rugbyunion
Latest News:

NEWS: What kind of day has it been?


By Robby Richmond
January 4 2018

Robby Richmond has kindly penned another article for us, what are your thoughts.....            

What kind of day has it been?

 

“You guys are like Butch and Sundance peering over the edge of a cliff to the boulder-filled rapids 300 feet below, thinking you better not jump 'cause there's a chance you might drown. The President has this disease and has been lying about it, and you guys are worried that the polling might make us look bad? It's the fall that's gonna kill you!”

C.J. Cregg The West Wing

 

Saturday’s game at Twickenham was a low point for Saints.

A real low.

Another low.

 

It was one of very few occasions where after the game I thought long and hard about commitment. I questioned the commitment of the players.  Not pleasant, but also, quite frankly, not good enough.

 

I sat & watched the game again.

Yes, I sat through that twice.

 

Brave ain’t I?

 

Many years ago I was told by the middle brother to watch games twice, hard as it may be.

 

“Take the passion out the game, lower your blood pressure & follow the game, not the ball”

 

It was worse. Much, much worse.

 

Some of our favourite players were walking, people took forever to get up from breakdowns and tackles, missing tackles, weak in the tackle, weak in contact, just half-assing it.  Look, Saints supporters don’t ask for a lot but the one thing we’ll never stand for is a lack of effort.

 

So I was looking for excuses for them.

 

Well, it’s Christmas, it’s a short week.

Well, his missus has just had kids.

Well, he’s never been very good at tackling.

Well, he’s never been very good at Thermonuclear Fusion.

Well, he’s allergic to eggs.

 

Right, OK. We’ve got to draw a line under it. Confidence is shot. Nothing else, best excuse, best reason, the confidence of these lads is shot to pieces. Coming to work has become the ultimate pain in the arse. Yep, lads who have their collective ‘dream jobs’ are most likely dreading getting out of bed in the morning.

 

Sadly we’ve been here before & we’ll most likely be here again.

 

Gone are days when any of us seemingly felt like we were part of something special. It’s taken some folks longer for the penny to drop, but’s clear to all and sundry that were a club in crisis. Actually, it’s a variety of crises-

 

A crisis of conscience

A crisis of confidence

A crisis of faith

A crisis of direction

 

And what do most people do in a crisis?

 

 

Look at the message board, or look at the facebook groups, or look at the hashtags on twitter…

 

Now, at this point I want to give Tim Percival, Mark Darbon, Alan Dickens & Alan Gaffney some credit. Whatever you think of where we are one of the many things that have changed under the new régime is that these guys are talking to us, that they’re willing to talk and after a fair few years of Bill Belichick style ‘less is more’ press conferences my first response to this is little apples are sweet.

 

Look, were not going to fix things over night, regardless of what some of the more vociferous supporters might demand. There are too many things wrong and you can’t just press the reset button. 

 

Well…

 

You can, but it’s not the best idea. Cos, people live to moan. Yes, that’s right, the elephant in the room, we all collectively love a moan, it’s the national pastime that no one ever admits to, like men who knit. 

 

Cast your minds back to when Dr Evil, Brendan Venter himself, took over at Sarries. A huge influx of money from new South African backers & Sarries decided to release 15 players at the end of that season.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2009/feb/24/saracens-brendan-venter-eddie-jones

 

There was a huge outpouring of scorn, disgust from supporters of other clubs across the land and the PRPA were fuming. But, and it’s a big but, what Venter and company did was set their stall out for the future of the franchise.  It was a cold, calculating move but was the 1st foundation building a side of the very highest standards. 

 

15 lads paid the price, but Saracens have experienced the most extended period of success in their history.

 

(Yes, the debt, the salary cap, the blah, blah, blah, leave it out, we’re talking about cultures, we’re talking about success, we’re talking about one of the reasons why we are where we are, we collectively from top to bottom are just too bloody nice. But Sarries give us something to moan about eh?)

 

My point is there is an opportunity here to do something. Perhaps not so outlandish as what Saracens did but with a new Director of Rugby comes the chance to change the culture, the ethos & the philosophy of the Saints.

 

Now, when I say change, that doesn’t necessarily mean remove or revoke some of the elements that make Northampton Saints, well, Northampton Saints. In fact, I’m more interested in a re-introduction of some of those elements of the club that have passed by the wayside as Saints the family club have become Saints the business.

 

Some things are not a difficult fix, the atmosphere around the ground for an example. All Tim & Mark have to do is invite Dave Lowrence or any of the other folks into the Saints Supporters Club in for a brew & put together a list of the loudest most obnoxious Saints supporters they know. Then put a call out here on Marching On, then another on Social Media. You create a WhatsApp group put all these folks in there & on command…

 

OH WHEN THE SAINTS…    

 

All from around different parts of the ground.

 

And we’re off.

 

 

There you go lads, you can have a free one on me.

 

And whist matters on the pitch are causing us all pain and disappointment; we cannot allow it to now distract supporters from the long-standing problems with ‘The Match-Day Experience”. These are frustratingly difficult to contend with as so many things annoy so many people in so many various ways.

