McManus: Cup exit ‘unacceptable’

Saints chairman Eamonn McManus
Saints chairman Eamonn McManus

Eamonn McManus has branded Saints cup demolition at the hands of Hull FC as “unacceptable”.

The Saints chairman made the comments in his programmes notes fr last night’s home game against Salford Red Devils, adding that “significant improvement at every level needs to be achieved”.

“Everyone at the club: players, coaching staff, management and particularly myself, are under no illusions that last week’s exit from the Challenge Cup at the hands of Hull FC was and is unacceptable,” he said.

“An early exit from a competition so cherished by this club is in its own right difficult to accept, but the manner of the capitulation by a near to full strength Saints team in front of a home crowd was an embarrassment for a club of our history, standing and standards.

“The only way to redeem ourselves to our supporters is to show significant improvement throughout the rest of the Super League season.

“The League and Grand Final are as realistic goals to us as to any other Super League club, but only if we consistently play to our potential over the next five months. At the moment we are way, way below the required levels and we are under no illusions that everyone at the club has to improve their standards of effort and performance. This is rightly expected by you all.

“There is no point in having a wonderful stadium, training facilities, academy system and community programme (which we have and which so many good people have worked so hard and for so long to achieve) if the first team do not perform.

“It is ultimately their results and their performances that determine the success and reputation of the Saints and last week was as far below that as is imaginable.

“That said, nothing is achieved within the club by tub thumping and lashing out. Everyone at the club, particularly me, has to look at themselves and at their colleagues and identify any and all weaknesses and to address them as and when we can.

“The standards which we have so long set and held have to be re-attained. Your support has to be earned and not expected.

“That said, we are two points off second position in the league and four points from the top.

“Given the unpredictable nature of the competition every weekend and the fact that all clubs will definitely experience peaks and troughs in form during the remainder of the season, a decent run of results can see us challenging for honours again.

“It is only a few weeks since an under strength Saints team beat league leaders Warrington at the Halliwell Jones.

“It is only a few weeks since the Hull players locked their own coach out of the changing room after getting hammered by then top of the table Widnes.

“Form and position will continue to be volatile this season, but we have to improve markedly and consistently if we are to win the league and the Grand Final. It can be done and it must remain our aim.”