|Eric Atherton by SHS |
The situation during the Second World War meant that the Saints had to use a variety of players to keep going. Some were ‘borrowed’ from other clubs, quite legitimately; others were pushed into action on the field after a few games for the club’s junior league team. Eric Atherton was one of the latter, a lad from Park Road who signed for the club on 11th July 1944. The game against Barrow, on 13th January 1945 was a bit problematical for the club, as Clericus in the Reporter revealed: “Saints fielded eight players who last season were playing in the junior team. Delves, a front-row forward, and Atherton, out-half, were the latest juniors to play their first match with the seniors and both did well enough to justify extended trials”.
Eric played at Halifax on 3rd February and at Odsal against Bradford Northern in the last match of the campaign, which Saints lost 0-22. This time, Atherton was in the left centre position and his tackling was described as “exceptionally good”. In 1939 American was living in Southey Road, St. Helens and still at school. He died in his hometown in August, 1990, aged 64.
If anyone has any further information about Eric, especially an image, we would really like to hear from you.