 

I’ve not attended a Saints home game for quite some time. (The reasons for this a varied & my own.) But I went to the European Champions Cup play-off in May with the middle brother who’d blagged us tickets from Digger. (Cheers Digger!) Both of us were genuinely shocked at how disorganised, poorly managed & planned with regards the supporters, sorry the customers.

 

We arrived at 19:00. It was astonishing.  So much so it was seared into my memory.  I immediately felt like a right bell-end for mocking folks on Marching On complaining about warm beer.

 

Massive queues at the bar, 7 queues in the main bar were comfortably 20 people deep. Ok, we’ll get a beer somewhere else.  No. We then had to navigate our way through hundreds of people stood pitch-side watching the players warm up. This is a personal bugbear of mine & I really find it baffling.

 

1-     The players aren’t going to come over & say ‘Hi’ or take a selfie with you

2-     You can see perfectly well what they’re doing from the comfort of your seat

3-     What the players do in a warm up rarely changes

4-     YOU’RE IN THE BLOODY WAY!!!

 

So round to the corner to the stalls behind the Burrda stand…

 

Whoops.  Even worse.

 

So eventually we nipped into the Crooked Hooker, after Piggy told the security guard who our kid was (I’ve been dining out on that one ever since with Danny). We had a swift pint & a bottle a water & made our way to our seats where we sat with Saints chef & all round top fella Gavin Austin.

 

So just after halftime Danny says to me, “I’m nipping off for a burger Robby, do you want anything?” Nah, your alright mate. Danny returned about half an hour later with a polystyrene tub of cold chips.

 

Anyway we won, thankfully, and I got to see one of the greatest players of the modern era play magnificently. No, not Picamoles, Will Genia. But even though the game was an amazing spectacle and was filled with drama and some very confusing refereeing decisions 2 things came to mind at the final whistle.

 

Was there any better time than as the lads did a victory lap than to play Don’t stop believin’ by Journey? I mean I don’t even like the song but it kind of felt like a lost moment, an opportunity to bond the supporters and the players together ahead of the summer.

 

The second is that when the ref goes to the TMO what is stopping Uncle Geoff from telling people over the PA system what they’re looking for? They do this at Quins and Exeter already. Quite what is stopping is beyond me; as usual I sit here wondering if it’s just that no one had thought of it.

 

At this point you may think this is just Robby kicking the club whilst it’s down.

 

No, honestly, no. It’s another example of an opportunity. Some of the more senior supporters would have baulked at the idea of playing some music at the end of the game, some baulk at the idea of pre-match or half-time but at some point an agreed strategy on entertainment has to found or agreed upon.

 

The Saints still need to entice new supporters to the club, to bring in a new generation & in order to do that we firstly need a great product on the pitch but also a great one off it.  The more senior supporters are the ones who will have to sacrifice some of their more nostalgic impressions of the match-day experience. But if that’s the case, the club should be able to offer them a chance to go to the bar & be served quickly & efficiently.

 

Again, there are things we can do. I’m not trying to make this any kind of political statement but if we’re going to employ casual workers what we shouldn’t do is accept casual performance. We’ve seen this work at other grounds and stadia, it’s not an exclusive problem to saints, but there are answers to improving the quality of service offered to customers, sorry, supporters.

 

Look, I know it’s not easy when you’re young and inexperienced & looking for work. What I’m talking about is giving these young people an extra days pay whilst offering them some proper training. In the long run, an occasional extra day will pay off in spades.

 

Then there’s the issue around drinks. Honestly, would you be upset if the beer you buy was in a bottle? Sat in a sink full of ice for 2 hours? Served to you quickly? Would you be irritated if you asked for a pint of Guinness & it’d already been poured? If I said you could pay for your beer over the phone & have someone deliver it to your seat would that be helpful? If you’ve got kids with you wouldn’t that make life easier? What about employing some lads & lasses with a keg rucksack wondering around the ground, making a bee-line for you as you’re stood at back of a queue? 

 

Yeah, but Robby, this is expensive.

 

Yeah, but Saints supporters are already paying a lot of money to be there, the only way to improve ‘the match-day experience’ will need some broader thinking & some investment in people, that costs time, effort and energy, not just financially.

 

Would any of this likely make you happier, keep you in your seat, watching the game and cheering the lads on?

 

Yes? Well, then it’s worth it.

 

#MakeFranklinsGardensGreatAgain

 

So where does that lead the search for a new DOR?

 

Well that Brian Moore article ruffled some feathers didn’t it?

 

Moore claimed, Ominously, I was told that the new man will have complete freedom to retain or replace anyone in the coaching or playing sphere. With 12 players out of contract at the end of the year you can expect huge changes in coming months.”

 

Compete freedom.  It’s a hell of a phrase. It normally means allowing self-governance & someone giving you complete faith. Tigers & Cockerill did that with Aaron Mauger, a 33 year old recently retired rookie coach. Look what happened.

