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Barwell to step down

Northampton chairman Keith Barwell is to step down from his post in September when he will be replaced by his son, Leon.

Barwell has been a central figure at Saints for the past 20 years with his initial million-pound investment in 1995 ensuring the club's successful transition to professionalism.

The Heineken Cup, European Challenge Cup and LV= Cup have been won during his time as chairman and he has also presided over the rebuilding of Franklin's Gardens.

Since 2001, Northampton Saints plc has run at a surplus, the only club in England to do so.

"I have had the fortune of being involved in club rugby during a very exciting time and it has been an honour being chairman of the Saints," said Barwell.

"I believe that it is the right time for me to be stepping aside as chairman.

"The club is on an upward trend on and off the field and will be in safe hands."

Barwell will continue on the club's board of directors for a further 12 months, with the Barwell family remaining as majority shareholders.

Leon Barwell will take over as chairman following a unanimous vote of the board in early March.

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