Both the Saints first team and playing department as a whole have come on in leaps and bounds since Mallinder arrived at Franklin’s Gardens in the summer of 2007, and the past seven years have been the most consistently successful in the past 60 years.
In that time the Saints team has reached nine cup finals, winning five of them, including the 2014 Aviva Premiership and Amlin Challenge Cup titles. The Saints have also competed in every Aviva Premiership play-off series since 2010, with the club’s second team, the Wanderers, winning the 2009 Premiership ‘A’ League and playing in the 2014 Aviva ‘A’ League final.
The club is also producing a record number of international players, with the likes of Luther Burrell, Tom Wood, Ben Foden, Lee Dickson, Dylan Hartley, Phil Dowson and many more making their England debuts after moving to Northampton.
Meanwhile the Saints Academy is flourishing, bringing through more England age group players than any other Aviva Premiership club and a steady stream of potential first teamers from the East Midlands and Eastern Counties, along with winning the 2014 Premiership Rugby Academies League title.
However Mallinder believes that more is yet to come, which is why he has put pen to paper on a new deal that will see him stay at Franklin’s Gardens until at least the end of the 2018/19 season.
“This is a superb club and a brilliant job,” he said. “There are not many positions like this in world rugby and I’ve loved every minute of being here. We’ve had a few ups and downs, but generally we’ve been on the up since being in the first division that first year. We’re getting better and better, not just as a team and a squad, but as a club, and it’s something I want to be a part of.
“We’ve got a very supportive board of directors, some outstanding staff both in the playing department and in the offices who work tirelessly, and it’s all part of a really good group of people that is moving the club forward. You always have to look forward and it’s exciting to have change. It’s great that we’re developing the stadium and we know that we have to produce the rugby that brings people in to watch us.
“I’m more motivated now than when I first came here. The challenges are huge. There are plenty of ambitious clubs in the Aviva Premiership and we want to be better than them. And while we are a sustainable business we are also a rugby club that wants to win games and win trophies and have some happy fans that come back each Saturday.”
Saints chairman Tony Hewitt believes that Mallinder’s new contract will help the club continue to bring success to Northampton.
“The whole board of directors is fantastically excited that Jim has committed himself to stay at Franklin’s Gardens,” he said. “We believe that stability breeds success. Jim has been with us for seven years, and we believe that this additional five years will help us build on the platform that he has already established at the club.
“He has the ability to bring individuals through and establish a good team of players, coaches and support staff around him. This has been reflected in his record here. We’ve reached nine finals in seven years, winning two Amlin Challenge Cups and reaching the Aviva Premiership play-offs since 2010.
“We’ve had a fantastic ride here over the past few years. Everyone can remember the big games and we’ve seen the young players and established stars come together to make a good team.
“We do believe that the future is bright at Northampton.”
Chief executive Allan Robson believes that Mallinder is the best director of rugby in the Aviva Premiership.
“The last seven years have been massively exciting for everyone associated with the Saints, and I’ve got no doubt that the next five will see us go from strength to strength,” he said. “Jim has firmly established himself as the best director of rugby in the Aviva Premiership, not just in putting together one of the most exciting and talented first teams, but in how he has shaped the entire playing department to ensure that there is a legacy of success that will last for years to come.
“Professional sport demands immediate results and success, not least from the supporters in the stands. However there also has to be a balance between focusing on the short-term and building a sustainable club. Jim has achieved this, reaching nine finals and winning more trophies than any of his predecessors, but he has put the pieces in place to also produce some of the most talented young players in the country through our Academy system and bring in world class quality, too.
“It is an exciting mix, and we are delighted that Jim is staying on as director of rugby.”