Written by Mike Carter, Hull KR Shirts.
Welcome to My Collection With Sarah Cooper. In this edition, Sarah talks us through her love of Rugby League memorabilia including match-worn and replica shirts, shorts and socks, amongst other things from players to have represented Hull Kingston Rovers, Great Britain, Salford and St Helens.
MC – Sarah, what inspired you to collect player memorabilia?
SC – I was just stood outside the John Smiths’ Stadium in Huddersfield after a Great Britain game and Adrian Morley came over. I asked for a picture with him and then I thought I’d be cheeky and ask for his match shirt. Unfortunately, he couldn’t give me his shirt but said I could have his match socks, he also said if I see him after a game the following year, that I could have his shorts. He stayed true to his word and gave me his match shorts the following year. After that, I just started asking players at the end of the season and my collection has grown from there.
MC – When did you start collecting shirts and what do you collect?
SC – I started collecting stuff when I first started going to Rovers, I was 4 when my dad starting taking me and he used to buy me a programme at every game and he also got me all the shirts. Since then I’ve collected all sorts from programmes, badges, scarfs, shirts and players kit. I sorted my scarfs out the other day and I have far too many! I have scarfs from Challenge Cup Finals and Super League Grand Finals – mainly from watching Jon Wilkin at Saints.
SC – I’ve got a lot of replica shirts from over the years and my player worn collection is impressive too. I have; Adrian Morley’s match shorts and socks from GB, Paul Fletcher’s training tops from Rovers and Sheffield, Paul Cooke’s Rovers training top and a pair of Chris Chester’s boots.
SC – I also have a pair of Iain Morrison’s boots, one of his Scotland polo shirts and a pair of his Rovers shorts. I also have Leroy Rivett’s tracksuit top from when Rovers got promoted in 2006, from the Hull City Centre celebrations.
SC – Other items that mean a lot to me are; Jon Wilkin’s tie when he left Rovers. A pair of Paul Sculthorpe’s GB socks and Anthony Seibold’s smart aftermatch dress shirt.
MC – Do you have any match-worn shirts in your collection, Sarah?
SC – Yeah I have four. I have two of each of Chris Atkin and Daniel Murray’s shirts. I also have 2 training shirts from Chris Atkin, which are now framed and on the walls in my new house!
MC – What was the first piece in your collection, Sarah?
SC – In 2007 I got Adrian Morley and Paul Sculthorpe’s GB socks, I got them both on the same night in Huddersfield after a GB match. It was pouring down all day, but I convinced my dad to stay and wait near the team bus to meet the GB players. I was on crutches after having an operation on my ACL but it was worth the wait.
MC – How many Memorabilia pieces do you have in your collection?
SC – I’ve lost count if you include programmes, badges, scarfs, shirts, players kit etc. I have a lot of St Helens’ stuff with Jon Wilkin playing for them, a lot of Salford stuff from Chris Charles playing for them and now Chris Atkin being there. I’ve also got a lot of England/Great Britain stuff too because I usually go to all those games too.
MC – What is your favourite Rovers shirt in your collection?
SC – Probably the 1998/99 home shirt with the white and blue flashes up the side. It was the first shirt my Dad bought me.
MC – What is your favourite Rovers shirt of all time? (Not necessarily in your collection).
SC – I quite like the 2018 “A Little Respect” charity shirt and both the away and poppy shirt from 2019. I like shirts because they bring back different memories for me.
MC – Of the last two questions which is your overall favourite?
SC – If you made me chose, then I would probably pick the poppy shirt.
MC – What is the oldest item in your collection?
SC – The blue Rovers t-shirt from Wembley in 1997. I remember the game so well even though I was only 8. I can’t even explain what it felt like to walk down Wembley way, it was a surreal feeling. Mike Fletcher came over to us at the end of the game, it was just a great day all round. That was also the day that I started watching Saints too, they beat Bradford in the Challenge Cup final the same day.
MC – Best buy? (Mention value only if comfortable)
SC – It has to be Daniel Murray’s poppy shirt. I bought this in an auction from Dan himself and the money raised went to Mose Masoe.
MC – If you could use this to gain attention to find an item, which has eluded your collection, which item would it be?
SC – There are some current Rugby League players that I would love to get something of theirs in my collection – Tommy Makinson of St Helens and Jackson Hastings of Wigan Warriors! Chris Atkin is aware I’ve still got room for one of his Salford shirts on my wall too!
That’s everything for this edition of ‘My Collection With’. I’d just like to extend my thanks to Sarah for taking the time to share her collection with us all. Sarah has some amazing items in her collection and I hope she can add to it in the near future!
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