I posted this on the totalrl forum last weekend:
https://www.totalrl.com/forums/index.ph ... underland/
and got a bit of a mauling.
In short, I have a long-running gripe about the man of the match award in the Grand Final continuing to honour the name of Harry Sunderland, who was outed as a racist in his mistreatment of Roy Francis when he was at Wigan in 1938 by Geoffrey Moorhouse in his officially commissioned centenary history of rugby league in 1995.
I regard totalrl/League Express as representative of the happy clappy establishment of the rugby league hoi polloi, so I don't normally waste my time on that forum - it was actually my first post - but I thought if a campaign to rename the Harry Sunderland Trophy is going to get anywhere, it would have to get some support from this arena.
While I don't expect everybody to agree with my opinion about this - I get the argument about it being unfair to judge people in the past by the more enlightened standards of today - but I was a bit shocked at some of the comments nevertheless.
I was firstly accused of trolling just for raising the subject; one poster argued that Roy Francis must have deserved his sacking - unless I could prove it 100% otherwise; and most shocking of all, League Express boss Martyn Sadler trashed Geoffrey Moorhouse for telling the story in the book, and saying Robert Gate should have been commissioned to write it!
I have respect for Robert Gate's contributions as a rugby league historian, but his writings carefully avoid "dirty linen" such as this, and if he had been given the commission it would doubtless have been a bland re-telling of the sanitized history of the game, rather than the warts and all narrative by the renowned author Moorhouse.
Sadler is very disrespectful about the author of two of the best books ever on rugby league, and to dismiss his assertion about Sunderland "having no time for blacks" as hearsay, despite the centenary history being meticulously researched, is a depressingly reactionary comment indeed.
I would of course made these comments on totalrl but the thread was locked before I had chance!
Anyway, sod Sadler - I still want to sack Harry Sunderland, and I will continue to say so on authentic rank and file forums like this!
Got something to discuss about RL in general? Then this is the place to post it.
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