Sale of Martin was controversial

Halifax bagman Phil Coventry was flabbergasted.

We were standing at the top of the drive at Thrum Hall one autumn evening when this car roared up and stopped with a screech of brakes.

A bloke jumped out who was a prominent sponsor at the time and shouted: "Is it true that you lot have just sold Martin Wood?"

He wasn't happy when we said yes and that Roger Millward had considered "Woody" to be surplus to requirements in October 1991.

The incident sprang to mind last Sunday at Workington, where the player later had a spell, and where Town's backroom staff still remembered him.

But why this polarity in opinion over 16 years ago?

Part of the problem was that Wood was a very versatile footballer.

He had scored 30-odd tries in the club's promotion season playing as a centre or wing but had plenty of experience at loose forward.

He'd never established himself as either back or forward though.

Once Millward had decided that his future was in the pack however - due to being adjudged not fast enough for the top flight in the backs - his days were numbered along with several of his colleagues, most notably Jason Ramshaw, Matthew Silva, Rob Hutchinson and Mick Keebles.

They all started the 1991/92 season but Ramshaw was supplanted by Roy Southernwood in the hooker's shirt and Wood, Hutchinson and Keebles were all victims of the signings of Gary Lord, John Fieldhouse and Greg Pearce to boost a pack which was being systematically bullied.

In another twist, Pearce was signed as well for his goalkicking prowess after Silva, the Welsh fullback who had been originally earmarked for the role, had a nightmare in the opening game of the season, a 40 point thrashing by Featherstone at Thrum Hall.

It made for a pretty strong second team for a while!

League newcomers Scarborough then started to flex their muscles in the transfer market.

They already had one former Thrum Haller in scrumhalf Steve Robinson and made overtures for Ramshaw, Wood and Dick Fairbank.

They were being bankrolled at the time by Geoffrey Richmond, later of Bradford City fame, and the money being offered was too good for lads who had been reduced to fringe players.

It made our sponsor apoplectic but was Millward right?

There's a nice trip to Keighley on Sunday.

Normally that means meeting several old Fax faces in the Cougars' ranks but it looks as if only Andy Shickell and Danny Jones might be lying in wait this time.

Strangely enough it looks this year that the club with the biggest contingent of former Halifax players is…..Oldham.

The Roughyeds have no fewer than nine - Simon Baldwin, Simeon Hoyle, Daryl Cardiss, Richard Mervill, Danny Halliwell, Jason Boults, Rob Roberts, Phil Joseph and Marcus St Hilaire - in their ranks plus of course coach Steve Deakin and his assistant Alan Hadcroft.

Okay, so the last named player didn't actually play in a game but he did sign for the club before being released to go full time at Bradford at the start of 2006.