Stephen Myler's Saints departure: Tom Vickers' view

Stephen Myler has become a Saints great (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Stephen Myler has become a Saints great (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

There was a time when it appeared that Stephen Myler would never be moved.

You could almost see him, grey and old, heading to Franklin's Gardens, lacing up the boots, putting on the No.10 shirt and kicking penalties and conversions until the end of time.

But finally the day has come when the clock has started to tick down on Myler's incredibly successful stay at Saints.

On Friday afternoon, it was announced that the 33-year-old will be leaving the club this summer.

Since switching from rugby league in 2006, the Widnes-born player has become one of Northampton's greatest ever players.

That sort of tag does not come easily, but for Myler, he has made it look that way.

So consistent has he been that you have often been left wondering just where the club would be without him.

But next season, for the first time in 12 years, we will find out.

Dan Biggar will of course be coming to Northampton to fill the boots left by a Saints legend, and there is no doubt the Wales and Lions star is a man who can shoulder that burden.

But Myler will still be missed by so many.

He is perhaps the most understated Saints hero of all-time, quietly going about his business in a ruthlessly efficient manner.

Many a fly-half has come and gone at the Gardens, unable to displace Saints' second all-time top points scorer.

Why?

Because not only is Myler a man of substance, but he has plenty of style, too.

So many times, supporters craved a flashier No.10.

They got Shane Geraghty, they got Ryan Lamb and they got a couple of others.

But none could match Myler, because while they produced big performances once every few weeks, Myler produced a minimum of 7/10 pretty much every week.

That is not to say he didn't have creative ability of his own. Anyone who witnessed his sensational shimmy against Newcastle or his out-of-the-back-door pass against Bath will tell you he was more than just a kicking king.

But it was his ability from the tee that really set him apart.

If there is one man you would want standing over a last-minute effort to win the match, it is Stephen Myler.

So cool is he under pressure, that he has been nicknamed The Iceman by his team-mates.

Time and time again, he has stepped up for Saints.

During the 2013/14 season, in particular, he was relentless, sticking the boot into teams up and down the land.

He won games for Saints at Wasps and Exeter with crucial last-minute kicks.

When others were trembling, Saints' unruffled fly-half was showing nerves of steel.

He produced a masterclass to help secure a draw at Bath late in that campaign - and then came the three greatest weeks in Saints' recent history.

Myler helped his side hold their nerve as they edged out Leicester Tigers in an incredible Premiership play-off semi-final at Franklin's Gardens, kicking the ball into the stands to spark scenes of adulation and book a place at Twickenham.

And then he overshadowed George Ford and Owen Farrell, winning the man of the match prize against Bath in the Challenge Cup final and against Saracens in the Premiership showpiece.

All in all, his record in finals reads: 23 kicks taken, 23 kicks made.

It is hard to put that sort of composure into words and you can be certain that Saints would not have won half of what they have without Myler at 10.

He has become synonymous with the club and will for ever have a place in its illustrious history.

This summer, it will be time for Saints and Myler to finally move on.

But while they will go their separate ways, they will never truly be apart.

Those who have witnessed Myler strutting his stuff in that No.10 shirt will never forget what he has done for Northampton.

Cometh the hour, cometh The Iceman.