St Helens chairman reflects on his 20 years at the club

Eamonn McManus
Eamonn McManus
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Twenty years have now elapsed since Eamonn McManus was appointed a St Helens director and this week admitted: ''If I had known what lay ahead initially, then I don't think I would have come on board.''

Saints and their fans are glad he did - revitalising a cash-strapped club and putting the icing on the cake by developing a state-of-the-art stadium and a team to match it.

McManus, who took over the role of chairman during the early years of the new Millennium, said: ''I had planned to become a sponsor rather than a director, but it just happened and while I haven't reached a decision when I'll step down the same scenario will apply. It will simply just occur.''

He and his fellow backer Mike Coleman have faced what the chairman describes as 'some nightmarish moments' along the way but he insisted: 'It has been my passion and I have enjoyed most of my time at the helm .

''At the same time, it has been a big pull on my finances and neither do people realise what impact it also has on your family life.

''But when I now look back over the past 20 years I'm glad I got involved and have no real regrets.''

Saints will look back on the 2018 season with mixed emotions, winning the League Leaders Shield, in which they won 26 of their 30 matches, but were off the pace when it mattered most, losing to the Catalans Dragons in the Challenge Cup semi-final and Warrington Wolves in the play-off semi-final.

McManus said: ''We were so near yet so far off winning at least one major trophy but we cannot hide from the fact that we failed in the big games.

''It's something we need to remedy this season with what I think is a better balanced squad.

''There will be more of a team ethic with all the players equally dependant on each other and not on or two individuals but it will come down to how much the team wants to win.''