A FORMER Warrington Wolves formidable front-rower has revealed something special that Roger Hunt used to do for him once a year.

Tributes have flooded in for Hunt, Warrington's England 1966 World Cup winner, since he died peacefully at home on Tuesday, September 28, aged 83, after a long illness.

Proud Welshman Mike Nicholas, who played 152 games for The Wire between 1972 and 1980, became firm friends with Hunt through a shared love of golf.

"We used to play quite a bit of golf and I relayed a story to him about the day he won the World Cup,” said Nicholas, 75.

“My family was big on cricket – dad was an umpire, mum made the tea, that sort of thing.

“We wanted to watch England on TV in the World Cup Final but my mum said we had to play cricket. And we lost the toss, so we wouldn’t be able to see any of it and were heartbroken.

“As a result of telling the story to Roger, from that day on he rang me on my birthday every year to wish me a happy birthday - July 30, the same date as the 1966 world cup final.

“There was one year he was on the Gold Coast in Australia on a promotion and I rang my old teammate out there Dave Wright to fix him up with some golf.

“And then when Roger rang me from there to wish me happy birthday he said I’ve got somebody here who wants to talk to you.

“I didn’t realise who it was but he said ‘thank you for the golf’ and I scored a hat-trick in the World Cup Final.

“Roger had only put Geoff Hurst on the phone. I nearly curtsied when I realised.”

Warrington Guardian:

Mike Nicholas. Picture: Mike Boden

Nicholas added: “Roger was a real gent, a lovely boy and a true Warringtonian.

“I used to arrange golf days and venue openings and Roger would always turn up.

“What a giant of a local boy who made good.”

Hunt remains Liverpool's record league goal-scorer, having struck 244 times in an 11-and-a-half year stint at Anfield.

His 285 goals overall for the club was a record until broken by Ian Rush in 1992.