St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus blasts Wembley officiating in programme notes

St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus during the Captain's Run ahead of the Challenge Cup final. Picture: SWpix
St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus during the Captain's Run ahead of the Challenge Cup final. Picture: SWpix

Saints'' supremo Eamonn McManus has fired a verbal broadside at some of the decisions Oldham referee Robert Hicks made at Wembley last Saturday.


Morgan Knowles thought he had scored the opener for St Helens in the third minute but Hicks awarded a 20-metre tap to Warrington rather than going to the screen and eventually the Wire lifted the famous old trophy on the back of an 18-4 triumph.

As well as being frustrated by the Knowles' verdict, McManus also alleged that the response to a death threat by Hicks and Warrington chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick the week before the match was a 'publicity stunt.'

In his programme notes for Friday’s home game against Castleford, McManus wrote: “Warrington did perform to their full and the record books, therefore, rightfully belong to them on this occasion. We congratulate them as worthy winners.

“However, it would be remiss of me to be silent on the officiating both during and before the game.

"How a referee can be involved in a publicity stunt with the chief executive officer of a participating club in the week before a Challenge Cup final defies belief and reason.

''This apparently resulted from some pathetic spat on the open sewer that is Twitter some weeks before. The fact referees go, and are allowed to go, on Twitter with fans is utterly beyond me. No good can come from it and clearly no good does.

“Resultantly, the perception of officiating impartiality was destroyed even before kick-off. This was amply consolidated, in the eye of many, in reality when Hicks comprehensibly did not go to the video referee for Morgan Knowles’ clear and legitimate opening try and then followed it up shortly with other highly questionable decisions.

“As tempting as it is, I am not blaming the individual referee. However, I am pointing out that no other sport would have allowed such a farcical and amateurish combination of self-fulfilling events to occur.”