We got on the ladder with no coaching experience, no nothing.
But slowly we got our feet under the table. We attracted players to Ramsbottom who we used to play with, and drip-fed them into the team.
We started to win games.
That’s when our attitude changed. It went from a bit of fun and being with our pals to: hang on a minute, we’ve got a good side here.
We started wanting to push things on that bit further. So, when one or two lads wanted to go out for a beer on a Friday night, it became: “No, you stay in on a Friday.”
That season we finished fourth, which was a 10-year high for the club. In our second season we finished second, and the year after that we won it.
“I looked at Jonno, who doesn’t cry. And I’m thinking, I’m ready to burst out crying here”
Eventually, it reached a stage when we realised we’d hit our ceiling at the club. The budget couldn’t get any bigger, crowds were at their max. If something didn’t change, we knew the team was going to get broken up.
Without courting it, we were almost desperate for the next challenge to come along.
When Salford came knocking in January 2015, we’d already turned down a very good offer from Northwich Victoria that season. It just hadn’t felt right.
It was a big decision for us to leave Rammy.
The day after we found out about Salford’s approach, we went to see the chairman. Harry. All three of us sat around a table in his house, and he broke down. A 70-year-old man. In floods of tears.
I was an emotional person – I still am – and this was someone we looked up to. The man who’d given us our opportunity. Made us what we were. Crying.
I looked at Jonno, who doesn’t cry. And I saw him trying his best not to cry. I’m thinking, I’m ready to burst out crying here.
Harry turned to me: “What are you gonna do?”
“You’ll have to give me 24 hours.”