A loyal servant to the Leeds Club, Joe Warham has been involved in Rugby League for well over 60 years trying his hand at almost everything the game has to offer.
Born in Warrington in 1920, he began his career as a winger playing for Oldham and Swinton before moving into coaching with a brief spell at Rochdale. In 1958 he joined Leeds as coach, unaware that it was to be the start of a relationship that would propel him into the Rugby League history books and still hold strong 50 years later.
Within just three years Joe had led Leeds to their first ever Championship victory when his side, captained by Lewis Jones, triumphed 25-10 over Warrington at Odsal stadium. He then moved into a managerial role, before returning to fill the coaching hot seat for a brief period in 1969, following the departure of Roy Francis. His second spell as coach also proved successful as Leeds lifted the Championship for the second time after a thrilling victory over Castleford in the play-off final.
Throughout the sixties and seventies Joe also took control of recruiting new players and this coincided with one of the most successful eras in the club’s history. From 1968 to the end of the 70’s Leeds had the honour of winning at least one major trophy every single season, including two Championships, three Challenge Cups, a Regal Trophy victory, two Premiership crowns and numerous Yorkshire Cup triumphs.
Joe was made general manager of the company at Leeds in 1980 and spent 10 years in that role before retiring in 1990. However, his relationship with Headingley continues today and he is president of the Leeds Taverners Club and the Leeds ex-players’ association.