 

I mention the Tigers because we’re on a similar trajectory. Like it or not we are intrinsically linked to the old enemy. And we both have Wasps to worry about for more reasons than we seem to realise (Yes, that’s a bit cryptic, yes, it’s deliberate.).

 

The Tigers are not much better off than ourselves & like Saints last season, any more departures seem likely to come from board room before they offload their collection of cowboys, inexperienced young coaches, golden gods (Boris Stankovich) and tea boys. But they share some common elements with ourselves as they continue to decline to the middle ground mediocrity of the Aviva Premiership.

 

They’ve been looking for someone to coach their forwards, specifically the lineout, which if it was a horse you’d have shot it. They’ve been rebuffed by some coaches, almost all of them young, some of them still in the midst of their apprenticeships, and been unable to find someone willing to replace one of their own former players in the role, Richard Blaze.

 

What makes Tigers line-out woes worse is that Youngs has always had dodgy darts, Thacker too. George McGuigan doesn’t seem able to get a look in, despite being the best technical hooker in the club & so they’ve tried to fix it with the signing of Tatafu Polota-Nau, whose, well, lets just say it’s a metaphor for misplacing your finances & recruiting a disjointed squad, especially when you look at Calum Green, a former Tigers academy graduate who runs a brilliant lineout for Newcastle Falcons & was never given a crack of the whip & that they allowed Ed Slater to join Gloucester too.

 

But the hookers get the blame…

 

Right, Dyl?

 

See, here’s the thing. Recruitment is becoming just as, if not more important than coaching.  Coaching in my opinion is likely to achieve better results in smaller groups, more one on one contact. The DOR will control the overall shape and tactics of the side but whoever comes in needs to build a team of coaches who can improve players.  That’s the biggest problem both tigers and we have had in the last few years, we’ve not improved enough of our players to be able to compete consistently at the top level. If you can’t recruit, you have to coach them on.

 

So recruiting the right coaches is comparable to recruiting the right kind of player too. If you don’t think a good or great coaching being around a club can have a big effect on a side’s performance have a look at what’s happened at Bath since Tabai Matson returned to New Zealand. Yeah, they beat Toulon. So what? Toulon are woeful. Look closer, follow the game not the ball…

 

In the last article I suggested bringing in a head of recruitment, someone to work alongside the DOR but had the time, contacts, and resources to scout & help recruit the next batch of players.

 

My idea is simple, we (And Tigers) are asking too much of too few in a sport where we play every week for 10 months a year and whilst were all concerned about player welfare I believe with more coaches who coach specifics we will be better able to utilize the one thing all clubs want more of and cant buy, time. Time in the gym, time doing more video analysis breaking down the opposition, time focusing one on one breaking down and improving weaknesses.

 

So let me ask you this, does it matter if the new coaches & DOR have never played for Saints? Someone with no affiliation at all? Or do we need someone who understands the club? Do we need a big name who will help recruit other big name players? Do we need big name players of like Exeter & Falcons good hard working professionals who can produce seven out of tens every week. Do we need to cull some deadwood? Do we need to have internationals playing for the wanderers? I dunno, hopefully someone does & they’ll be in charge July 1st but we’d better jump 'cause there's a chance we won’t drown…

View a Printer Friendly version of this Story.

Bookmark or share this story with:

Marching On
NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Marching On (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 09:22
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
If you do not already have an account Click here to Register.

 
Stevie Myler's right boot
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
04/01/2018 10:21
Excellent article and agree with points raised - the fact the rugby is dire turns the spotlight onto everything else that is wrong around the club, beer, food, half time 'entertainment'
Like you I watched the game a second time and when you don't watch the ball it is eye opening what you see happening. The number of guys walking round like it was a Sunday afternoon stroll was shocking. Quin's defence had time to go off into the tunnel, have a brew and still be back and set up before we'd got to the ruck as one example - no wonder we are turned over/concede penalties so often.

Re the beers - how much money is lost due to the 'can't be arsed to queue' factor? There is money on the table from me in that respect. There used to be guys with barrels on their backs - where have they gone?

 
alwayshopeful
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
alwayshopeful (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 10:27
Nice article - and thanks!

I would say there are two separate, if linked, issues..

The fan experience and financial performance are one. Right now, the match day experience around the ground, the social side, is very poor. This can be addressed by a group being focused on it - and building more links and access to the playing side. Best moments I can remember is the lad meeting Carlos Spencer in the car park - or queuing for autographs in the freezing cold! It is in this area that fans should be more involved than now.. the club seeing them as more than walking wallets.

The second area is the playing side.. the actual rugby. I might enjoy espousing my thoughts in this area - but really, i just want the people we pay to do this to do it well.. if they don't know better than me then we are in serious trouble!


Right now the rugby is so bad, it is poisoning the whole thing - but this can and has to be put right (and I am sure it will be...)


We just need to win a game...

 
Saint Jericho
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saint Jericho (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 10:42
Good article Robby.

For what it's worth I think we should bring back the brass band before the game.

