Saracens disappointed by 'astonishing' boos

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths has blasted those supporters at Vicarage Road who booed their own side during yesterday's 19-16 victory over Gloucester.

Griffiths described the reaction to a tedious passage of kicking mid-way through the second half as "astonishing" as fans jeered and began a slow handclap.

Ironically, Saracens responded to the cat-calls by piecing together their best attack of the game and Schalk Brits scored the decisive try that maintained the only unbeaten record in the Guinness Premiership.

By their own admission, Saracens are not playing attractive rugby but they are top of the table for the first time in nine years after four straight wins.

Griffiths said: "We are not dibbling and dabbling this season. This squad of players, coaches, medical and support staff has come from all corners of the globe and assembled in north London with the clear aim of winning the Premiership, nothing more and nothing less. They have made an extraordinary start.

"Against this background, it was astonishing to hear a vocal minority of the Vicarage Road crowd booing the team during the second half against Gloucester.

"At a time when they were trailing by two points, at a time when they were straining every muscle to seize the victory, the players surely deserved unequivocal support.

"Of course, we can all talk about game plans and we can debate tactics. Make no mistake, everybody is entitled to their opinion.

"However, let's be clear - we want to turn the tide and build a winning culture at Saracens.

"This is a mighty challenge, but it is a challenge we can certainly meet if, as a united club, as players, coaches, staff and supporters, we can stand together and back each other, in good times and in tough times, together.

"When was the last time the Leicester Tigers were booed by any section of the crowd at Welford Road? Ever? When was the last time Manchester United were booed by even a small section of the crowd at Old Trafford? Ever? At winning clubs with a winning mentality, the home supporters simply do not boo the players. Ever.

"This is what we aspire to be - a winning club, nothing more and nothing less. Let's be positive, not negative."

Griffiths insisted the quality of rugby being produced was not to blame for the disappointing attendance of 7,777 as Saracens returned to Vicarage Road for the first time this season.

The club failed to enjoy the kind of kick-back they had expected after their first Wembley experiment a fortnight ago, when nearly 45,000 watched Saracens beat Northampton.

Saracens hope that using Wembley a handful of times through the season will boost attendances at Vicarage Road from an average of 7,000, which is economically unsustainable for the club.

"Rome wasn't built in a day and Watford wasn't built in a fortnight but a crowd of 7,777 was considerably less than we would have hoped for after Wembley," said Griffiths.

"On the field they have got four out of four. There was some frustration at the performance but Saracens are top of the table. There won't be many fans complaining about that.

"Off the field we are about two out of four at the moment. We will give everything here to get this place more full and with a better matchday atmosphere.

"We have put on a whole series of promotions. We have launched Sarries Town which is a whole place for supporters to gather before the game to improve the whole experience."