11 Sep 2021

RFL pays tribute to Les Bettinson

RFL pays tribute to Les Bettinson

The RFL pays tribute to Les Bettinson, the former Salford player and coach, and Great Britain tour manager, whose death at the age of 86 has been confirmed by the Salford club.

Les, a Cumbrian who was signed for Salford in 1957 by the great Gus Risman, also served the RFL as President in 1988-89.

He made more than 300 senior appearances for the Red Devils until retiring in 1969, scoring 75 tries, and also representing Cumberland on seven occasions.

Away from the game, he became a popular and respected schoolteacher in Marple.

He moved into coaching as assistant to Cliff Evans before taking over in December 1973, and enjoyed a hugely successful three-year period in a golden era for the Salford club in which their all-star team were champions in 1974 and 1976, in addition to winning the BBC Floodlit Trophy.

He then joined the Salford Board, and represented the club on the Rugby League Council, which led to his election as President – and he was also Chair of the RL Coaching Committee.

As manager of the 1988 Lions, he worked closely with the coach Malcolm Reilly, with their efforts culminating in the famous Third Test victory at Sydney.

Ralph Rimmer, the Chief Executive of the RFL, said: “Les Bettinson gave outstanding service to the Salford club as a player, coach and director, and was admired throughout the game as a fine player, and also a gentleman. As a former RFL President and Great Britain manager, he contributed so much to the sport. On behalf of the RFL, sincere condolences to his family and many friends.”