WIRE legend Paul Cullen has given his thoughts on plans to create a mural of him on the side of a pub near the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Plans have been submitted for the art installation on the side of The Kings Head on Winwick Street.

The photo proposed is one of Paul on the final game at Wilderspool Stadium ahead of the club’s move to the new ground off Winwick Road.

Warrington Arts Council requires permission from Warrington Borough Council for the painting due to the pub being a historic, Grade II-listed building that was previously a coaching inn.

Speaking to the Warrington Guardian, Paul said: “I first became aware of it when Tony Turk (the man tasked with the painting) mentioned it to me.

“I am honestly so, so proud and so, so humbled that anyone could possibly think that if they are going to do a mural that has got anything to do with Warrington Rugby League Club, that I would be a part of.

“I really am, but I honestly feel that this has got nothing to do with me. This is about Wire to Wolves, and that is how I see it.

“From all the people that have played for Warrington when we were Wire, and for all the people that played for Warrington when we were Wolves, I am just lucky I was in that period of transition between Wilderspool and the Halliwell Jones.

How the proposed mural of Paul Cullen at The Kings Head could look

How the proposed mural of Paul Cullen at The Kings Head could look

“I was really lucky that my time was during that time. It was a time of change, and people do struggle with change, but it is one thing that we embraced.

“I have worked with the club long enough to know that Wilderspool was done and dusted, and the club could never progress because we just simply could not hit the targets to get to the next level.

“The fact that we finished on a win at Wilderspool, and we started on a win at the Halliwell Jones is something I will never ever forget, and I would like to think that those that really do support our club will never forget that, because that was huge.”

Paul says that while a rugby game was taking place 20 years ago on September 21, 2003, the occasion ‘had nothing to do with rugby league’.

“I said it on the day in a piece with Mike Parsons that it had nothing to do with rugby league – this is about the lives of Warrington people to whom Wilderspool meant so much to,” he continued.

“It was about dad and lad days, family days. It is where we grew up. It is where we expressed ourselves.

“I did it as a fan, going to games home and away with my dad as a boy, and I was just lucky enough to be able to play for Warrington during that fantastic period of the 80s and 90s into the early 2000s.

“I left the club then came back, and we won some games and stayed up in 2002 and 2003, and 2004 was going to be the biggest change that had ever been in the history of Warrington Rugby League Club – and I was really, really lucky that it was on my watch.”

The final game at Wilderspool Stadium on September 21, 2003

The final game at Wilderspool Stadium on September 21, 2003

The location for the mural is a good one, with The Kings Head being popular with rugby fans – both home and away – due to its close proximity to the stadium.

Asked about the choice of location, Paul said: “I used to go in the Old Ball back in the day, which no longer exists, and that was so much part of the culture of Warrington Rugby League Club, whether it's Kenny Gill that ran it – and Kenny Gill was a massive influence to me as a 15 or 16 year old who I trained within five nights a week.

“Some great people have had that pub during the time, but that's no longer there, and I completely accept that The Kings Head has kind of taken that mantle.

“It’s off the A49 on the main vein that runs through Warrington. It's poetic to be fair that we have left Wilderspool on the A49 and landed at the Halliwell Jones further south on the A49, and The Kings head is on that route.”

Reflecting more on the club’s last game at Wilderspool and the photo seemingly chosen for the mural, he continued: “One thing that really, really pleases me and humbles me is that my good friend, my best mate, Paul Darbyshire, God love him, is in that picture.

“That is just a random picture taken by Mike Boden at the moment where we've left Wilderspool.

“That was probably the only game in my entire career that we could not lose.

“As a coach, obviously we are measured by win and loss, and we would like to think we do our best as a player or captain or coach to get the win.

Paul Cullen in action during his playing days with Warrington

Paul Cullen in action during his playing days with Warrington

“At some point, you know you are playing against good opposition, and you can't dictate or guarantee things. Rugby league has got a way of giving you a slap in the face every now and again.

“But I have never, ever been as nervous as a player, or captain or coach as we built-up that game against Wakefield, the final game ever at Wilderspool.

“I could not be a part of a loss, and the way that we played, and the style of rugby that we played in that match was breathtaking.

“The players absolutely bought in. We had the odd Warringtonian, and if you go through the team sheet that day, we are from all corners of the world, but every man absolutely brought into to what this meant to the people of Warrington, and we were never ever – and I say that without one shred of arrogance – were going to lose that game.

“From the moment we kicked off to the moment of the final whistle, that was never ever going to be a loss.

“So I do understand that I am really, really lucky that I just landed at that time. Poetic justice, I’m not quite sure, but it is probably my proudest moment in my career that we left Wilderspool with dignity and we arrived at the Halliwell Jones with dignity, and we played a style of rugby that I tried to fashion the club into for the next four, five or six years during my time as head coach at Warrington.”

Paul was inducted into the Warrington RLFC Players Hall of Fame in 2016 in recognition of his services to the club.

He became the first person to complete a triple whammy of having been born in the town, having played for Wire and then having taken on the mantle of being the club's head coach.

The final game at Wilderspool Stadium on September 21, 2003

The final game at Wilderspool Stadium on September 21, 2003

When his earlier roles of club captain, commercial manager, assistant coach and defensive coach are also taken into account, there are few who have had more involvement, passion and influence in Warrington's premier club since its birth in 1876.

His entire professional playing career of 16 seasons - encompassing 350 appearances - was spent at Wilderspool and then in August, 2002, he answered the club's SOS call to take over the coaching reins from David Plange as the threat of relegation hung over the club for the first time in history.

At the start of the 2023 season, he took on a role with the Rugby Football League's Match Review Panel.

Speaking on the prospect of more art in the town, Paul added: “Honestly, we could create an art installation here in Warrington, and I do understand that there are more people in Warrington than just ex rugby players.

“I have never in a million years put myself in the same category as legends of the club like John Bevan and Harry Bath and Brian Bevan and Jim Challinor, and then the modern-day greats.

“I'm just a lad from Orford who was so, so lucky to get the career that I did.

“The town will improve, and the town will transition, and for how long it lasts I am than happy to be a part of that.

“I am sure there are people that contribute to the town and its economy in in fantastic ways, but it just shows that this one is to do with Warrington Rugby League Club, and that really does show where Warrington's heart is really.”