Johnny Whiteley

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John William Whiteley MBE (born (1930-11-20) 20 November 1930 (age 87) is an English former World Cup winning professional rugby league footballer, and coach. A Great Britain international representative forward, and later coach, he played his entire club football with Hull F.C..[1][2][3][4]


Whiteley was born in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England.[5]

Early life[edit]

Whiteley grew up during the Second World War in Hull; his house was hit by the biggest bomb to land in Hull during the war. He attended Gordon Street Junior School and Westbourne Street School for Boys. He left school at 14.

At age 15, he joined Boulevard Police Boys' Club and was made prop. Shortly afterwards he moved to Hull Boys' Club and played for the Hull under-16 representative team. At the age of 18, Johnny joined the Military Police, 14 months of which were spent in Vienna, Austria.

Playing career[edit]

He signed for Hull F.C. in 1950 for free. Rather than offering Johnny a signing-on fee he was promised a place in the squad the following game. He played 15 seasons for Hull making 417 appearances and scoring 156 tries and 2 goals for at total of 472 points. In his time with Hull, he was never dropped.

Johnny Whiteley was selected for Great Britain squad while at Hull for the 1954 Rugby League World Cup in France. However he did not participate in any of the four matches, with Dave Valentine playing as Loose forward/Lock in all four matches.

He captained Hull from 1956 and that year the side won the league championship when Colin Hutton kicked a last-minute penalty in the final against Halifax at Maine Road, Manchester.

Hull won the European Club championship in 1957. Johnny Whiteley represented the Rest of the World in the 11–20 defeat by Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground on 29 June 1957. Johnny was a member of the 1958 Great Britain touring squad that retained the Ashes, and he scored a try in the 40–17 third Test success in Sydney.

In 1958 Hull won the play-offs again, against Workington Town. They lost in the Challenge Cup Final to Wigan at Wembley in 1959.

Whiteley was a member of the last Great Britain team to beat Australia on home soil in the 1959 test series, scoring the try that beat the Aussies that year.

Again Hull reached the Challenge Cup Final 1960 as runners up to winners Wakefield Trinity. He scored a match-winning try against the Aussies in the last few minutes which gave Great Britain the 1960 Ashes.

He was a member of the 1962 Great Britain team which won the Ashes in Australia.

Challenge Cup Final appearances[edit]

Johnny Whiteley played loose forward/lock, and was captain in Hull F.C.'s 13–30 defeat by Wigan in the 1958–59 Challenge Cup Final during the 1958–59 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 9 May 1959, in front of a crowd of 79,811,[6] and played loose forward/lock, and was captain in the 5–38 defeat by Wakefield Trinity in the 1960 Challenge Cup Final during the 1959–60 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 14 May 1960, in front of a crowd of 79,773.[7]

Whiteley became player coach in October 1963.

Coaching career[edit]

Whiteley carried on coaching at Hull after his last appearance as a player. When Roy Francis retired as Hull coach in 1965, Whiteley, now himself retired with an injured shoulder, took over, though he resigned in 1970. He then moved to Warrington on 6 February 1965 until the end of the 1969/70 season.

Whiteley moved across the river to Hull Kingston Rovers as coach in 1970 and stayed until 1972 when he was sacked.

He coached the G.B. squad that toured Australia in 1970 and they were the last to win the Ashes in Australia. He left Hull on his return to coach Hull Kingston Rovers until leaving them in 1972. He then carried on coaching the Yorkshire origin side for 12 years.

He was then recalled to coach Great Britain in 1980 for two years.

After rugby[edit]

After his career finished, he ran a gym in west Hull. He later set up the West Hull amateur rugby league club.

He joined the Rugby Football League Roll of Honour in November 2004 having been nominated by both Hull and Hull Kingston Rovers.[8] He was made an MBE for services to rugby league and the community in the 2005 New Year honours list.[9]


  1. ^ "Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ "England Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Great Britain Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Coach Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Birth details at". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  6. ^ "1958–1959 Challenge Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  7. ^ "A complete history of Hull FC's Challenge Cup finals". Hull Daily Mail. 31 December 2013. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Hull legend Whiteley is honoured". BBC News. 15 November 2004.
  9. ^ "Honours for Ashes and 2012 heroes". BBC News. 31 December 2005.

External links[edit]