Fan with a difference

Date published: Wednesday, August 8, 2012

FOOTBALL fanatic Franc Andrews, a lifelong West Brom supporter, got hooked on rugby league as well when watching it on television at his home in Warwickshire.

A salesman for a printing company, he had already visited every professional football ground in England, Scotland and Wales so he set out on a mission to pay similar homage to rugby league grounds.

That was 16 years ago, and he has recently completed the full set — at Whitebank.

Soon-to-retire Franc —- “I’m not going to tell you how old I am” —- admits to knowing every motorway in Britain like the back of his hand.

He was at Whitebank for the London Skolars game to bring down the curtain on his tour of rugby league grounds, having discovered that Roughyeds no longer played at Boundary Park.

Said Franc: “This is my third trip to Oldham because I’ve been to Watersheddings, not long before it closed, and I went to Boundary Park to watch Oldham play North Queensland Cowboys when they had the old World Club Championship. It was blowing a gale at Watersheddings. I’ll never forget that day — they beat York.

“It wasn’t long ago that somebody told me Oldham now played at Whitebank, so I had to come. It’s a compact little ground. It might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I like it.

“I loved being so close to the action. The atmosphere was terrific. I like these little grounds — much prefer them to the big modern stadiums. They’ve got more of a ‘feel’ about them.

“I never miss a Baggies game, but as soon as the football season is over I spend the summer travelling the country watching rugby league.

“Don’t ask me how many grounds I’ve been on. Over the years a lot of clubs have changed grounds and I’ve followed them around, like I’ve now watched Oldham at three different home venues.

“I’ve nowhere else to go now in the UK so I guess my next stop will have to be the Catalans Dragons stadium in Perpignan . . . a far cry from Watersheddings or Whitebank.”