THE bronze statue of Saints rugby league legend Keiron Cunningham now towers alongside the club’s new stadium.

The sculpture of the former skipper was this week moved outside Saints’ new 18,000-capacity arena on Peasley Cross Road, which is due to be handed over to the club by developers Langtree next week.

The creation, commissioned by St Helens Council, has been housed on Chalon Way in the town for the past year, awaiting completion of the stadium.

On Monday it was positioned in pride of place at the head of the new stadium.

Visiting the new stadium on Monday, Cunningham said: “There are few words to describe the immense pride I feel every time I see the statue.

“I’ve said before that I’d like to put it in my own back garden and keep it for myself but, seeing it here, I realise it’s found an even more special place to call home.

“It’s an awesome arena and I think Langtree have provided the club with a stadium for the future. I would have loved to play here in front of 18,000 Saints fans.”

Eamonn McManus, Saints’ chairman and the driving force behind the creation of the club’s new home, said: “Keiron Cunningham is Saints through and through and for me he was the right and obvious choice to be enshrined at our fantastic new home.

“We have had some legendary players representing this club, and Keiron is considered the best of the best.

“This statue is a permanent tribute to his ability and means Saints fans will never forget his achievements.”

John Downes, managing director of Langtree, said that with work on the stadium almost completed “it is time for Keiron to finally come home”.

“Everyone in the town appreciates what an incredible job Keiron Cunningham did for Saints, for rugby league and for the town itself.

Mr Downes said: “He is a fine ambassador for his home town, so it’s only right that he should have such a proud and prominent position.”

Council leader Marie Rimmer added: “The commissioning by the council of the statue was in recognition of the achievements of not only Saints ongoing success on the field, but also of the invaluable contribution have made to the people, community and the very identity of St Helens through the decades, made by what is undoubtedly one of the world’s best and best known rugby league clubs.”

Cunningham was chosen in a poll of supporters to be cast as a statue outside the new ground.