TODAY’S #ThrowbackThursday takes a glimpse back at Saints’120-year-old Knowsley Road home that was bulldozed after they left at the end of the 2010 campaign.

We take a lofty view from the overhead TV cameras which give a view of the old ground and beyond.

St Helens Star:

Sometimes it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the Popular Side in particular, and bemoan the fact that such a cross section of comedians, choristers and critics have never really been assembled together as one solid mass ever again (although the West Standers may say differently).

Plenty of fans will have been taken to the old ground by our mams and dads, along with the obligatory milk crate, and in a blink of an eye were soon tucking our own kids through (and occasionally under) the turnstiles.

Apart from being a sporting theatre, for many of us Knowsley Road was our schoolyard, social club, community centre and church in that time.

St Helens Star:

St Helens Star: St Helens Star:

Here is a reminder of how the old ground was made up.

Edington End.

Prior to the relatively recent trend of ‘away ends’, which has seen the Edington colonised by travelling fans, this part of the ground was a popular perch for Saints supporters who wanted to see the full width of the pitch.

To kids walking in for the first time it looked as grand, if not as big as the Anfield Kop. The space on the pitch opens up in front of your eyes from up there, the ball flashing from left to right.

St Helens Star: Knowsley Road


Any fan entering the paddock for the first time in 1980 would have got the impression of walking into somebody’s front parlour. There was a real homely sense of community spirit in there generated by stalwarts Helen Kennedy, Margaret Whittle and Eric Ainsworth, who would always loudly declare: “Follow Gorley and you’ll get a bagful!”

At that time you would regularly see England rugby union internationals Fran Cotton and Steve Smith standing there on a Sunday afternoon.

Although it was an extra 5p to stand there in return you could stand right next to the concrete dug-outs. In those pre headset days – the coach would bark out his instructions from the bench. Animated ones like Leigh’s Alex Murphy or Bradford’s Peter Fox would get out and shout at the players .

St Helens Star:

The Popular Side.

The most heavily populated part of the ground has provided the atmosphere and soundtrack to many a big game.

The liveliest part of the ground became the area on the half way line underneath what was initially temporary scaffolding. The Scaff really took off in the 1984-85 season with the arrival of Mal Meninga and the playing of some fantastic, free-flowing rugby under Billy Benyon.

The simultaneous resurgence of Wigan resulted in the sort of 20,000 plus gates that everyone one thought had gone with the game’s halcyon days in the 60s.

The late 80s and early 90s sing-offs between the Wiganers packed up in the Edington and a bank of success-hungry Saints fans on the Popular Side were almost as compelling as the game itself.

The Restaurant End.

The uncovered Dunriding Lane end of the ground attracts the hardiest breed of supporters - particularly given the weather that usually afflicts most Saints match days.

Plenty of fans first started watching Saints from the boys’ pen section behind the posts which is in front of the oldest part of the ground – the Pavilion, built in 1920.

St Helens Star:

Pre-Super League it was the end in which the players came out of the tunnel and went back down. Therefore it was the perfect place to let off steam after a poor performance.

St Helens Star: St Helens Star:

Main Stand.

Although it should provide the best view in the house, the main stand more than anything sums up why Saints needed to move on.

Built in 1958, it cost £33,000 but financial constraints meant only two thirds of the project was completed. The stanchions blocked considerable parts of the action and the side covering of A stand obliterated a good portion of the pitch at that end of the ground.

And when it is really full – and a match winning play is executed– the stand shakes. One game in particular would have given any local seismologist a treat.

In May 2005 Warrington were on their way to a first win at Knowsley Road since 1994 when a Sean Long penalty levelled it with two minutes to play.

That should have been it – but with barely seconds left Long hit the winning drop goal. The pandemonium that followed saw the stand vibrate.