AFTER taking retirement from broadcasting, highly respected former BBC North West Tonight presenter Gordon Burns has more time on his hands.
And he is putting it to good use in St Helens, by offering advice on how to help boost the media profile of Saints and the sport of rugby league.
Gordon, a Saints supporter and friend of the club’s chairman Eamonn McManus, can often be spotted in the Langtree Park stands cheering on Saints.
Now, working alongside ex-Manchester Evening News editor Paul Horrocks, he is advising the club on how to spread the rugby league gospel and the Saints brand beyond the game’s heartlands.
Speaking ahead of Saints’ opening home league fixture of 2014, the ex-Krypton Factor host said: “I do love my football and cricket but I am a big rugby league fan and a big St Helens fan.
“Langtree Park is absolutely fantastic. If not the best, it is one of the best rugby league grounds.
“The facilities are second to none. Not just for sport but for conferences and meetings – this is the business area which I know the club are keen to expand in.
“As soon as people see what’s on offer they go ‘wow!’ And with it being close to the motorway, it’s a perfect place.
“So St Helens is looking to grow the business as well as the team and they have a fantastic team for this year.”
He believes that, despite the fierce competition from football, rugby league should have confidence in itself aand try to maximise its media coverage: “Because of the massive following of football and rugby union the media are obviously going to feed that.
“But rugby league is a great game and a great sport to watch and sometimes I think it hasn’t pushed it hard enough but it’s beginning to happen because of the new Sky TV deal.
“It is a phenomenal deal for rugby league in general.
“They are about to announce the biggest radio deal with more rugby league on Five Live than ever before with live commentaries on Thursday and Friday matches.
“They have got to get out there and shout about what they’ve got because it’s a great sport.”