Penkywicz is not far behind

Few Halifax fans can be unaware that James Haley has been with the club for more than 10 years.

But, after the upheaval in personnel over the last few weeks, who is actually the second longest serving player on the staff?

It is in fact Sean Penkywicz who made his second debut for the club in March 2007 after being away from the Shay for the 2004-2006 seasons.

Lee Paterson isn’t too far behind him as he arrived from Rochdale in the last week of June 2007.

‘Pato’ is actually in sight of his 100th first team appearance for the club.

In fact it is quite possible that Karl Harrison could give debuts to no fewer than 13 players in the first competitive game of 2012 – Ben Heaton, Steve Tyrer, Anthony Thackeray, Paul Handforth, Dane Manning, Craig Ashall, Iain Morrison, Sean Hesketh, Ross Divorty, Wayne Reittie, Mick Nanyn, Adam Robinson and Callum Casey – which would surely constitute some sort of record.

Some of these are not unknown around the place of course.

Gary Divorty, father of Ross, was a fixture in the first team between 1992 and 1995, not just in his preferred position of loose forward but also featuring at standoff and full back at times in an emergency when the team was short in those positions.

Few who were there will forget the last game before he went to Hull either.

That was the game at Headingley in September 1995 which Fax somehow contrived to lose 60-27 after being 27-10 up at halftime and in which Asa Amone was sent off within two minutes of making his debut as a second half substitute!

And Nanyn could have been here 13 years ago.

His dad (also called Mick) had played with John Pendlebury at Wigan in the 1980’s and rang him in 1998 before the Halifax Academy team played Swinton, where young Mick was playing at the time.

The pair of them sat together on the front row of the old wooden Thrum Hall grandstand to watch the game but nothing came of it. The standout man that day was David Hodgson who eclipsed everyone else on the field.

And Pendlebury’s Lancashire scout was urging him to sign Danny Halliwell who was one of the BARLA under 19 centres at the time.

Nanyn’s arrival this time (together with that of Tyrer and Ashall) also means that Penkywicz, Paterson and Ryan Fieldhouse will not be on their own in the “East Lancs Express” on the way into training!

Tyrer by the way is apparently no relation to namesake Kristian who was a target for Fax in the Steve Simms days.

That particular Tyrer was a kicking halfback at Widnes (and son of Wigan fullback Colin who fans of a certain vintage will remember) and Simms saw him as another potential replacement for Michael Hagan in the mid-1990s.

It all fell down though over the player’s personal terms after the clubs had agreed a fee, the lad opting to go instead to Keighley……