Fixtures - Top Bar

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

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

Aviva Tackling Numbers programme celebrated at Corporate Engagement Awards

Premiership Rugby and its Aviva Tackling Numbers programme enjoyed not one but two moments in the spotlight at the Corporate…

Corporate Engagement Awards

Lions ready for battle on eve of All Blacks Test

After months of waiting and weeks of build-up, The British & Irish Lions are ready to face the toughest challenge…

Saracens and London Irish to kick off the season at Twickenham

SARACENS and London Irish will help launch the 2017-18 Premiership Rugby season after being chosen as the home sides for…

Ex-England star Susie Appleby excited to lead Gloucester-Hartpury in inaugural Women’s Super Rugby campaign

Former England international Susie Appleby believes it’s an exciting time for women’s rugby as she issues a rallying cry to…

Wasps confirm 2017/18 pre-season schedule

Wasps have today confirmed their 2017/18 pre-season schedule, which will see them face Connacht Rugby and Ulster Rugby, as well…

Wasps celebrate

Quartet sign Academy contracts with Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby is delighted to confirm that Rhys Davies, Wil Partington, Miles Reid, and Kieran Verden have all signed long-term…

Todd Blackadder

Clare Daniels hoping to inspire the next generation of female rugby referees

The first female official in Aviva Premiership Rugby history, Clare Daniels, has urged girls and women to take up officiating…

Luke McLean enthused by London Irish move

Luke McLean is looking to reignite his international career under Italy Head Coach Conor O’Shea following his summer move to…

All Black Francis Saili joins Harlequins

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 21st June) that All Black Francis Saili has joined the Club. Commenting on…

Francis Saili

Bath Rugby sign Phillips from Bristol Rugby

Bath Rugby is pleased to announce the signing of James Phillips, who has joined the Club from Bristol Rugby until…

JamesPhillips1

Nowell gets two tries as Lions see off Chiefs in Hamilton

Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell returned to his sparkling best with two tries for the British & Irish Lions in their…

Nalaga a big coup for Irish says international teammate Tikoirotuma

Explosive wing Napolioni Nalaga can be an big hit in every sense of the word during next season's Aviva Premiership…

Masi and Everard return to Wasps alongside new Academy Manager Jonathan Pendlebury

Wasps are pleased to announce a new Academy structure ahead of the 2017/18 season. The new set-up sees former Yorkshire…

The new Wasps academy coaches

Sale Sharks announce signing of Australia international James O’Connor

Sale Sharks have announced the latest in a wave of world class signings, as they confirm Australian International James O’Connor…

Sale Sharks announce signing of Australia international James O’Connor

Lions prepared for final warm-up before All Blacks Test

After a crucial victory against the Maori All Blacks, the British & Irish Lions are just a single match away…

Wasps sign Paul Doran-Jones and David Langley

Wasps today confirm the signing of props Paul Doran-Jones and David Langley, while loosehead Tom Bristow is confirmed as leaving…

Paul Doran-Jones

Venter integral to Du Plessis opting to join London Irish

Petrus Du Plessis says Brendan Venter was a key factor in his decision to move to London Irish this summer.…

Fight and spirit shone through despite defeat, says England U20 coach Vass

Head coach Ian Vass hailed his England U20 side’s fight and spirit after they were beaten in the World Rugby…

Match Report: England U20s 17 New Zealand U20s 64

New Zealand ran in ten tries as they overpowered England in the final of the World Rugby Under 20s championship…