Saints to avert debt crisis with share issue

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The Independent Online

St Helens, the most successful club of the Super League era, are launching a share re-issue to bail themselves out of a "catastrophic" financial position.

Saints' new chairman, Eamonn McManus, has revealed that the club is over £1m in debt, following losses of over £2m during the last two seasons. The new share issue is intended to pay off their overdraft, as well as leaving them with £625,000 in working capital.

"These proposals enable us to survive these otherwise catastrophic historic financial results," said McManus, who took over from the previous regime before the start of this season. "They allow us to wipe the slate clean."

The world champions, Bradford Bulls, are to play Kazan Arrows at Odsal on 25 April to open the short tour by the Russian side and Lokomotiv Moscow, who play Dewsbury on the same night. Kazan then play Hull KR and Moscow go to Workington on 28 April. The visit is aimed at assessing whether Russian sides should be invited into the Challenge Cup next year.

Bradford will have an unfamiliar look at home to Hull tonight, with long-term injury victim Michael Withers joined on the sidelines by Lesley Vainikolo, Daniel Gartner, Paul Deacon and Paul Sykes, as well as the suspended Leon Pryce – whose younger brother, Karl, has signed for the Bulls. Hull hope Lee Jackson will recover from a shoulder injury, but will be without Richard Horne.

Lee Penny, the Warrington full-back in his testimonial season at the club, has been dropped for tomorrow's game at Salford. The Wolves will also be without New Zealand centre David Kidwell, who has been given time off to deal with a domestic matter.

Salford have denied making any move for the Leigh coach, Paul Terzis, following their poor start to the season. Mick Docherty has joined Sheffield to become the first York player to find a new home following the collapse of the Wasps.

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