Maurice Lindsay (Rugby League)

Maurice Lindsay (Rugby League)

Maurice Lindsay is the former chairman of Wigan Warriors Rugby Football Club and is in his second stint at the club after being one of the 'Gang of Four' directors that used to run the club when it domininated the league in the 80's.

Career

Maurice was a bookmaker when he came to Wigan in the early 80's to join Jack Robinson, Tom Rathbone & David Bradshaw. This led to an upsurge in the fortunes of the club. Wigan Warriors became one of the first teams to turn professional in the league and from that point on dominated the scene winning an impressive 17 League Championships as well as a record eight consecutive Challenge Cup wins between 1988 - 1995 as well as 20 Lancashire Cups and 3 World Club Championships.

Maurice was directly responsible for some of the recruitment in that time frame, bringing players to the club who later went on to become legends such as Dean Bell, Adrian Shelford, Andy Goodway, Andy Platt, Brett Kenny, Denis Betts, Ellery Hanley, Frano Botica, Gary Connolly, Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah, Mick Cassidy et al.

Maurice left the club for a while and became the chief Executive of the RFL in 1992, proposing the Super League which eventually replaced The Big League as the sport's main competition from 1996 onwards. Maurice eventually returned to Wigan in 1999 for his second stint at the club after Sir Rodney Walker, then chairman of the RFL sacked him after a campaign to unseat him failed.cite news
title = League's cease-fire is over as superpowers prepare for War
url = http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19980129/ai_n9651689
publisher = Dave Hadfield, The Independent
date = 1998-01-29
accessdate = 2007-08-30
]

Maurice had joined the club after it had moved from Central Park to the JJB Stadium after a buy-out from Dave Whelan which led to both the rugby team and the club's local soccer team, Wigan Athletic moving to the JJB. The clubs dominance had come under threat now that the league had gone fully professional and the introduction of the salary cap and 20/20 ruling (now 20/25) which led meant the club only won one Super League title since 1996.

Since the return of Maurice Lindsay the club has one won Challenge Cup, under the stewardship of Stuart Raper in 2002, reaching the finals of the Super League in 2000, 2001 & 2003 losing on each occasion.

This was seen as unacceptable by the Wigan board, and Maurice in particular who has had in total seven coaches at the club since his return with Andy Goodway, Frank Endacott, Stuart Raper, Denis Betts & Ian Millward all losing their jobs due to poor performances. (Mike Gregory was given leave due to an illness from which he later died.)

The club had a stark fall in its league position in recent years, with 2005 seeing the club fail to reach the top six for the first time ever in Super League and the 2006 season seeing the club rooted to the bottom of the league for most of the season before the acquisition of Brian Noble from the Bradford Bulls saved the club's plight.

A lot of the clubs fans have been aggrieved with the way Maurice has run the club since his return, believing he is still 'living in the 80's' and he should leave, with many fans incorporating 'GET MAURICE OUT' banners at games and on internet message boards. The reason for this criticism is Maurice's apparent insistence on buying Australian and Kolpak imports from places like New Zealand, Samoa & Tonga who have been given high wages and not performed to the standards the club expects which has led to the downfall of the club. Others believe the younger players that have been let go over the past few years from the academies where mistakes after they had made a notable difference to their new clubs fortunes (David Hodgson, Luke Robinson, Stephen Wild and Martin Aspinwall being the players in question)

Dave Whelan had expressed his desire for the Wigan Warriors club to achieve some kind of success over the next four years whilst Brian Noble is in charge or he will step down as a Director, and it is widely expected Maurice will go with him. It will probably not be the end of Maurice's connections with the towns sporting ambitions if he was to step down as chairman of the Rugby League outfit as he has just been given a position in the club's footballing side, Wigan Athletic to strengthen ties between the towns sporting clubs. A decision that was received badly by Wigan Athletic fans as Mr Lindsay has been a long time critic of the Football Club in the town and is actually a Bolton Wanderers Supporter.Fact|date=October 2007

There has been further calls for Maurice Lindsay to resign his post with immediate effect at Wigan Warriors after a deduction of 4 points from the clubs 2007 season after a breach of £222,314 (a 6.3% breach) from the 2006 salary cap. The breach placed Wigan in ninth position in the league, just five points above the relegation zone and culminated in the club being dumped out of the Challenge Cup by underdogs Catalan Dragonscite news
title = Wigan docked four points for breaking Salary Cap
url = http://sport.guardian.co.uk/rugbyleague/story/0,,2134909,00.html
publisher = The Guardian
date = 2007-08-26
accessdate = 2007-08-30
]

Due to the increasing pressure on Lindsay from the fans for him to step down Maurice offered to resign immediately from the board but later agreed to stay on until the end of the season, he released a statement on the 30 July, 2007 which cited a disappointment of missing out on reaching the New Wembley for the Challenge Cup and ill health as the reasons for stepping down. It was also said that Dave Whelan, the clubs owner persuaded Maurice to remain until the end of the season but may be looking to sell the club himself.cite news
title = Maurice Lindsay Announces His Intention to Step Down at the End of this Season
url = http://www.wiganwarriors.com/news_full.asp?newsid=3116
publisher = Wigan Warriors Official Website
date = 2007-07-30
accessdate = 2007-07-30
]

During the weekend on which the Challenge Cup final was scheduled to take place Maurice was taken to hospital after the club's doctor told Maurice he needed urgent medical attention due to a perforated gall bladder which needed operating on.cite news
title = Maurice Lindsay Hospitalised Over the Weekend
url = http://www.wiganwarriors.com/news_full.asp?newsid=3193
publisher = Wigan Warriors Official Website
date = 2007-08-28
accessdate = 2007-09-06
] . Lindsay was ordered by his doctor not to attend his final ever match at the JJB Stadium as chairman of the Wigan Warriors, a match which saw Wigan defeat their closest rivals St. Helens 20-12 in order to grab the last available place in the 2007 engage Super League playoffs.

References


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