A NEW project has been launched by Coventry Bears to find out more information about the club’s first players.
Bears first operated in the city over 100 years ago, and chief executive Alan Robinson wants to find out more about the first men that donned a Coventry shirt.
Following decades of no rugby league in the city, Bears re-launched in 1998. And this year the club will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
Robinson said: “Coventry’s City of Culture 2021 bid focused on heritage in all its forms, and that is something we at the Bears can also be proud of.
“This season’s shirts are black and are a modern take on the very first shirts in 1910, and they proudly bear the City of Culture logo.
“It is a sobering thought that those players we see in old photographs weren’t just facing tough battles on the field, but were soon to face the horror of World War I.”
Currently, very little is known about the lives of the club’s first players – what happened to them, if any survived the war or if they have descendants living in the city today.
A historian is searching archives for information while project leader Mike Hyde – a volunteer at the club – is helping to pull together information and made contact with others in the north of England carrying out similar projects.
Mike said: “We have the names of most players, but would really like to know more about them.
“It would be great if we could come across any other photographs or memorabilia from those days. That is why we are appealing for people who might be descendants and relatives to get in touch to add some flesh to the bones of the story.
“Already we have heard about one former player who was wealthy enough to have servants, which surprised us all.”
Any Coventry Observer readers that think they may have information to share should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.