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Liverpool St Helens FC is  mourning the passing of one of its greatest ever sons,

Mike Slemen, who has passed away at the age of 69.

  The Liverpool winger played 31 times for England, was a member of the 1980 Grand Slam winning side and earned one cap with the British Lions.


After education at St Edwards College in Liverpool and St Luke’s College, Mike joined the Liverpool FC rugby club and never left. His final game for the club, after 16 seasons, was the last ever game played as Liverpool FC in 1986 before the merger with St Helens, against Preston Grasshoppers. Mike scored a hat-trick of tries in the win before spending the next three years as LSH’s first appointed coach.  

John Robertson, former President of the Liverpool Club said “This is sad news indeed. Mike was a 100% club man coming to us from school and was instrumental in keeping our club going through some difficult times. He was respected by all his teammates and above all was a truly great player. The club was very proud of him”.

Ray French, Liverpool St Helens current President echoed these comments saying “Today, wherever we go and wherever Liverpool Rugby is mentioned, we are always asked about Mike Slemen. Around our area he is a rugby legend in every sense of the word”.

Everyone at Liverpool St Helens sends condolences to his wife Eileen and family.

Address:  43 Myers Road, Liverpool L23 0RT


The RFU has paid tribute to Mike Slemen who has died aged 69.

England and British & Irish Lions team mate Bill Beaumont described him as "a great rugby player and a great all-round sportsman."

Beaumont added: “He gave so much to the game in his playing days, as a club and England coach and as Director of Sport at Merchant Taylors School, Crosby. He will be very much missed as someone whose generous spirit and outstanding athleticism graced our sport. Our thoughts are with his wife, Eileen, and his family.”

Born in Liverpool, where he played his club rugby, Mike was an outstanding England and Lions player, with a total of 31 caps for his country, retiring as England’s most-capped wing after the match at Murrayfield on 4 February 1984.

A pivotal part of Beaumont’s side that won the 1980 Grand Slam, his silken running and change of pace were inspirational.

Educated at St. Edward's College, Liverpool, where he was a fast bowler in the cricket XI, playing Sunday League football and as First XV scrum half, he made his international debut on 6 March 1976 v Ireland at Twickenham.

He played for Devon in the County Championship during his student days at St Luke’s College, Exeter, with his first national appearance in his final year, for England Under 23s against the touring Tongans.

A teaching post at Merchant Taylors’, Crosby, took him home to his Liverpool club and selection for Lancashire and the North. Playing for the Northern Division, he was part of the squad who beat the All Blacks 21-9 in 1979 at Otley, and had a crucial role in the game’s decisive try.

The core of England’s 1980 Grand Slam team was built on the Northern squad and Slemen was on the score-sheet in the Grand Slam decider at Murrayfield, his nation’s first Grand Slam since 1957. 

10 of the Grand Slam side went to South Africa with the Lions in 1980, under the captaincy of Bill Beaumont, the first Englishman to lead the tourists for 50 years. Mike was a first-choice for the tour and described by Reg Sweet of the Durban Daily News as “unquestionably the most talented all-rounder of all.”

He played his last first-class match in May 1986, captaining Liverpool against Preston Grasshoppers in the last game before the club merged with St Helen’s. He went on to coach at the club before, in 1994, coaching the England backs as part of Geoff Cooke’s management team.