Saints chairman Barwell gives Mallinder and West his full backing

KEY MEN - Saints coaching team of Dorian West (left) and Jim Mallinder (Picture: Linda Dawson)
KEY MEN - Saints coaching team of Dorian West (left) and Jim Mallinder (Picture: Linda Dawson)

Saints chairman Leon Barwell says Jim Mallinder and Dorian West will be in charge of the team ‘for the foreseeable future’.

The current management duo have faced criticism in recent weeks as Saints have endured Heineken Cup and LV= Cup exits and slipped to sixth in the Aviva Premiership.

The most recent reverse, at home to Gloucester last weekend, saw fans flocking for the exits with almost 10 minutes of the game remaining and the final whistle was greeted with some discontent.

But Barwell is not fazed by the situation Saints currently find themselves in and he has given his full backing to Mallinder and West.

“We are all working together as a management team to turn things around,” he said. “Jim and Dorian are extremely important and significant members of that management team.

“We did recognise earlier in the season that we needed to refresh our approach.

“We needed someone who would challenge us and 
bring a different perspective and we’ve announced the signing of (Clermont assistant coach) Alex King. He was at the game on Saturday and he’s very upbeat and looking forward to coming to Northampton.

“Our coaching structure for next year and for the foreseeable future has been put in place.”

Barwell admits he can understand the recent criticism of Saints’ performance levels and says he is taking them on board.

But he feels some of the negativity surrounding the club could prove positive as the team bid to make the Premiership play-off semi-finals for the fourth successive season.

“As a management team we take full responsibility for the performances and the criticisms that are made we have to front up to,” he said.

“People are passionate about the club and they are absolutely entitled to their opinions.

“We have to listen to them and take them on board. Also, we have to ensure we make the right decisions and drive things forward.

“Despite the difficulties, the mood in the squad is one of determination. There’s a very strong feeling in the squad because of some of the negative publicity there has been recently and some of the ridiculous tweeting that was going on at the weekend.

“It actually pulls us closer together and makes us that much more determined.

“We really do have a chance of finishing in the top four, but we know absolutely that if we’re to realise that opportunity we have to significantly improve our current performance levels and find that consistency.

“Everybody is working extremely hard to try to achieve that.”

Saints are back in Aviva Premiership action tomorrow when they travel to Worcester.