Chairman Hewitt sends message to Saints supporters

Tony Hewitt (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Tony Hewitt (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Saints chairman Tony Hewitt has issued a message to supporters after a disappointing first half of the season at Franklin’s Gardens.

Jim Mallinder’s men currently sit ninth in the Aviva Premiership, 11 points off fourth place, and their Champions Cup hopes are hanging by a thread after last Friday’s defeat to Leinster.

An attack coach, who would replace Alex King, has yet to be appointed and supporters have grown frustrated after three successive defeats.

But Hewitt has moved to assure fans that the board are doing everything possible to bring to good times back to the Gardens.

“The last decade has been the Saints’ most successful period in the last 50 years,” Hewitt said. “We have won multiple trophies, including our first Aviva Premiership title, and reached more finals.

“We’ve seen players develop in the squad and represent their countries with aplomb. And with the development of the Barwell Stand we now have a stadium to be proud of as our home.

“We have become used to being successful, which in turn means that we are unaccustomed to the situation in which we currently find ourselves.

“There have been many comments on social media and online forums which accuse the club’s management of being ‘out of touch’. As someone who has been a part of the Saints for the best part of 30 years I can, hand on heart, say that I can appreciate and understand the frustrations that everyone has at the present time.

“All of the staff at Franklin’s Gardens have a passion to see the club succeed, whether because they were supporters long before they became members of staff, or because they have the innate desire for success that is an essential part of being a professional sportsperson or coach.

“No one is satisfied with sitting ninth in the Aviva Premiership table or losing at home in the Champions Cup. After the trip to Dublin this weekend we have three important Aviva Premiership games and we want to win them all, especially the two home games.

“We remain committed to wanting to have the best possible squad and to give the coaching and backroom staff the means to provide the players with the wherewithal to bring wins to Northampton.

“A lot of work is going on behind the scenes to secure international-calibre players to bolster the squad for next season, and we are also seeking a new attack/skills coach to start as soon as their availability allows.

“In the meantime, Alan Dickens has taken on the interim position as attack coach, a role he filled superbly in the months that led up to our first Aviva Premiership final in 2013.

“We all want to see the Saints score more tries and it is our desire to play a more expansive game to achieve this.

“We know that there is a lot of discontent among many supporters; if there is one positive we can take it is that we all share the same passion in wanting Northampton Saints to be a successful club.

“The challenge for all of us is to pull together, and channel this passion into making Franklin’s Gardens a fortress, where supporters create a superb atmosphere for the team to feed off, and in turn play the type of rugby that brings people to their feet.

“Support can never be unconditional, but it is essential that everyone remembers that we are all part of the same club and have the same ambitions, and we can achieve them together.

“The Saints is in my DNA, and I remain proud to be the club’s chairman. Thank you for your continued backing of Northampton Saints.”