Widnes Vikings

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This article is about the Rugby League club. For the Football Club playing in the NWCFL, see Widnes Vikings F.C..
"The Chemics" redirects here. For other uses, see Chemic (disambiguation).
Widnes Vikings
Widnes Vikings vs St Helens Karalius Cup 2010 002.JPG
Club information
Full name Widnes Vikings Rugby
League Football Club
Nickname(s) The Vikings
The Chemics
The 'Original' Cup Kings
Short name Widnes
Website www.widnesvikings.co.uk
Colours Widnes colours.svg
Founded 1875; 139 years ago (1875) (as Farnworth and Appleton Football Club)
Current details
Ground(s)
CEO(s) Steve O'Connor
Coach(s) Dennis Betts
Captain(s) Jon Clarke
Competition Super League
Rugby football current event.png Current season
Records
Premierships 9
Challenge Cups 7
Most capped 591 - Keith Elwell
Most points 2,195 - Ray Dutton

Widnes Vikings RLFC are an English professional rugby league club based in Widnes, Cheshire. They currently play in the First Utility Super League, the top tier of European rugby league, after being awarded a license to compete in the top-flight from 2012 onwards. They play their home games at the Select Security Stadium.

Widnes were one of the original twenty-two rugby clubs that formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895, making them one of the world's first rugby league teams. Their traditional nickname is "The Chemics" after the main industry in Widnes, but the club also use their more modern nickname in "The Vikings". They have a strong local rivalry with Warrington Wolves and before the Super League era Widnes were one of the strongest teams in British rugby league. They were described the "Cup Kings" after going to Wembley nearly every year in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1989, after winning its third Rugby League Championship, Widnes became the first official World Club Champions, by beating the Australian champions Canberra Raiders 30-18.

Following a brief spell in Super League (2002–05), the club entered into Administration in 2007[1] and was later purchased by Steve O'Connor, a local businessman,[2] who had just sold his business to the Stobart Group. He invested heavily into his hometown club, regaining Superleague status by 2012.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

A newspaper extract from the Farnworth & Appleton Guardian in 1875 announcing the formation of Farnworth & Appleton Football Club.
A newspaper extract from the Widnes Guardian in 1875 announcing the formation of Farnworth & Appleton Football Club.

The Farnworth & Appleton Cricket Club was formed in 1871 and four years later the members decided to embrace the burgeoning football code. At their fourth annual evening party in the Drill Hall, Widnes, in November 1875, club Chairman Henry Lea "gave a short account of the club since it commenced about four years ago, and indicated that they had now started a football club in connexion (sic) with it, and hoped all would join". The first known game for the new Farnworth and Appleton FC was in Widnes in January 1876 played under rugby rules against Northwich Victoria. A few weeks later a return match was played at Drill Field, Northwich under soccer rules. Vics won both games. These are the only two known fixtures in that truncated first season.

By May 1876 the club had changed its name to Widnes FC and the cricket side of the organisation had disbanded, presumably to concentrate on football activities. By the late 1870s the club was being referred to as "The Chemicals"—subsequently shortened to 'The Chemics'.

The first ground was on Albert Road behind what is now the Premier Wetherspoon's pub and a short spell followed in the Simms Cross area. From around 1878–84 the club were based at the junction of Millfield/Peelhouse Lane, apart from season 1880–81 when they played on the Widnes Cricket Club ground at Lowerhouse Lane. From 1884–95 they rented a field at Lowerhouse Lane before moving to their third separate site on that road in October 1895. The first ever game at what later became Naughton Park was against Liversedge on Saturday 12 October 1895.

In 1895, Widnes were founder members of the Northern Union which broke away from the Rugby Football Union. Their first game was an away fixture against Runcorn which they lost 15–4.

During the early years, the club often had to sell players to balance the books. The strength of junior rugby league in the area meant the club had a steady stream of new players to offset any losses.

In 1902, the Lancashire and Yorkshire leagues were combined to form a second division, Widnes was added to the first division.

In 1914, Arthur 'Chick' Johnson was capped for the Lions (captained by Harold Wagstaff) in the famous Rorke's Drift test, a match in which they overcame all the odds, and injuries to beat Australia with a depleted side of 10 against 13. He scored an extraordinary try to win the game, dribbling the ball from inside his own half.

