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New-look Supporter Village to debut at Saints v Leinster

You spoke, we listened…and as a result this season the Supporter Village at Franklin’s Gardens will be better than ever before on matchday.

Improvements to the Supporter Village have been undertaken over the summer to provide more shelter from the elements, more places to sit and to reduce queuing time following feedback heard within the Club’s end-of-season survey.

The addition of an impressive awning in the middle of the Village will add a huge 450mof covered space, as well as an abundance of new seating, big screens and a stage for supporters to enjoy pre-match and half-time entertainment.

“We put our supporters at the heart of everything we do, and we’re really confident these changes will allow for a much better experience in the Village.”

Mark Darbon, chief executive

A revamped food court and three new cashless bars have also been added to the area, meaning supporters can not only benefit from more choice of refreshments than ever before, but also get served in quick time.

Northampton Saints community team will now be based within a sheltered family fun zone at the bottom of the Village, with Club partners Toolstation adding two interactive stations – in which youngsters can test their rugby skills – two big-screen TVs and games consoles. This forms part of a wider Club approach to continue to attract and keep young supporters coming to the Gardens on matchday.

The Club will also deliver a diverse line-up of entertainment throughout the season, with a host of live acts set to grace the Supporter Village stage. Rio Brass – a 5-piece ensemble – join us for the first three games at Franklin’s Gardens, mixing Brazilian rhythms with popular songs, before Oundle School’s CCF Marching Band, the Northampton Male Voice Choir and local opera singers Lawrence Robinson and Emily Haig also perform later in the season.

Moreover, stadium announcer Pete Nuttall completes the list of new matchday additions. Pete, who lives in Milton Keynes, has over 20 years’ experience in stadium announcing and was on the mic for Saints’ historic Premiership Rugby Cup Final triumph back in March. In his time he has also called the Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham and other major sporting events, including the 2015 Rugby World Cup and London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. 

“We put our supporters at the heart of everything we do, and we’re really confident that the changes we have made this summer will allow for a much better experience in the Village,” said Saints chief executive Mark Darbon.

“We’re excited to see the fruits of our labour this week at both the friendly against Leinster and the Premiership Rugby 7s, but we’re also prepared to make more changes if needed throughout the season to make sure our supporters enjoy the best matchday experience in English rugby.

“We also knew how important it was to bring aboard a new matchday announcer after Geoff Allen’s retirement last season. Geoff will undoubtedly be a very hard act to follow, but we believe Pete has the qualities to do a great job. Pete will maintain the traditional style of match calling Franklin’s Gardens has become accustomed to and I encourage everyone to give him a warm welcome. 

“Many of these new elements will be tested on Thursday night when we welcome Leinster with the full village experience to be in place for the first home game against Wasps at the end of September.”   

The wait is over and top-level rugby finally returns to Franklin’s Gardens this week, with Saints welcoming Leinster to town for a preseason clash on Thursday (kick-off 7.30pm), before hosting the Premiership Rugby 7s on Friday and Saturday (13/14 September).

Please note seating is UNRESERVED in the Barwell, Carlsberg and South Stands for both Saints v Leinster and the Premiership Rugby 7s, so Season Ticket Holders may be unable to sit in their usual seats.

To purchase tickets for either event now, please CLICK HERE.

For a full list of opening times ahead of this weekend's action, please CLICK HERE.

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