John Yates on Saints

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THE Rugby League would be well advised to take on board the comments made by Saints’ chairman Eamonn McManus in which he insists that a 14-strong Super League was not sustainable.

His far-reaching views were contained in the club’s match day programme ahead of the Easter derby clash against Wigan Warriors and followed the news that Bradford Bulls - one of the most successful clubs in the summer era - were in dire financial straits.

Eamonn, a former Hong Kong investment banker, speaks with great deal ofauthority when it comes to financial matters, illustrated by the way he and his board of directors masterminded the development of a new stadium after taking over a debt-ridden club, playing at rundown Knowsley Road, during the early days of the new Millennium.

Don’t take his opinion with a pinch of salt, especially the powers-that-be at Red Hall.

SAINTS have, quite rightly, rubber-stamped the worst-kept secret in Rugby League ... that Huddersfield Giants’ boss Nathan Brown would be heading for Langtree Park next season.

It ended months of speculation over the long-term future of the 38-year-old Aussie coach, allowing both clubs and their staffs to focus solely on Stobart Super League XV11 and not be distracted by any side issues.

WIGAN’S second rower Gareth Hock threw the ball in the direction of Saints’ fans after scoring one of his side’s second half tries in Good Friday’s derby showdown at Langtree Park - and referee Phil Bentham took no action.

Coach Shaun Wane said later it wasn’t an intentional act, just Hock’s natural exuberance at scoring for his home-town club against their deadly rivals.

Irrespective of whether you believe that or not , last season Saints’ James Graham kicked the ball into the crowd in an act of petulance after being denied a try against Salford City Reds at the Stobart Stadium and guess what happened to him?

He was sent to the sin-bin by the referee for dissent and believe it or not it was the same Mr Bentham!

THE new cricket season gets under way locally on Saturday - and you can bet your bottom dollar that some clubs will be scratching around for players.

By a twist of fate, the opening day of the 2012 campaign clashes with the Everton-Liverpool FA Cup semi-final at Wembley - the first meeting between the deadly Merseyside rivals at this stage of the competition since the 1970s - and there will be many cricketers, who are also season ticket

holders at either Goodison Park or Anfield, faced with divided loyalties.

They have three choices - to support their local cricket club, head to Wembley or watch the lunch-time TV coverage?

It’s a situation I have faced personally in years gone by and making the right decision isn’t always easy.

ONLY hours after returning from a 10-day break in Benidorm, where I had been celebrating my youngest daughter’s 40th birthday, I received a telephone call from long-time friend and newspaper colleague, Denis Whittle, informing me of the death of Bert Traverse, a former Reporter group editor and life-long Saints’ fans.

Bert, who was 86, had spent all his adult life working on the local newspaper scene, editing the St Helens Reporter, the Prescot and Huyton Reporter and the Kirkby Reporter, and was also editor of the

Skelmersdale Reporter when the new town club won the FA Amateur Cup in the early 1970.

But his main passion was Saints, covering the club activities under his pseudonym ‘Boffin.’

His expert and forthright views were highly respected by players and fans alike and his schoolboy friendship with Jimmy Stott, who went on to captain Saints, helped him considerably during his working life when he was looking for ‘inside information’ at what was going on at Knowsley Road.

A funeral service for Bert, who lived in Victoria Terrace, Rainhill, will take place at Rainhill St Ann’s Church on Friday (11am).