As you’ll all probably know by now, the death was announced last week of one of my all-time rugby heroes as Wilf Rosenberg passed away aged 84 in Israel. You’ll also be aware of what his memory means to me, indeed I have adopted his name as a pseudonym to write this drivel for the last 14 years. I did that as a tribute to a bloke who, although he only turned out for us for four seasons, will be remembered for ever by anyone who ever saw him play. For us lucky, lucky guys who saw him perform, his memory lives on.
As with Paul Woods, Alf Macklin, Ronnie Wileman, Garry Pearce and a host of other heroes of our back pages as fans, it’s not always the longest serving, highest scoring or internationally acclaimed that are indelibly stamped on our memories, but rather those who were characters, brave beyond the call of duty, massive servants or extraordinary talents that are retained and so it is with Wilf. As the Club sadly didn’t see fit to feature him on their website this week, there’s quite a bit about Wilf in this edition of the Diary and I hope you’ll excuse me for that. As with many of you reading this I’m sure, I’ll always remember him out there on the wing, on damp December afternoons in the gloom of the Boulevard, often 3ft off the ground flying towards the try line.
It’s now almost 56 years since he last played for Hull FC and perhaps I was an impressionable youth, perhaps time distorts and sugar coats our memories, perhaps I’m just a silly old fart, but when, for the umpteenth time again last week, I saw that (only existing) grainy footage of him on YouTube playing for Leeds, it brought it all back again. From the correspondence I have received from those who, like me, saw Wilf play, it would appear that I’m certainly not the only silly old fart about either!!!