- St Helens RLFC
Infobox rugby league team
clubname = St Helens
fullname = St Helens Rugby League Football Club
location = St Helens
nickname = Saints
founded = 1873
ground = The GPW Recruitment Stadium
capacity = 17,500
chairman = flagicon|England Eamonn McManus
coach = flagicon|Australia Daniel Anderson
captain = flagicon|England
league = Super League
lastyear = 2008
lastposition = 1st (Grand Final runner-up)
website = http://www.saintsrlfc.com
leaguewins = 12
clubchampions = 2
challengecups = 12
St Helens Rugby League Football Club, are a professional
rugby leagueclub from St Helens, England. The club play in the Super League. Their home ground is Knowsley Road, recently renamed GPW Recruitment Stadium, but plans are in place for the team to move to a new 18,000 capacity stadium. St. Helens is also one of the original twenty-two rugby clubs that formed the Northern Rugby Football Unionin 1895, making them one of the world's first rugby league teams.
There is a strong rivalry between St. Helens and
Wigan Warriors; the local derbybetween the two clubs has been traditionally regarded as the biggest in British and world rugby league.
The current Head Coach at St Helens is Australian Daniel Anderson, and the club captain is
Paul Sculthorpe. Current Catalans Dragons coach Mick Potter has signed a two year deal to take over from Anderson from 2009 season onwards.
St. Helens are one of the oldest members of the Rugby Football League. Founded in 1873, the club moved in 1890, defeating Manchester Rangers in the first match played at Knowsley Road. In 1895 Saints were one of 22 clubs that resigned from the
Rugby Football Unionand established the Northern Union. The first match of the new code was an 8-3 win at home to Rochdale Hornetsbefore 3,000 spectators, Bob Doherty scoring Saints’ first try. The Saints played in a vertically striped blue and white jersey- a stark contrast to the well known red vee which would become the kit for the club later. The club reverted back to this kit for one season during the rugby league centenary season in 1995.
The Challenge Cup was launched in 1897 and it was St Helens who contested its first final with Batley, at Headingley. The "Gallant Youths" of Batley emerged victorious 10-3, with Dave "Red" Traynor scoring the lone St Helens’ try.
In 1902/3, the Lancashire and Yorkshire leagues were combined to form two divisions, St Helens were placed in division 1 but finished next to bottom and suffered relegation. Promotion was gained at the 1st attempt only for another poor year to see Saints finish in a relegation position. However the League became one to save the club from a 2nd relegation.
On 14th June 1913, St Helens Recs joined the Northern Rugby Union. The Recs were based at City Road and played their first game on 6th September 1913. St Helens now had two professional rugby league teams. St Helens Recs played their last game on 29th April 1939. Due to the economic depression, it was not possible for the town to sustain two teams.
One year after the first Challenge Cup was held at Wembley stadium, St Helens reached the final at Wembley where they were defeated by Widnes (1930). [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_league/ray_french/2949991.stm]
During the War years Saints struggled and finished bottom of the Emergency War League twice.
The arrival of
Jim Sullivanas coach in 1952 heralded a successful era for St Helens, and helped to establish the club as a respected force in Rugby League. Sullivan took them to their first victory in the Challenge Cup Final, as well as to two championships. Alan Prescotttook over from Jim Sullivan as Saints’ coach.
On Saturday 24th November 1956, St Helens inflicted a touring Australia its biggest ever defeat with a 44-2 win.
Perhaps the golden era of the club came in the 1960s, as well as more lately in the recent Super League era. With a galaxy of stars including
Tom van Vollenhoven, Alex Murphy, Dick Huddartand Vince Karalius, the 1960s was a decade of great success for the Saints, with the League and Challenge Cup double achieved in 1966. During this decade, the recognisable ‘red vee’ strip first appeared in 1961 for the Challenge Cup Final against Wigan. Saints won this epic 12-6, and the kit has since become synonymous with the club.
The 1965 New Zealand tourists appeared at Knowsley Road on Wednesday 15 September. Saints inflicted a 28-7 defeat on their visitors, their biggest loss of the tour.
St. Helens reached three Challenge Cup finals in the 1970s. They defeated Leeds in 1972 16-13 and repeated this success three years later against Widnes in 1976 where they were victorious by 20-5 in the famous 'Dads Army' final. In 1978 Leeds avenged their loss against St. Helens, emerging winners by 14-12. In 1977/78, Saints lost 26-11 to
Hull Kingston Roversin the final of the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy. Kel Cosletttook over as coach in June 1980. He held the post for two years before handing over to Billy Benyon. Saints won the Lancashire Cup with a 26-18 win at Wigan in 1984 and won the Premiership in 1985 with a 36-16 victory over Champions Hull Kingston Rovers.
