A HERITAGE number has been allocated to every player has appeared competitively for Saints since 1895.

Numbers begin with fullback Tom Foulkes, who was fullback back in 1895, right up to Jack Welsby, who made his debut in 2018.

The numbers have been created thanks to the painstaking efforts of people including Jack Leyland, Curtis Johnstone, Vernon Roby, Adrian Lawrenson, Paul Cotham, Bill Bates, Dave Dooley, Paul Cunliffe and Alex Service, who all played their part in the process which is a staggering culmination of hard work and endeavour.

To celebrate the launch of the numbers, Jack Welsby – the latest Saints player to make his debut (number 1,245) presented Jimmy Goodier – the earliest living player to make hid debut (number 607), with a one-off shirt emblazoned with his number.

Jimmy was a hooker who made his Saints debut in 1944 during the War Emergency League.

Alex Service said: "It cements their position in the club's legacy. Each individual has got their own story to tell and that really is important in terms of their overall part in the history of St Helens RFC."

He added: “This has been a fantastic project to work on and everyone at Saints Heritage Society is proud of the result and the fact we can now release the numbers in conjunction with the club.

“The research to identify every player who has played for the club has been very in-depth and we’ve found very interesting stories and facts about people and their backgrounds we never knew.

“Library research has played a huge part as has poring over hundreds of match reports and programme collections, together with personal accounts and interviews with past players. Most information has been by design; some by pure accident!

“Bill Bates did much to collate the statistics into a manageable single document, especially in the formative years. From essentially ‘hard copy’ data, the launch of the Saints’ Heritage Society website in 2002 provided a much-needed platform for further development and the promotion of Saints’ statistical history into the wider public domain.

“Special thanks to Webmaster Paul Cunliffe in this respect, who remains a vital member of our society.

“There has also been the opportunity for wider research, led by Dave Dooley, on players before World War Two, including family make-up, employment characteristics and the geographical movement of individuals throughout Britain and the wider world.”

Saints chairman Eamonn McManus said: “The Saints Heritage Society have been unstinting in their efforts over the years and have produced this phenomenal piece of work of which they can all be rightfully proud.

“The history and heritage of The Saints and its players is one of the richest in world sport and this project produces an appropriate and continuing record which befits that status. We should be very grateful indeed to all involved.”

See saintsrlfc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/St.Helens-R.F.C.-Heritage-Numbers.pdf for the full list.