this time at the graveside of former player, John Myatt, father of current Chairman, Phil, and died at the graveside.

However, the Carson name lives on through Tracey, Fiona, Jack, Kyle and Rhys all of whom are fully involved in our Junior Section operation and we are delighted to see that the family name and dynasty continues, and no doubt Marshall is looking down on them with justified pride.

M Wheat.


David Bourne

David is the sole surviving member of the post-war Old Longtonians, although the Club did exist briefly in the late 1930’s, and again during the immediate post-war period before its reformation in 1952. It was in the late 1940’s that David played his first games for the Club.

David first learned the game at Longton High School in 1943 and although always keen on sport was, by his own admission, “not very good “. However, in rugby he found a game where he could, again in his own words, “hurt people legally”. After the Club folded David played a few games for Stoke, whilst from school he joined the RAF for 2 years.

It was during this time that David met his wife-to-be, Doreen, and, thankfully, she was an enthusiastic rugby spectator. By 1952 Old Longtonian RUFC had re-formed just before David left the RAF; he duly joined the Club.

During his time with the Club David has held many offices including Secretary, 2nd.XV Captain, 3rd. XV Captain and finally to the dizzy heights of President. He was also the Club’s representative on the Staffs. RU Committee during which time he was a member of the County’s Selection Committee and Disciplinary Committee – poacher turned gamekeeper !

Away from rugby David was long associated with the ceramic colour industry where he was fortunate enough to travel widely in Western Europe. Whilst on a trip to Portugal David was re-aquainted with an old rugby foe, John Aleluia, who had played for North Staffs. Technical College whilst in Britain.

A knowledge of European languages helped on Club tours to Limoges, Amsterdam and Paris. His abiding memory of Limoges was being billeted in a brothel but a chair was put firmly against the bedroom door.

David is still to be seen at the Club most Wednesdays when he attends the Jazz Nights and, you know what – he never seems to age !


Martin Hamer

Martin joined Old Longtonians on a wet Wednesday night in 1963 while playing for Trentham, when he had received a severe line-out lesson from Joe Holmes and Peter Henson, two of the most formidable second rows ever to wear the Longton shirt.
For the next few years, Martin enjoyed himself in the second team for OLRUFC with such stalwarts as Colin Broome, Nooker Thorley and Ron Bailey. This all came to a juddering halt, when it was ‘discovered’ that Martin could actually put up with the strains of playing at tight head prop. Longton were short in this position, so for the next few years, that’s where Martin played, until he had to leave the area in 1975 for job reasons. When he returned in 1980, Longton had just started a vet’s team which opened the door again for a golden period of fun rugby. This continued for another five years, before Martin finally hung up his boots.
Off the field, Martin’s career began as assistant social secretary, and who can forget the ill-fated trip to Mr Smith’s club, with the talking dog as the main act.
Building on that ‘success’, Martin then had a spell as Secretary and then as the Project Manager to establish the beloved ‘Roughcote in 1975. Farm buildings were converted to a cosy but effective clubhouse with one pitch. The above mentioned job move then intervened and when our first bar ever was opened on December 21st, Martin moved house to Evesham on 28th.
In 1980, fate swung Martin back to North Staffs with another job move and he was able to resurrect his contact with OLRUFC, while living at Stafford, becoming Chairman in 1985.This period lasted until 1989 when Martin was relocated to Halesowen. You would think that would be the end of matters, but in 1994, when Martin was stuck in an underpass at Five Ways, Birmingham, he received the fateful telephone call from the President at the time, Tony Smith, who said it would be a great favour to him if Martin would stand for President at the AGM that night. The rest as they say is history.
The next period for Martin is all about the project of a lifetime, the creation of Trentham Fields. Based on the long term goal of growing junior rugby under the guidance of Doug Finney, the case was painstakingly made to market Roughcote and to persuade Stoke on Trent Council to have faith in Longton to be worthy of a new site at Trentham Fields. This was far from being a one-man show, and depended on solid support from the committee of the day, with Terry Keeling, [living in Ilkley] Mick Wheat, Steve Lodey, Steve Tams [our man in SOT] , with Bob Beckett and John Till keeping the club running throughout the transfer and many others too numerous to mention.
To be able to play rugby with some fine [and not so fine] players and to work with them to such a worthy goal has been a rare privilege.

Post script. The pictures on the Club’s website of the massed ranks of juniors makes it all worthwhile.


John Till

John played several games for Old Longtonians while still at Longton High School in the late 1950’s. He had played every game for the school’s very successful 1st XV for 3 seasons and was vice captain in his last year. Since the school had an annual fixture against Old Longtonians, he had played against the club before he played for them.

On leaving school in 1960, he immediately joined Old Longtonians and played the first few games of the season but for the rest of that season his availability was limited because he was studying at Liverpool University. However, by the next season John had acquired a minivan and decided to come home at weekends so he played on a regular basis; playing rugby was not the only reason for this decision but it was certainly important.

John played at hooker all through his rugby career and considers himself fortunate to have played when referee’s ensured that the ball was put in down the centre of the tunnel giving a good specialist hooker a decent cance to take a strike against the head.

John played regularly for the first team until his late 30’s. He does not think he would have survived that long in the modern game when very crooked feeds into the scrum are allowed. Although primarily a specialist hooker, he was also a ‘steady Eddie’ goal kicker; long range penalties were normally out of range but he could be relied on to convert a high proportion of tries and he was the first choice goal kicker for several seasons

When John started with Old Longtonians, the committee comprised almost exclusively of current players; there was no-one else. John was keen to get involved but living in Liverpool mid week for 6 years was a problem. Therefore, he started as publicity secretary which required him to write a weekly match report for the Sentinel together with an occasional item for Ray Pardoe’s weekly local rugby column. On returning home full time, John took on the Treasurer’s role for 2/3 seasons before swapping with Barry Nicklin and becoming Fixture Secretary. Although he later took on apparently more senior roles such as Chairman and Secretary, John considers his time as Fixture Secretary as his most significant contribution. This was because at this time, before the introduction of leagues, the Fixture Secretary was responsible for arranging all the fixtures for the current and future seasons. As the club’s playing standard improved a stronger fixture list was required; this was not easy because many clubs were reluctant to play what they regarded as a more junior club with poor facilities. He managed to secure fixtures with several of the stronger Birmingham area old boy’s sides and the likes of Newport who at the time played at a higher level. He was delighted to break the glass ceiling to get fixtures with Stafford and Burton who at that time were considered to be among the Staffordshire elite.

After 5 years as Chairman he returned to Fixture Sec and then briefly House Chairman before becoming Secretary for at least 8 years. This corresponded with the move from Roughcote to Trentham Fields. John was not a major player in acquiring the new ground or the vital funding. However, as Secretary he was closely involved in all the legal aspects of the move including getting a full bar licence to replace our club registration licence.

John final achievement as Secretary was to convert the club into a limited company; this was done on the advice of the RFU who provided a template which needed to be customised to our requirements

On approaching 70, John resigned for the committee feeling that it was time for a younger generation to take control. Within a couple of years, he suffered a series of health problems which meant he would have needed to step down anyway.

Throughout his time with the club, John was keen that Longton should play  a more active role in Staffordshire rugby. To that end he frequently represented the club at Staffordshire meetings , briefly served on the Staffs F&GP and finally served on the Staffs Disciplinary Committee for some 10 years before ill health forced him to stand down

For more than 50 years of his time with the club,John has been supported by his wife Sue. Sue was one of a group of ladies who prepared and served after-match food for some 20 years at Roughcote. She was also an active member of the Ladies Committee which organised social and fund raising events for many years.