Jeff getting prepared to strut his stuff at Wembley

Brighouse Rangers ARLFC committee member and groundsman Jeff Greenwood.
Brighouse Rangers ARLFC committee member and groundsman Jeff Greenwood.

Jeff Greenwood – one of the men responsible for reforming Brighouse Rangers RLFC nearly 40 years ago – will represent the club at the Rugby League Challenge Cup Founders Parade next month, live on TV and in front of 80,000 spectators.

Jeff, now 74, is better known in more recent times as ‘Jiving Jeff’ for the rock ‘n roll dances he puts on every last Friday of the month at the Lightcliffe Club, Siddal Ex-Serviceman’s Club and on selected Sunday afternoons at The Railway public house on Huddersfield Road.

He was also the ‘resident’ referee on the long-running ITV Sunday night soap ‘Where The Heat Is’ which was filmed in the Slaithwaite.

Many of the Rangers players and those at Slaithwaite Saracens were invited to be extras and players in the rugby matches that were played.

Jeff was a natural for the referee slot having taken up the whistle and carried out the rules to the letter of the RL laws over 15 years and into his early 60s.

However, his rugby league roots take him back to when he was playing as a 16-year-old full-back for Luddendenfoot, then at Queens Road and later at Ovenden before taking a break for married life with his first wife.

He made a comeback at the age of 36 in 1977 with Brighouse Rangers after getting them up and running again in March of that year with the late John Chase, who had played for Bradford Northern.

Jeff, a resident of the Lane Head district of Brighouse, went on to play until he was 48, sharing half-back roles with his son Paul, who is now a bank manager in Jersey and who will accompany his dad to the final.

“He is going to fly over for the weekend and hopefully let the parents take the Under-11 football team he coaches on the island to Guernsey for a competition,” revealed Jeff, while hopefully his wife Elizabeth and other son Andrew try to catch a glimpse of him on BBC TV.

The Rugby Football League are celebrating 120 years since the founding of the game of rugby league at the George Hotel, Huddersfield, in 1895 and, following their 120-mile walk last week which came through Brighouse, they are inviting the 22 founder clubs to have a representative for the flag parade ahead of the Challenge Cup final.

Each representative will wear the exact strip their town wore on the day of its debut in the Northern Union. Brighouse’s colours were and still are red, amber and black.

On the evening ahead of the final Jeff will be at the Lightcliffe Club for his monthly gig and then will snatch a few hours sleep before jumping on an early train to the capital.

He is still very much involved at the club where he also served for many years as secretary-treasurer and now works as a groundsman for the two rugby pitches at Russell Way and will also help the cricket club when required.