By Martin Morgan

THE club records of Whitehaven great John McKeown, who died on Tuesday, will stand long in to the future, predicts Haven secretary Dave Farrell.

Former full-back McKeown, who made a club record 417 appearances for Haven, passed away in hospital.

“I never saw him play, but I met him on many occasions, and his standing within the club is unquestionable,” Farrell said.

“He was the greatest player the club has ever had. His record speaks for itself.

“Never say never, but it will take something special to beat his records. He probably won more matches for Whitehaven in its formative years than anyone with his prodigious goal-kicking. He will always be remembered.”

A minute’s silence will be held in his honour ahead of Sunday’s home game against Oldham at the Recreation Ground.

Mr McKeown, from Flimby, starred in Haven’s opening game against Hull in 1948.

He failed to score in the 5-0 win but went on to notch a club record 2,133 points over the next 13 years, in a record 417 appearances.

A goal-kicking machine, he still holds the club’s goals and points records over his career.

“His name is synonymous with Whitehaven RL Club,” chairman Des Byrne said “He was very popular and I’m sure the spectators will be saddened by his death.”

He was the first player to be inaugurated in to Haven’s Hall of Fame on its launch several years ago, and the main club bar at the stadium is named in his honour.

The Haven star featured in all of the club’s big occasions during its early years, including the 14-11 win over Australia in 1956 and the run to the Challenge Cup final the following year.

He won 15 caps for Cumberland and in 1956 became Haven’s first international player, drafted in to the Great Britain team that beat France 18-10 at Bradford.

Typically he got on the scoresheet slotting three goals.

His funeral service will be held at St Nicholas Church, Flimby, on Tuesday next week, followed by cremation at Distington.