Northampton Saints to name stand after Barwell family

Northampton Saints will name the new North Stand at Franklin's Gardens the Barwell Stand.

The Barwell family have been central to the club's recent history, with Keith and his son Leon both former chairmen.

The North Stand will be renamed as part of a redevelopment in the summer of 2015 to increase the ground's capacity.

Franklin's Gardens naming tradition

  • Franklin's Gardens is named after the hotelier John Franklin, who bought the site in 1886
  • The Sturtridge Pavilion is named after former president Gordon Sturtridge
  • The Gordon Terrace is named after former club secretary Jerry Gordon

"The whole Barwell family have been so supportive of this club throughout their time," director of rugby Jim Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton.

Keith Barwell, who still sits on the Saints board, invested £1m into the club when rugby union turned professional in 1996.

The Barwell family became majority shareholders when Northampton launched as a plc in 2000, with Keith becoming chairman until 2011, when he was succeeded by Leon, who died of cancer last year.

Saints won the Heineken Cup in 2000, the Challenge Cup in 2009 and the LV= Cup in 2010 and have recorded 13 years of profitability under the Barwells.

"It is a fitting tribute to all of the Barwells that the stand is named after them. Leon will never be forgotten," said Mallinder.

Leon's sister, Ella Bevan, currently chairs the Saints Supporters' Liaison Group, a discussion forum between members of the club's senior management and its supporters.