And I wouldn't be a fan of beers delivered to your seat. Too much disruption when most fans will be concentrating on the game. Like you said I think the club should probably invest a bit of money in training and employing more bar staff to sort out this issue at the bars. In fairness beers queues don't bother me at all, but this is probably because I've been sober for 7 years. It needs sorting though as it matters to a lot of people.

All these things will help the fans feel more appreciated and not just 'walking wallets' and hopefully start to get the feel good factor back around the club.

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 10:49
Excellent read Robby and I agree with 99% of it.

Yes Jericho bring back the band! No brainer....



The problem Robby is that the club is being run by the owners for profit, or at least to not lose significant money. Over the last 10-15 years the value of the club would have risen significantly with both the land value and revenues as the professional game has attracted increasing sums from advertising, TV money and of course ticket sales (leading to rising costs). Yes I am afraid the very last drop has been squeezed out of the supporters to fund this, there has not been significant investment into the club.



Unfortunately your plan requires a shareholder base willing to invest each year, and I just do not think that will happen here. We will continue to work on a very tight budget, with I guess personnel being tasked with various roles.

 
Christoff
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
smitferbrainz (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 10:51
Great read and spot on.....yet again in so many ways. You ought to copy and paste this directly to the club via the offy. They'd be foolish to ignore some of these ideas, some easy. The hanging around the pitch in warm up is particularly infuriating. Geoff always requests that they move via the PA, there's always a mass giggle from the Gordons and nothing ever happens. Do something or don't mention it via the PA. if you mention it get stewards to enforce it. Just one example of making things better. Let's be honest it ain't that difficult being a steward at Saints. Beer in backpacks, poured pints etc, all practical and easy I'd think. A working group to help the club make these ideas happen? Easy I'd say and if the club want to listen then why not make it happen, not in 6 months or the closed season.....now! Music ideas before, after and during, again good ideas. Be good to hear players choose a bit of music that could be played after they'd scored for example, why not? There's loads of ideas. Maybe if the match day experience (hate that phrase) could be picked up, shaken, reset and made to be brilliant, well enjoyable anyway then the playing side may just follow alongside it, just a bit. Bit of style off the pitch with a bit more style on it.

 
nottsaint
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
nottsaint (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 11:08
Basically, if your going to serve me beer in a plastic cup, you might as well serve it in a bottle, and get it out quicker....

However as i drive to the games, i don't really care about the bar service or food that much, i can choose not to consume them.

I have come to consume the product that is the "rugby" that product is, and has been sub-standard, and premium priced for some time.
Fix the rugby, that gives the crowd something to cheer about, that fixes the atmosphere, that gives us things to talk about in half time other than "yes were still rubbish, the oppo are killing us"

all will be well again smiling smiley

 
HerbieSaint
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HerbieSaint (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 11:24
Great piece Robby.

Glad you gave Tim Percival a shout out here - I've really noticed that the club's communication with supporters, press etc has really stepped up since he joined.

I definitely feel like they're making a much bigger effort to keep us updated rather than keeping us at arm's length. IMO this is more crucial now than ever, to stop supporters becoming alienated and not showing up to matches.

 
Garracc
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Garracc (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 11:43
Unfortunately you can't serve anything in glass bottles hence plastic cups and I'm sure beer doesn't come in plastic bottles. Great article though Robby. It amazes me why everything these days has to be outsourced. It's never ever as good as doing it yourself. There's no connection to the club, they couldn't care less if all the staff are barely old enough to be in a bar let alone know how one works. The club should should 're- connect with the town and employ its own staff, I can't see how it can be much more expensive but the improvement in sales would more than cover it. Can we also have the members only bar 're- instated to actually members only please while we are at it. Regarding food, I really don't know what goes on. Last year's was so much better and more of them, why the change?

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Neil-H (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 11:48
Great read Robby, biggest compliment I can pay you is we haven't had articles like this since the days of Broonies on front rows!

Made for an interesting, thought provoking read, thanks!

 
SaintsAsh
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
SaintsAsh (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 11:50
I agree with the step up in communication, for me personally the beer is a non issue.

Culture is a big thing, I would not go the way of Sarries but we do need a "focus" Something that we all buy into from a playing perspective as well as a work ethic perspective.

Hard work directed into a game plan gets results (Sarries, Exeter)

 
GOD
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Bob Stainsby (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 11:52
Great read again Robby and you nail most of the saliant points like this:
Quote:
Robby R
The players arenít going to come over & say ĎHií or take a selfie with you
2- You can see perfectly well what theyíre doing from the comfort of your seat

3- What the players do in a warm up rarely changes

4- YOUíRE IN THE BLOODY WAY!!!

Pushing on an open door matey there. Also re music after a win.

I remember being at sixways for the 2010 LV final v Gloss. Cracker of a game from both sides. Saints win and the music at presentation time is the Peas with 'I gotta feeling' Great vibe jumping up and down and the lads like wise on the pitch! BTW it WAS a good night too....far as I remember.

Also ya don't want me in Heroes? OK I will take pride in drinking and eating pre game outside FG I feel I have caved in if I consume in the ground. Thats how bad they have fecked up.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:01:04:11:54:48 by Bob Stainsby.