The club's first ever success came when they won the Lancashire League trophy in the 1919–20 season. However, the 1920s saw the club almost go to the wall. Local rivals Warrington donated their share of the traditional Easter and Christmas derby matches to keep Widnes afloat in 1927–28.

In 1930, Widnes with 12 local-born players defied the odds to beat St Helens 10–3 to bring home the Challenge Cup.[3]

The Kingsway housing scheme threatened the loss of Widnes' ground. After several years of fundraising during the Great Depression of the 1930s, £3,250 was raised to save the ground. This came with a stipulation that the ground could be sold only to the local council at the original price. The newly named Naughton Park was opened in 1932.

A major boost for the club was Widnes' first ever trip to the Challenge Cup final, staged at Wembley. Their opponents were St. Helens, Saints scored after 6 minutes to take a 3–0 lead, but Widnes hit back with a penalty try, a further try and a penalty to take a 10–3 half-time lead. A scoreless second half meant Widnes had won the cup.

Widnes became the first club to make two trips to Wembley, with a loss to Hunslet in the 1934 cup final.

In 1935–36, the team came close to being rugby league champions. Having finished third in the table, Widnes beat Liverpool 10–9 but lost to Hull, in the championship final. A third trip to Wembley came in 1937, with an 18–5 win over Keighley. The final was dubbed "McCue's Match" as the halfback played an important part in the win.

Widnes dropped out of the wartime Lancashire league in 1940–41 and did not return to league competition until 1945–46.

Post war[edit]

Tommy McCue led the club to its first ever Lancashire Cup win, with a 7–3 victory against Wigan in 1945.

Back at Wembley in 1950, the team was beaten 19–0 by Warrington. During this period, the club reverted to selling its players to richer teams.

Local man Vince Karalius joined Widnes from St. Helens in 1962 and was appointed club captain. In his first season, Widnes finished third in the Championship, which equalled the club's best league placing. In 1962, the league was split into East and West of the Pennines; Widnes and Workington Town met at Central Park, Wigan, in the first final of the Western Division Championship on Saturday 10 November 1962. With two minutes remaining, Lowdon dropped a goal to earn Workington a 9–9 draw. Later in the month Workington won the replay 10–0.

The following season saw him lead his team to Wembley, where Widnes were Rugby League Challenge Cup winners after they defeated Hull Kingston Rovers 13–5. No team had ever played more games in reaching Wembley than Widnes in 1964. In the first round, two replays were necessary before beating Leigh. Liverpool City were beaten in the second round, then Widnes played Swinton in front of 19,000 at Naughton Park. A 5–5 draw meant another replay, which was a scoreless draw at Station Road. A second replay at Wigan was watched by 21,369 with Widnes winning 15–3. The semi-final against Castleford was drawn 7–7. A crowd of 28,732 spectators watched the replay, which Widnes won. A Wembley crowd of 84,488 saw Widnes win the Challenge Cup for the third time with a 13–5 victory over Hull KR. This was the Chemics first trophy success in eighteen years.

The "Cup Kings"[edit]

The 1970s saw the first really outstanding Widnes team. A host of young local players developed into the "Cup Kings", a golden age for the club. The first cup-final was a loss in the 1971–72 Lancashire Cup.

Six years after he retired from playing Vince Karalius returned to Widnes as coach; appointed in January 1972. The following two seasons, Widnes reached the finals of the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy. The first success came in the 1975 Lancashire Cup which Widnes won by beating Salford that season. They also won the 1975 Challenge Cup final 14–7 versus Warrington at Wembley. This was the first time in their history that Widnes had won two trophies in the same season. At his zenith, Karalius, stepped down once from his role as coach. He was replaced in May 1975 by Frank Myler.

Widnes visited Wembley in the following two seasons, losing to St. Helens and then Leeds. However, this was made up for by victories in the Lancashire Cup and John Player Trophy. The season after this (1977–78) saw their first league championship. The team went through the season unbeaten at home in the league. There were also trips to the John Player and Premiership finals.

Keith Elwell began his run of 242 consecutive appearances at Wembley in the 1976–77 Challenge Cup Final, including two as a substitute. He finished his run at Hull on 26 September 1982. This record for consecutive appearances for one club stands to this day.

