Fixtures - Top Bar

Saints chairman Hewitt: "We would not be where we are today without Keith Barwell"

FranklinsGeneric

Northampton Saints chairman Tony Hewitt says that supporters will be forever in the debt of the Barwell family for their investment, time and commitment in putting the club at the top of English rugby.

Keith Barwell’s £1 million pound investment in 1995 ensured that the Saints was able to make the transition into the professional game, with further millions over the next five years establishing the team as the best in Europe, bringing home the Heineken Cup in 2000.

But Barwell also had the belief in creating a club which could stand on its own two feet financially, and since the turn of the millennium Northampton Saints has been the only club in the Aviva Premiership to have been profitable for each of the past 16 years.

Meanwhile on the field the Saints has lifted the Aviva Premiership trophy, won multiple European Challenge Cup titles and the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

This Saturday supporters will have the opportunity to thank Keith and the rest of the Barwell family for their contribution to the history of the club as the Barwell Stand is formally opened at the north end of Franklin’s Gardens, completing a development that began in the summer of 2001.

“The Saints wouldn’t be where we are today without Keith Barwell,” Hewitt says in a special video which will be shown at half-time. “Keith invested the initial amount of money in 1995, as well as in that period between 1995 and 2000 when expenditure didn’t meet our income and a lot of clubs that were in the top flight couldn’t afford to continue.

“He introduced a breath of fresh air into the club, introducing modern business methods, modern marketing ideas. He is very much his own man, unique, and helped shape the future of the game. Premiership Rugby wouldn’t be the same without him.”

It has been a real family affair between the Barwells and the Saints, with Keith succeeded by his late son, Leon, as chairman between 2011 and 2013, and with Ella Bevan now on the board of directors.

“Leon’s legacy to the club will be his supporter engagement, which has been taken over by his sister, Ella,”

Hewitt adds. “It was a difficult period for us on the playing side, and Leon had the foresight to have the first Season Ticket Holders’ forum to engage the supporters and then achieve success.

“We do know that we have to keep that engagement with our supporters going forward.”

As well as the formal opening of the new Barwell Stand, which will happen shortly before kick off, Saturday will also see the presentation of a number of club legends to the crowd, and the unveiling of a mural celebrating the Saints’ proud history that has been completed by 20 Northampton primary schools.

Supporters are encouraged to arrive earlier than normal, and to be in their seats or terrace spaces no later than 2:30pm.

As well as the video on the big screen, half-time will also have a performance from the 100-strong – and always popular – Rock Choir on the main pitch.

A special programme will commemorate the occasion, including contributions from former players Pat Lam, Matt Dawson and Budge Pountney, former director of rugby Sir Ian McGeechan, and a number of other influential people from the 21-year history of professional rugby at Franklin’s Gardens.

Tickets remain on sale now for the game, which can be booked online 24 hours a day, seven days a week at
www.tinyurl.com/SAI-IRI-1516, and by using Print@Home supporters can beat the match day queues and save the admin fees.

Latest News

Premiership Rugby backs Newcastle’s bid for 2018 European Rugby Cup Finals

Premiership Rugby today confirmed its “100% support” for Newcastle’s bid to become host city for European club rugby union's showpiece…

Newcastle Falcons celebrate

Newcastle launches bid for 2018 European Rugby Cup finals

Newcastle is bidding to become the host city for European club rugby union's showpiece weekend in May 2018. The aim…

Newcastle Falcons celebrate

Aviva Premiership Rugby wrap: Round 10

Maro Itoje could not mark his return to a Saracens jersey with a victory – but his director of rugby…

BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  Maro Itoje of  Saracens is tackled by Max Lahiff of Bath during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at the Recreation Ground on December 3, 2016 in Bath, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Pat Lam confirmed as Bristol Rugby head coach

Bristol Rugby is delighted to announce the appointment of Pat Lam as the Club’s new Head Coach. The 48 year-old…

Pat Lam

Newcastle Falcons v Saracens kick-off time change

Premiership Rugby can confirm that the kick-off time for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 17 Newcastle Falcons v Saracens fixture…

Aviva Premiership ball

Match Reaction: Worcester Warriors 12 Wasps 26

Wasps maintained the pressure on Aviva Premiership Rugby leaders Saracens with success over Worcester Warriors – a victory Dai Young…

Rob Miller deputised in sterling fashion (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 38 Harlequins 32

Dean Richards’ Newcastle Falcons side are evolving according to the director of rugby, after he saw his side run in…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 38 Harlequins 32

Newcastle Falcons ran in six tries in a thriller of a game at Kingston Park with Juan Pablo Socino starring…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match Report: Worcester Warriors 12 Wasps 26

Wasps moved to within one point of the Aviva Premiership Rugby summit but missed out on a bonus point in…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match Reaction: Gloucester Rugby 26 Bristol Rugby 18

Director of rugby David Humphreys believes Gloucester Rugby showed their battling qualities as they went through the gears in the…

henrypurdyglobri16sb1111