 
Saint Ted
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saint Ted (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 12:00
I'm going to give more credit where it is due, since the new season, I think that the bar queues have been a lot better, it's helped by a reduced crowd but even on busy days, certainly the tent in the village has been noticeably quicker

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 12:00
Quote:
Garracc
Unfortunately you can't serve anything in glass bottles hence plastic cups and I'm sure beer doesn't come in plastic bottles. Great article though Robby. It amazes me why everything these days has to be outsourced. It's never ever as good as doing it yourself. There's no connection to the club, they couldn't care less if all the staff are barely old enough to be in a bar let alone know how one works. The club should should 're- connect with the town and employ its own staff, I can't see how it can be much more expensive but the improvement in sales would more than cover it. Can we also have the members only bar 're- instated to actually members only please while we are at it. Regarding food, I really don't know what goes on. Last year's was so much better and more of them, why the change?


It does come in plastic bottles (that look like the glass counterpart) as served at most sporting venues.

 
Casual Saint
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Casual Saint (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 12:03
Another excellent article.

The other day I was chatting to a young lady who works in the Rodber Suite. Her experience of staff training and preparation is pretty much what you would expect. Young staff, many who had never been in a bar let alone pulled a pint, being let loose with hardly any preparation. The remaining staff having to work bloody hard to keep the bat working.

At the end of the day I care about the rugby much more than the beer but an improvement in the match day experience would signal a change in attitude and approach.

Once a scrum half .... always a scrum half

 
riverlodge
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
riverlodge (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 12:15
Quote:
Neil-H
we haven't had articles like this since the days of Broonies on front rows!

I miss those, and they seem quite necessary right now!

 
tboullem
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Mobbs (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 13:22
Great read Robbie !

Whisper it carefully, but there was a time when beer was'nt the second most important aspect of a visit to Franklins Gardens or indeed any top class rugby game. Sure, there were a lot of hip flasks floating about, 'just a quick nip on a cold day you understand' but a trip to the pub or the Sturtridge before or after the game was about it. Bearing in mind the cost of watching Saints, it never ceases to amaze me just how much of the game some people miss going to and from the bar and associated 'facilities'.

 
Bag Inton
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Ken I L Worth (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 13:38
Excellent, what a great read from start to finish.

Forgive the schadenfreude, but allowing for a change of names and dates and one or two of the details that articles stands as true for us at Kingsholm in seasons past and probably future (somehow we seem to have a season off this time around!)

Good luck and chin up. I can see a great game coming up at the weekend and knowing our luck this is the point where things turn around.

 
Omnium
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Omnium (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 14:40
"Some things are not a difficult fix, the atmosphere around the ground for an example. All Tim & Mark have to do...."

To reinforce your emerging faith in the new team - I can tell you that Mark Darbon instituted the First part of your suggestion in November and communication continues on a regular basis......

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Robby Richmond (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 14:50
Quote:
Omnium
"Some things are not a difficult fix, the atmosphere around the ground for an example. All Tim & Mark have to do...."
To reinforce your emerging faith in the new team - I can tell you that Mark Darbon instituted the First part of your suggestion in November and communication continues on a regular basis......

Splendid to hear!

 
tedge
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
tedge (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 16:19
Hardly anything off the pitch would matter a jot to most people if things were going right on the pitch

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Flook (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 16:20
Quote:
Omnium
I can tell you that Mark Darbon instituted the First part of your suggestion in November and communication continues on a regular basis......

But not on here, so where?

 
Saint Ted
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saint Ted (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 16:32
On the official chanels through facebook, twitter and t'offy, way more press articles both in local and national newspapers, more detailed emails being sent to season ticket holders and anyone on the mailing list, more video interviews, more info on injuries

Why would they announce anything on here, we are not affiliated to the club

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Flook (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 17:33
Quote:
Saint Ted
On the official chanels through facebook, twitter and t'offy, way more press articles both in local and national newspapers, more detailed emails being sent to season ticket holders and anyone on the mailing list, more video interviews, more info on injuries
Why would they announce anything on here, we are not affiliated to the club

Well as one who does not use social media or have a season ticket, I tend to get my 'saintly fix' here, so any communications from the club on here would be appreciated.

As to your last sentence, why so antagonistic?

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 17:35
youíve just interpreted it that way, text is impossible to gauge tone, I read it as factual

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Flook (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 17:46
Quote:
HLTW
youíve just interpreted it that way, text is impossible to gauge tone, I read it as factual

With all respect, when I want you opinion, I will ask for it.

The question was addressed to Saint Ted.

 
Saint Ted
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saint Ted (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 18:17
Not antagonistic, it was a fact and a question, I just missed the question mark off by accident.

We have no affiliation with the club, when Chris was doing comms, he did post here, but he was a member of this site long before he worked for saints.

