AN incredible turn of speed and what’s been described as the “ultimate” side step earned Wigan winger Billy Boston his rightful title as a rugby league living legend.
He scored 478 tries for Wigan RLFC during his 15 years at Central Park – still a club record.
Now Wigan and Leigh residents have voted the 75-year-old as the best player they’ve ever seen grace the borough’s rugby pitches for a home team.
More than 500 people voted in The History Shop competition designed to end the ultimate sporting conundrum of just who was the borough’s greatest rugby player.
Leigh’s John Woods ran a close second followed by Central Park favourite Shaun Edwards.
But it was Billy Boston - who plied his trade in the 50s and 60s - who triumphed and will now appear in a new “Wigan Exhibition” planned for The History Shop next year.
Billy said: “It’s unbelievable when you consider all the great players at Wigan over the years. I’m grateful to all those who voted for me.”
When the History Shop’s £1.6m refurbishment is completed next year it will tell the story of Wigan from the Romans to present day.
A profile on Billy Boston will appear as part of a section of the exhibition called “Our Champions”.
It will celebrate the achievements of local people from entertainers and sports people, to leaders and those who have committed acts of bravery.
The competition to find out just who was the greatest rugby player the borough has ever seen was organised by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust in association with Wigan Warriors, Leigh Centurions and Asda.
Carole Tyldesley, Head of Heritage Services for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, said: “As a rugby player Billy Boston brought worldwide recognition for this town and when his playing days ended he continued to contribute to local life.
“He is a Rugby Llegend but clearly, from the comments we’ve received, he’s also a perfect gentleman, a great ambassador for the town and a truly worthy winner.”
Restoration work at The History Shop in Wigan town centre has been made possible following a £500,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and match funding from Wigan Council and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust - who manage the building and heritage services on behalf of the council.
Once complete it will see a new exhibition dedicated to the history of Wigan along with major access improvements and a full refurbishment of the study and research areas.