Doug Laughton took over the job of team coach when Frank Myler retired from the position in 1978. The 1978–79 season saw no less than four cups come to Widnes—the BBC2 floodlit trophy, Lancashire Cup, Premiership and a win at Wembley over Wakefield Trinity in front of a crowd of 93,218. Widnes also defeated the Ashes-winning 1978 Kangaroo tourists.

The 1979–80 season saw Widnes beat Bradford Northern in the Premiership final, but come second to them in the league and John Player Trophy. The Lancashire Cup was won for the fifth time in the 1970s.

The 1980s started with a Wembley win over Hull Kingston Rovers in 1980–81. The season after this, Widnes again returned to Wembley, to face Hull. Widnes led 14–6 with less than 20 minutes to go, but the game finished 14–14 and Hull won the replay 18–9 at Elland Road, Leeds. Widnes kept their record of winning a cup every season by defeating Hull 23–8 in the Premiership final. The next season saw Hull again beaten by Widnes in the Premiership final.

Vince Karalius returned to the club in March 1983 as co-coach with Harry Dawson. Dawson quit as coach in March 1984 with Karalius continuing as team manager. Karalius led a strong Widnes side to the finals of the Lancashire Cup and John Player Trophy and another Wembley victory appearance 19–6 against Wigan.

Doug Laughton returned to the club in January 1986 and began a series of signings of players from other league clubs and from rugby union. One such player was Martin Offiah, who in 1987–88 scored a club record 42 tries. The team went on to win the championship that season, clinching it with a 50-point win away over Hunslet. Widnes then beat St. Helens in the Premiership Final at Old Trafford, Manchester a game in which Alan Tait made his début.

The 1988–89 season saw the club sign rugby union star Jonathan Davies from Llanelli for £225,000. Wigan were beaten in the Charity Shield but had their revenge in the Regal Trophy Final. The Championship came down to the last game of the season, a capacity crowd at Naughton Park saw Widnes beat Wigan 32–18 to win the title for the second year running. The Premiership was won again, with over 40,000 at Old Trafford to see Widnes beat Hull 18–10.

The 1989–90 season saw Widnes play at Anfield, Liverpool beating Wigan 27–22. A trip to France to play Le Pontet saw Widnes chosen as the Northern Hemisphere representatives to meet Australia's Grand Final winners. Canberra took a 12–0 lead but were then swept aside as Widnes stormed home 30–18 to become the first official World Club Champions.

However, financial problems riddled the club in the early 1990s. To balance the books, over 25 first team players were sold to other teams. This resulted in the club sinking to 12th in the division one table, avoiding relegation.

Myler became coach of Widnes in May 1994. In August 1995 the club decided to bring back Doug Laughton for a third stint as team manager which resulted in Myler's sacking as coach.[4]

Summer era[edit]

In 1996, the first tier of British rugby league clubs played the inaugural Super League season and changed from a winter to a summer season.[5] When the RFL announced that a new 12-team Super League was to be formed a chaotic period ensued in which the club was out, then in, then out, then in merged with local rivals Warrington and then finally out again as they finished below the cut-off point of 10th in the existing top flight.

The club adopted the name Widnes Vikings on 27 November 1996; the club had intended to adopt the moniker 'Warriors' by were asked to reconsider the RFL as Whitehaven were planning to adopt this moniker. Further player and coaching departures ensued and the club struggled in the new first division, the club's first ever finish in the relegation zone followed. They spent the next 5 years in the Northern Ford Premiership.

Graeme West took over as coach after Doug Laughton's third stint, his reign lasted from May 1997 until August 1998. During this time, the playing arena was rebuilt and the old stands, terraces and facilities were demolished to be replaced with a state-of-the-art all-seater stadium. This was also renamed from Naughton Park to the Halton Community Stadium (it also went on to be called The AutoQuest Stadium, the Halton Stadium and the Stobart Stadium, Halton). West was replaced as coach by Colin Whitfield.

In 1999 Widnes narrowly missed out on a place in the grand final. The 2000 season was one of transition with head coach Colin Whitfield being sacked and replaced by David Hulme. The record attendance for the newly rebuilt stadium was set at 6,644 for a Northern Ford Premiership game against Leigh on Boxing Day 2000. Widnes finished off a poor season in 8th place in the NFP.

