MEET the Welsh philanthropist who has tipped an extraordinary $1 million into a humble Shute Shield club, and helped stop a Wallaby from defecting to rugby league.
John Hinton, 74, has been a financial benefactor at the Manly Marlins for 35 years, a man whose generosity continues to stuns players and officials.
Nicknamed Swansea, where he was born, Hinton arrived in Sydney in 1973 and started playing and helping Manly from 1982, when he paid the airfare for a Welsh five-eighth, Allan Williams, to join the club.
And Hinton has kept injecting the cash ever since.
Hinton has been particularly kind to two Manly Wallaby stars, Willie Ofahengaue and Cliffy Palu, who said he probably would have defected to rugby league had it not been for Hinton.
Hinton’s money has been directed into numerous areas at Manly, most notably helping players financially.
He also helps with rental assistance for players, buying scrum machines, giving at least 100 players jobs over the years, helping players run their cars, buying player apparel and sponsoring the club.
“This club means the world to me — it has given me so much and this is one way I can give something back,” Hinton said.
“I helped Willie O for 10 years with wages and a car. That was about $40,000 a year for quite a long time.
“I sent three guys overseas for world tours. I bought a scrum machine, that’s $10,500. My wife (Paula) wasn’t happy at the time. I get overseas players cars, that happens all the time.
“Some players don’t have money or even any bedding. I want to see Manly win and get a couple of players in. I love the club. At one stage I had a dozen Tongans working for me. I gave them wages every week.
“In 1972, I was totally broke, no job, no money, no nothing. I like to help young guys today who are in the same predicament. I came from a real poor home.”
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Hinton has sold his construction business, Emanon, pocketing a tidy profit. He has since retired.
“Without Swansea, I reckon I would have been lost to another code,” Palu said. “He has been a big part of Manly rugby club.
“Not only the money out of his own pocket but his time as well. All the stuff he does in the background that no-one realises. He has helped me out a lot, keeping me in rugby union.”
Hinton used to keep a spare $10 in his top pocket to get home during a night out in case players came to him for a few extra bucks. He also called on the ARU to help out struggling Sydney rugby union clubs.
“They should give some money to Shute Shield,” Hinton said.
Asked about the state of Australian rugby, Hinton said: “I think they should sweep it all out and start again. We were brilliant in 1991 and 1995, we are struggling now.”
Hinton rated Ofahengaue, George Smith and Phil Cox as the best he has seen at Manly rugby.
“It has been a wonderful ride here at Manly,” Hinton said.
Originally published as A million reasons to thank this Marlin man
SOURCE: newsnow sport