John Fairbank RIP

Leeds player John Fairbank pictured alongside his brothers David (Elland Amateur), Carl, (Bradford Northern and Great Britain), Mark (Oldham) and Richard (Halifax)

It was with much sadness that the club learned today of the passing of former player John Fairbank, aged 55.

John, heritage number 1184, made his debut for Leeds on 15th November 1987 at Whitehaven having signed for the club as an amateur international from Elland.

He joined a rare group of fathers and sons to have played for Leeds, pulling on the blue and amber as his father Jack had done back in the 1960s as part of the club’s first ever Championship winning side in 1961, crossing for a try in the win at Odsal.

John impressed in his first season as coach Maurice Bamford oversaw an overhaul of the Leeds squad following a flirtation with relegation the previous season. In total, John made 13 starts and six further appearances as a substitute that season. However, the arrival of Mal Reilly for the following campaign saw more changes to the side.

John would make two further appearances at the start of the 1988-89 season before transferring to Oldham as part of the deal that saw Hugh Waddell arrive at Headingley.

He made his debut for Oldham on 11th September 1988 against Featherstone and went on to make 31 appearances in total for the club.

As well as his father Jack, John was part of an incredible family of Rugby League player brothers.

On behalf of everyone connected with the Leeds club, we would like to pass on our deepest condolences to John’s family and friends at this sad time.