Graham McKechnie, BBC Radio Northampton’s sports editor, has today been officially appointed Northampton Saints’ Club Historian.
The Club’s long history has always been cherished not only by those who grace the turf at Franklin’s Gardens, but by supporters of the men in Black, Green and Gold and the wider community of Northamptonshire.
From the humble beginnings of Reverend Wigg’s ‘Boys Improvement Class’, through two World Wars, the dawn of professionalism, a run to European glory and everything in-between, the task of preserving the Club’s remarkable 140-year story now falls to McKechnie in this newly-created role.
“History is everything when it comes to sports clubs – without it you’re left with meaningless franchises,” he said.
“We’re incredibly lucky in this country and at Saints to have such rich sporting heritage and it has to be cherished. We owe it to everyone who ever wore a Saints jersey to make sure they’re not forgotten.
“I feel honoured to take up this voluntary position – I’d love it to prompt people to get in touch with any stories they have about the Club’s history!”Graham McKechnie, Club Historian
Sports editor at BBC Radio Northampton, McKechnie has a huge passion for the history of sport and of Saints in particular.
He has made a number of BBC documentaries (alongside the late military historian Jon Cooksey) about key figures in the history of the Club, including one of the greatest-ever Saints in Edgar Mobbs, the Club’s first British & Irish Lion Blair Swannell, and the Saints players who fought at Normandy in 1944. He is currently working on a new biography of Mobbs.
McKechnie has been part of the furniture at Franklin’s Gardens for many seasons using his expertise to support matchday activities, corporate events and fundraisers. His voluntary work at Saints landed him the Clubman of the Year award in 2019, and McKechnie has since made a significant contribution to Northampton Saints Foundation’s recent Mobbs’ Own Heritage project.
In his new role, he will help to shape the Saints Foundation’s blossoming Heritage department, and continue to use his exceptional knowledge to document Northampton’s rich history.
“Graham is a font of knowledge on the history of the Club and its personal or commercial associations,” said Catherine Deans, Managing Director at Northampton Saints Foundation.
“He is brilliant as a guide and as a sounding board to find seemingly lost information; if he doesn’t know the answer immediately, he knows exactly where to look to get the answer!
“So, it is pertinent that he is recognised as Club Historian for all the work he does and time he so willingly gives to support the current team, but also vitally, the teams from bygone eras.
“The Foundation team will continue their journey, alongside Graham, to research and record the stories, history and heritage of our wonderful Club and also the teams of the future, as they create their own history.”