WITHIN hours of posting an old photograph of a section of Saints supporters at the 1966 Championship Final the young lad pictured at the front contacted us.

That young lad was just nine at the time – and enjoying his first full season of watching the Saints with his dad, the chap covering his face in the picture.

But nine years after watching this game Kieron Pickavance, the young lad at the front, was signed up by Saints – going on to play more than 40 times for the first team and being an integral part of the A team between 1976 and 1980.

Kieron said: “You could have knocked me over last week when I saw that picture. I had never seen that picture before and didn’t even know it existed,” he said.

“I always go on the St Helens Star news on my phone on a morning, and the headline was there about the fan hiding his face.

“I am looking at the picture and then I recognised my mate, Barry Norman. And then I clocked it was me stood right next to him.

“That is my dad, covering his face.”

It was Kieron’s dad Jim who introduced him to the rugby, regaling him with tales of Tom Van Vollenhoven, and he remembers him taking to him to his first game that year. It was a Saints v Wigan Good Friday game at Knowsley Road, packed to the rafters with 28,953 crammed into every space and hanging off every vantage point.

“My dad took me to as many as he could, and we went to Wembley where we beat Wigan 21-2 and following week it was Championship Final as it was known then.

“It was arguably the best Saints team ever.

“If they are playing Alex Murphy at left centre then it shows how strong the scrum half and stand off were.

“My favourite player in the team was Alex Murphy, Cliff Watson was awesome in the pack and John Mantle, who I had the privilege of playing alongside and against was a perfect gentleman.

“But that day in the final Albert Halsall had a stormer and scored three and won the Harry Sunderland,” he said.

Kieron started playing rugby at Edmund Campion, but after leaving school and starting work as a joiner he stopped for a spell until he put himself down for the Saints Colts.

“Bob Dagnall and Johnny Fishwick were the coaches and both were brilliant fellas with time for everyone.

“Four of the lads got signed that year – Mike Nolan, Tommy Cunningham, Harry Pinner and Johnny Smith. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t make the first cut but 12 months later I got signed.”

He went into the A team which, not surprisingly, tasted success in the Lancashire Combination in the late 70s.

“Our A team had some great players in it – Harry Pinner, Roy Haggerty, John Canning, Chris Arkwright, Brian Parkes and Steve Peters - and I am proud to say I won the player of the year in the academy when we did the double in 1977.”

He did manage to get chances in the first team, although often not in his favoured position of second row.

He explained: “Most of my opportunities came at prop forward but I was only weighing in at about 13 and half stone.

“Prop was a lot more of a specialist position then and you had to push as well.

“We had two all-time greats in George Nicholls and Eric Chisnall in the second row and it was hard to push those out, so most of my appearances came at prop.

“I always felt that I did not show my best.”

Kieron left for a short spell with Rochdale Hornets in 1980, but would end up returning to Saints in the late 90s in the role of MC for three years.

“I still enjoy the game today and get up the club as often as I can,” he said.