Written by Callum Walker
It’s less than a decade old, but the Totally Wicked Stadium has already become a big hit in the rugby league world, hosting numerous international and big competition games.
After being at Knowsley Road for 120 years, St Helens made the conscious decision to up sticks and modernize, with a new stadium granted full planning permission in May 2008. Just a few months later, the green light was given without needing a public enquiry with construction starting in 2010.
In November 2011, it was announced that main developers, the Langtree Group, had obtained the naming rights for the venue. As a result, Langtree Park was the new arena’s title. However, that responsibility passed to Totally Wicked in 2016 who signed a five-year deal to be effective in early 2017.
Whilst many venues take a considerable amount of time to construct and with many facing significant problems, it was perhaps refreshing to see the new build take just two years to complete. In fact, Saints were in their home for the start of the 2012 season, hosting Widnes in late January.
That inaugural year, Saints drummed up an average attendance of 14,212 with a record crowd of 17,890 at Easter time. 2012 was a glorious year for Langtree Park with the first Rugby League International Origin Match between England and the Exiles taking place there.
A group match of the 2013 World Cup between Australia and Fiji was also held at Saints’ ground, with three 2021 World Cup games scheduled to be held there too.
Excellent facilities are the name of the game for St Helens in their modern stadium which is a massive draw for potential recruits. Not only that, but the 18,000-capacity venue highlights the professionalism of the club as a whole and how far Saints have come in the modern era under owner Eamonn McManus.
Though perhaps not yielding as good an atmosphere as Knowsley Road, the Totally Wicked Stadium does its job as an effective up-to-date complex incredibly well.