Saints reveal new stadium announcer as club invests in matchday experience

Saints supporters will see plenty of improvements at the Gardens for the new season
Saints supporters will see plenty of improvements at the Gardens for the new season

Saints have revealed who will be replacing club legend Geoff Allen as Franklin's Gardens stadium announcer this season.

Pete Nuttall will be the man asked to step into Allen's shoes following the retirement of the long-serving Saintsman at the end of last season.

Nuttall has more than 20 years’ experience in stadium announcing and was on the mic for Saints' Premiership Rugby Cup final triumph against Saracens at the Gardens back in March.

In his time he has also called the Premiership Rugby final at Twickenham and other major sporting events, including the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

And Saints CEO Mark Darbon is hoping supporters will give Nuttall a warm Gardens welcome.

“We knew how important it was to bring aboard a new matchday announcer after Geoff Allen’s retirement last season," Darbon said.

"Geoff will undoubtedly be a very hard act to follow, but we believe Pete has the qualities to do a great job.

"Pete will maintain the traditional style of match calling Franklin’s Gardens has become accustomed to and I encourage everyone to give him a warm welcome."

The appointment of Nuttall is just one of a number of new elements to life at the Gardens for the season ahead.

Big improvements have been made to the Supporter Village during the summer to provide more shelter from the elements, more places to sit and to reduce queuing time following feedback heard within the club’s end-of-season survey.

The addition of an impressive awning in the middle of the Village will add a huge amount of covered space, as well as an abundance of new seating, big screens and a stage for supporters to enjoy pre-match and half-time entertainment.

A revamped food court and three new cashless bars have also been added to the area, meaning supporters can not only benefit from more choice of refreshments than ever before, but also get served in quick time.

Saints' community team will now be based within a sheltered family fun zone at the bottom of the Village, with club partners Toolstation adding two interactive stations – in which youngsters can test their rugby skills – two big-screen TVs and games consoles.

This forms part of a wider club approach to continue to attract and keep young supporters coming to the Gardens on matchday.

The club will also deliver a diverse line-up of entertainment throughout the season, with a host of live acts set to grace the Supporter Village stage.

Rio Brass – a 5-piece ensemble – join the club for the first three games at the Gardens, mixing Brazilian rhythms with popular songs, before Oundle School’s CCF Marching Band, the Northampton Male Voice Choir and local opera singers Lawrence Robinson and Emily Haig also perform later in the season.

“We put our supporters at the heart of everything we do, and we’re really confident that the changes we have made this summer will allow for a much better experience in the Village,” Darbon said.

“We’re excited to see the fruits of our labour this week at both the friendly against Leinster and the Premiership Rugby 7s, but we’re also prepared to make more changes if needed throughout the season to make sure our supporters enjoy the best matchday experience in English rugby.

“Many of these new elements will be tested on Thursday night when we welcome Leinster with the full village experience to be in place for the first home game against Wasps at the end of September.”