ST HELENS Town have appointed former player and manager Alan Wellens as club president.
Following the loss of Bert Trautmann and Bill Foulkes this year club officials had no hesitation in inviting Alan to take up the honorary position with immediate effect.
Club Chairman John McKiernan said: “We lost two club legends with the passing of Bert and Bill this year. Bill had been club President since 2001 while Bert had rekindled his association with Town more recently, joining Bill as President in 2007.
“The club felt it was an opportunity to recognise the important role Alan has played in the history of the club as a player and manager.”
He added, “I wrote to Alan following our last committee meeting and I was delighted when he rang me to confirm his acceptance of the position and we are planning to meet up in the New Year.”
Wellens has a unique place in the club’s history - he holds the record for the most appearances in Town colours; was captain of the 1971-72 Lancashire Combination winning team and masterminded the club’s FA Vase success in 1987. Wellens was honoured by St Helens Town as one seven ‘Elite’ players of the decades (1970s) since the club’s reformation in 1946. As a local boy in his mid-teens Wellens made his St Helens Town debut at Great Harwood in 1966 alongside Jackie Atherton who as skipper made sure that the youngster ‘came to no harm’.
Little did anyone realise that Wellens would eventually succeed his mentor and become the first Town skipper to lift a trophy for over twenty years when he collected the Lancashire Football Combination Championship cup off Wesley Bridge in 1972 (pictured).
Though he featured intermittently at first under boss Jimmy McKiernan, his Town playing career spanned the years 1966 to 1981 with just a brief season and a half at Darwen intervening in the 1970s.
Though records for the early part of this period are sketchy there is no doubt that Wellens holds the record for St Helens Town appearances estimated at five hundred plus and he never gave less than one hundred per cent in any of them.
Under his leadership Town also won the Watson Trophy and the Bass Charrington Cup in 1974, although he missed the final of the latter due to injury as his team-mates beat Darwen 4-3 thriller played at Burscough.
That particular side was prolific indeed that year scoring 107 goals with Jackie Kendrick setting a club record of 46 goals which still stands to this day and though Alan Wellens’ job at right back was to defend, he did manage to get forward enough to bag a couple himself.
In season 1975-76 Wellens skippered Town in their new challenge in the Cheshire County League where he completed his playing career including the brief spell at Darwen.
Sadly his playing days ended when back with Town he broke his leg in a league fixture against Hyde United at Hoghton Road in 1981 but having recovered, he took over the management of the team and took the club to its most glorious day when winning the FA Vase at Wembley in 1987.