Franklin’s Gardens, the home of the Northampton Saints English Premiership rugby union club, has announced that it will open its own ‘Tunnel Club’ at the start of the 2019-20 season.

The Tunnel Club will give supporters unrivalled behind-the-scenes access whilst experiencing what the club describes as “first-class hospitality”, seemingly replicating the experience of the established Tunnel Club at English Premier League football club Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

Northampton claims it will be the first rugby club in the world to offer this type of hospitality experience, with the suite located within the existing Church’s stand at pitch level beside the players’ changing rooms and offering unparalleled views of the tunnel – so supporters can get closer than ever before to the action pre- and post-match.

The suite has been devised by interior design company WISH London and will provide room for up to 14 guests, who will enjoy a three-course meal as well as a half- and full-time grazing menu supplied by the players’ chef.

Within the suite, the Saints’ director of rugby, Chris Boyd, will also deliver a pre-match talk, with guests able to watch the game from seats directly behind the players’ dugout. They will also have the chance to meet a player straight off the pitch at full time and will be given a full view of the pre- and post-match media interviews.

“The Tunnel Club will change the way supporters can experience rugby and hospitality forever; allowing them to go behind-the-scenes at Franklin’s Gardens while also experiencing exceptional hospitality in the Church’s stand,” the club’s head of sales, Ed Turnham, said.

“We look forward to welcoming both existing and new supporters next season.”