So Why Saracens? From Watford to Beijing: Malcolm Denton

Living in Oxford we live very centrally to the majority of Premiership Rugby Clubs with none apart from Newcastle, Sale and in those days Leeds being more than a 80 min drive so we had a wide choice. For years we had been following motorsport spending weekends away all over the country following the touring car circuit but we were losing our interest and it was taking up to much time. Our young son Greg had started work and no longer wanted to do every weekend away so we looked for another sport to follow. Our elder son was a keen rugby player and did some part time coaching at Abingdon Rugby Club. He wanted some help with coaching advice and wrote to all the Premiership Clubs in striking distance asking for help and yes you have guessed it Saracens were the only club to respond with an offer of help.

This was all about the time that Saracens were about to take part in the Tetley Final and Jez our elder son and Christine went to Twickenham to see the game. After that win Christine was hooked and we decided to start following Saracens with a fortnightly drive down to Watford in season. We became South Stand season ticket holders and our love affair with Rugby and Saracens started.

Following the club from 1998 meant we have seen many highs and lows and often the drive home to Oxford was in silence as yet another first half performance was eclipsed by a second half of mediocrity. Big Star names were signed and managers came and went but somehow Saracens could not develop the consistency required to challenge for the ultimate prizes of silverware at the end of the season.

The one consistent factor during this period was the friendships we were making and to this day the real gain for us following Saracens is the friendships we have made over the years, We have been invited to weddings, we have seen families grow and through friendship made at Watford we were offered a 10 day visit to Beijing to visit a fellow season ticket holder who was working in China at the time. As in the circle of life we have also lost some dear friends on the journey.

After the night of the long knives Saracens under the guidance of Brendon and Ed started a major shift in culture at the club and we are reaping the rewards with a new home, consistent results and a plan for the future. Joining the SSA seemed a natural thing to do for us as we wanted to identify ourselves as full supporters of everything the club was trying to achieve both on and off the field of play.

Whether at home or away in the UK  or Europe when you are in the SSA you are with like minded people who share knowledge and experience with ticketing, travel and good hostelries to visit for a small libation or two! But more than that included in the membership fee you are also giving something back to the club, with the annual patronage of the Sports Foundation and the player sponsorship scheme. The annual pin badge is also worn with pride. We have been so impressed with the work of the Sports Foundation we became patrons in our own right with a regular monthly donation.

A rough calculation and its 400 + round journeys from Marcham of 75 miles each way since 1998. That’s about 65,000 + miles to watch just the home games and attend events. On top of this we attend most away games including those in Europe so watching Saracens has been a real adventure.

To summarise the rugby is important but above all it’s the friends we have made on the journey that make this club so special. May we all enjoy good health and be able to follow Saracens for many seasons to come.

 

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