The Rugby Football League have paid tribute to Maurice Lindsay, whose death at the age of 81 has been announced by Wigan Warriors this morning.
Lindsay, a bookmaker by trade, was a leading force at Wigan RL during their most successful era in the British game when they establilshed themselves as the most feared side in the game. During his tenure Wigan win eight Championships in a ten year period and nine Challenge Cups including the famous eight in a row between 1988 and 1995.
He left the club for a while to become Chief Executive of the Rugby Football League and proposed the start of the Super League and the switch to the summer schedule, the beginning of what many see as the start of the modern game.
Lindsay later rejoined the Warriors after Dave Whelan saved them from bankruptcy when they moved from Central Park to their current home at the JJB Stadium, his second tenure being less successful with a procession of coaching changes and a lack of silverware by Wigans previous prolific standards.
He finally stepped down on the grounds of ill health in 2007 after being taken seriously ill during the Challenge Cup final weekend which ended his involvement with the club.
Ralph Rimmer, the CEO of the Rugby Football League, said:
“Maurice Lindsay will be remembered as one of the most significant leaders in the sport’s history.
“First at the Wigan club, where the strength of his personality was critical in their emergence as arguably the greatest club side of all-time in this country, one which dominated domestically and flourished internationally, and whose impact extended well beyond Rugby League.
“Then when he moved to the game’s central administration at the RFL, he was the leading figure in driving through the inception of the Super League in 1996, which genuinely transformed the sport.
“He was a truly unique character, a wonderful raconteur, always had a twinkle in his eye - and he lived a remarkable life. Rugby League would not be where it is today without him.”