Leigh owner takes aim at former Saints star Jon Wilkin
Former St Helens captain Jon Wilkin has been accused by Leigh owner Derek Beamount of having a clear agenda against Leigh, claiming he is out to 'discredit' the club and 'wind up ' their supporters in his views as a pundit.
Writing in the match day programme column for tonight’s visit of rivals Wigan Warriors, the Centurions owner claimed Wilkin had embarrassed himself with the views he expressed and said he needed to 'give his head a wobble'.
Ex-St Helens and Toronto Wolfpack star Wilkin retired from playing last season and now works as a pundit for the BBC and Sky on their rugby league coverage.
Beaumont revealed his anger at the views Wilkin had expressed when talking about John Duffy’s side, who were promoted as Toronto’s replacement in December and have made a poor start to the season.
Beaumont, who was particularly irked by Wilkin’s comments after St Helens won at Leigh last month, did not hold back in an extraordinary outburst against a player who spent most of his career at Saints where he won numerous Super League, Challenge Cup and World Club Challenge titles.
Beaumont wrote: “It is easy for many to write our team and club off, and it really does grate me, although coming off social media I am able to avoid it; well, almost, as unfortunately I still watch some of the coverage on Sky and BBC and it is very displeasing to see an ex-professional player embarrass themselves with their comments.
“I didn’t actually watch the BBC highlights show covering our game against Saints but was sent a short snippet of the comments of Wilkin whom in my opinion appears to have a clear agenda against Leigh based on many comments over a prolonged period, and in particular this year starting with the warm up game against Saints for Tommy Makinson’s testimonial aired on Our League.
“His intentions to discredit Leigh and in my opinion wind up our fans, many of whom I believe complained to the BBC, is so much so that it actually clouds his judgement.
“In his comments to Tanya Arnold he states on three occasions within a 13 second period ‘that Saints were just better than Leigh',
The club owner added :''Now I am not a journalist or a pundit but if I was going to make comments on a fixture between two teams, I would do my research.
“In 2017, the last time Leigh were in Super League, the two sides met on February 24 and Saints weren’t better than Leigh who won 24-16.
“Saints were better than Leigh on April 28 at home, winning 28-6, hardly a thrashing.
“On to this year and March 13, Saints weren’t better than Leigh, losing 25-24, albeit it in a warm up game that we kindly played in, taking no income whatsoever and our players attending in their cars to save Tommy the cost of a coach.
“However, Jon Wilkin states “whatever the situation”, so the warm up game or not, Saints weren’t better than Leigh.
“It is also interesting that he gives no credit to how well Leigh played and the impact that had on how 'badly,' as he states Saints played.
“Jon wants to give his head a wobble and maybe that tash will fall off at the same time.”
Leigh signed a number of ex-Toronto players following the withdrawal of the Canadian club from Super League last year.
Beaumont added: “He seems to forget that a lot of our players were his teammates at Toronto, where he felt having been beaten in every Super League game he played in with them he felt they should have stayed in the competition.
“I will defend my players and my club. We found out in mid-December that we were being promoted to Super League, on considerably less central funding, when all Super League teams had finished their recruitment and we had not played or indeed trained since March that year.
“We should be credited for how we have embraced the opportunity and competed well with Wigan in round one and Saints in the game I refer to.
“How our facilities are outstanding and in a short period of less than five months from being promoted we have had installed full TV arc perimeter LED boards to our fantastic stadium, something most Super League clubs do not have.138349774765
“It’s a long season and we will keep working hard on and off the field. I would be minded to hand Jon the remaining £450k available on our cap and my cheque book to spend it with the two quota spots to see what he would do.
“People who criticise without a solution offer no substance other than negativity something I despise.
“They say he who laughs last laughs loudest so keep on motivating everyone at Leigh Jon and let’s see who is laughing come the end of the season.”