WRESTLING HERITAGE

L:  Seamus (Dick)  Lanagan


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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 in 1938 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, Northumbrian Ox Arnie 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, not in combat we hasten to add. 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 on 21st January, 2016.

Page added 21/12/2021