The arrival of Alex Murphy as coach in 1986 produced some colourful displays from a team that was widely regarded as an entertaining team to watch, but seemed to be constant runners-up, as illustrated by the shock defeat to Halifax in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley 19-18 in 1987.
St Helens lifted the
John Player Trophywith a thrilling 15-14 victory over Leeds in January 1988. Neil Holdingdropping the crucial goal. Later St Helens lost to Widnes in the Premiership Final at Old Trafford.
Alex Murphy was succeeded by
Mike McClennanin February 1990, he was head coach until December 1993, winning the Lancashire Cup and Premiership in 2003 defeating Wigan.
uper League era
Saints have also become one of the most successful side of the summer era. Since the inception of Super League they have won the competition on five occasions, and have added seven Challenge Cups to their five previous successes. St Helens defeated Bradford Bulls 8-6 in the Grand Final, with more than 50,000 people seeing
Chris Joyntlift the trophy at Old Trafford. They also won the World Club Challengein 2001 and 2007, beating Brisbane Broncos both times.
The success of the Saints in super league began under the leadership of Shaun McRae in 1996. During his tenure the club won one league title and two challenge cups. Ellery Hanley succeeded McRae in 1999 and led Saints to Grand Final success against Bradford in the October of that year. Hanley was considered by many to be a polarising figure and after several acrimonious disagreements with the St Helens board of directors, he was sacked a month into the following season. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_league/7144151.stm]
Ian Millwardwas appointed as head coach.
Under Millward, St Helens quickly became the most exciting team in the competition, playing expansive, attacking rugby. They retained their Super League title in 2000 beating
Wigan Warriors29-16 and reclaimed it in 2002 snatching a last minute 19-18 Grand Final win over the Bradford Bulls. They also won the Challenge Cup in 2001 13-6 over the Bulls with the final held at Twickenham for the first time and the 2001 World Club Challenge. In 2004 they beat arch-rivals Wigan 32-16 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff in front of a capacity crowd of 73,734 people to win the Challenge Cup.
Millward's reign was not without controversy and his St Helens career ended controversially after he was suspended in May 2005. He was sacked for gross misconduct a week later. Daniel Anderson became the coach after Millward was sacked, but saw his new team become the first team to top the Super League and fail to reach Old Trafford.
They won the 2006 Challenge Cup final on 26 August, beating
Huddersfield Giants42-12. This was their second Challenge Cup victory at Twickenham stadium, the first occasion being in 2001. St Helens player Sean Long was awarded the Lance Todd trophy for the man-of-the-match performance during the 2006 Challenge Cup Final and in doing so became the first ever player to win a third Lance Todd trophy adding to the ones he won in 2001 and 2004.
St Helens followed up their Challenge Cup win by claiming the League Leader's Shield before cementing their reputation as the team of the year by defeating
Hull FC26 points to 4 in the Super League Grand Final. Once more St. Helens confirmed their status as the outstanding team of the summer era. Additionally, Paul Wellensreceived the Man of Steel Award.
In December 2006 St Helens were awarded with the
BBC Sports Personality of the Year Team Awardat the Annual BBC Sports Personality of the YearCeremony. This accolade recognises the best team in any sport within the United Kingdom. At the same ceremony Daniel Anderson was given the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award- this was the first time a rugby league coach had won the award.
After a slow start to the 2007 season, Saints added to their history by beating the
Brisbane Broncos18-14 to win the 2007 World Club Challenge. In July they produced a magnificent performance to beat arch rivals Bradford Bullsto reach the first Challenge Cup final at the new Wembley Stadium.
St Helens successfully defended the Challenge Cup, defeating
Catalans Dragons30-8 in the final at Wembley Stadiumon 25 August 2007. Unfortunately, they were beaten in the Super League Grand Final by Leeds Rhinos, despite finishing at the top of the league ladder for the third successive season.
Saints success in the Challenge Cup continued in 2008 with another victory at Wembley, this time defeating
Hull FC28 - 16. They have also achieved first place again - for the 4th year running - winning the League Leaders Shield, and beating Leeds Rhinos 38-10 for the right to go to Old Trafford for the Grand Final.
On the 4th October 2008, St. Helens were once again defeated by Leeds Rhinos in the Grand Final.
