Powell’s name has become synonymous with Northampton Saints over a 50-year association with the club which included 370 first team appearances in a 15-season playing career, four of which were spent as captain.
Powell, who also won 11 England caps and went on the 1966 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, had a later spell as a coach, but it is as head groundsman that he is known to the modern-day generation of Saints supporters.
He has been managing the pitch at Franklin’s Gardens for 25 years, and has made it the envy of other clubs up and down the country.
“David is one of the true legends of the club,” said Saints chairman Tony Hewitt. “He is one of those great characters of Northampton Saints, as a player, then a coach and president, and has established a national reputation for his expertise on grass pitches, with the surface at Franklin’s Gardens recognised as one of the best in rugby union.
“I first became involved in the club in the late-1980s, and David was already established as a legend then. I was in a bit of awe when I first met him, but over time you realise that he does have a mellow side, and he’s become a great friend.
“I can remember only one occasion when there wasn’t a game played here, and that was because the rest of St James was flooded! Whatever the weather we’ve been able to play a match, and that’s been a key to his success. He’s got a great work ethic, and the mentality that you have to get up early and get the job done.”
“David is highly respected by people,” added chief executive Allan Robson. “There are people in life that talk and there and people in life that do and what he's proved is to be a real do-er. We're known to have the best pitches in club rugby. We've done that on the back of very little and he has to be applauded for that.
“He's created part of our remarkable reputation both on the field as a player and off the field as a groundsman.”
This is the last season that Powell will be manning the mower, but he will continue to be a familiar face at Franklin’s Gardens as one of the leading lights of the Crooked Hooker, the club’s past players association.
“Piggy’s name is inextricably linked with Northampton Saints and he will continue to have an ambassadorial role for us; we don’t want to lose that,” added Hewitt. “He helped create the Crooked Hooker, one of the unique characteristics here at Northampton Saints, and not only is it a great place to go and have a beer as well as a sought-after place to eat on a match day, it also provides valuable funds for the club, not least in supporting young players.”