The Patience of a Saint
St Helens Rugby League 1978 to 1996
St Helens is a staunch rugby league town – and youngsters are brought up with stories of van Vollenhoven, Murphy and Karalius drummed into them. Winning silverware came as second nature to the men in the red vee.
But then suddenly in the late 1970s came the slump in both the economy and the town’s rugby league side. The work and trophies dried up and Saints looked set to indefinitely play second fiddle to teams such as Widnes, Hull and Wigan.
1978 was a bad year to start supporting Saints. This book is a fan’s 20-season account of life on the Knowsley Road rollercoaster. It starts with seven seasons of watching the side win nothing and seeing high hopes dashed on a regular basis.
And just when the night was darkest along came the big Australian Mal Meninga to lift the gloom, deliver two cups and leave memories which would sustain fans for even more hard years ahead.
But even in those days of Wigan domination and Wembley heartache you would always see some good rugby, have a laugh, an argument and find a real sense of camaraderie on the Popular Side.
And then came the realisation that Saints were slowly, but surely being reborn. And those fans who had kept the faith through those often quite bleak times would finally reap their rewards in the double winning sunshine season of 1996.
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