It is with great sadness that Warrington Wolves have heard of the death of Alan Rathbone. Alan aged 57, passed away on Saturday morning after a long illness and the club pass on their condolences to his family and friends.
Alan was a back-row forward who joined Warrington on 27 June 1985 from Bradford Northern, for a transfer fee of £40,000.
He was born in Warrington, grew up in Bewsey and represented Warrington Schoolboys.
His first professional club was Leigh. He progressed through the Leigh Colts side and made his first team debut at the age of 17 on 10 September 1976 against Castleford. He quickly earned the nickname “Rambo” for his all-action aggressive play. While at Leigh Rathbone played once for Great Britain U21’s.
He was transferred from Leigh to Bradford Northern in June 1981. He went on to earn five Great Britain caps, the first in 1982 as a substitute against Australia in the second Test at Wigan. In 1983 and 1985 he played in four internationals against France.
Alan made his first team debut for Warrington on 1 September 1985 against Bradford Northern at Wilderspool. He went on to make 33 appearances and scored three tries in his two years at Wilderspool. His final match was on 26 April 1987 when he scored a try in the 24-12 first round play-off win over Hull Kingston Rovers at Wilderspool.
Alan Rathbone has the Warrington Heritage Number 852.
“Rambo” was sent off twice in his time at Warrington. The first was in the 1985 Lancashire Cup final 34-8 loss to Wigan, for which he earned a six-match suspension. He was banned for two matches for his dismissal against St Helens later in his first season with Warrington.
He was substitute in the 1987 John Player Trophy final against Wigan. Warrington lost 18-4 at Burnden Park.
In June 1987 Rathbone was transferred to Leeds for £35,000. He only managed one appearance before injury caught up with him and he had to retire.
Alan Rathbone was a skilful and tough Rugby League player who fully lived up to his nickname “Rambo”.