Former chairman Barwell savours Saints’ best season yet

Keith Barwell
Keith Barwell

Keith Barwell says this season has been the best in his time at Saints.

The club’s former chairman feels the campaign which has seen his beloved club claim Amlin Challenge Cup and Aviva Premiership glory surpasses the Heineken Cup win in 2000.

Barwell has done much to put Saints in the position they currently enjoy, with his huge investment in the early days of professionalism laying the foundations at Franklin’s Gardens.

He now enjoys a watching brief and says he had never savoured a campaign more than the one that ended with a first top division title triumph at Twickenham last weekend.

“I don’t think we’ve had a better season,” Barwell said. “There have been some good seasons – when we won the Heineken Cup is an obvious one – but as a season this year has been brilliant.

“I think the build-up made it that bit more special, beating Leicester in the semi-final in the best atmosphere I’ve ever heard here, and then coming from behind against Bath for the Amlin.

“It was a big sigh of relief for me to finally lift that trophy as English champions.”

Barwell was at Twickenham to soak up the success and also attended the victory parade in Northampton town centre a day later.

It was just reward for the huge commitment his family have shown to Saints, and Barwell couldn’t have enjoyed it more.

“It was overwhelming for me, but I’m past my sell by date!” he said. “I couldn’t sleep on the Friday night and was up early on Saturday. At the end of it all I felt like I’d played in the game.

“I think I was probably more happy on Sunday in the Market Square, I’ve never seen the people of the town so happy. We’ve spread a lot of joy and I’m just so pleased for the supporters.”