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Weekly celebrates half a century covering top rugby side

A weekly newspaper has celebrated half a century of covering one of the world’s most successful rugby teams.

The St Helens Star has produced a 16-page supplement marking 50 years of reporting on the St Helens rugby league side, known as Saints.

The pullout forms part of the Star’s 50th anniversary celebrations and includes a series of features reflecting on major moments in Saints’ history – and the characters that have shaped them – since the Star hit the streets in 1973.

Its production has been led by Mike Critchley, who has been the Star’s Saints correspondent for more than 22 years.

Saints 50

In his introduction, Mike wrote: “In the past 50 years reporting on Saints has been an integral part of our paper’s coverage, bringing news, nostalgia, opinion and analysis.

“Times have changed radically in that time, both in terms of rugby league and also in our industry.

“As part of a multi-media news organisation, the St Helens Star has moved on from those hot metal days, with black and white pages and the broadest of broadsheets.

“But we’ve always enjoyed delivering the Saints news – from a time when sports editors like Frank Martin, and the late Rod Winstanley looked after the pages, allowing Saints reporters Neil Barker, Ron Barker and Denis Whittle to put their mark on the paper.”

The celebration comes after Saints won four successive Super League titles and this year’s World Club Challenge victory in Australia.

Star editor Andrew Kilmurray said: “Covering the ups and downs of Saints have been a key ingredient of the Star’s success over the last half a century and we want to celebrate that with our readers ahead of our 50th birthday.

“We’ve been fortunate to have some brilliant sports editors and correspondents down the years and the Star’s position as the voice of sport for St Helens is testament to their talent and endeavours.

“In Mike Critchley, we’re fortunate to have one of the most respected voices in rugby league writing, while the expert photography of Bernard Platt illuminates the many magic moments we see on the field.”