Category: Rugby

RIP Alan “Bleasy” Blease


We at Sale FC Rugby are devastated by the loss of a cornerstone of our rugby family. He was a friend to all, a colleague to some and a cheeky gossip to many. I was first introduced to him more than twelve years ago and he immediately struck me as a kind and engaging man who was always smiling. He was as happy chatting with rugby superstars as he was to the kids who did the tours of the AJ Bell, treating them with equal respect and kindness. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. We are all better for having known you.


James Hourihan,

President Sale FC Rugby


Steve Smith reminiscing about Bleasy said


He was a pretty good prop but probably not quite as good as the first team prop at the time Fran Cotton. Playing 2nd team rugby and then becoming the person with the most difficult job in any rugby club, 3rd Team Captain. “Bleasy’s Blunderers” as they were known were held together and lead by a true club man who was Sale through and through. He was a genuinely lovely man. We will all miss him.

We have included the announcement today from Sale Sharks.

Sale Sharks are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved kit man Alan Blease at the age of 69, following a second short battle with cancer. 

Alan, or ‘Bleasy’ as he was affectionately known throughout the rugby community, passed away on Wednesday 8th of July 2020 surrounded by his family. He is survived by his two daughters Beccy and Jo and his three grandchildren, Koby, Chloe and Belle.

Originally a geography teacher at Whalley Range High School in Manchester, Alan joined the club as a 22-year-old in 1973, where he played as a prop for Sale’s 2nd XV before going on to devote his life to the rugby club. He stopped playing in 1990 when he was asked by Fran Cotton to be Chairman of Selectors, a role he undertook with his customary calm organisation until the beginning of the professional era at Heywood Road.

During a career spanning 47 years, ‘Bleasy’ has held almost every position at Sale Rugby Club including Player, Team Manager and most significantly, Head Kit Man. Alan, who was the longest serving kit man in Premiership Rugby’s history, embraced this role alongside his best friend and life-long colleague Robbie Dickson. The pair would go on to reach legendary status at the club and across the rugby fraternity due to their unique friendship, working relationship and commitment to the club and game of Rugby Union. 

Alan was not only influential in his role at Sale on a day-to-day basis but in developing the culture that the club prides itself on today, enjoying a fantastic relationship with all staff and players, past and present. ‘Bleasy’ will be dearly missed by everyone at Sale Sharks.

Speaking on behalf of everybody connected with the club, Sharks Director of Rugby and life-long friend Steve Diamond said:

“There are so many meaningless words traded around like ‘legend’ and ‘family’ in this day and age, especially within sport. On this occasion, I can say that Alan Blease is a true legend of Sale Rugby. ‘Bleasy’ was one of the elders of the unique rugby family we possess here at Sale and everybody has their own story to tell about such a great man. I’m sure some of these tales will be revealed over a pint or game of rugby in the near future, but for the moment our thoughts are with Alan’s daughters, Jo and Beccy at this extremely difficult time.”

We ask that supporters respect the privacy of Alan’s family at this time. If appropriate the club will share further details of Alan’s funeral publicly, however if you would like to send any messages of support to Alans family please email

As a mark of remembrance, Sale Sharks will hold a minutes silence at our first available home fixture, and the players kit will be emblazoned with Alan’s initials for the remainder of the 2019/20 Season.



Robbie Dickson & Alan Blease in 2019

Club Announcement on Crossford Bridge

There are some minor corrections to the original post (in italics).

It has come to our attention that Trafford Councillor Chris Boyes has been quoted in the local press regarding his opposition to the Sale Sharks Development of Crossford Bridge. Mr Boyes was described by the paper as a “senior member” of Sale FC Rugby club which is incorrect. Mr Boyes does not speak for Sale FC Rugby club, is not a current member of any committee or the Club Executive Body. He is one of over 200 Vice Presidents of the club who are awarded this honorary title for services to the club. Mr Boyes was awarded this honorary title as part of our now defunct squash section and was never a Sale FC rugby player but represented Squash on the executive committee over 30 years ago. We are very disappointed that an elected councillor is falsely representing himself in a Trafford Council committee meeting that intimated he was currently involved in the running of the club. 

Our connection to Sale Sharks is complex but mutually beneficial. We are a separate club entirely, however, we have many joint threads going back decades. Steve Diamond, was a player at Sale FC, Simon Orange was also a player at Sale FC(as part of the amateur set up).

We have provided a player pathway for future England stars to develop including the Tom and Ben Curry. The long list of current Sale Sharks players and ex-Sale Sharks players who have graced the ground of Heywood Road are too numerous to mention. We continue to provide a pathway for their academy players into professional rugby via playing in National One. We have also provided a pathway for Sale Sharks stars to transition from professional rugby to a life outside of full time rugby. Including Samoan International Johnny Leota, Tom Brady, Chris Mayor and Dave Seymour.

Sale Sharks in turn have supported us over the years with coaching, physio support, community work and helping us to develop a Women’s team Sale 1861. This symbiotic relationship has helped and enabled both clubs to grow in a traditionally strong football heartland.

The recent announcement by Sale Sharks to bring premiership rugby back to Sale is something we whole heartedly support. Their vision of having a community facility that provides a range of sports is something they’ve been working towards for a long time and hopefully will be able to build in the near future. They have a thriving community team who work with young people both able bodied and disabled. They support local Minis and Junior sections all over the North West of England but also in the immediate vicinity.

The Honorary Secretary of Sale FC Rugby club will be writing a letter to Mr Boyes to gain more information from him as to why he felt he could suggest he is a Senior figure at Sale FC Rugby club.

James Hourihan

President Sale FC Rugby Club

Weekly Zoom Bingo, The New Normal

Every week one of our club volunteers organises a zoom bingo game for the M&J’s groups. Each week one or two of our players joins in and does a question and answer session before we start. Although this activity is now the new normal for a lot of sports clubs, the one thing that strikes us is how superb our players are at joining in and involving themselves in the club.

We’d like to thank them all for doing this. We’d like also to thank Joanne Bambrick who organises it all and makes sure everyone is online, has cards etc. All the money raised (£1 per card) goes to the age groups that the person is from. This weekly social was born from necessity, but has become a really enjoyable midweek event.

This week for instance, we heard from Jake Barron that as a Flanker/Second Row, he’d rather push against prop Matt Talaese than Dan Matthews because Matt has a softer bum.  We also heard from Ollie Longmore that he became a hooker because he disliked the hooker at school and wanted to replace him in the team. That’s not the thing you’d hear from a run of the mill interview and why we love these sessions so much. #onesalefc