“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
So Gary Johnson departed the shores of Northampton Town football club and a new era beckons. After a week of rumour and counter rumour in local and national media, we entered today’s matchday with the team in the hands of David Lee, Andy Holt and Tim Flowers. The odds on who is to be the new Northampton Town manager have been as unstable as a rocking horse. Colin Calderwood, Nicky Forster, Sean O’Driscoll, Eoin Jess, Marcus Law, Aidy Boothroyd, the list goes on, they’ve all been touted for the hot-seat. Fine names they all are too and anyone of them would probably do a decent job for the club. The decision falls on our chairman, David Cardoza, to compile a shortlist and make a selection from his chosen candidates. The best of luck goes out to him, he deserves a change of fortune for his investment and patience with the club so far. We will see.So matchdayarrives, and, I’ll be quite honest, to me it felt like the start of a new season, I couldn’t wait for the match to roll round. Surely with the possibility of the new manager watching from the stands the players would be looking to put in that extra bit of effort to impress, an opportunity for those that had been, and felt frozen out, to resurrect their season. I expected a few changes in the starting line up as Dave Lee would want to try to stake a claim for the permanent manager’s position, and would surely look to stamp his own identity on the team. All the ingredients were in place for a new dawn to start emerging over the Sixfield’s horizon.
So off to Sixfields I headed. Left a bit earlier today to allow for less parking, (fun fair in town and they take over the North Car Park which puts more demand on my usual location), and it was also Northampton Town’s family fun day with pre match entertainment and events culminating in an on pitch performance from Lucie Jones, (X Factor, 2009, eliminated in Week 5 in the year when the reality show was won by Joe McElderry, and was also contested by such illustrious names as Olly Murs, Stacey Solomon, Danyl Johnson and yes, Jedward! Hot year!).
I wasn’t expecting much and was pleasantly surprised to discover that this girl can hold a decent tune and belt out a few songs. She deserved a better stage than standing at pitch level in front of a football stand and may have benefitted from a more central position where she could sing to all and not just one side of the ground. (It’s generally only the linesmen we have a go at in the West Stand, on the whole we are polite to most people who are on our side of the ground. NTFC please take note).
So, entertainment over, it was on to the headlining act. Northampton Town, no manager, struggling for form v Shrewsbury Town, flying high in football league division two.
Former Cobbler, (who departed a few seasons ago for greener grass but has now returned on a short-term contract), Jason Crowe was given a warm welcome by the Sixfields crowd, as his name was announced over the tannoy for his first appearance back at Sixfields. The teams lined up and the game commenced.
I had hoped, (naively as it turns out), that our caretaking team, in an effort to freshen up the approach, would have offered chances to Paul Turnbull, Jake Robinson and Tadgh Purcell, to start a game, grab the opportunity and prove a point as they have been excluded from plans over the last few weeks / months. Alas they were assigned to bench-warming duties. The starting eleven, disappointingly showed no noticeable changes from previous weeks apart from those missing through suspension or injury and those returning from knocks.
Now, what happened next is a bit of a nightmare. Ok more than a bit of a nightmare it was horrendous.
I hope I never have to witness anything like it from a Northampton Town team in my life. We were pretty lifeless, struggling to string passes together and once again our defending was all over the place. By half-time we were losing 3-0 and I can’t remember their goalkeeper having to make a save. The team walked off to an almost stunned silence. We were gob-smacked. It was turning into the same old, same old.
To cap it all our team mascot, Clarence The Dragon put in a woeful performance in the half-time mascots race against a Lion, a Mouse and a Nando’s chicken!!! (Yes, he did finish last, despite getting off to a false start before the others!) It just about summed up our afternoon.
All was not lost it seemed as Cobblers pressed on at the outset of the second half. Ben Tozer crashed in a free kick from 20 yards and Sixfields erupted – well it was just a massive sigh of relief I think that we had given ourselves a glimmer of hope. And still we pressed on with Shrewsbury goalkeeper finally being employed to make saves from Davies, Niven and Berahino. Michael Jacobs fired inches over from another free kick and it seemed only a matter of time before we scored.
But we didn’t.
