A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO, LUCY WRAY
DEAR SARRIES FAMILY,
I am sitting in the car on the way back from Twickenham as I write this. It is very hard to put down in words all the things I would like to say to our Sarries family. It was so nearly the fairy tale ending we all wanted but trust me when I say that we have an incredibly special group with phenomenally special people who firmly believe that this is just the start of the next decade of memories. Until today, we had not lost a men’s final in quite a long time and you forget how awful it feels. But it also motivates you massively to go again. Look at our brilliant women’s rugby team who lost in the final 12 months ago and came back this season to win it in such emphatic style. Or as Rudyard Kipling put it: “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same;”. We have a remarkable group of players and I hope they, and their families, know how proud they make us every day.
From a men’s perspective, over 2,000 minutes played in the Premiership this season and it comes down to 3 points in the last two minutes. That does not define a season. Or in the words of our main club partner City Index: “We simply couldn’t be prouder of Saracens for giving it their all today. And knowing this team of winners, the rebuilding and preparation for next season starts now. It’s been an epic season with so many memorable moments and we couldn’t be more honoured to have been with you all the way.” Well… we couldn’t be more proud to call City Index and StoneX our partners because they took a chance on us and their backing is a massive reason why we are where we are today. Thank you.
I couldn’t not say a few words on Mark McCall. A brilliant rugby mind with an eagle eye for detail. He avoids the limelight but he is the driving force behind the Men’s team performance. Yet his biggest strength is away from the rugby field. He cares deeply about all the players and staff, taking a real interest in their lives. He empowers the people around him and helps them fulfil their potential as players, coaches or staff. I have learnt a huge amount from him. He once said to me: “Every day I come to work and think about how I make this the best possible place for my players and staff to be. I do this every day.” A quiet man with a big heart who would always have your back. We are so lucky to have you and your family Mark. Thank you.
We have come a long way in two years. You can never do things on your own and a lot of people massively stood up. A special mention to Philip Morrow whom I could not have done without being by my side. I do believe that our relationships are now so powerful because of what we have been through together. I have learnt so much over the past 24 months and in many ways I wouldn’t change it because I do genuinely believe that we are so much stronger than ever before because of this shared experience and having to come together like never before.
Back to our women’s team for a moment. Four successive Premier 15’s finals and three times champions! But again this is just the start of the journey and an even bigger legacy to build. I watched the final at Worcester and felt so proud of how they showed up and played in the Saracens way. Ruthless defence, immense resilience, moments of brilliance and they did it together. That day, I also felt that both teams were all part of something very special, a massive turning point for the women’s game where people sat up and noticed. Incredible role models for a future generation and they are paving the way for a seismic shift in the journey towards professionalism. Alex Austerberry, Juan Figallo and all the coaching and support team deserve huge credit for enabling the team to play their best rugby at the business end of the season.
Our Saracens Mavericks netball team had a season of ups and downs with some narrow losses which cost us the top four finish and a place in the play offs. There have been some changes for next season with Tamsin Greenway coming in as our Head of Strategic Performance and Camilla Buchanan stepping up to Head Coach. When Saracens decide to do something we commit 100% and want to give it everything. Our desire for the Mavericks to become standard setters is absolute. Everyone knows the hard work required and the togetherness that is fundamental. I would also like to say a special thank you to Kat Ratnapala who introduced us to the Mavs and has been so instrumental in their development.
Off the pitch our stadium team have put in a gold medal performance. A major building project in the current economic environment is far from easy but they delivered the new West Stand on time and on budget. Deborah Vivanti-Gough, Alex MacIntyre, Lauren Hewitt, Sam Dowd and Aaron Lee THANK YOU for the astronomical number of hours you have all put in to create something truly beautiful. Whatever a certain prop from West London might say to grab a headline… StoneX Stadium is one of the most stunning locations surrounded by a beautiful ecological environment, green space and accessible to our community.
The atmosphere at the semi final against Harlequins gave me goosebumps. Our fans are “simply the best” and in my heart will always be number 1. You have had to endure a lot and you have held your heads high, remained graceful and never wavered in your loyalty to this club. I promise next season will be another epic adventure and we need you! I know it has been a lengthy process changing to TicketMaster but we are confident that this will result in a much better and easier experience for you all. Spread the word and let’s see our Sarries Family grow and grow.
A further off the field mention is to the entire head office team who worked so hard and with so much pride to pull off a hugely successful first visit to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in Showdown 2. Again, it made me beam with pride to see colleagues pulling in one direction to deliver a truly special experience for everyone. A special thank you to Herman Beetge who has one of the biggest hearts and cares so deeply.
From a wider group perspective our events team from PTP and our stadium events team have bounced back brilliantly from two extremely tough years for live events. At StoneX Stadium and at other venues in London, the team have delivered some memorable experiences and put smiles on many faces. Our community team have deepened relationships throughout North London, Hertfordshire and beyond resulting in many new young Sarries fans. And to a team that sometimes gets forgotten but without whom I could not do my job, a big thank you to our finance department who support the entire group to a very high level.
We published our Social & Economic Impact Study in partnership with EY earlier this year. Our social return on investment is £6.60 (for every £1 we invest there is a £6.60 return) and the average for a sports organisation is £3.28. We are determined to increase this further and I cannot say enough about our Foundation, which invests three times more into community programming than the average of all other Premiership clubs, and plays a critical role in our community and beyond. Thank you to Vic Luck, Gordon Banks and Kieran Crombie for all your hard work with EY to provide us with an independent and invaluable benchmark.
Our vision is: “Putting people first and enriching people’s lives through sport and entertainment.” This drives us every day to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Or in the words of the far more eloquent Nelson Mandela: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others.”
We have an even bigger legacy to build now. We have a wonderful opportunity to create our own history! We don’t want to just rebound, we want to rise even higher.
I often get asked what makes Sarries unique as a club? Caring for each other like we’re family. Those people, in turn, care so deeply about the organisation and our collective ambition that there is a genuine belief that together we can achieve anything we put our minds to. Seeing the best in each other, allowing people to be themselves and feel safe, secure and happy. Saracens is not a place nor a person, it is a collective spirit and energy that binds people, through shared experiences and memories. In many ways, I have the best job in the world because I get to work with phenomenal people who I call friends and for an organisation that I feel so proud to be part of.
A final thank you to our Chair Neil Golding who well and truly has Saracens under his skin and is such a good man.
On behalf of myself and the board, thank you Sarries family. Our story has plenty more chapters and we look forward to sharing every moment with you. We go again – the hard work starts now!