Talking Sport - Crowds are fan-tastic

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DESPITE a far from auspicious start to the new Super League season, Saints’ attendance figures since the opening of their new stadium have been excellent.

A total of 90,948 fans have flocked to Langtree Park for the opening six fixtures, giving an average gate of 15,158.

And if results continue to improve, hopefully the turnstiles will continue to click merrily.

Chairman Eamonn McManus told me before the season started that he was aiming for an average attendance of at least 14,000 – so far, so good.

n I FELT a little sad – but not surprised – when this Friday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup opponents, Oldham, switched their fifth-round tie to Langtree Park.

It virtually meant waving the white flag of surrender immediately in the hope of at least picking up much-needed cash.

Don’t get me wrong, I can fully understand the Rougheyds’ decision.

Whether they found a suitable venue in Oldham or in a nearby town (they played Saints at Stalybridge Celtic’s non-league soccer ground several years ago in the same competition) or conceded home advantage, the end result would be the same – a crushing defeat.

At the same time I would ask what’s happened to the romance of the cup and a chance, however slim, to become a giantkiller?

I’m afraid in this day and age, in which club are facing financial problems in various sports, glory takes a back seat when competing with the pound sign.

n IT must have been written in the stars ... teenager Adam Swift scoring on his home Saints debut after fans paid tribute to his late grandfather, Harold Swift, by observing a minute’s silence before the Widnes game on Friday night.

Hopefully, it will also have given his proud grandmother, who has not been too well herself, a timely boost.

Harold’s funeral service will take place at St Helens Parish Church on Friday at noon, followed by cremation.

Family flowers only but donations can be made to a charity chosen by the family, and a collection box will be placed in the foyer of the church.