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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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THIS SPORTING LIFE - Steve Hogan

FORMER Barrow RL forward STEVE HOGAN played 176 times in the blue and white shirt in the 1970s. He is now landlord at the Strawberry in Barrow and he’s just let the fitter in

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Full name, date and place of birth:

Steven Joseph Hogan, September 6, 1951, Barrow in Furness.

What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?

It’s new till day. We are getting new tills installed at my pub, the Strawberry Hotel, and I need to be up early to let the fitter in.

Name your favourite sporting teams:

I am a lifelong supporter of Barrow RL - even played for them for nine years and was caretaker coach for a spell. I was only a boy in 1966 but I was a big supporter of the England soccer team and watched all their games as they won the World Cup. Great days.

Describe your greatest sporting triumph:

Being in the Barrow RL team that won the Division Two title in 1976. It was also great to play twice for Cumbria against the touring Australians and I was in the Barrow A team that won the Lancashire Cup in 1978, beating Warrington.

And your worst sporting disaster?

I suppose it was playing for Cumbria against the Australians. I had only carried the ball two yards when I was tackled by three big green shirts and cannot remember anything after that. Cumbria were expected to make a good account of themselves, but we lost 28-2.

Who is the best sportsperson you have played with or against?

The Gorley brothers when playing for the county and then Barrow stars like John Cunningham, Tom Brophy, little scrum half Frankie Jones, Keith Jarrett and a lad I thought was a great winger, Phil Clegg. My kid brother Phil, as well. Arthur Beatson was the best I played against, a strong tough prop.

Name your sporting heroes:

All those Barrow team-mates I have already mentioned.

And your sporting villains:

People like Frank Foster and Eddie Szymala were no angels. And I played against Dennis Jackson once when he was at Blackpool and he nearly cut me in two.

Do you think Barrow Raiders and Barrow AFC should join together in a shared stadium?

No way. Everything should be done to develop Craven Park. But they need to work on the hospitality facilities and the toilets need upgrading. I’m no expert, but I don’t think it would be difficult to make it an all-seater stadium.

What is your favourite book/film?

I suppose John Wayne in The Quiet Man and Zulu and I’ve just seen a film called Australia that I enjoyed. I only get time to read when on holiday and I like thrillers.

Is Barrow Raiders’ success good for the area?

Yes – and Barrow soccer, too. They have both got people talking. I followed the rugby all season and after that Grand Final win at Warrington I was so hoarse I couldn’t speak for two days.

Have Barrow Raiders got a chance of gaining a Super League licence?

Every chance if they get the ground sorted out. We saw at Warrington how they had negotiated with nearby stores to use their car parks and I would like to think something like that could be done in Barrow.

Should drugs cheats be banned?

Yes – forever.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing sport today?

The lack of sponsorship. I talk to directors of the soccer and the rugby and getting people to help financially is so difficult. I know we are knocking on the same doors and asking the same people but it would be great if people were willing to increase their stake in rugby’s £1 lottery.

Where will you be and what will you be doing 10 years from now?

Retired, hopefully, and helping Barrow rugby in some way. I want to travel, too. My wife Diane wants to go to Australia and Canada, where we have friends and relations, and I have promised her we will go when I retire. You need to spend time there; a couple of weeks is no good.

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