IT sparked controversy when plans were made to install it near St Helens’ war memorial – but now it’s finally taking pride of place at its spiritual home.
The bronze statue of Keiron Cunningham was carefully hoisted into place at the new Saints stadium on Monday (October 17) – and the 34-year-old even clambered up a ladder to have his photo taken alongside it!
After carefully climbing back down to earth, the Saints legend told the Reporter: “I’m just happy it’s in it’s rightful place now – this stadium already feels like home.
“I remember talk of a new stadium as long ago as 1995 and 1996, so it’s been a long time coming. But it’s definitely been worth the wait.
“The stadium itself is unbelievable. Words can’t describe what the players and fans have in store for them – the facilities are second to none.
“I’m sure the fans will create an incredible atmosphere in there too.”
The striking sculpture, brought to life by artist Vanessa Marston, was commissioned by St Helens Council after Town Hall chiefs asked fans to name their favourite Saints star of all time.
In the single biggest ever response to a council consultation, Keiron polled more than 10,000 votes – just pipping the likes of legendary winger Tom Van Vollenhoven in the process.
After plans to temporarily install the statue on Victoria Square were shelved, the statue was located on Chalon Way – prior to its move to the new stadium site. Council leader Marie Rimmer said: “The new stadium takes your breath away and seeing Keiron’s statue outside is just the icing on the cake.
“The statue looks wonderful and is going to be lit up too. I was really glad when Keiron topped the supporters’ poll because not only was Keiron a great player – he was born and bred in St Helens too.”
Langtree managing director John Downes added: “Little touches like putting the statue into place are the exciting bits. It’s been great to see the stadium come together and is of special significance for us, not just because it’s the first stadium we’ve built, but because we’re based in the town.”