A new blog series starts today with a look at the many famous families who have represented Featherstone Rovers.
Although he was born locally, Tommy Smales was a professional for seven years before pulling on the blue and white shirt of Featherstone Rovers. As a teenager he signed for Wigan, and was also at Barrow before coming home in 1965. Over the next four years he was to make the loose forward jersey his own with his creative skills and accurate goal kicking. For three straight years he was the club’s leading points and goal-scorer, his best year being 1966/7 when he landed 122 goals and scored 271 points. Nine of those points came at Wembley where a try and three goals saw Tommy shine in Rovers first Cup final win, against his old club. He retired prematurely at 30 and then entered coaching. As well as a very brief spell in charge of Rovers in 1974/5, he also coached Batley, Bramley, Dewsbury and Doncaster. See here: http://marklaspalmas.blogspot.com.es/2012/04/they-coached-rovers-chapter-ten.html
Tommy’s son Ian signed for Rovers in a blaze of publicity in 1987, the BARLA Youth player of the year that season and he soon forced himself into first team reckoning. Opinion was always divided over the best way for Ian’s undoubted talents to be used. This writer’s view was that it was as a creative loose forward in the mould of his father that he was at his most effective, though his record speaks volumes for his versatility. In 166 first team games Ian’s appearances were as follows: As a winger 19 games; as a centre 27 games; as stand-off 28 games; as second-row 58 games; as loose forward 22 games; he also played 12 games off the bench. In whichever position, Ian was a strong runner, sound tackler, capable kicker and showed touches of real class. He was recognised for international honours on the Lions tour of 1990, but disappointingly his representative career never took off. Rovers cashed in on his talents with a big money transfer in the summer of 1993.