Alan Black

Wednesday 10 November 2021 Written by: Adam

Born and bred a Geordie, Blackie – not to be confused with Steve Black, the Falcons’ fitness guru in the Rob Andrew era – joined Gosforth from the local grammar school in the early 1960s and was a mainstay of the first team at lock or number 8 for almost a decade before his work as a teacher took him south to Marlow. He was also capped by Northumberland.

On moving south he joined Wasps and served that club in a number of capacities, including player, captain, coach and President.

He would frequently return up north to visit family and friends, and even as Wasps captain would often turn out for Gosforth when required. Most notably, in 1970 when spending the holiday period back in the North East, he played for Gosforth on Boxing Day before driving down to London to captain Wasps on the 27th December.

That match was a casualty of the winter weather but he drove back up through the night to play for Gosforth at Morpeth on the 28th and in the New Year’s Day fixture with Novos.

He eventually left teaching and joined the RFU’s fledgling community programme. Although his work took him the length and breadth of the country, as a proud career Geordie he would easily find an excuse to visit a club in the North East so that he could look up old friends, visit his ageing aunt in Shieldfield and get his hair cut!

When he retired from his position with the RFU he eventually moved back to the North East, settling in Beadnell.

He remained a passionate supporter of Wasps, even after they relocated to Coventry, and was a frequent attender of matches at Kingston Park.

Although he was able to embrace the modern professional game his roots remained firmly in the community game, and he became the joint Patron of the amateur Gosforth club. He never did anything that he did not believe was in the best interests of the game.

His bubbly personality and dry sense of humour made him friends in every club he visited, and it is a sign of the esteem in which he was held throughout the game that when he found himself in disciplinary hot water for intervening in a skirmish between opposing props in a Heineken Cup match in 2007 while still working for the RFU, he was reprieved largely as a result of the flood of supportive messages received by the RFU within 24 hours of the incident.

He also had the mitigation of being a little the worse for wear, as he had been celebrating the birth of his first grandchild!

RIP Blackie.

*Article thanks to Kingsley Hyland*