LIFELONG Keighley fan Alan Midgley has just retired from his role as scoreboard operator at the club after nearly 30 years, and he has been talking us through some of the highs and lows.

Midgley started watching Keighley as a supporter in the late 1950s, before joining the ranks as scoreboard operator in the early 1990s, just as the club were rebranding as the Cougars.

Now he has finally been given a well-earned break, and has been rewarded by long-time employers and friends, Mick O'Neill and Mike Smith, with life membership at the club.

Speaking to the Keighley News, Midgley said: "I started watching Keighley as an 11-year-old in 1957/58 and started doing the scoreboards in 1991/92.

"Fred Double did the scoreboards for 38 years up until 1998, so back then I was mainly doing it for the academy and the reserves, but I did do a few first team games.

"It was around Cougarmania time and we did well. I remember one game I did, when we played Warrington in the John Player Trophy in 1995.

"It was a massive game, against one of the top teams in the country, and there was a big crowd down at Cougar Park.

"We were winning 18-10, but Jonathan Davies kicked a late goal and we lost 20-18."

After taking over all scoreboard duties in the late 1990s, there were some thumping wins and new technology trends to contend with.

Midgley laughed: "I did the scoreboard for a 98-0 in a reserves game in 2015 and there's been about four games I've done with similar scores in the last few years.

"We got an electronic scoreboard under Gary Fawcett too, so he showed me how to use that."

There have been some real low points as well though, and Midgley recalled: "The tragedy of Danny Jones (who passed away five years ago this month) sticks out as the worst time.

"I've been at the club throughout all the chairmen, so there was when the club nearly went out of business, that was scary too.

"We didn't know what would happen, but then it came on Look North that Mick O'Neill and Mike Smith were coming in to rescue us."

Midgley thinks a lot of O'Neill and Smith, and discussing how his retirement and life membership came about, he said: "I did all the friendlies and the Challenge Cup game against Newcastle Thunder.

"Mick asked me for a word after the Newcastle game (in February) and he proposed that I retire but become a life member.

"He and Mike both took me out for a meal and they just said 'we want you to be able to enjoy the games as a fan'.

"I was happy to retire and though I'm not sure what my life membership entails, as we didn't get chance to properly discuss it before all this coronavirus stuff happened, I'm looking forward to getting down there soon and being among the crowd as a spectator."