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Mark Darbon: Read the Chief Executive's programme notes

Northampton Saints chief executive Mark Darbon is enjoying watching the Club's new-look side begin to click together on the pitch. 

Read Mark's welcome and more in today's official matchday programme, on sale for £3.50...

Hello and a very warm welcome to Franklin’s Gardens for today’s Gallagher Premiership game against Saracens.

It was great to get off the mark with a hard-fought victory over Harlequins last Friday night and see a number of our new signings like James Haskell, Dan Biggar, Ben Franks and Andy Symons make their home Gallagher Premiership debuts. Having spoken to the Dan after the game, he was blown away by the reception he received from the Saints faithful. Another player I can’t wait to see join that list is Taqele Naiyaravoro, who is named in a Saints squad for the first time today. I am confident ‘Big T’ will soon become a supporter’s favourite with his destructive ball carrying and I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him well today. 

Today’s game against the reining Gallagher Premiership champions will be another big test against a side who the Club did not fare well against last season. Sarries have a number of exciting attacking options and are well known for having a watertight defence, so we will have to be at the very top of our game, but from what I have seen so far from Chris Boyd and this squad I am confident they can deliver a performance to be proud of.

"From what I have seen so far I am confident the squad can deliver a performance to be proud of."

Mark Darbon, Saints chief executive

We are only three weeks in to the new season but the Club has already lifted its first piece of silverware. Congratulations to Saints Wheelchair Rugby team and their coach Jamie Higgins who claimed their first ever trophy last weekend, after winning the Wheelchair Rugby 5s Summer League Finals Day. It is a particularly impressive achievement when you consider the team was only established in early 2017 and this summer marked the team’s first full season. Let’s hope for more success in the future.

Over the past fortnight you may have seen media coverage about prospective investment deals for a shareholding in Premiership Rugby. This has prompted much debate about the future of the domestic rugby and its finances, with commentators giving a range of views on which direction the Gallagher Premiership should travel in.

There is no doubt that all 12 clubs in the league are operating in a challenging financial environment and we believe it is sensible of the Premiership Rugby Board to be investigating and considering options for further expansion of the league. It is the Club’s belief that this kind of interest is a reflection of the growing appeal for Premiership Rugby and it is very welcome, but any proposals must be carefully considered. However, as a Club we remain focussed on setting the course for a sustainable financial future by maximising our existing revenue streams and looking for new and innovative ways to generate additional income.

"Any game against Tigers is special, but this game really does fall in to the ‘extra special’ category."

Mark Darbon, Saints chief executive

I am pleased to report that tickets for ‘The Derby’ against Leicester Tigers at Twickenham on Saturday 6 October are selling well. Thank you to everyone who has supported the game so far and donated money to Rob Horne. For those of you who still haven’t bought a ticket I would urge you to do so. Any game against Tigers is a special occasion, but this game really does fall in to the ‘extra special’ category given everything that happened last year.

I am in regular contact with Rob who is settling into life well at home in Sydney. He arrives back in the UK later this month to promote the game and has been humbled by the support he has received so far from the rugby family. He has asked me to pass on his gratitude to everyone who has sent him a message and of course anyone who has donated money via the ticketing website.

Thank you again for your continued support and I hope that we’ll be celebrating a Saints victory come the final whistle.

Enjoy the game,
Mark Darbon
Chief Executive

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