POPULAR rugby league player Graham Swale's first spell at Fartown came to an abrupt end after his hair-raising practical joke backfired.
The 23-year-old Moldgreen product `borrowed' Huyton player-coach Geoff Fletcher's toupe during a John Player Trophy first-round tie.
The veteran Fletcher, already frustrated by his side's narrow 19-17 defeat, failed to see the funny side, and Huddersfield's directors were forced to act fast.
Swale was banned from the club, had his price tag cut from £5,000 to £2,000, and ended up at Bramley.
He had scored 177 points for Huddersfield after making his debut in a 32-14 victory at Doncaster in September 1979.
Having been signed as a hooker, he played on the wing under Maurice Bamford, then became a regular at loose-forward when Brian Lockwood took over.
"I expected a five-match ban, but when they told me it was the whole of the season, I nearly fell off my buffet," said Swale at the time.
"Now I just want to get away from Fartown. I wouldn't go back there if they paid me!"
As well as Bramley, Swale had a stint at Halifax before signing for Batley in 1983.
In October 1984, he rejoined Huddersfield, making his second debut back at Doncaster, where he scored a try in an 18-8 victory.
"Despite what happened, which was all a misunderstanding in any case, I never really left," he said.
"When I was at Bramley, I used to come back to Fartown after matches and training, and I always used to watch Huddersfield when I wasn't playing myself.
"I played in all the junior teams at Huddersfield, my heart is still at the club and I've always wanted to get back here."
Sadly, he made only 13 more appearances under coach Lockwood, scoring 45 points, in the claret and gold before sustaining a broken leg during a 17-6 defeat by Mansfield Marksmen at Fartown.
The fracture necessitated two operations, and Swale, then 27, would have needed a third to even have a chance of playing again.
It must have been a bad injury. for during a match against Salford a month earlier, he had played the final 10 minutes, despite being unable to move his right arm!
Both substitutes, Dennis Fitzpatrick and Ian Thomas, had already come on, so Swale switched to the wing before being taken to hospital after the hooter sounded.
"If you don't get stuck in, you get hurst a lot more," he said.
"A few stitches are nothing, and you can run off a lot of injuries like dead legs.
"When I'm playing my mind is blank to everything else. I don't think about the pain, and it's only when I wake on a Monday morning that I feel the knocks."
From Wigan to Prescot via London and Huyton
WHO remembers Huyton?
In actual fact that was just one of a string of titles used for a club which came into existence as Wigan Highfield in 1902, and won admission into the Rugby League in 1922.
In 1933 they finished second from bottom and were only saved by the intervention of the owners of the White City Stadium in London, who paid off their debts in return for the club moving to the capital, as London Highfield.
They revolutionised the game by playing under lights, and crowds were relatively good, but money was lost and the venture lasted just a year.
The club then transferred to the Stanley greyhound stadium in Liverpool and became Liverpool Stanley.
For the start of the 1950/51 season the club moved to Mill Yard, Knotty Ash and was renamed Liverpool City for the 1951-52 season.
In July 1964 the club's board were informed that the Knotty Ash lease would not be renewed and negotiations then took place with Huyton local authority for a 21 year lease at the new Alt Park Ground which was eventually ready in 1969.
The club continued as Huyton until the 1984-85 season when they moved to Canal Street, Runcorn (the home of Runcorn Football Club) and became Runcorn Highfield.
Runcorn were best known for forfeiting ground advantage in the Challenge Cup tie against Wigan in November 1988.
The move provoked a players' strike and the team that faced Wigan comprised a number of trialists and reserves together with the coach, Bill Ashurst, who had come out of retirement.
Highfield lost 92-2 in front of a crowd of 7,233 at Central Park and Ashurst was sent off.
When the football club increased the rent for Canal Street, Runcorn signed a 99-year agreement with St Helens Town FC in 1990.
The move was opposed by St Helens RLFC and the Rugby League Board but approved by the full Rugby League Council by 26 votes to six.
The club was renamed Highfield for the 1991-92 season.
After a truly dismal 1995-96 season, when only one game was won, Highfield were rebranded Prescot Panthers, but the end came after they 1997 season when they rsigned from the Rugby League.
Town get a blast from angry boss
MICK BUXTON was furious as his Town team slumped 3-2 at Gillingham in the old Third Division.
Three scrappy goals were given away in the opening 20 minutes at Priestfield.
And even though 16th-placed Town responded by forcing a Mark Weatherly own goal and with a header by Keith Hanvey, the Kent club held out.
"The players were prepared well physically, technically and mentally," said Buxton, below.
"People talk in terms if motivation, but what does that mean? A professional athlete has to motivate himself.
"I can't do it for them - they have to do it themselves.
"It's my job to prepare them. They have to go out there and perform - right from the start.
"We do all we can, they have to do all they can.
"It seems the players need a jolt to get into their stride, and they got a hell of a jolt here.
"It's a long time since we conceded three such soft goals and it had better be a long time before we do it again.
"The time has come for some of them to pull their fingers out, to put their house in order.
"The object is to get to the top of the table."
10 YEARS AGO
* Jamie Marsden, from Lindley, won a place in the Yorkshire Under 18 rugby union team to take on Ulster at Wakefield.
* Carol Greenwood, the former Holmfirth Harrier who had joined rivals Bingley, won a World Cup mountain race at Morbegno in Italy, beating home hope Nives Curti in a tight finish.
* Huddersfield's Clare Taylor was named in the England women's football team for the European Championship qualifying tie in Belgium. Taylor had scored her first international goal in the previous 10-0 win over Slovenia.
* Huddersfield Star Wheeler Chris Giles won the national student hill climb championship for the second time in three years. The 20-year-old architecture student covered the 1,470-yard course at Pendle, near Burnley, in 4min 2sec.
* Mark Haywood, of the Central League-bound Police Cricket club, won the Huddersfield Association batting prize for the third season in a row. He had averaged 66.71. Taxes' Paul Hirst won the bowling prize (40 victims at nine each).
20 YEARS AGO
* Leading Yorkshire bowler Gene Bardon, of Newsome WMC, won the Bass Mitchells and Butlers Olympia competition at the GEC Bowls Club in Stafford. "What a great end to the season," he said after a 31-18 final over Chadsmoor's Cliff Johnson brought him a £1,500 cheque.
* Exciting Huddersfield rugby league prospect Ian Thomas was named in the Yorkshire Colts squad for the clash with Lancashire at York. The white-rose squad, selected by Bradford coach Barry Seabourne, also included Hull's Garry Schofield.
* Skelmanthorpe's James Lord won the Yorkshire Under 16 Closed Squash Championship. The Yorkshire junior and Kirklees champion beat Ian Wilson, of Queen's, Halifax, 9-6 9-0 9-5 in the final at Wetherby.
* Greenhead Gym Club's Karen Hargate beat off competition from more than 50 rivals to become the Yorkshire Under 12s individual champion. Her club came second to Sheffield's Steel City in the team competition at Leeds University.