Saints still in the red new accounts show

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ST HELENS Rugby League Club lost more than £1m in its championship-winning season as it continues to struggle to balance the books despite its move to a new stadium.

The Super League club moved into Langtree Park in 2012, the culmination of 15 years of false dawns and planning, and it was expected that it would enable the club to trade profitably.

However the three completed financial years since it moved in have seen it accumulate losses of £5.2m.

The club is being propped up by Michael Coleman, whose company Crowther Street Holdings was owed £11.7m by the rugby club’s holding company, Sporting Club St Helens, at the end of the 2014 financial year. The loans are due for repayment by October 2018.

St Helens-born Mr Coleman moved to Singapore 30 years ago and became a successful hedge fund manager, founding Aisling Analytics.

Accounts just filed at Companies House for the year to October 2014 show a big jump in turnover for St Helens RFC, up by one-third to a record high of £7.12m. On the field, St Helens lifted its first piece of silverware in six seasons, beating Wigan Warriors in the Grand Final to become Super League champions.

In a statement issued two months before the accounts were signed off, St Helens RFC’s chairman Eamonn McManus trumpeted the “major improvements in its trading performance” without mentioning its bottom line figure.

He said: “The club has never in its history been better positioned commercially and financially for its long term future than it is today. We are expecting further revenue, profit and balance sheet improvements in 2015 and in the years ahead.

“The long term strategic commercial plan and the significant capital investment programme which the club adopted during the previous decade has produced a very strong and stable foundation for continued future commercial and sporting success.

“Super League and rugby league generally have experienced major commercial and financial improvements in the last two years. St Helens can now confidently expect to be at the forefront of the impressively strengthening business sector of professional club rugby league in this country and worldwide.”

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