My connection to Saracens RFC started in my school years, as a regular spectator at Bramley Road for the 1st XV home matches in the 1970s. In 1991, I arrived back at the Club with my 6-year-old son & quickly became involved with coaching his Age Group – a role which culminated in leading the first-ever Saracens tour to Australia in 2002. In 2003-4 I was instrumental in re-establishing both Colts u.19 and Senior rugby at Saracens, coaching the newly-reformed 1st XV to successive Herts-Middlesex League titles in 2005-6 and 2006-7.
I coached on the Club’s first tour to Argentina in 2011, and have subsequently held the role of Coaching Development Manager for the Amateur Section. I am the proud recipient of an Honorary Vice Presidency & Life Membership from the Club for my contributions.
I am a founding member and current player, Coach & Chairman of Saracens Touch Rugby. In 2019 I received my first International caps, representing GB Mens 50+ squad, at the FIT Touch Rugby World Cup in Malaysia.
I developed my interest in Sports History at Birmingham University, where I completed my B.A. (Hons) & was awarded the David Munrow Prize for Physical Education in 1980. I then studied for my Master’s Degree at the University of Alberta, Canada and wrote my thesis on ‘Sport, Propaganda & The Great War’. I have presented papers at a number of academic conferences, including the World Student Games Conference in 1983 & the Los Angeles Pre-Olympic Conference in 1984. The latter paper, “Play Up! Play Up! And Win the War!” was published in the Journal of Contemporary History.
My personal involvement with Saracens goes back over 25 years, having played for the amateur section at Bramley Road since the age of 6 years old. Since then I have played, toured and captained teams right through to my current involvement playing for the Amateur 1st XV. Historically, my family also has significant connections with Saracens, as two of my great uncles Ray (ORG) & Trevor (WT) Williams captained the side during the inter-war period. Ray penned the first significant history of the club in 1926, and was to go on to act as president of the club in 1958-60.
I am in the final stages of completing my PhD researching into ‘Learning Disability and Sport: A History,’ generously funded through the AHRC Midlands 4 Cities program. During this time I have worked as a History Lecturer at both De Montfort and Westminster Universities, and am currently working at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I am a veteran of numerous sport and disability history conferences, presenting my research across the world.
I have also worked extensively with the World Rugby Museum, Twickenham. This has ranged from supporting their temporary World War One exhibition ‘Lest we forget,’ to a major research piece on ‘Rugby in all its forms’ as part of a permanent exhibition. Previous research has also focused on debunking the myths around James Peters, England’s first black rugby player, and his involvement with the 1906 Springbok tour. This work won the Richard Cox Postgraduate Prize for best paper from the British Society of Sports History in 2015 and I was a significant contributor to a BBC Radio special on Peters.
To find out more please visit:www.tomweirhistorian.co.uk