A RED and white army will follow Saints down to Wembley for Saturday’s Challenge Cup final.

As the club makes it first Wembley appearance in 11 years, excitement has been building in the town over the past month since Saints’ semi-final triumph over Halifax.

READ MORE > How supporters can give Saints a rousing send-off to London

Thousands will descend on Wembley ahead of Saturday’s showpiece with hundreds of coaches to depart from locations across the town on Friday and on early Saturday morning.

Ahead of Saints’ showdown with Warrington Wolves many people in the town have been getting in the cup final spirit.

Residents, pub landlords and businesses owners have been putting up decorations to make the town a sea of red and white ahead of the big day echoing the Wembley build-ups of yesteryear.

St Helens Star:

ReStore on Peckers Hill Road, Sutton

Red and white bunting has been put up in the town centre and the Star saw a big response to its competition to offer prizes to the best decorated homes and businesses in the town.

Among the winners who who took part was Ian Burrows, from Hatfield Close, Sutton Heath, who decorated his house after making a bet with wife Lyndsay 11 years ago after the last time Saints reached Wembley.

St Helens Star:

Ian's home on Hatfield Close

“We had a bet after the last final that if they get to Wembley again we’ll decorate the house,” said Ian, 50, dad of Bailey, 12, Aiden, 11 and Southern, 10.

“We did it on the Saturday when they beat Halifax. I also always promised the children we would if they get to Wembley, it is great memories for them.”

Also taking part was Kathleen Murphy, of Sutton Heath Road.

“All the street love it and people have passed me things also to put up. We’re Saints fans and always do things like this. It’s for the community and it’s been everybody that’s got into it.”

Businesses have also been getting in the spirit decking out their fronts with red and white.

One of them is Fozard Hair on Bickerstaffe Street in the town centre, who have brightened up their shop window with a Saints-themed figure holding a rugby ball and the message ‘Come On You Saints’ written out above.

St Helens Star:

Fozard hair

Manager Natalie Cotham said: “We’re big Saints fans. It is important for the town to get behind it and everyone should do it to be fair.

“It is nice when people get involved.”

Meanwhile, another premises which has been catching the eye is Willowbrook hop on Church Road, Rainford with its colourful array of Saints memorabilia on display in the window.

St Helens Star:

“We always support the community,” said shop manager Viv Lynch.

“It’s not just about the hospice, we support the whole of the St Helens borough.

“”I know a friend who had a lot of vintage stuff from Knowsley Road so we got it from there.

“Although we support the hospice we support each other and that’s what it is about really.”

Perfect Getaways in Church Square Shopping Centre have also made the effort.

St Helens Star:

“People have been coming in and saying things about it,” said travel adviser Ruth Swift.

We have got as much up as we can.

“I think every shop should be doing it to give them a bit of a boost and to show the town that we are supporting them.”