St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus savours Grand Final success

St Helens' chairman Eamonn McManus is lifted into the air in celebration by Kevin Naiqama after their victory over Salford. Picture: SWpix
St Helens' chairman Eamonn McManus is lifted into the air in celebration by Kevin Naiqama after their victory over Salford. Picture: SWpix

No one epitomised what winning the 2019 Grand Final meant after several years in the wilderness than the man who took over the reins at St Helens as the new Millennium dawned.


But chairman and owner Eamonn McManus is more than what his title suggests - he's a genuine life-long and dyed-in-the-wool fanatical fan of his home town club which he first watched from the Knowsley Road terraces.

That's why he left the comfort of the Old Trafford directors' box to join his players and staff on the pitch to celebrate a 23-6 victory over Salford Red Devils on Saturday night.

He wallowed in the glory - lifting one of his players sky-high in a show of sheer delight - and then made sure he hugged all who had played a part in helping Saints to their sixth victory since the showpiece of season was introduced in 1998.

Still on a high, McManus told the media later: ''We have experienced a few frustrating years recently: but are back where we belong.''

He added: ''We went into the match with a real determination after the bitter disappointment of losing 18-14 to Warrington Wolves in the Coral Challenge Cup Final in August.

''It reminded me of 2002 when we lost 21-12 to Wigan Warriors at Murrayfield in the Challenge Cup and then bounced back to beat Bradford Bulls 19-18 in the Grand Final. I have a similar feeling.''

The Saints' chairman also praised the contribution Salford had made to an exciting final and urged their fans to show they all care about the club by buying season tickets for 2020.

But he left his last words - and quite rightly - to his Australia head coach Justin Holbrook, who is returning home to take charge of NRL club Gold Coast Titans after two and a half years at St Helens.

His simple message was: ''We wish you all the best in the future - good luck, and goodbye. You leave us as a winning coach who will always be a good friend to this club.''