Northampton Saints has today announced that Allan Robson will be retiring as the club’s chief executive at the end of the 2016/17 season.
Robson has been at Franklin’s Gardens for nearly two decades, joining as commercial director in 2000 and then stepping up to chief executive in 2006. In that time he has led the most commercially successful organisation in the Aviva Premiership, one which recorded profits for 16 successive seasons.
This commercial achievement has provided the wherewithal for the Saints to make record investments into the club’s playing effort, which in turn has brought the most consistent decade of success in the Saints’ 137-year history, including the 2014 Aviva Premiership title, two European Rugby Challenge Cup titles, an Anglo-Welsh Cup title and finals in major competitions.
As a stadium Franklin’s Gardens is dramatically different to the stadium which stood when Robson arrived, and is now a state-of-the-art arena accommodating higher crowds, week in, week out, than at any time in the Saints’ history.
Robson says that he has thoroughly enjoyed his time at Franklin’s Gardens, a place he considers his sporting home.
“I am privileged to have had the career that I have had, and to have worked at a club as special as the Saints,” he said. “I will look back very fondly at my time at Franklin’s Gardens and have enjoyed working with a great team of loyal staff and a supportive board of directors.
“It has been a rollercoaster ride at times and while the successes we have had on and off the pitch have been enjoyable, I am also very proud of the way we have come through the low points, too, which have given us the strength to make us the club we are today.
“The Saints supporters are second to none in their passion and desire for us to do well, and we have the best group of sponsors in the league. It has also been an exciting time to be a part of club rugby, which has grown dramatically over the past few seasons.
“From a personal perspective I want to retire whilst I am still young enough to enjoy it, and to spend time with my growing family, especially my new grandson, who I’m looking forward to bringing to Franklin’s Gardens in the future to cheer on the team from the stands. You have to be a hundred percent committed to what is an all-consuming job and I now feel that the time is right to hand over the reins to a new chief executive who can build on what we have achieved.
“I will always consider myself a Saintsman and it goes without saying that I wish everyone at the Saints all the very best for the future.
“There is still plenty to do before the end of the season however, and I’ll be working hard to help us push for the highest possible finish in the Aviva Premiership table.”
Saints chairman Tony Hewitt paid tribute to Robson’s achievements over the years.
“Allan has been an excellent chief executive,” he said. “As a club we have been reliant on generating our own income to grow our operations. Year after year we have grown our turnover and when you consider that his time as chief executive also included a significant recession and a relegation a decade ago this has been a significant achievement.
“We need all areas of the organisation to be performing to create a virtuous circle of success on and off the pitch and I hope that all Saints supporters will join me in thanking Allan for his efforts over the past 17 years and wishing him all the best for the future.
“We have already begun the recruitment process for a new chief executive who can build on our achievements and take us into a new era.”