Rugby League great Garry Schofield began his career at Hull FC after graduating through the club’s academy set-up to debut during the 1983 season.Going on to feature over 100 times for the Airlie Birds, Schofield enjoyed further success with hometown club Leeds Rhinos and also went on to earn a record-equalling 46 caps for Great Britain at the time of his retirement.
He is considered as one of the best players of all time, being awarded the 1990 Rugby League Golden Boot Award retrospectively in 2011 and taking a place in the prestigious British Rugby League Hall of Fame.
Here, Garry kindly takes the time out of his work as a media pundit to become the latest former Hull FC star to blog about his days with the Airlie Birds:
"When I was first invited to come and train with the first team, it was very enjoyable as the reason I signed for
Hull was quite simply because they were so welcoming.
I made my first team debut at the Boulevard against Warrington, where it ended up 22-apiece. That was a real learning curve for myself because I was playing against their internationals of the time, and they gave me a real introduction into what professional rugby league was all about.
It actually made me black and blue, and the match taught me rugby league wasn’t going to be easy; not only did you have to work very hard, but you had to learn very quickly.
If it wasn’t for Hull as a group, first looking to sign me, then giving me the confidence through their coaching and letting me play league straight away.
When you look back, and look at the quality of their side, Arthur Bunting putting me straight into that first team on a regular basis with the great David Topliss made my career what it is. He took a big gamble on an 18-year-old, so I have a huge respect for him and owe him a great deal for doing that.
If it wasn’t for Arthur Bunting and the players around me then, quite simply, I don’t think I would have played for Great Britain 46 times or captained Great Britain, that’s for sure. There’s no two ways about it.
The great thing was Arthur Bunting made sure you kept your feet on the ground from a training point of view.
People like myself, although I was playing first team rugby league from August, weren’t allowed to get changed – on training nights – in the first team dressing room until February.
Then, Arthur Bunting said “you’ve earned the right, and earned the respect, to be with the big boys.” That was how it worked in those days, and Arthur’s man-management was sensational. He made sure you kept your feet on the ground by being respectful, and was great.
Just getting into those changing rooms felt like a sense of achievement. Getting changed next to the likes of the players we had was sensational, but you had to earn that privilege.
I made my debut for Hull in the August, and went on to make my debut for Great Britain the following January. I can’t thank everybody associated with the club enough for what they did; I just watched players like Lee Crooks and tried to learn from them, and progressed from there."