St Helens Town have announced details surrounding their planned return to St Helens this summer.
With work well underway at their new home ground at Ruskin Drive, Town are looking forward to a return to St Helens following an extended period in exile which has seen them play ‘home games’ at Atherton Collieries, Ashton Town and currently at Ashton Athletic.
The Ruskin Drive project is being led by St Helens Council Sports Development department, in conjunction with the Liverpool County FA and the Football Foundation, and will see a new 3G set-up at the former Pilkington’s Sport and Social complex which is now managed by the Council.
Construction has recently commenced and is due for completion in the summer, with work including new floodlighting, a 200 seater stand and purpose built changing room facilities which will ensure the ground meets the minimum requirements for the NWCFL Premier Division.
The development has been some years in the planning and will form part of a broader project across the site which will see the facilities for rugby, tennis, cricket, bowls and football hugely improved.
Town will access the facilities, alongside Cheshire League neighbours Pilkington FC who have been based on the site for many years.
Club Chairman John McKiernan said, ‘We are delighted to be making a return to the town after a long time as the tenants of a number of clubs.
“Everyone at the St Helens Town is really looking forward to all our teams returning home, and we must thank all the partners involved in making this happen.
‘We have to be really thankful for the great support offered us over the last five years without which the club would now have been a distant memory.
“I’d like offer a special thanks to our current landlords Ashton Athletic who have been great hosts, especially in light of the dreadful weather we’ve experienced over the last two seasons.
“We’ve worked hard to maintain a presence in the town and to fly the flag for the borough across the region and in the FA’s national competitions.
“When we left St Helens we were one team, and now we are four with an U18s, U21s and adult Sunday team added to our NWCFL first team with a plan to continue our growth.
‘We’ve already started to work with Ruskin Leisure and other sports clubs with a comedy night earlier this year, and there’s a race night planned in June”.
With a formal inspection of the new ground by North West Counties Football League officials unable to take place prior to the 31st March 2016 deadline, the club has entered into a ground share agreement for the 2016-17 season with Evo-Stik League side Prescot Cables.
John McKiernan added: “I’d like to thank Chairman Tony Zeverona and the board at Cables for agreeing to host us at Hope Street, should our new home not be ready at the start of the 2016-17 campaign.
“We have had to sign a season-long agreement with Prescot to satisfy the FA security of tenure requirements, but we are confident that any use of Hope Street will be minimal.
‘We hope to have further updates as work progresses and plan a series of events next season to celebrate the club’s 70th anniversary”.