L: Lagren - Lanagan
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Following an amateur grounding at Kirkcaldy East-Bank Alfred Laggergren from Methil, a town on the east coast of Scotland, shortened his name and turned professional using the name Alf Lagren. He was a busy worker from the mid 1930s onwards, wrestling the best of them all, including Charlie Green, Danny Davey and Jack Dale, and beating them on occasions. As well as wrestling throughout Britain there are reports of Alf wrestling in Sweden and France. At the outbreak of war he volunteered for the Royal Air Force, attached to the Wiltshire Regiment. On 3rd January, 1945, Alfred Laggergren was killed in action.
French heavyweight visited Britain for a month in 1964. He lost to Canadian Don Griffin at the Royal Albert Hall. Returned in 1969 for two high profile matches, losing to Sean Regan at the Royal Albert Hall and getting knocked out by Tibor Szakacs on the tele.
This low key 1950s light heavyweight from Croydon was often seen in opposition to his friend Kurt Jorgens. Bert was often billed as “Lucky Bert Lamb” on the posters, a reference to his childhood survival of polio, which was a killer in the 1950s. Illness left Bert with a weak and thin leg, which his merciless opponent would repeatedly attack. Fans would scream at the injustice of it all. We just weren't that sophisticated in those days.
Spanish heavyweight, and erstwhile European champion visited Britain during the 1950s and 1960s, billed as Rocco Lamban by Relwyskow & Green Promotions. Known as the "El Strangulador" as a consequence of a tendency to use a rather lethal looking headlock. Apart from working throughout Europe he went on to work extensively in the United States, returning to Spain shortly before his retirement in 1967.
Greek heavyweight Andreas Lambrakis was born in Athens but spent most of the 1950s and 1960s working in Australia. He visited Britain in the spring of 1960, working mainly for Dale Martin Promotions but with the occasional jaunt further north. Opponents were top of the range including Mike Marino, Georges Gordienko, Joe Cornelius, Ray Apollon and Geoff Portz. He was a rough, tough villain who would swagger around the ring taunting opponents and fans alike. He continued to travel following his UK visit and went on to work in Canada and the USA for the WWWE.
Seamus Lanagan (Dick Lanagan)
When it comes to wrestling tradition the North East of England stands proudly amongst those other centres of professional wrestling south Lancashire, Yorkshire and London.
Newcastle, Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas have produced dozens of famous, and not always so famous, names that have each made their contribution to our wrestling heritage. One of those names is that of Seamus Lanagan, or more precisely Dick, the birth name by which he was sometimes billed. Seamus was a well known figure in the north east of England in the 1960s and 1970s, working for the independent promoters alongside Boy Devlin, Sean McNeill, Jim McCormick, Les Prest, Laurie Coulton, and Lord Bertie Sinclair.
Another opponent was Digger Rowell, who was largely responsible for preparing Dick Lanagan for the professional ring. Much of Dick's knowledge of entertaining the crowd was gained in the fairground booths, where he worked alongside Pat Roach, Farmers Boy, Durham Ox Archie Buller and all the men named above. Dick had been going along to the Hoppings Town Moor Fair since childhood, but it wasn't until 1966, when he was in his mid twenties, that booth owner, Ron Taylor, took him on as one of his resident wrestlers. They were long hours, starting at 11.00am and sometimes working as many as five bouts during the day. He told the story of one occasion at the Hoppings Fair in Newcastle, where the bravado of one challenger swiftly evaporated when Pat Roach stepped forward to accept the challenge.
Whilst working for Ron Taylor Dick met World heavyweight boxing champion, Muhammed Ali. That was in July, 1977, when Ali included a visit to Ron Taylor's boxing and wrestling booth during his four day visit to South Shields. During the visit Ali and his wife had their recent marriage blessed at the Al-Ahzar Mosque.
Away from the booths Dick Lanagan worked regularly around the many smaller halls of the north, billed as Dick or Seamus Lanagan for around twenty years. In the 1980s he cut back on his wrestling appearances but remained involved in the business as a referee.
Dick Lanagan died in January, 2016.