Love him or hate him, Derek Beaumont is an integral figure in rugby league.
He has been a massive part of Leigh Centurions’ recent history and lays his heart on his sleeve.
Beaumont is also a huge part of rugby league itself, with his AB Sundecks company sponsoring the 1895 Cup for the lower leagues in their bid to get to Wembley.
However, for those that have played under him at Leigh, he cuts a divisive figure and for one former Centurion, it was a case of don’t cross him.
Jamie Acton, who played for Leigh between 2014 and 2018, has revealed just what it was like to work under the businessman.
“I’ll choose my words carefully, Derek is a character to say the least,” Acton told Serious About Rugby League.
“He’s a special person, but the thing is rugby league wouldn’t survive without personalities like Derek.
“For all the bad stuff that’s said about him, he does things his way which I’ve been on the right and wrong side of.
“I’ve seen first hand how he runs the club. without him the sport wouldn’t be the way it is today.
“It can’t just function on Sky and fans, it needs backers and owners to come in and invest their money for very little return.
“It’s almost just a passion and hobby, so he’s got the capacity do whatever the hell he wants as he’s earned that privilege and that right because he’s earned that money.
“It’s very much a business and Derek treats it like that to keep it afloat – he’s not looking to make money out of it.”
For Acton, rugby league isn’t just the sport in its entirety, he feels there are complexities running right through that makes the game difficult for certain players at certain clubs.
“Any professional will tell you it’s two sports within a sport – you pay two games.
“You play rugby and then you play the game ‘how do I associate myself into the culture of the club I am currently at?’
“‘How do I work my personality so I get on with the personalities around me and get picked at the weekend.'”
Acton added: “It’s not as clear cut as you’re the best player and you get picked, it’s understanding how to play that game well depends on who is at the club.
“The culture that has been maintained at Leigh, is that everything comes from Derek – he’s the main man.
“If you cross him be it on your head, if you give Derek what he asks for and do the things he wants then he will back you 100% to the end of the earth.
“It’s just whether your mentality is aligned with his or not.”