There is a fine line as to how to balance things out between us and the club, if we have too close a connection they could start leaning on us to perhaps keep a tighter reign on things, there was a reason the official message board was taken down, a lot of what is said on here is a reason for that

Youíll note that when we do Teams Up articles (by that I mean the ones that start with News) they always have a section missing and a link back to the official website for more information

Tim has a very hard job on his hands, one that I think he is doing very well with, they use social media very well now, which will be helpful for the majority

The emails go out to everyone on the mailing list who hasnít opted out and all articles are on the official website, I personally canít see what else they can do

Iíve been meaning to get in touch with Tim for a while to discuss things but after our initial contact, work/moving/getting caught up in the biggest mass shooting in the USA/wedding plans etc have got in the way

Lack of information on this site lies with me for not following it up and in no way is it the fault of Saints

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 18:32
Quote:
Flook
Quote:
HLTW
youíve just interpreted it that way, text is impossible to gauge tone, I read it as factual

With all respect, when I want you opinion, I will ask for it.

The question was addressed to Saint Ted.


This is a public forum, if you want a private conversation then PM Ted. I will always jump to his defence because heís clearly a good bloke and is doing this for free.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:01:04:18:33:38 by HungryLikeTheWolf.

 
fair_weather_fan
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
fair_weather_fan (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 19:31
Quote:
tedge
Hardly anything off the pitch would matter a jot to most people if things were going right on the pitch

Cant agree at all. I would be inclined to be rude in reply too, if discussing face to face with a mate.....

We have been coming for 20 years, and a beer, a hog roast, a read of the programme and a chat with fellow supporters has been an essential part of FWF's family day out for all that time. The missus has learnt the rules and the family now boasts 4 adult season ticket holders.

Your quote could be Allan Robson, any year, as year on year prices went up and service didnt keep pace. I complained directly to the club, at individual bars, on the old message board, and on here; I explained why the deposit plastic pot system was unnecessary; no reply. Personally I think that the club has got he message on the catering, the food outlets are better and more numerous this year, and the real ale bar has revolutionised my queuing time almost to zero. The tragedy is all this stuff could have been implemented when the South stand was built. Sorry, dont tell me it doesnt matter.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Chris Hoddle (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 19:46
Thanks Robby, a sensible read.
Will you be able to get to the Bath game in February?

http://chrishoddle.smugmug.com/photos/i-TsCHdzK/0/M/i-TsCHdzK-M.gif


[url=https:[www.justgiving.com], Please sponsor me here[/url]

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 20:06
The matchday experience is hugely important IMHO

Compare going to Saracens, Wasps, Worcester.... I dunno anyone... and going to Clermont, Munster etc

Youíd want to attend the latter just for the matchday experience

 
ch saint
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
ch saint (IP Logged)
04/01/2018 21:30
Good article with good points.

 
Eif Jones
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Eif Jones (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 01:00
But then we get emails from the Saints with the following comment!!!

A slow start proved costly at HQ and the Saints never recovered from falling 31-0 down by half-time against Harlequins.

Difficult to tell whether its meant to be funny or serious.

 
Saint Ted
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saint Ted (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 07:37
I can see the point Tedge is making, and is one that I brought up it the season ticket holders forum, getting it right on the pitch and what happens off it becomes less important or seems less bad.

When the teams going well, the crowd perk up and create a better atmosphere, the bar queues and whatís going on in the background at half time kind of just donít have any significance as it gives you the opportunity to discuss what happened, player x did something amazing , player y scored a cracking try, as opposed to Ďwell that was rubbishí and the conversation being over!

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 08:36
so do you notice a difference in matchday experience at Thomond Park or Stade Marcel-Michelin.... and if you do, does that not suggest a great opportunity to be creative to improve ours in an authentic way?

it is my contention that we have not worked on it due to both disregard of its relevance and pure apathy.

 
Saint Ted
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saint Ted (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 08:54
Without a shadow of a doubt, the atmosphere at Thomand Park and Stade Marcel-Michelin are amazing.

But your comparing oranges and apples, theyíve built up that atmosphere and level of support over many years, here at saints weíre not going to get that on a week in week out basis

With the exception of nail biting finishes to matches the atmosphere canít really be described as bubbling or electric, we saints fans do it our way, we sing along, cheer and clap, just not to the same level as the guys from Munster etc, trying to replicate what others do isnít authentic, itís not Northampton Saints

The atmosphere at the gardens is and probably always will be, a reflection on whatís going on in the match, much as I hate to admit it, weíre a fickle bunch, when weíre going well or. Itís a nail biting finish, the atmosphere ramps up 10 fold, but when weíre playing the way we have been, the crowd is always flat

Iím expecting to hear a bit more noise on Saturday as we get behind the new coach, but Iíd stake money that if the boys on the pitch arenít performing after 10 minutes itíll go flat again

Our crowd is player driven, not by anything else thatís going on around the ground in my opinion

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 09:18
yes we can, it needs to be carefully orchestrated.

just having old Geoff on the mic, some tinny irrelevant music and calling out peoples birthdays or cars parked in the wrong place isn't good enough in professional sport.

 
Duckonstilts
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Duckonstilts (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 10:20
The first thing we need is, as Robby said, A couple more people willing to start Wendy. Very occasionally it gets going from the south stand but 99% of the time if the terraces are not in the mood then no one else joins in.

