Joe Lydon (rugby)

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Joe Lydon
Personal information
Full name Joseph Paul Lydon
Born (1963-11-26) 26 November 1963 (age 51)
Playing information
Position Fullback, Wing, Centre
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1982–86 Widnes
1986–94 Wigan 262 89 283 16 938
1987 Eastern Suburbs 12 6 5 0 34
1989 Eastern Suburbs 10 2 9 0 26
Total 284 97 297 16 998
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1983–92 Great Britain 30 7 26 0 80
1985–88 Lancashire 3
Source: RLP

Joe Lydon (born 26 November 1963), is an English professional rugby league footballer of the 1980s and '90s. A Great Britain international representative Fullback, Wing, Centre, and Stand-off/Five-eighth, he also coached the England national side at rugby union.

Playing career[edit]

Lydon played first schoolboy curtain-raiser to Challenge Cup final at Wembley in 1975. He signed professional forms with Widnes from Wigan St Patrick's, making his début in a 9–10 defeat by Leigh in 1982.

In 1983 he made the first of three appearances for the Great Britain Under-24 team against France in January and a month later makes his full Great Britain début, scoring a try and three goals in 20–5 win over France in Carcassonne. In 1984 he won the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match in Widnes' Wembley win over hometown Wigan, famously scoring two 75-yard interception tries, as well as Man of Steel, Division One Player and Young Player of the Year awards.

In 1986, when he joined Wigan, Lydon became rugby league's first £100,000 transfer (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £327,600 in 2013),[1] making his début in a 44–6 win over Hull. During the 1987–88 Rugby Football League season, he played in the centres for defending champions Wigan in their 1987 World Club Challenge victory against the visiting Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.

Lydon was selected to go on the 1988 Great Britain Lions tour.

Lydon was selected to go on the 1992 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand and collected the last of his 30 GB caps as a substitute in 16–10 defeat by Australia in Brisbane. He would go on to make one further international appearance, coming on as a replacement for Ireland in their first ever international match, a 24–22 victory against USA in Washington DC in 1995. In 1994 he played the last of 262 games for Wigan as substitute in 30–6 home win over Featherstone.

During his career Lydon spent two English off-seasons playing in Australia for Sydney's Eastern Suburbs club.

County Cup final appearances[edit]

Joe Lydon played Right-Wing, i.e. number 2, scored a try and 2-conversions in Widnes' 8–12 defeat by Barrow in the 1983 Lancashire Cup final during the 1983–84 season at Central Park, Wigan on Saturday Saturday 1 October 1983, played Right-Wing, and scored a try and a drop goal in Wigan's 15–8 victory over Oldham in the 1986 Lancashire Cup final during the 1986–87 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens, on Sunday 19 October 1986,[2] and played Centre, i.e. number 4, and scored 5-conversions in the 28–16 victory over Warrington in the 1987 Lancashire Cup final during the 1987–88 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens, on Sunday 11 October 1987.[3] played Left-Wing, i.e. number 5, (replaced by Interchange/Substitute Ged Byrne) in the 22–17 victory over Salford in the 1988 Lancashire Cup final during the 1988–89 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Sunday 23 October 1988.[4] and played Centre, i.e. number 3, in the 5–4 victory over St. Helens in the 1992 Lancashire Cup final during the 1992–93 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Sunday 18 October 1992.[4]

After playing[edit]

Immediately retiring as a Wigan player, Lydon became the team manager of Wigan Warriors – a position he held until 1996. In 1997 Lydon was appointed the RFL's first-ever technical director, a post he held until resigning the post in 2000 when he was appointed manager of the England under-19 rugby union side. He was appointed England Sevens coach in October 2001.[5] In June 2004, he was appointed backs coach for the England rugby union team.[6] In May 2006, after being removed as England backs coach, Lydon turned down the opportunity to join the England RFU Academy.[7]

In July 2007 he began working with Waterloo Rugby Union Club as performance consultant. In August 2007 he was invited to the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium as a guest of honour.[8]

On 24 October 2007, Lydon returned to the Wigan Warriors Club as part of the takeover by Ian Lenagan and became Chief Executive of the Holding Company.

On 19 November 2008 Joe Lydon was appointed Welsh Rugby Union Head of Rugby Performance & Development.

On 24 May 2013, Joe Lydon was named RFU Head of International Player Development.


Joe Lydon participated in the televised all-around sports competition Superstars, finishing second in the 1985 Series.[9]

Player Awards[edit]

Only three players have won the Lance Todd Trophy, Harry Sunderland Trophy, and the Man of Steel Award, they are; George Nicholls, Joe Lydon, and Paul Wellens.


  1. ^ "Measuring Worth – Relative Value of UK Pounds". Measuring Worth. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "1986–1987 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "1987–1988 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "1988–1989 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Rugby Football Union – Joe Lydon Interview[dead link]
  6. ^ Ackford, Paul (6 June 2004). "Lydon warms to task of getting England backs up and running". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Lydon turns down academy position". BBC News. 26 May 2006. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "Joe Lydon – Wembley". Quins. 24 August 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2007. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Superstars roll of honour". BBC. 5 November 2004. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ellery Hanley
Rugby league transfer record
Widnes to Wigan

Succeeded by
Andy Gregory