They were finally promoted to Super League under new coach Neil Kelly in 2001 beating Oldham 24–12 in the NFP Grand Final.[6] Their début season in Super League was in 2002, Superleague VII, and the Vikings surprised everyone by narrowly missing out on a play-off place, and finishing 7th.

The following season saw them consolidate with a 9th place finish, and in 2004 they avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth, with Castleford's defeat to Wakefield Trinity on the final day of the season saving Widnes' fate. Stuart Spruce was caretaker manager.

Frank Endacott arrived at Widnes as coach in 2005, but could not improve on the previous seasons, and with 2 teams being relegated in 2005 due to the inclusion of Catalans Dragons to Superleague from 2006, Widnes were eventually relegated back down to the second tier of the English game (LHF National League 1).

Following relegation, Widnes parted company with coach Frank Endacott and the majority of their under-achieving Super League squad. New coach Steve McCormack, who led Whitehaven to two consecutive NL1 Grand Finals, rebuilt the squad which notably included Australian full back David Peachey, who kept his word to join the club, despite its relegation.

Stephen Vaughan completing a take-over of Widnes in 2006.[7] Peachey was sacked just a few months into the season by Stephen Vaughan in order to create funds and to make room under the salary cap for players such as Dennis Moran. On the field Widnes had made the LHF National League Grand Final, but were beaten by Hull KR at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Stephen Vaughan eventually quit as chairman of Widnes and stepped down from the club's board of directors on the eve of their opening league game of the 2007 Co-operative National League season, which was broadcast live on Sky Sports.[8] and placed the club into the media spotlight for sometime. Despite this, the club then went on to win the 2007 Northern Rail Cup with a 54–6 victory over Whitehaven in the final in Blackpool's Bloomfield Road stadium on 15 July 2007 in front of a crowd of 8,326.[9] Widnes improved further and reached the National League Grand Final, as they had done the year before. However, due to financial implications not known to the public at the time, they were beaten in the final by Castleford at Headingley. In the days that followed, Widnes had no option but to place themselves into voluntary administration.

New beginning[edit]

It was announced on 2 November 2007 that Widnes RLFC would come out of administration under a new owner by the name of Stephen O'Connor.[10] He was a local business man, well known in the town for his haulage firm 'The O'Connor Group', which had just been bought by the Stobart Group. With the re-appointment of Steve McCormack as Head Coach,[11] Widnes were re-admitted into National League 1, and the club managed to scrape together a squad for the start of the season. The RFL then placed a nine-point deduction on the club for going into administration in the off season, but this was successfully neutralised through winning their first three games.

Off the field, Widnes had the opportunity to apply for a Super League 2009 License, along with 18 other clubs. Following an application process in March 2008, on the 22 July 2008 at 10 am, the RFL announced live on Skysports the 14 successful clubs who were to play in Superleague for the period 2009-11. Widnes were not granted a licence by the RFL on the basis that they had been placed into administration, or liquidation as Richard Lewis (chief executive of the RFL) incorrectly stated.[12] However, despite the setback the club continued to rebuild, led by new chairman Steve O'Connor. To prove his dedication to the club's future, he made an inspirational speech at the following home game with the local MP, when Widnes were host to Dewsbury. The climax of the 2008 season saw Widnes reach the National League Playoffs by finishing in 6th place. A 32-16 defeat to third-placed Halifax however brought the nostalgic 2008 campaign to an end.

Preparations for the 2009 season began early with the club securing one of the league's biggest signings in James Webster from Hull. By February however, Widnes declared that they had parted company with Steve McCormack, through 'mutual consent'.[13] The news came three days after Widnes were controversially[14] beaten 22–20 at home to Co-Operative Championship 1 side Oldham in the Northern Rail Cup Group Stage. Assistant John Stankevitch took over from McCormack on a caretaker basis after his departure, leading the side through the remaining group stage games and into the final 16. By March 2009 former Warrington, Whitehaven and England Coach Paul Cullen was unveiled as McCormack's successor, having been selected from 17 strong candidates and a shortlist of three that were interviewed by the Chairman.[15] Speaking from the heart Cullen said on his appointment "I'm really excited to be joining Widnes. The plan is simple, we need to get Widnes into Super League where we belong".