We dont have digger any more getting the crowd going. We dont want fake noise from the PA to get us going. It cant be that hard to encourage someone else to start it, we just have to join in when they do. Join in a few times and it will become second nature.

Start with the simple things, then move on to the more complex issues.

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 11:08
fake noise from the PA is not careful and authentic

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saint Dom (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 12:36
My recent experience of attending matches at Bath, Harlequins (Stoop and Twickenham), and London Irish has been horrendous. Especially the screaming banshees calling themselves announcers.

I like Geoff Allen. I like his wry humour and gentle touch.

Recent visits to Worcester, Gloucester and Leicester were more acceptable.

For years, I have been arguing that we bring back the old jazz band that used to go marching in around the track before games and at half-time. But most of those old boys are long dead - however, can we replace them? The Oundle CCF band were quite entertaining, but silly games on the screen are not my thing - though I recognise that they amuse the under-12s.

As for music, well...Robbyís choice of music is a mystery to me, but - if we canít have Schubert - Iím happy to bow to his greater knowledge of the modern idiom.

I miss Heroes Bar. Donít suppose we will ever get it back. I go into the Crooked Hooker sometimes, but itís a bit of a crush.

As for beer - thank goodness for hip flasks!

And yes, as everyone has mentioned: get the Rugby on the pitch right and a lot of other things will fall into place.

Thanks for writing this, Rob. Keep Ďem coming...

http://v4admin.sportnetwork.net/upload/99/99_0_1202835632.jpg
*I could agree with you - but then we'd both be wrong...*

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 17:31
Absolutely Dom, or there must be a 4 piece in and around the town or shire that would do it for free or maybe for free tickets? Itís great PR for anyone to be the Saints band.

I believe the old guys were a 4 piece who walked around the pitch. It was fantastic atmosphere building and, say it again, very authentic.


The someone needs to sort out a decent playlist. I would probably invest in a decent sound system but be lucky on that one.

 
Saintly Pursuit
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saintly Pursuit (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 18:25
A few things:

1. If you turn up 30 minutes before the game then you are almost inevitably going to have to queue. I thnk that the bar service has been beter this season and the real ale bar in the village is remarkably quick service as it is straight from the barrel.

2. The people watching the warm up is a pain but stewards asking people to go to their seats will probably just result in other people replacing them. If, as I believe, most people come from the village end of the stadium then maybe moving the warm up to the Barwell end would mean that, althogh people would still stand and watch, they aren't as much of a blockage.

3. Music during the game. Nooooo! The Sarries game at Twickenham was awful with deafeningly loud (so loud that I measured it on my mobile and it was on the border of unsafe levels) music starting every time that there was a break in play. I also can't understand why music needs to be played after a score - surely the supporters provide sufficent noise by clapping/cheering. Loud music only serves to replace that supporter engagement.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saint Dom (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 19:12
That last point is interesting, Saintly Pursuit...

Why have music at all? If it is introduced to whack up the atmosphere, well...it doesnít. It is usually crass, too loud and distorted. It kills the atmosphere and leaves everybody cross.

Has anyone at the marketing end of Saints ever thought of letting the spectators/supporters/crowd invent their own music and noise?

When we had the old boys strolling around the track, it was magical. Somewhere in the back pocket of my memory, I recall a trombonist, a trumpeter and a big, bass drummer. Does anyone else remember?

It must be possible to reproduce the drum/brass trio.

Failing that, does anyone have a trumpet they can play? Bring it to the ground and just play the first few bars of Wendy from time to time. That will stir the passions, that will get the juices flowing, that will inspire the team. Iím thinking of the trumpeter among the Toulonnais...

Surely we can do our little bit, too...?

http://v4admin.sportnetwork.net/upload/99/99_0_1202835632.jpg
*I could agree with you - but then we'd both be wrong...*

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 19:28
I am afraid you are both coming from poor experiences of music watching rugby union. Saracens, Bath or whoever are absolutely dreadful at it. They have no real thought into what they are trying to achieve apart from just noise.


Watch some NFL, it absolutely enhances the atmosphere. Watch some 20-20 cricket. Watch some basketball.

The days of watching rugby with an ale in a benign setting is over and this is a great chance to really stand out in the Prem. Munster don't play irrelevant rubbish music - they sing stand up and fight before... they may have some good music on before (maybe some irish stuff). Clermont have rocking music which goes with their drums.


Someone needs to write down what is the Saints identity then build the experience around that. It is NOT a players favourite song after they score thats irrelevant. It is NOT todays best Ed Sheeran song played before the match.

It is a brass band before the game. It is introducing old players to the fans with a microphone. It is playing triumphalist music when we win. It is a cool playlist before (happy to build one).



It is possible to be active in matchday without being artificial. Send out an open invite for 'Saints Singers'.... these are the people from each stand who will get COYS and Wendy going... they can also get together and create new songs 'ohh samu manoa etc'.


