Hard work continues as Saints bid to stay on top

WORKING HARD - Northampton Saints chairman Tony Hewitt (picture: Linda Dawson) NNL-140226-202706006
WORKING HARD - Northampton Saints chairman Tony Hewitt (picture: Linda Dawson) NNL-140226-202706006
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Tony Hewitt has stressed there is still plenty more hard work to do at Saints, despite last season’s double glory.

The club claimed the Amlin Challenge Cup before becoming English champions for the first time.

But with it traditionally said that titles are harder to retain than to gain, Hewitt knows Saints must continue to move forward.

And the chairman is keen to ensure it happens, building on the good work that has been done by the Barwell family.

“The systems are set up, but having run businesses for a long time myself, you can’t just assume they will run themselves,” said Hewitt, who took over the role of chairman on a full-time basis last September.

“We carried on the supporter engagement that Leon (Barwell) set up, we carry out staff appraisals now, we’ve continued with our investment strategy, we’ve got planning permission for the new stand and we’re doing enabling work for that.

“There’s a lot of things we’ve been doing going on so I’ve found it very exciting.

“I really enjoyed the year, but there’s still hard work to do.

“We’re on a journey of success, we haven’t reached a destination.

“There’s a lot to do but it is good fun.”

The previous campaign churned out happy memory after happy memory for everyone involved with Saints.

And it culminated with two trophies in the space of eight days as the Amlin Challenge Cup and the Aviva Premiership were secured.

League glory came in dramatic fashion as 14-man Saints scored late to see off Leicester Tigers in the play-off semi-final at Franklin’s Gardens and then claimed a try in the final seconds of extra-time to see off Saracens in the final at Twickenham on May 31.

The squad were greeted by thousands of adoring fans on their return to Northampton, and Hewitt revelled in the experience.

“It was just absolutely fantastic,” he said. “You’re numb on the day because you’re in the final but when you are Aviva Premiership champions it’s fantastically exciting. It’s draining at the same time.

It was great being on the pitch with the players. The great thing was turning up at Franklin’s Gardens and opening the free bar for the players and supporters. Then, seeing the smiles on the faces of so many people in Northampton.

“I was staggered with the amount of people who turned up and just the good will in Northampton.”