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Broughton Rangers
Club information
ColoursBlue, black and white
Founded1877; 144 years ago (1877)
(as Broughton Rangers)
Exited1955; 66 years ago (1955)
Champions1 (1901–02)
Challenge Cups2 (1902, 1911)

Broughton Rangers were founded in 1877. They were one of the twenty-one clubs to meet at the George Hotel, Huddersfield on 29 August 1895 to form the Northern Rugby Football Union. They were originally based in Broughton, Salford. In 1933, they moved out of Salford and into the Manchester district of Gorton and were renamed Belle Vue Rangers in 1946. The original club folded in 1955. In 2005, local businessman, Stefan Hopewell attempted to resurrect the club and now owns the intellectual property to Broughton Rangers and Belle Vue Rangers.


1877–1905: Foundation

Broughton supplied four players for the Lancashire county rugby team in 1887
Broughton supplied four players for the Lancashire county rugby team in 1887

The club was founded in 1877 as Broughton and added Rangers for its second season. The club's headquarters was the Bridge Inn on Lower Broughton Road and home games were played at Wheater's Field. On 15 December 1888, Rangers lost to New Zealand Natives 8–0. From 1892 the headquarters was the Grosvenor Hotel on the corner of Great Clowes Street and Clarence Street.

A motion to join the Northern Union was moved by the club captain and carried unanimously. Broughton Rangers was one of 21 clubs which met at the George Hotel, Huddersfield on 29 August 1895 and formed the Northern Rugby Football Union. Broughton built on winning the Lancashire League in 1896–97 and 1898–99 by becoming the first champions of the Northern Union. When the Lancashire and Yorkshire leagues amalgamated in 1901–02; Rangers' form was so outstanding that by February the championship was guaranteed. The same year, Broughton won the Challenge Cup beating Salford 25–0 at Rochdale in front of 15,006 spectators. Rangers won the East Lancashire League that season after finishing 12 points ahead of second-placed Salford.

1906–1917: Early success

Broughton Rangers became the first club to win the Championship and the Northern Union Challenge Cup in the same season in 1901-02.In the 1902 Challenge Cup final Rangers captain Bob Wilson became the first player to score three tries in a final. Broughton Rangers appeared in successive Lancashire Cup Finals, in 1906–07 and 1907–08, beating Warrington 15–6 at Central Park, Wigan but losing to Oldham 16–9 at Rochdale 12 months later. The Rangers reached the top-four semi-finals in 1907–08, losing to All Four Cups winners Hunslet.

Broughton Rangers lost 14–20 to New Zealand during the 1907–1908 New Zealand rugby tour of Australia and Great Britain on Saturday 19 October 1907, the match attracted a crowd of 24,000,[1] New Zealand led early in the game and despite a Rangers comeback,[2] New Zealand won.[3]

The club won the Challenge Cup in 1910–11 when it beat Wigan 4–0 at the Willows, Salford in front of a crowd of 8,000.

Broughton's last game at Wheater's Field was against St. Helens on 9 April 1913 before moving to the Cliff on Lower Broughton Road, Higher Broughton.

Inter-war years

Broughton's highest league position between 1918 and 1939 was sixth in 1935–36 and its lowest, 27th in 1927–28, with Rangers generally finishing in the bottom half of the league. The only trophy won in the inter-war years was the 1920–21 Lancashire Cup, when they defeated Leigh 6–3 at Salford in front of 25,000 spectators.

In 1933, Broughton Rangers moved to Belle Vue Stadium, inside the speedway track.[4] In 1941–42 the club dropped out of the wartime Lancashire League and did not return to league competition until 1945–46.

On 18 September 1935 Rangers signed future Lance Todd Trophy winner Frank Whitcombe from Army Rugby Union buying him out of the army for a fee of £100. Two years later in 1938, they sold him to Bradford Northern for £850, a world record fee for a front row forward.

Belle Vue Rangers

In 1946–47, Broughton was renamed Belle Vue Rangers. It made a Lancashire Cup final appearance in 1946–47 which ended in 9–3 defeat by Wigan at Station Road, Swinton. The club repeated this feat in 1947–48; losing again to Wigan 10–7 at Wilderspool, Warrington.

After the war, Rangers finished mid-table or above but after finishing 12th in 1950–51, Rangers finished 30th, second from bottom in 1954–55, its last season before the club folded.



See also: List of Broughton Rangers records

Players earning international caps while at Broughton Rangers/Belle Vue Rangers

See also: List of Broughton Rangers players

Other notable players



  1. ^ Haynes, John (1996). From All Blacks to All Golds: Rugby League's Pioneers. Christchurch: Ryan and Haynes. ISBN 0-473-03864-1.
  2. ^ "All Golds". Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  3. ^ "All Blacks Tour 1907/08". rugbyleagueproject. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  4. ^ Cronin & Rhodes 1999, p. 120