Tributes have been paid to Castleford Tigers “legend” John Sheridan, who died yesterday, (Nov 13) aged 78.
Mainly a centre or loose-forward, Sheridan made 301 appearances - all but one of those in the starting line-up - for Castleford from 1955 to 1966, scoring 86 tries, two goals and a drop goal for a total of 264 points.
He was appointed head coach in 1973 for a spell which separated two successful stints in charge of Castleford’s ‘A’ team between 1964-65 and 1981-82, leading them to 13 finals.
Castleford’s first team finished a respectable ninth in a one-division table under Sheridan, but he stepped down following criticism from fans.
That prompted a brief move to Leeds, where he led their reserves to victory in the league, Yorkshire Senior competition and Yorkshire Cup.
He returned to his role with hometown club Castleford’s ‘A’ team when Malcolm Reilly was appointed head coach, continuing his previous run of success.
Sheridan helped begin Doncaster’s transformation from perennial strugglers to a genuine force in the lower division after taking over as team boss there in 1984.
He also worked for a time on the backroom staff at Hunslet Hawks in an advisory capacity. Ironically, Sheridan - a Lock Lane product - came close to beginning his professional playing career with Hunslet, but they were pipped to his signature by Cas at the last minute.
Tigers chief executive Steve Ferres said: “As an active member of the Castleford Players’ Association and an honorary life member who was still regularly attending matches, John was a great servant for the club.
“He made a huge contribution to the game as a player, coach and team manager and is one of few who can be regarded as a Castleford legend.
“I had the privilege of working with John, sharing in his enthusiasm and experiencing his fantastic ability to spot young talent in the game.
“On a professional level, I greatly valued his opinions, but he was also a friend and a true gentleman.
“Our thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time.”
Batley Bulldogs boss John Kear said Sheridan was a coach ahead of his time. He explained: “He was ‘A’ team coach when I signed for Castleford.
“I knew him really well and there’s no doubt he was a Cas legend.
“He was one of the finest coaches I have come across – and I include current day ones in that, who are household names.
“He would work very closely with you as an individual to try and make you better and he had great foresight and vision.
“He was a modern-day coach perhaps, in the olden days. He generated a love of the game and passed that on to the players he worked with.”