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Jamie Foster's tribute to the special one
At last week’s Super League launch in Manchester, Jamie Foster paused for a moment of quiet reflection.
He then opened up about the role that one man in particular has played in his rise to stardom.
“I’m stood with all these fantastic people and you look round and think ‘Is this me?’,” said the Bulls winger.
“But my grandad has put me here, if anything. He’s been a massive part of my life and followed me everywhere.”
Geoff Callaghan, 70, has supported his grandson from an early age and they are best friends.
Foster explained: “My grandad drove me around when I was younger, he bought me rugby boots and paid for things when I never really had much.
“He’s a big Manchester United fan and has been to Old Trafford to see me play there for St Helens in two Grand Finals.
“It’s unbelievable at times when you walk round places and people recognise you. A lot of that is down to my grandad and the support he gave me.”
If it sounds like Geoff is a father figure to Foster then it is with good reason.
Foster has no relationship with his dad but the rest of his family are close.
The Bulls star recently bought his first house near to his grandad in Newton-le-Willows, just outside St Helens.
“We all grew up in the same house and I never really had any contact with my dad,” said Foster.
“But we’re a very tight-knit family. There is my mum and her twin, my auntie, and my gran and grandad.
“My gran and grandad split when I was about ten and I decided that I was going to live with my grandad, so I had my upbringing through him.
“When all my mates were drinking in a park at 16, I was at home with my grandad watching Match of the Day and getting ready to play rugby on a Sunday morning.
“It’s tough at times because I have never really had any contact with my dad throughout my life. Not even a birthday card.”
As Foster shot to fame at Saints under Mick Potter as a teenager, he received a friend request on his Facebook account.
“I played my first derby game against Wigan when I was 19,” remembered Foster.
“I got man-of-the-match in that game and then had a friend’s request on Facebook from my dad.
“I didn’t know what to think and I showed my mum.
“I thought ‘this guy has left it 19 years and has probably seen me playing on the telly in the pub’.
“I think he thought ‘that’s my son’ but I’ve got no interest whatsoever – I blocked him.
“But I don’t get choked up talking about it because my grandad is my dad.
“He’s a great guy and my best mate.
“I will always be grateful for what he has done for me.”
* Read this story and much more in today's Bulls pre-season supplement in the Telegraph & Argus