Five hundred thousand shares in Northampton Saints plc, which are currently held in trust on behalf of the membership as of February 12th, 1996, will now be made available for general sale, with all proceeds being contributed towards the costs of the development of the new North Stand at Franklin's Gardens.
In 1996 former chairman Keith Barwell invested £1 million into Northampton RFC to ensure the club's viability going into the professional era. This represented two thirds of the club as it existed then; the other third was converted into a shareholding on behalf of the club's membership at the time.
The share issue in 2000 saw the old members' 500,000 shares converted into 500,000 shares in Northampton Saints plc, which remained under the control of the Trustees. This represented approximately five percent of the overall company.
Although the old members' club committee has continued to meet in the intervening years, its decision-making powers have been superseded by the board of directors of Northampton Saints plc.
Following the decision that the members' club as it stood is to be formally dissolved, the membership last night ratified the proposition to release the shares for public sale for investment into the Saints' facilities.
Northampton Saints chairman Leon Barwell today thanked the membership for their show of support for the continued development of the club.
"Keith Barwell's original decision to give the members' club ownership of a large number of shares reflected the important role the members had played in making Northampton Saints one of the biggest clubs in the country," he said. "So we are very grateful to the members, who put their trust in Keith so many years ago, for continuing to support the club and our plans to keep Franklin's Gardens as the best rugby stadium in the country."
Further details regarding the sale of the shares, including price, any minimum purchase, how they can be bought and timescale, will be made as soon as the Trustees of the old members' club have received the necessary advice.