Keighley Rugby club boss in hospital after violent attack

Mike Smith, Director of Keighley Cougars Rugby League Club Credit: ITV Calendar

Keighley Cougars Rugby League Club has revealed that one of its directors was the victim of a serious attack which has left him in hospital for almost two months.

Mike Smith, 71, who was one of a consortium which saved the club from the threat of liquidation three years ago, was at home in Ilkley with his wife Judith when he was attacked on November 29, last year.

At the time of the attack, West Yorkshire Police appealed for witnesses, but did not disclose the identity of the victim. 

Now the club has revealed that Mr Smith was attacked by an intruder during an aggravated burglary and suffered a serious head injury.

In a statement, on behalf of Mr Smith's family, the club said: "He has spent many weeks at Leeds General Infirmary and has recently been moved to Airedale Hospital to begin his rehabilitation.

At present, there is restricted, family only visiting but we will keep you updated on his progress.

We would like to thank everyone who has sent well wishes and messages of support which have been a great comfort to our family.

We have passed on all these lovely messages to Mike and they have been very warmly received."

At the time of the incident, police said they were investigating an aggravated burglary in Ilkley in which a man was attacked and seriously injured. The attack took place when a suspect entered a flat on Brook Street at around 8pm on Monday 29 November. The victim is thought to have been assaulted by the suspect with what is believed to be a metal bracket.

Mr Smith is one of a number of directors who were involved in the transformation of rugby league in Keighley, re-branding the club as the Cougars in the early 1990s and heralding a golden era dubbed Cougarmania. He returned as a club director in January 2019.

  • If you have any information regarding this incident which could help police with their enquiries please contact Bradford CID  on 101 quoting ref. 13210617209.