First & foremost I must be congruent and admit that I both know the author and have had the privilege to play alongside him in one of the best RAF Rugby League sides that he helped put on the map, the Bruggen Bulldogs. Indeed, I sat down to read this book with a smile on my face, knowing that at some point “Clacker Clayton” would undoubtedly take me back to a time in my life that was helped by the great game of Rugby League, and in no uncertain terms, the friendship and camaraderie that goes alongside playing any sport.
What I didn’t expect, nor did I really appreciate was how I was able to return to my roots in 1997 whilst serving in Germany. This frustrated Union playing Northern lad from Bradford was amazed to see a Rugby League team built on strong foundations and it was there I was introduced to “Clacker”; also known as Mr RAF Rugby League, who was flying through the ranks and could play a bit. Our paths crossed many a time since them heady days, right up to my Medical Retirement from the RAF in 2008 whilst we were both serving in Northern Ireland. He was still at it then, striving forward with his career, struggling against “adversity” to set up yet another League team that became “Aldergrove Storm”, as well as flying home from Northern Ireland whenever he could to be with his fantastic family.
“Clacker”, this book was a pleasure to read and brought home to me what I already knew. You are a smashing lad that many owe a debt of gratitude to. From those high standards and work ethics that you maintain in your career in the RAF, together with the leadership on the field (and off it for some of us) and working so hard through all that adversity to allow many of us to play and enjoy our love of all things Rugby League. I am proud to have known and played alongside you.
This book is something you should be extremely proud of as it is a cracking good read that I would recommend to anyone. Whether you like Rugby League, have an interest in the Military or find this book on a coffee table in some Dr’s waiting room, give it a read. It will leave you with nothing more than incredible admiration for a man that triumphed through utmost adversity to achieve the impossible. Mr Clayton, it has been a pleasure and you still owe for that last ever RAF Germany game against BAOR!
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I served with the Author and can't emphasise enough the hard work and deication he has given to Service and sport of Rugby League. Most people would struggle to keep up with the demands of Service life let alone the extra activities taken on by Damian due to the passion he has for the sport and for others to enjoy the opportunity to play it. An incredibly inspirational story of a young lad determined to succeed no matter what is thrown at him. If anyone says I don't have time to do things, read this book. Highly recommended.
It really is a compelling book of how Rugby League was foundered in the RAF.
Great synopsis of a boy from bradford, playing for brighouse rangers all the way to a 38yr old Warrant Officer in the Royal Air Force.
My hat truly goes off to the author Damian Clayton, a real true reflection of his life and the battles faced both through the service in getting rugby league officially sanctioned in the RAF, to the adversity he faced with his family closer to home.
funny, emotional and inspirational to say the least!!
A thoroughly good read which will engrose anybody. An appealing book where the reader does not have to have an interest in the RAF or Rugby League to enjoy. It goes into great detail about the struggles of being recognised and proves that hard work and persistance, and strong team around you can result in great things happening.
Got to say this is a great read even if your not a rugby fan. It shows how a motivated individual can get results 'Through Adversity' and against the system. Very well put together and it really shows that if you follow what you believe in you can achieve it against the odds.
A great read, detailing the efforts and everything Damian Clayton had to go though in getting Rugby League off the ground in the Armed Forces. A very honest and detailed read, great stories and great humour throughout! Highly recommended to all!