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socks = 0000FF
title = very early kitFootball kit
pattern_la = _red_hoops
pattern_b = _redhorizontal
pattern_ra = _red_hoops
leftarm = FFFFFF
body = FFFFFF
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shorts = FFFFFF
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title = kit until 1961Football kit
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socks = FF0000
title = 1961-present
"As of 1 December 2007":
See here for the 2008 season
World Club Challenge"(2 times)": 2001, 2007,
*Championship (including Super League) "(12 times)": 1931-32, 1952-53, 1958-59, 1965-66, 1969-70, 1970-71, 1974-75, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006
*Challenge Cup "(12 times)": 1955-56, 1960-61, 1965-66, 1971-72, 1975-76, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008
League Leader's Shield"(6 times)": 1964-65, 1965-66, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Regal Trophy: 1987-88
*Premiership "(4 times)": 1975-76, 1976-77, 1984-85, 1992-93
*Lancashire Cup "(11 times)": 1926-27, 1953-54, 1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63, 1963-64, 1964-65, 1967-68, 1968-69, 1984-85, 1991-92
*Lancashire League "(12 times)": 1929-30, 1931-32, 1952-53, 1956-57, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1963-64, 1964-65, 1965-66, 1966-67, 1968-69
*Charity Shield : 1992-93
BBC2 Floodlit Trophy"(2 times)": 1971-72, 1975-76
*BBC Sports Team Of The Year: 2006 (by public vote)
* Most goals in a match: 16 by
Paul Loughlinvs Carlisle, 14th September 1986
* Most points in a match: 40 by
Paul Loughlinvs Carlisle, 14th September 1986
*Most tries in a match: 6 by all of the following:
Alf Ellabyv. Barrow, 5 Mar 1932.
Steve Llewellynv. Castleford, 3 Mar 1956.
**Steve Llewellyn v. Liverpool City,
20 Aug 1956.
Tom Van Vollenhovenv. Wakefield Trinity, 21 Dec 1957.
**Tom Van Vollenhoven v. Blackpool Borough,
23 Apr 1962.
Frank Mylerv. Maryport, 1 September 1969.
**Shane Cooper v. Hull,
17 Feb 1988.
* Most tries in a season: 62 by Tom Van Vollenhoven, 1958-59
* Most goals in a season: 214 by
Kel Coslett, 1971-72
* Most points in a season: 452 by Kel Coslett, 1971-72
* Most career tries: 392 Tom Van Vollenhoven 1957-68 (third highest by any player)
* Most career points: 3,413 Kel Coslett 1961-76
* Most career goals 1,639 Kel Coslett 1961-76
* Most career appearances Kel Coslett 519 plus 12 as substitute 1961-76
Notable Former Players
See here of a partial
list of St Helens players.
*flagicon|ENG Paul Anderson
*flagicon|ENG Ray French
*flagicon|WAL Clive Griffiths
*flagicon|ENG Dave Lyon
*flagicon|WAL John Mantle
*flagicon|ENG Alex Murphy
*flagicon|ENG George Nicholls
*flagicon|AUS Michael O'Connor
*flagicon|AUS Darren Smith
Tom Van Vollenhoven
Eric Ashton(May 74 - May 80)
Kel Coslett(June 80 - May 82)
Billy Benyon(May 82 - Nov 85)
Alex Murphy(Nov 85 - Jan 90)
Mike McClennan(Feb 90 - Dec 93)
Eric Hughes(Jan 94 - Jan 96)
Shaun McRae(Jan 96 - Oct 98)
Ellery Hanley(Dec 98 - Mar 00)
Ian Millward(Mar 00 - May 05)
*Daniel Anderson (May 05 - Oct 08)
Mick Potter(from 2009 season)
St Helens links
* [http://www.saintsrlfc.com/ Official website] (relaunched in Feb 2007)
* [http://www.saintssuperstore.com/ Official Store]
* [http://www.saints.org.uk/ Saints Heritage Society website]
* [http://www.Redvee.net/ RedVee.Net - Independent Saints Supporters Site]
* [http://www.paulsculthorpe.co.uk/ Paul Sculthorpe - Club Captain - Official Website]
* [http://www.the-entertainers.tv/ The Entertainers - Independent Supporters Site]
* http://www.originalsaintssupportersclub.co.uk - Original St Helens RLFC Supporters Club Incorporating Junior Saints
* [http://www.sthelensstadium.com/default.htm New St Helens stadium site]
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