Cullen first aided Stankevitch in his final game as caretaker coach, beating French side Toulouse 70–0 in the first game of the Co-operative Championship season live on Sky Sports. The team was re-organised by Cullen, with a number of senior players being released and replaced by the loan signings of Kevin Penny and Steve Pickersgill from local rivals Warrington Wolves, and Craig Hall from Hull. Also, assistant coach John Stankevitch was replaced by former Widnes and Wigan forward Mick Cassidy. Following a semi-final victory against in-form Halifax, which included the infamous 'Ben Black Knock on' to win the game, Widnes lifted the Northern Rail Cup for a second time with a 34–18 win against Barrow. Victory over Barrow in front of a crowd of 8,720 at Blackpool's Bloomfield Road meant that Widnes had now "ticked the box"[16] and were now eligible to submit an application for a three-year Super League licence in 2011.

For the 2010 season Cullen utilised the new 'dual registration' option to initially bring both Liam Farrell and Shaun Ainscough from Wigan to the club. An injury crisis in the opening weeks of the season, which saw a large proportion of the first team sidelined, limited Widnes' progress. Even Widnes' star scrum half James Webster left the club to take up a coaching job at Hull. As the season progressed, Widnes were able to recover and reached the Northern Rail Cup Final for the third time in four years. A last-minute try prevented Widnes from retaining the trophy, as they were beaten 25-24 by the Batley Bulldogs at Blackpool's Bloomfield Road. Despite this, Widnes again reached the 2010 Co-operative Championship playoffs but failed to advance past the opening round as they were humiliated in a 38-0 defeat to Barrow at Craven Park.

Return to Super League[edit]

Following 3 years of re-building and precise business acumen from Chairman Steve O'Connor, on March 31, 2011 Widnes were granted a licence for entry into Super League (Seasons 2012–14). The decision was broadcast live on skysports news at 11am, with the stadium sports bar and function rooms packed full with Widnes fans celebrating until the early hours.

By July 2011 the preparations for Superleague were well underway with the re-appointment of Denis Betts as coach and a flourish of new onfield signings were announced. The pioneering 'Viking Stronghold' initiative moved from strength to strength, as fans were urged to pay a monthly subscription to watch Widnes, ensuring the club received funds all year round. It offered exclusive discounts, electronic team news and lineups, and even an exclusive rugby shirt and match ball to its members. By August, the club announced it would install a fourth generation artificial pitch (or ipitch as it became known) during the off season, to improve overall match performance and maximise the use of the clubs facilities. Widnes' tenancy in the Co-operative Championship culminated in September 2011 with a fifth place league finish, and a first round playoff defeat of 36-20 by Sheffield Eagles at Bramall Lane.

February 2012 saw Widnes' re-emergence into the top tier of rugby league, and the club endured five consecutive defeats before upsetting local rivals Wigan Warriors 37-36 in one of the defining games of the season. Impressive home victories against London Broncos, Huddersfield Giants, Castleford Tigers and Hull FC followed, whilst also just coming short in exciting encounters against St Helens and Hull KR respectively. Away from the Stobart Stadium Widnes also claimed a single away victory over Salford City Reds. The mid-season signing of Kevin Brown from Huddersfield Giants with a transfer fee in June for the 2013 season showed signs of real ambition for the club, but despite proving critics wrong by notching up an impressive 12 points in their first season back, the very poor start to the season proved crucial as Widnes finished at the bottom of the 2012 Superleague table on points difference alone.

The 2013 season saw a marked improvement on the field by Widnes, with the team finishing 10th in the Super League table, earning a total of 22 league points (10 more than the previous season) and also saw them reach the Challenge Cup Quarter-finals. The highlights of the season included the season long loan signing of England International Gareth Hock from Wigan Warriors and impressive home & away victories in the local derby against Warrington Wolves, winning 38-22 at home over the Easter weekend and then winning the return fixture at Halliwell Jones Stadium 6-16 in August.

2014 Challenge Cup[edit]

The Vikings are currently attempting a return to "Cup Kings" glory, with a strong campaign in the Tetley's Challenge Cup competition 2014. Having defeated Halifax and Salford Red Devils, the Vikings secured an emphatic Quarter Final victory against the Keighley Cougars, securing their first Semi Final appearance since 2003. The semi final draw has resulted in a Widnes v Castleford tie, to be played at a neutral ground in Lancashire during August 2014.

