ST HELENS TOWN have confirmed they are nearing a return to their hometown with work on Ruskin Drive set to be completed in the summer.
The Ruskin Drive project, being led by the St Helens Council Sports Development department in conjunction with the Liverpool County FA and the Football Foundation, will see a new 3G set-up at the council owned complex.
Construction work has recently commenced to install new floodlights, a 200-seater stand and purpose built changing room facilities which means it will meet the North West Counties League Premier’s requirements.
The return home will mean an end to four years of exile for St Helens, who have been forced to groundshare at Atherton Collieries, Ashton Town and currently Ashton Athletic.
They will share Ruskin Drive with Cheshire League neighbours Pilkington FC, who have been based on the site for many years.
St Helens 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 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.”
While the club are hopeful they will kick off the new North West Counties season at Ruskin Drive, they have secured a groundshare agreement with Evo-Stik NPL North side Prescot Cables in case of any delays.
With an inspection of St Helens’ new facilities unable to take place prior to the March 31 deadline, a suitable ground for next season had to be secured.
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.”