Leigh Leopards News
The Leigh Leopards are a professional Greater Manchester based Rugby League club that are one of the most historic clubs of either code.
Known as the Leythers, the club are famed for their red and white striped playing kit that makes them easy to recognise whenever they take to the field.
Despite been a well-supported club from the sports heartlands and despite been a club that has won all that there is to win at the national and regional level, supporters will know just how difficult it can be to read all of the latest news regarding the club but you can now read all of the latest news headlines right here on this page.
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Leigh Leopards Latest News Today
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There are 2 grounds that are heavily associated with the club, with there former Hilton Park stadium been home of Leigh RLFC between 1947-2007 and their new Leigh Sports Village home where they have been based since 2008.
Their ground is a good mix of seated stands, standing terraces and corporate facilities and with a capacity of just over 12,000, it is the perfect size for a club the size of Leigh and offers a fantastic atmosphere when full.
The club are based in the Greater Manchester town of Leigh, which is in the wider Wigan district and therefore in the middle of the sports heartland.
Leigh are one of the most historic Rugby League clubs in the world and they were one of the 22 breakaway clubs that formed the Northern Union, the forerunner of today’s Rugby League.
The club have enjoyed lots of success down the years including national titles and Challenge Cup trophies and they have enjoyed winning titles and trophies in regional competition.
In the ‘Summer Era’ they have become somewhat of a yo-yo team as they have become a leading Championship side that struggle to maintain their presence in the top flight.
Leigh RFC were founded in 1878 by Fred Ulph with there first ever match taking place against Eccles in Pennington before the club moved to Bedford, which would be their home for 10 years.
The club started to enjoy on the field success, which led to off of the field success including big attendances that saw the need for a new home ground.
In the end the club moved to Frog Hall Field, later known as Mather Lane, with the clubs first game there been played against Aspull.
A new stand was opened for the 1894-95 but the club would go onto to finish joint bottom of the table as they, Wigan and Salford were all punished for ‘professionalism’ in a move that would lead to the breakaway of 22 leading northern clubs to form the Northern Union- which would become the sport of Rugby League.
Leigh’s first game in the new code would see them lose 6-3 to Leeds but things proved difficult in the new code, with financial and disciplinary issues hitting them hard.
Leigh were forced to replay a match against Wigan at their own expense after fielding an illegible player and that nearly saw the club quit the sport and change to association football.
The club stayed with the new code and with some creativity off of the field, the club would go on to win the Championship but the way the club won, led to the creation of the play-offs for the first ever time in the sport.
Leigh and Wigan growing rivalry continued in the 1907-08 seaosn when a record crowd of 17,000 fans saw the 2 sides draw 3-3 before Leigh lost the replay at Central Park, only for Leigh to complain a player had left the field without permission and another replay was ordered.
The inter war years started strongly for the club and their matches with Wigan were now becoming a highlight of calendar including a Challenge Cup tie in the 1923-24 seaosn when over 33,000 watched the game but with strikes, unemployment, and high taxes on entertainment- Leigh started to struggled to balance the books.
Leigh struggled on but lost all of their big names and all of their youngsters to rivals who could afford to play more and by the restart of the sport at the end of the 2nd World War, Leigh had lost their home ground and their name was omitted from the fixture list.
Thankfully, a local business man and former player, named James Hilton made a plea to the authorities and the club were name din the fixtures and reformed with the name Leigh RLFC.
After starting their rebirth playing at Madeley Park, the club moved to Kirkhall Lane and changed the name to Hilton Park.
Leigh’s attendances started to improve, including a record attendance of 31,326 fans who attendance a Challenge cup match against Saints which helped them to break the record transfer fee when they paid £2,650 for Jimmy Ledgard from Dewsbury.
They broke their own record in 1950, when Leigh paid £5,000 for Joe Egan before they splashed out once again in 1951 when they signed Australian Rugby Union star Rex Mossop.
Leigh and Bradford Northern made history in 1954 when they staged the first ever matches held on a Sunday before they would become one of eight clubs to participate in the ITV Rediffusion Cup, where teams played matches in the capital.
The 1970’s and early 1980’s saw a return to national success for the club in an era named as the ‘Alex Murphy era’ after they signed the star halfback as player/coach.
In 1971, they would go to Wembley and defeat Leeds to win the Challenge Cup final before the club would gain promotion from the 2nd tier in the 1978 season.
In 1981, Leigh would go on to win the Lancashire County Cup and the league title but it proved to be short live success as they were relegated back to the 2nd tier in 1985 and for the next few years, they would yo-yo between the 2 top tiers of the sport.
With their financial situation proving a problem during the late 80s to early 90’s, the club changed name to the Leigh Bears but that only lasted one season.
In 1991, the club tried to sell their ground to raise some cash but they were placed in administration and lost ownership of their ground.
At the start of the summer era of the sport, the club changed their name to the Leigh Leopards but it proved to not too much of a change for the club as they continued to have struggles with their finances and it took 8 years for them to gain promotion to the new top flight.
There first season in the Super League roved to be a disaster and the club were soon relegated and that has been the case for the past decade or so, where the club have yo-yoed between been a club struggling at the foot of the Super League and a club challenging at the top of the championship.
In 2022, the club won the Championship Grand Final to once again gain promotion to the top flight and in preparation of their 2023 campaign, the club announced that they would change their name from the Leigh Centurions to the Leigh Leopards.
They would also undo over a 100 years of history and change their clubs colours, with the reasoning given been that their owner likes Leopards.
Leigh Leopards News Headlines
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