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11th February 2016, 07:01 | Warrington

Pioneer Genders passes away

Pioneer Genders passes away

Harold Genders, the man who launched professional rugby league in London, has died after a long illness at the age of 85, his family has announced.

A former director of Warrington Wolves, it was Genders who in 1979 put the idea of establishing a club in the capital to Fulham FC chairman Ernie Clay and, as general manager, virtually single-handedly assembled a team in 10 weeks that managed to beat Wigan in their first game at Craven Cottage.

The team were promoted in their first year and, although they made the first of a series of moves around the capital four years later and subsequently underwent three name changes, they still exist today as London Broncos.

"He wanted to show rugby league to Londoners so that they could see what a wonderful game it was," said his wife Shirley.

Genders, who died on Tuesday, wrote a book in 2000 about his experiences entitled 'The Fulham Dream: Rugby League tackles London'. He was a scrum-half in his playing days with Rochdale, Widnes Vikings and Blackpool.

He also leaves sons Chris and John, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and his funeral will take place at Walton Lea Crematorium, Warrington, on February 24.