"It's A Towering Header By Launder!"

Colin is given a signed match ball by Peter Lorimer after a Leeds United Veterans game.

"KDR gave me the best twenty-five years of my life." Big powerful words from a big powerful man.

Dubbed the original Peter Crouch, former Deighton player Colin Launder wasn't difficult to spot on team photos, standing at a massive 6 foot 8 inches!* Early photos showed 'Big Col', as he was affectionally nicknamed, looming over his teammates on the back row, however, this soon changed to him kneeling in the front row, although you still had to feel sorry for the poor player stood behind him!

"I was versatile for such a tall guy. I think I was a good leader on the pitch and a motivator. Obviously dangerous in the air, and a consistent goal threat!" mused Colin when asked to describe himself on the pitch. "I played mainly centre half but went up front many times, and I was the top scorer for the second team in later years, and yes, I even had the odd go in goal!"

A hop back forty-two years to 1978 saw Colin first pull on a Deighton shirt, although had it not been for an unfortunate accident this may never have even happened. "I was at Yorkshire Amateur and looking at trials with Arsenal and Burnley when I had a serious scooter accident. I couldn't play for two years, but in 1978, friends at KDR invited me down, and I never left, apart from a few months at Collingham when former Leeds United player Alan Clarke was their manager. I didn't last too long as the training was too hard, but he was a brilliant manager and soon went to be in charge of Barnsley FC."

"I saw and helped the club grow from a muddy field, and I am proud of the young lads who keep the club going and bring success."

Apart from his brief dalliance with Collingham, Colin (or Boycie as he was also known!) stayed a faithful servant to Rangers. "I played from 1978 to 2002 for both the first and second sides. I then started the Veterans team and have also been back many years to reunions and charity nights."

Could he remember his first game for Rangers? "Yes, I can! It was a long time ago, but I remember being nervous and excited, however, there were players like Billy Bonds, Mick Williamson and Lee Nelham, all great players who looked after me until I settled in."

Colin second from right on top row.

Of course, playing for one team for such a long time gave Colin a whole host of memories, both good and bad, to reflect on. Thankfully the former certainly outweighed the latter, but two disappointments stood out for Colin. "We had a bad semi-final against Garforth. We were 3 - 1 up and I scored a penalty with twelve minutes left, but somehow we lost 4 - 3! I was gutted about that. We also beat Boroughbridge 4 - 2, and I scored two but got kicked in the eye socket and fractured it in five places. It was my only serious injury in twenty-five years playing!"

Switching to more positive memories, Colin recalls "I played in three finals and won them all! We won at Railway (Harrogate Railway Athletic) under the floodlights, that was special, we had a great team. Winning the old Harrogate First Division as Club/Team Captain was also a great honour."

"Jimmy Lumsden is a great guy, he once nutmegged someone over a dozen times just for fun."

It's no secret that 'Big Col' has an affection for local giants Leeds United, so playing against their Veteran side for Rangers was a thrill in itself, but then something else happened to leave the big man speechless! "Playing against Leeds United veterans and lining up against Billy Bremner, Peter Lorimer, Arthur Graham and Frank and Eddie Gray was amazing. Then the most magic of magic things happened one year, Leeds were short of a player so I played for Leeds! Leeds won 6 - 2 and a real-life boyhood dream happened, I scored four goals for Leeds United, including one from a pass via Eddie Gray, wake me up I'm dreaming. I have to say it - Marching On Together!"

Colin scores for his beloved Leeds United against Kirk Deighton Rangers Veterans

There have been many faces at the club that have come and gone during Colin's playing career, but he fondly recalls several that stood out. "Peter Swaine, what a keeper! Lee Nelham taught me so much, and Nick Morris (Lefty) was fast and tricky, I scored many headers from his crosses."

"Jimmy Lumsden is a great guy, he once nutmegged someone over a dozen times just for fun. I have to say that Eddie Gray was the best, the man's my football hero!"

There were also quite a few opposing players that Colin enjoyed crossing swords with. "There were a few players at Boroughbridge, we had a great rivalry and some great games, Steve Willey was a hard but fair centre-half, we had mutual respect."

"Jono Walker at Tockwith was another, he was a silky player. Billy Bremner obviously, and Bernie Slaven when we played Middlesborough old Boys, he scored all seven against us in a Veterans match, he was class!"

"I asked who her boyfriend was and promptly punched him!"

The matches against Boroughbridge stick in Colin's mind, "Boroughbridge and Knaresborough Town, we had some great games, and it was always a good standard of football, good pitches too."

"I enjoyed playing against Tockwith and Tadcaster as there were a few school mates in those teams, so that was fun and there was always lots of on-pitch banter."

To mirror the opponents that Colin relished facing, there were several that he didn't. "Aberford. They weren't the cleanest of teams when we played them, but we rolled them over a few times. Then there was Bramham! A girl ran on the pitch and punched me once after I netted a penalty, I asked who her boyfriend was and promptly punched him! It all kicked off after that with help from Phil Moore!" Laughing, he ended with, "I did get sent off a few times!"

Colin and team post cup win at Harrogate Railway Athletic

It's not surprising that after twenty-four years, Colin picked up a few stories along the way. "Billy Bremner was the best. I went past him and shot wide and as I walked back past him, he grabbed my shirt and said, 'Hey Big Man they came to see me not you, cut it out!'"

"I've never laughed as much as I did for twenty-five years at KDR, We had many a lock-in at the club, leaving and walking home at 8.30 am, those were the days when we drank barrels of beer, not ya fancy bottles!"

"My mum's wake was at the clubhouse, and I left 4.30 am. I have to say special thanks to John O'Brien, and I'm still grateful to this day, but that's the sort of club it was and still is."

Without a doubt, it's plain to see that Colin and the club have built up a special relationship, but what does the club mean to him? "KDR gave me the best twenty-five years of my life. I made the best friends a guy can have, and we are still mates to this day. Golfing holidays, get-togethers, it's a very strong bond. We toured Holland and Belgium and had the most amazing time and made life long memories."

"I saw and helped the club grow from a muddy field, and I am proud of the young lads who keep the club going and bring success."

"I've lost a few great friends, and KDR doesn't forget them either, which is great. R.I.P. to those who have passed."

Finally, if Colin could go back in time and give himself one piece of footballing advice, what would it be? "That's easy! Enjoy it, you get out what you put in both as a player and making friends for life."

"You will make some special memories to treasure if you're lucky enough to get to a special club. KDR is just one of those clubs, ask any of those who played for it."

"If you're lucky enough to get to a special club. KDR is just one of those clubs, ask any of those who played for it."


* Interesting fact, Colin dwarfs Peter Crouch as the former Liverpool striker is only 6 foot 7 inches!

Photographs courtesy of Colin Launder

Video courtesy of Geoff Cheetham



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