Select Security Stadium[edit]

Widnes Rugby League Football Club had a number of grounds before settling at Lowerhouse Lane in 1895. The death of the club's secretary, Tom Naughton in 1932, led to the ground being renamed Naughton Park as a gesture of the team's appreciation.

Naughton Park became one of the best known Rugby League grounds in the country due to the success of the 'Chemics'.

It was agreed that Halton Council in partnership with the Widnes would build a new stadium on the existing site, which would provide a multi-purpose complex including a social club, conference facilities, recreational facilities and catering/function facilities and would be the new home venue for Widnes RLFC. The stadium was officially opened on 2 November 1997 following the completion of phase 1 of a multi-million pound redevelopment of the old Naughton Park site.

On 29 January 1999 Halton Borough Council took over responsibility for the entire stadium, both financially and managerially. This was necessary as the joint venture companies arrangements were not performing as expected.

The stadium reached completion with the opening of the East Stand in September 2005 and is an all-seater stadium which has a capacity of 13,500. It has also had the honour to have staged national finals and international fixtures.

Following Widnes' purchase by local business man Steve O'Connor, The Halton Stadium was renamed to the 'Stobart Stadium Halton' at a Fans Forum on 6 December 2007. By February 2008 the stadium was given a 'facelift' in preparation for the Superleague Licenses, with the North Stand seats arranged to spell out "VIKINGS", West Stand seats to advertise main sponsors STOBART and East Stand to advertise local authority Halton Borough Council as part of the stadium sponsorship deal. The South Stand seats were left out until a sponsorship arrangement could be arranged.

In August 2011, the stadium turf was removed and replaced with a third generation artificial pitch (or ipitch as it became known), in order to improve overall match performance and maximize the use of the clubs facilities.

With Stobart electing not to renew sponsorship of the stadium during the 2013 season, a new sponsor was revealed and the stadium was renamed The Select Security Stadium. The West Stand seats therefore were re-arranged in order to advertise the stadiums new main sponsor - Select Security.

Club coaches, captains and vice captains[edit]

See also List of Widnes Vikings coaches

Coaching register - since 1972[edit]

Captain register - since 2005[edit]

Year Captain Vice Captain League
2005 England Terry O'Connor Australia Shane Millard Super League X
2006 England Mark Smith National League One
2007 England Mark Smith Republic of Ireland Bob Beswick National League One
2008 Co-operative Championship
2009 Australia Jim Gannon Co-operative Championship
2010 Republic of Ireland Dave Allen Co-operative Championship
2011 Australia Simon Finnigan England Chaz I'Anson Co-operative Championship
2012 England Jon Clarke England Shaun Briscoe Super League XVII
2013 England Kevin Brown Super League XVIII
2014 Super League XIX

2014 squad[edit]

* Announced on 6 December 2013:


2014 Widnes Vikings Squad
First team squad Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coach


Legend:
  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain

Updated: 6 December 2013
Source(s): 2014 Squad Numbers


2015 transfers[edit]

Gains

Player Position Previous Club Contract Announced
England Aaron Heremaia Hooker Hull FC 2 Years May 2014
Tonga Manase Manuokafoa Prop Bradford Bulls 2 Years July 2014

Losses

Player Position Signed for Contract length Date
England Steve Pickersgill Prop Retired N/A May 2014
Wales Rhodri Lloyd Second Row Wigan Warriors Loan Return
England Paul Clough Prop St Helens Loan Return

Honours[edit]

1977–78, 1987–88, 1988–89
1929–30, 1936–37, 1963–64, 1974–75, 1978–79, 1980–81, 1983–84
Beaten finalists: 1934, 1950, 1976, 1977, 1982, 1993
1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90
Beaten finalists: 1978, 1991
1945–46, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1990–91
Beaten finalists: 1929, 1940, 1956, 1972, 1982, 1984
1919–20
  • Western Division Championship:
Beaten finalists, 1962-1963
1977–78
Beaten finalists: 1973, 1974
1975–76, 1978–79, 1991–92
Beaten finalists: 1975, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1989
1989–90
  • European Champions: 1 Time
1989
1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91
2001
Beaten Finalists: 2006, 2007
2007, 2009
Beaten Finalists: 2010

