WIDNES Vikings supporters have rallied around the club in the off-season, snapping up more than 1,800 season tickets during the early bird period.

It comes off the back of Vikings announcing the retention of Owen Buckley, Lloyd Roby, Sam Wilde, Jayden Hatton and MacGraff Leuluai plus the signings of Jack Johnson and Logan Tomkins.

The club has now also passed last season’s paying sales, which will stand the club in great stead heading into the 2020 season.

Vikings expressed their gratitude on the club website.

“The backing of our supporters is truly invaluable, something that has been proven time and time again throughout the toughest of times.

“2020 presents an opportunity for us, as a club, to put the past behind us and move forward into an exciting period for Widnes Vikings, and together we can look ahead to a prosperous future,” they said.

Meanwhile Brad Walker has been granted a release from his current contract at the Vikings to take up an opportunity at a Super League club.

Vikings wished to retain Walker, but wanted to honour his wishes of staying full-time and playing in Super League at this stage of his career.

Walker is a product of the Vikings’ Academy system, and made the move to Widnes from his native Cumbria in search of an eventual career in Super League.

Walker leaves the Vikings having made 40 appearances for the club, scoring six tries, as well as becoming the 13th inductee of the Vikings’ Club 20 initiative.

He said: “Firstly I’d like to thank everyone involved with Widnes Vikings for making my time here so special.

“I’d especially like to thank all of the people that work here and the fans for making me feel welcome since the day I arrived, and I’ll remember that forever.

“I want to personally thank Kurtis Marsh and Phil Finney.

“If it wasn’t for both of them spotting me up in Cumbria, and letting me move down here, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I will forever be in debt to them both.

“It’s always hard moving on but at this stage of my career, I think to have the chance to go back to Super League is something I couldn’t turn down.

“Again, thank you to everyone at Widnes Vikings, as well as the fans for their support over the years.

“This place took a chance on me and gave me my opportunity in professional rugby league, and I will never forget what this club has done for me.”