Sport

Saracens superfan: the fan experience at Allianz Park

It takes dedication to be a rugby superfan, something that our man on the pitch Jason Lane knows all about. We sent him to a packed stadium to see Saracens play Clermont so he could show us exactly why the Saracens’ fan experience is one of the best in the rugby business.

Jason Lane pitchside

Saturday’s match against Clermont had everything, most importantly the win and the bonus point. But the real win for me was getting to experience all the drama of seeing giants like Billy Vunipola – with his crash balls sucking in two or three players at a time – and Chris Ashton and David Strettle, with their pinpoint execution scoring two tries each, all surrounded by Saracens’ fans who are as passionate about experiencing live rugby as I am.

Jason Lane with MOM Charlie Hodgson Close Up

The man of the match could have been several but it was Charlie Hodgson who clinched the award with his experience and quick ball movement as well as his accurate kicking skills.

Being a rugby fan

The club I have supported all my life has grown beyond recognition since its origins in Marylebone in 1876. In the early 1990s, Saracens played on a pitch with one stand in Enfield and were watched by only a few hundred spectators; it’s a world away from our new state-of-the-art 10,000-seater Allianz Park stadium in Barnet.

Since the age of six I have played rugby and supported my beloved Saracens, 24 years later and I am still doing both, although maybe less of the playing nowadays. I can’t think of anything better than spending an afternoon watching Saracens at Allianz Park. It is, quite simply, a great day out on all fronts, from the value for money to entertainment ratio to the food and drink on offer, and you get the opportunity to watch world class athletes in one of the greatest sports on the planet.

Crowd Flag 3

As a player, I never quite made it to the highest level but I had a taste of what it takes at a young age. I went to summer camps in Hertfordshire and was trained by legends like Jason Leonard, Jeremy Guscott and Danny Grewcock, who showed me what was necessary to become a top player. I also played at county level with Ben Skirving, who went on to play for Saracens and Bath.

I have so much respect for professional rugby players; I know what it takes to get to where they are. Respect is vital in this game and throughout the rugby world you’ll find respect for the referees, other players, fans and the game itself prevails.

Charlie Hodgson Collecting the Ball

Match day experience

The match day experience with Saracens is one of the best in the game, whether it’s at Allianz Park, Wembley or Twickenham. This is where everyone comes to enjoy food and drinks – I recommend one of the pizzas from their onsite pizza oven – live music and the welcome parade that greets the arriving players. Saracens have taken inspiration from the Olympics when it comes to volunteers and have their own ‘Gamesmakers’ called Saracens Pioneers who are always so helpful and welcoming.

The entertainment is non-stop as well with everyone from famous singers and bands to opera singers, dancers and cheerleaders performing on the Wolf Pack Bar Bus to interviews with legendary players at half time; sometimes it feels more like Covent Garden that a rugby pitch. There are even half time prizes for lucky fans that range from free tickets and signed balls to £250,000 if you can hit the cross bar at Wembley in front of more than 83,000 fans.

Chalie Hodgson Kick

Saracens have fan forums at the Fez Club regularly, where they invite fans to come to a Q&A with the management, coaches and players. Once, they even invited Saracens supporters to a beer tasting evening to decide on the official Saracens’ Ale, and it’s things like this that make Saracens so welcoming that you practically feel part of the club.

So come down to a match day at Saracens, I guarantee you will have a great time at Allianz Park, Wembley, Twickenham or an away day in the Premiership or Europe.

For your own Saracens’ experience, find tickets to their next match here.

Header image: Action Images

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