Records[edit]

Player records[edit]

100+ tries[edit]

150+ goals[edit]

Team records[edit]

Players[edit]

Players earning international caps whilst at Widnes[edit]

United Kingdom Represented Great Britain[edit]

England Represented England[edit]

Represented The Exiles[edit]

Republic of Ireland Represented Ireland[edit]

Scotland Represented Scotland[edit]

Ben Kavanagh (Provisional 2013 World Cup squad)

Wales Represented Wales[edit]

France Represented France[edit]

Tonga Represented Tonga[edit]

Hall of Fame[edit]

The Widnes Hall of Fame was instituted in 1992 with thirteen members. Any former Widnes player who was retired from playing was eligible. The thirteen players who make up the current Hall of Fame are:

There have been occasional suggestions that the Hall of Fame might be expanded but so far the club has not taken this step. Some years ago the club organised a poll, via the local press, with a view to adding three more players but the response from the public was very poor and the highest polling players (Anthony "Tony" Myler, Kurt Sorensen and Stuart Wright) were not formally inducted. In more recent times, calls to make Gavin Dodd an honorary inductee to the Hall of Fame have been muted.

Other notable players[edit]

Super League era players[edit]

2002-2005[edit]

2012-present[edit]

Club jerseys[edit]

  • Since promotion to Super League in 2002
Year Home Design Away Design Kit Manufacturer Main Jersey Sponsor
2002 White with Black Trim Blue, White & Red Kooga Peel
2003 White with Black Trim Black with White Trim Finnforest
2004 White with Black sleeve & Red Trim Black with Purple Trim
2005 White with Black & Red Trim Grey
2006 White with Black Trim Black with White Trim Liverpool Capital of Culture 08
2007 White with Black Trim Red with Black Trim
2008 Black with White Trim White with Red Trim Nike Stobart
2009 White with Black Trim Fluorescent Yellow with Black Trim O'Neills
2010 White with Black Trim and Red Stripe Gold with Black Trim
2011 White Grey with Orange Trim
2012 White with Black V & Black Trim Red with White Trim
2013 Kit 1: White with Black V Kit 2: Black with White V Maltacourt Purple, Orange & Yellow
2014 Black and White Hoops Light Blue with Dark Blue sash Maltacourt

Notable supporters[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vikings go into administration". Runcorn and Widnes World. Archived from the original on 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2007-10-09. 
  2. ^ "Fans key to success". Runcorn and Widnes World. Archived from the original on 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  3. ^ "Widnes Field 12 Local Players - 1930 Challenge Cup Final". BBC. 24 April 2003. Retrieved 2003-04-23. 
  4. ^ "Widnes sack coach Tony Myler". Independent, The (independent.co.uk). 1995-08-12. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  5. ^ Hadfield, Dave (20 December 1995). "Rugby's pounds 87m deal gives Murdoch transfer veto". London: Runcorn and Widnes World. Archived from the original on 2010-01-11. Retrieved 1995-12-20. 
  6. ^ Crossley, Michael (28 July 2001). "Cantillon sees Widnes to brink of elite". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2010-01-10. Retrieved 2001-07-28. 
  7. ^ Vaughan in new pledge Chester Chronicle. 31-05-06. Accessed 25-02-10
  8. ^ "Vaughan quits as Widnes chairman". BBC. 5 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  9. ^ "Widnes seal Northern Rail Cup win". BBC. 15 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  10. ^ "New Widnes owner Steve O'Connor: I will bring back glory days". Liverpool Echo. Archived from the original on 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  11. ^ "Widnes Vikings owner Steve O'Connor: I had to rescue hometown club". Liverpool Echo. Archived from the original on 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  12. ^ "It was a difficult decision - RFL chief". BBC. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  13. ^ "McCormack leaves Widnes Vikings". BBC. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  14. ^ "Widnes Vikings RLFC - News, views, gossip, pictures, video - Runcorn Widnes Weekly News". Runcornandwidnesweeklynews.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-07-11. 
  15. ^ "Paul Cullen appointed head coach by Widnes Vikings". Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News. Archived from the original on 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
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External links[edit]