Martin Offiah | Up Close & Personal

Martin Offiah | Up Close & Personal

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Huddersfield Laund Hill

Laund Road

New Hey Road



United Kingdom

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Includes a 2 Course meal | Comedian Billy Wheadon.

About this event

Martin was first spotted by Widnes coach Doug Laughton playing in the Middlesex Sevens, and was signed by the club to play rugby league for the 1987–88 season. Alex Murphy had been interested in acquiring Offiah from rugby union, but the board of directors at St. Helens infamously turned down any interest. Within months, he became the most talked-about winger since Billy Boston for his lightning speed and try-scoring; at Widnes he forged a reputation as a devastating winger, helping the team win both the Championship and Premiership.

He ended his début season with 42 tries, making him the league's top try scorer, also breaking the club record held by Frank Myler for most tries scored in a season. He received the Man of Steel award for his efforts. He was also rewarded with a place in the 1988 Great Britain Lions tour of Australasia, where he played in all three Tests of the Ashes series which was lost to Australia. While on tour with the Lions, Offiah took part in a 100-metre match race at Wentworth Park in Sydney against Australian flyers Dale Shearer and John Ferguson (Ferguson replaced Greg Alexander who was forced to withdraw through injury). Confirming his standing as the fastest player in rugby league, Offiah easily won the race from Shearer and Ferguson. In the 1988–89 season, Widnes won the Championship and Premiership for the second successive year, and Offiah was once again the league's top try scorer with 58 tries in 41 games. He played in Widnes' 6–12 defeat by Wigan in the 1988–89 John Player Special Trophy final Burnden Park in Bolton. He then spent the summer in Australia playing for Eastern Suburbs. He scored a try on his NSWRL début against Western Suburbs, and went on to score nine tries in 12 games for the club before returning to Widnes a feat only surpassed by Steven Nolan. In 1991, Offiah had a second spell in Australia, this time playing for St George Dragons. He scored 11 tries in 14 games, including a hat trick against his former club, Eastern Suburbs. Over four seasons at Widnes Offiah scored a total of 181 tries in 145 games.

Offiah joined Wigan in January 1992 for a world record fee of £440,000. This figure remained a record for a total cash transfer until Wigan beat their own record, paying £450,000 for Stuart Fielden from the Bradford Bulls in 2006. Playing in his regular left wing position, Offiah formed a devastating partnership with Gene Miles in his first season at Wigan scoring 30 tries in just 15 games including setting a new club record of ten in a single match against Leeds in the Premiership semi-final in May. He was selected to go on the 1992 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand. During the 1992–93 season Offiah played on the wing for defending RFL champions Wigan in the 1992 World Club Challenge against the visiting Brisbane Broncos. A week before the WCC, Offiah had played on the wing for Great Britain in the World Cup Final against Australia at Wembley in front of an international rugby league record crowd of 73,631 fans.

Offiah jointly holds the record for the most tries scored in a match for the England national rugby league team.

Offiah made a total of 158 appearances for Wigan with another single appearance as a substitute. He scored more than a try a game, crossing the line 186 times. He also managed a goal and three drop goals, thus scoring a grand total of 749 points for the club. He left the club in 1996 to return to the capital to play for London Broncos, but sent an open letter to the Wigan Observer thanking fans and the club for his time there.

When rugby league made the switch to summer rugby in 1996, Offiah played in only ten games before moving to the London Broncos. He played for London in their 1999 Challenge Cup Final defeat against Leeds. In total, he scored 24 tries in 48 games for the club.

In 1996, after rugby union had officially allowed professionalism, Offiah signed for Bedford Blues, and had a brief spell there while also playing for the London Broncos. He played 14 games for the club, scoring 10 tries.

After the London Broncos he moved to Salford City Reds for the 2000 Super League V, staying for two seasons, playing 45 games and scoring 23 tries.

He finished his career in 2001–02 playing rugby union for London Wasps, who were coached by his former Wigan team-mate Shaun Edwards. He played in eight games for the club, scoring five tries.

He was awarded an MBE in the 1997 New Year Honours.

Martin is now a TV Celebrity and Commentator.

Martin Offiah | Up Close & Personal image
Martin Offiah | Up Close & Personal image
Martin Offiah | Up Close & Personal image
Martin Offiah | Up Close & Personal image
Martin Offiah | Up Close & Personal image

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