Sorry to go back to my football team but Crystal Palace has the loudest home crowd in the prem (25,000 not miles different). Why? They have a section of supporters in the corner of the home end who start all the songs. It needs to be orchestrated, if you look at all the main european football teams they have a guy with a megaphone starting ghe songs.


No I am not saying we should become a football club or have megaphones, I am giving examples of where some work into the matchday absolutely produces results.

 
Saintly Pursuit
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saintly Pursuit (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 21:53
The problem is that your "cool playlist" is, possibly, my "raucous noise" and vice versa. Whilst you are right that I have experienced the worst I'm still to be convinced of any benefit to music mid-game and that any pre-match or half time entertainment should be at a volume that doesn't prevent normal conversation. Another part of the problem is that the music is played through a PA system that is not designed for music at an acceptable quality.

Munster and Clermont have pre-match crowd "warmup" stuff which doesn't rely on a random music. Munster have "Stand Up and Fight" plus their supporter's choir, Clermont have their on pitch announcer and drums. We don't have any of these and we need to find our own "tradition" but, whatever it is, needs to be to warm the crowd up rather than just "entertain" the proportion of the crowd that the music appeals to.

Another thing is that, although some American sports/teams might use music to enhance the atmosphere I will never forget watching some ice hockey on TV with a bloody awful bit of organ music played after every score and it seemed to be the same music no matter which teams were playing.

Having said all of the above, I'd much prefer all efforts to be directed to getting back to having entertainment on the pitch for the 80 minutes of the game. If we are playing winning and entertaining rugby I'll put up with anything being played on the PA (with the exception of Country and Western).

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saint Dom (IP Logged)
05/01/2018 22:29
Cool playlists and triumphalist music - no thanks.

Itís rugby, not a bunch of celebrities fooling around in a pantomime.

Think about rugby values and what rugby represents, not some ersatz Saints brand, that no one understands, no one buys into.

There are loads of activities that Saints could put on, especially at half-time, which arenít offensive or tedious, but which involve younger spectators. We donít need Cecil B DeMille to orchestrate it, either.

Meanwhile, the team performance on the pitch is paramount; we are all agreed on that.

http://v4admin.sportnetwork.net/upload/99/99_0_1202835632.jpg
*I could agree with you - but then we'd both be wrong...*

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
06/01/2018 01:02
Sorry gentlemen I thought I was very clear to explain that random commercial music is absolutely not the answer.... the reference to pantomime I do not get. I keep repeating the word authentic.


If you have been to a world title boing match, NFL game or other high level professional sports event you would see how music (however that is produced) is key. Indeed at every other major sports event.


Equally, as Robby initially suggests, we all need to be open-minded about it. The requests of middle aged/older men who like classical music probably isn't the marginal/growth market.


Just because we are a middle england market town does not mean the matchday experience can not be exciting.

 
Saintly Pursuit
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
Saintly Pursuit (IP Logged)
06/01/2018 08:49
Quote:
The requests of middle aged/older men who like classical music probably isn't the marginal/growth market.

That is correct. However I suspect the major demographic of the current supporter base is middle age/older people so do you wish to ailenate your current supporter to, possibly, attract a different demographic? I would also add that middle age people tend to have more discretionary spending and are precisely the group that we should be trying to retain.

I'm not against music and other forms of "entertainment" per se but it would have to:

1. Be optional - at a volume that doe not prevent other forms of communication and without cameras pointed at the crowd to "encourage" them to join in. Trying to "make" people have fun rarely works.

2. Appeal to a broad demographic - If it appeals and appalls equally then it probably isn't achieving anything.

3. Be Saints - we are unlikely to succeed if we try to copy other clubs or sports. It has to be something special to us (e.g. the Jazz band)

I think that Saints are actually trying, if not succeding, in finding something hence the experiments earlier on in the season.

 
HungryLikeTheWolf
Re: NEWS: What kind of day has it been?
HungryLikeTheWolf (IP Logged)
06/01/2018 11:49
Agree with all of that.


Iíve been demanding the Jazz band for about 20 years so amen to that! Music-wise you can find a playlist which transcends all ages (classics from soul music, reggae, an 80s power ballad, some groove like Chaka Khan ainít nobody, whack in couple of karaoke classics like sweet Caroline). I have a feeling in 20 years most sporting venues will be almost exclusively pumping electronic music but that can wait.

Iím afraid we need a much better sound system though. I think because the speakers are no good, it is whacked up to the Spinal Tap 11 to have an affect.


And yes, as Robby says, when we win I would stick on an uplifting emotive triumphalist track. Like Journey donít stop believing etc.

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
We record all IP addresses on the Sportnetwork message boards which may be required by the authorities in case of defamatory or abusive comment. We seek to monitor the Message Boards at regular intervals. We do not associate Sportnetwork with any of the comments and do not take responsibility for any statements or opinions expressed on the Message Boards. If you have any cause for concern over any material posted here please let us know as soon as possible by e-mailing abuse@sportnetwork.net
 

Northampton Saints Poll

Is Hartley proving a good captain for England?

See results > Submit >>