Obituary: Fax legend Johnny Freeman

Johnny Freeman  with his daughter Karen at the Halifax v Celtic Crusaders match in 2008.
Johnny Freeman with his daughter Karen at the Halifax v Celtic Crusaders match in 2008.

Halifax’s legendary winger Johnny Freeman, a member of the club’s Hall of Fame, has died in his native Wales.

Freeman, born in April 1934, signed for Fax from Cardiff International Athletic Club in December 1954 as a centre, the position he played in his early games.

But he became a wing sensation, scoring 21 tries in 21 appearances in 1955-56, when he played at Wembley, then a club record 48 in 45 games in 1956-7, then another 38 in the first 20 of 1957-8.

Injury curtailed his 1958 season - ruling him out of a near-certain place on that year’s Lions tour - but by then he had 109 tries in 91 games and cemented a great partnership with centre Geoff Palmer.

Freeman finally retired at the end of his testimonial season with a club record 290 tries in 395 appearances, plus 15 goals.

Freeman stayed in Halifax for many years after his career ended before returning to the Principality but remained an occasional spectator at the club’s home games in recent seasons.