Christmas Message from Saracens CEO, Lucy Wray
Half a season has flown by and 2023 is almost upon us. I could talk about the on-pitch performances so far this season but I firmly believe that we are not defined solely by results.
At Saracens, people care deeply about WHAT they do and WHO they do it with. I feel very lucky as it is truly special to be part of this club. There are so many great people who care passionately about each other and achieving great things together.
A few things that have stood out for me over the past six months:
Saracens Men have not had a bad start to the season (I know not the result we all wanted last night)… The atmosphere at StoneX has been brilliant and I have loved hearing all your passionate voices. It makes a difference! Bring on 31st December against Exeter and I know StoneX will be rocking.
Our coaches and wider performance team are an outstanding group of people, I learn from them every day. The medical team headed up by Laura Tulloch are a group of unsung heroes who work tirelessly to look after the players and get them back from some pretty brutal injuries.
We celebrated 10 years of our Pioneers Programme. Our Pioneers have given 3,500+ volunteer hours of their time so far this season, and a total of approaching 800,000 hours since the programme started! I see all the very best of human kindness in all of them.
Our Saracens Women have had a disjointed start to the season with Saracens proudly having 19 players taking part in the Rugby World Cup. It was heart-breaking to see the Red Roses lose in the dying minutes of the Final but I know they will use that pain to drive them forward. We were recently awarded a place in the new Premier 15’s competition starting next season. There was a two hour interview with an independent panel at Twickenham and I came out feeling so proud and energised to be working with such a fantastic team of people who are all hugely ambitious for the future of our Saracens Women’s team. Kieran Crombie, Alex Austerberry, Laura Eddie and Philip Morrow – thank you!
I think we may have the nicest club partners ever, who are so engaged and loyal. From the notes we have received from them, I know they feel part of something special too. This is huge testament to Lucy Englander and our partnerships team who set the bar very high. Building close relations with our partners and seeing them embrace everything we are trying to achieve off the pitch, is massively rewarding.
I hope everyone is excited for another day out at Tottenham’s incredible stadium for Showdown 3 on 25th March 2023. The entertainment will be off the charts on and off the pitch. The commercial team are working tirelessly to make sure it is a day full of smiles, laughter and making memories.
We trended on Twitter with the Ben Earl re-signing content and who knew Jamie and Elliot might have an acting career post rugby with their re-signing video and “Couples Counselling”. If you haven’t seen them then please do. Thank you to all our players across our three teams who are helping the club achieve our audience growth goals and also our brilliantly creative content team.
Alex Goode – the most capped Saracens player ever and still going… For quite a bit longer we hope. Over 300 caps is special but to do it at this club whilst competing with world class players is mind blowing. Probably the best moments of his career for me are seeing how happy his mum is when he scores a try.
Owen Farrell – only the third EVER Men’s player to reach 100 caps for England. Listening to Owen in a team meeting, even I think I might be able to go out there and hit a ruck… He really is super special.
The 1876 West Stand opened and is in full swing. The team who managed the whole build and opening deserve a medal. The same team, last week, spent 12 hours clearing snow off the pitch so that the team could train the following day. TSPDS.
Did you know that we planted over 19,000 trees, hedges and bulbs at StoneX Stadium this year? Our stand toilets are flushed with rain water, we sort and recycle all bins and we use ground source heating for our water and buildings. In 2023, we will continue our green agenda and keep you updated on progress.
Just two mentions, but there could be many more, for our Saracens Foundation team. ITV filmed for a “Deaf Away Day” series at a Saracens men’s match. Charlie White from the Foundation went to huge lengths to make this a success and the producer took the time to write to the club and say “I’m not overstating it to say that it was above and beyond anything that we would ever have expected or hoped for.” Charlie again and Ella Wyrwas (also one of our Saracens Women’s players), have done an incredible job and secured funding to set up a brand new programme, the Junior Disability Hub. We have been running disability programmes for participants aged 14-24 for over 9 years in our community. Over the last year or so we have identified that there is a huge need for these resources to be available to a younger cohort and so our new programme will target children aged 8-14. The Junior Disability Hub will use adapted models of programmes we already run, including Strictly Sarries, Sarries RFC and Track Club whilst continuing to offer parent respite facilities. This funding will allow the programme to launch and will secure its future for the next 5 years.
I was fortunate enough in September to attend the first assembly for Year 7 at the Saracens High School. The Principle Matt Stevens gave a brilliant assembly about the Saracens values. There are some hugely caring and inspiring individuals at our school giving those children many more opportunities and the best possible environment to thrive.
February will see our Mavericks Netball Team start their season. It has been exciting to see Head Coach, Camilla Buchanan, shape her squad in the off season. The team now have a full time general manager, strength & conditioner and physio. If you have never seen a Netball Super League match then make sure you do in 2023. The athleticism and pace is phenomenal.
Thank you to every single member of Saracens Group staff and players. You guys rock and I always appreciate the hard work and care you put into this organisation to help us achieve great things.
Lastly, to all our Sarries fans, we want to make you all proud. Proud of the victories on and off the pitch/court. Proud to be part of the Sarries family. Thank you for placing your loyalty in us and for making it all worthwhile. Let’s see what 2023 brings…
I hope everyone has a brilliant festive period with family and friends.