Northampton Saints are a club steeped in history. The Saints in their name comes from the formation of the club by a vicar from the local St James Church in 1880. This heritage has stuck with the club with chants including 'Oh when the Saints' and 'Jimmies'.
Northampton's pinnacle came in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The club made the core of the 1997 Lions Tour with Ian McGeechan as the Head Coach of both the Lions and Northampton. Matt Dawson, Tim Rodber and Gregor Townsend were all regular starters in those tests. Three years later, Northampton went on to win the Champions Cup in Europe. The side then provided a core group of Ben Cohen, Matt Dawson and Steve Thompson for England's World Cup victory.
The Saints then hit a period of instability and were relegated in 2006/07. Northampton's bosses went looking for a new coach and plucked England U21's coach, Jim Mallinder, who recruited some of the best young English talent to the squad which included Dylan Hartley, Ben Foden, Courtney Lawes, Luther Burrell and Tom Wood. Saints began pushing for titles including a heartbreaking defeat to Leinster in the Champions Cup in 2011 after a 22-6 lead at half time. This era was marked by a bitter rivalry with local rivals Leicester Tigers. Chris Ashton was the face that launched a thousand cards after Manu Tuilagi tried to rearrange it with three punches to the head. The next game saw Ashton remove Tuilagi's older brother from the field by his hair followed by a 30-man punch up. The Saints then went on to win the Premiership in 2013/14 after a try in extra time from Alex Waller. However, the actual Final was overshadowed by Northampton's semi-final performance where they defeated Leicester at home to deny Leicester their 10th consecutive Final despite being a player down.
Mallinder departed the club in 2017/18 after a decline in the club's form. He was replaced by Kiwi Chris Boyd who instilled a fluid attacking structure into Northampton making the Saints the most attractive team to watch in the Premiership. Under Boyd, Northampton kept coming close but in the end consistency became the largest problem for the club. Promotion from within saw former backrower Phil Dowson become Northampton's Director of Rugby last season. Dowson took Northampton to a semi-final in his debut season with Boyd still acting as a mentor. The season ahead will see Saints begin to drift even further from the Boyd era and the vision of Dowson will become even clearer.