Robson: Saints will still play in MK next season

Saints faced Newcastle Falcons at stadiummk last season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Saints faced Newcastle Falcons at stadiummk last season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Chief executive Allan Robson says Saints will still play at least one game in Milton Keynes next season.

The club benefitted from increased attendance figures during the previous campaign thanks to the new Barwell Stand, which replaced the Sturtridge Pavilion.

That took the capacity of Franklin’s Gardens from 13,591 to 15,500 and provided more revenue from hospitality.

But with stadiummk able to seat 30,500, there are clear financial benefits from playing matches there.

And Robson said: “We have made no secret that stadiummk gives us the opportunity to create additional revenues that we can then reinvest.

“We are committed to spending the maximum possible amount in the playing effort, but we also need to remain self-sustaining from a financial perspective, especially because we are one of the few clubs to not have a single benefactor to rely on.

“The difference in the revenues created by a 15,000 crowd at Franklin’s Gardens and a 30,000 crowd at stadiummk is sizable, and makes a significant difference in the amount we can invest in the squad.

“There is also the added bonus of growing the club’s supporter base for the future, too.

“Last year’s Aviva Premiership game against Saracens set a record attendance for stadiummk and was a superb occasion, and we know that we can attract large crowds to what is one of the finest stadiums in the country.

“Jim Mallinder and the players have no fears or concerns about playing in Milton Keynes, and we’ve had some outstanding results there.

“Of course, and as we have done in the past, in the event that we move a game to Milton Keynes our season ticket holders will have an equivalent seat or viewing area to what they enjoy at Franklin’s Gardens and the option to take advantage of free coach travel, and we will make any announcements in due course.”

Saints have already sold around 6,000 season tickets for the 2016/17 campaign, with record numbers of supporters having already renewed.

And Robson said: “We’re delighted by the rate of season ticket renewals.

“We all know that our last Aviva Premiership campaign could have been better, but it says a lot about the expectations that the club’s management, coaches, players and supporters alike have now that a fifth-placed finish – just five points from the top four – and guaranteed Champions Cup rugby is considered disappointing.

“We have the highest standards and ambitions here at Franklin’s Gardens and believe that the squad has the potential and ability to get us back where we should be in 2016/17.

“We’ve got world class international players already here and more coming, and some of the best young talent coming through the club’s Academy to shine in the first team.

“We’ve also invested considerable time, effort and money into making matchdays a memorable event for supporters, and I believe that this is also influencing season ticket holders to renew, knowing that they will have a great day out when they come to Franklin’s Gardens.”