On 81 minutes, Shrewsbury scored a fourth. Another glimmer as Adebayo Akinfenwa curled in Cobbler’s second on 85 minutes. Another Cobblers goal now would set up a tense last few minutes. Forget it.
From 4-2 the score was suddenly 7-2, (Seven, Two. just thought I’d spell it out in case you thought my keyboard was playing tricks).
In twenty-five years of playing football, I can honestly say I have never been on the end of such a mauling and I have certainly never witnessed a team roll over and die like we seemed to in the last 5 minutes. I hope I never do again, it was embarrassing and shameful.
In his post match interview on BBC Radio Northampton, David Lee showed a side of a ‘manager’ that is rarely expressed to the media. He was defensive, non co-operative and almost rude to interviewer Geoff Doyle. There was no apology to the fans. It didn’t go down too well. (Northampton Town 2-7 Shrewsbury Town)
I listened to Michael Jacobs, who had been given the captains armband for the day, as he was interviewed and was impressed by his rhetoric. He admitted on a personal level that he was off his game, the team had performed badly and he apologised. I know it’s only words but at least he was brave enough and man enough to conduct himself in a very civil manner. Very wise head on young shoulders.
Terry Angus, summariser on BBC Radio and ex-Cobbler once again hit the money-note with a description of our defence – “Static Mannequins.” I’m not going to add anything else.
So what next for Northampton town. Well as I see it we need to get a new manager in extremely quickly. We are travelling to play Plymouth next week in a relegation 6 pointer. We need to have a team on the field with a plan, with some fight in a bid to win back some pride and start to restore confidence.
I know we suffered a heavy defeat but I also believe we cannot sink any lower. Like the majority of football fans I am an eternal optimist and was still believing at 4-2 down we could get back in it. You see you can’t go into anything not expecting to win, otherwise you stand no chance. As long as there is time left on a clock there is always a chance no matter how slim it may be.
I’ll also add that despite the shock of the result I don’t feel as bad as the loss to Hereford last season, when we admirably snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and surrendered a half-time 3-0 lead. I was in a state of shock for weeks and I’m still not sure how that happened.
As F. Scott Fitzgerald said at the start of today’s piece, “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”
We are not a lost cause, there is always hope. We need a new manager. We need to get back to basics. We need a defence that can defend.
There are still 28 games to go and plenty of points up for grabs.
Come On Cobblers…..Come On!
I am a season ticket holder at Northampton Town Football Club, English League Division 2 and currently riding the crest of a slump with a lowly (20th) position in the league and dumped out of all domestic cup competitions.
We currently have no manager as our recent incumbent, Gary Johnson, left the club on Monday 14th November, by “mutual consent.”
Not a lot to look forward to then, I hear you say!
Rubbish! I reply, (and I don’t refer to the team on the pitch at this stage), you see Northampton Town Football Club is part of me, it’s my hometown team and the blood that runs through my soul. I’m a proud Cobbler, (that’s our nickname for the uninitiated, gets better doesn’t it), and this is my journey.
Come along with me for the ride, it’s never smooth, often frustrating but if you share a passion then you’ll understand why. Mine just happens to be football and in particular Northampton Town.
- Johnson leaves Northampton post (news.bbc.co.uk)
cap it all we’ve been knocked out of the World’s most famous domestic cup competition, the FA Cup, by non-league Luton! We really have performed like a shower of shite.
Well what a reaction since the last home league game against Morecambe. There’s been the usual cries of “Sack the manager,” though this is very rarely the answer and often
creates more problems than it causes. We’ve been knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy by Huddersfield Town in a game that was a vast improvement of the Morecambe affair and we weren’t expecting much from it anyway. Our manager, Gary Johnson has had a few days off sick and was absent from our away trip to Southend. This again led the conspiracy theorists to debate the fact that he had probably resigned, been sacked, not phoned in sick, gone AWOL. The silence from the club over his “Illness” only added fuel to the fires burning around Northamptonshire, but illness is a personal thing and I for one would not like my own personal problems broadcast to the nation if I was off sick for a few days.
We struggled at Southend but rescued a point in a 2-2 draw, after Southend had scored arguably two goals of the season. Hard work paid off for the boys and a point was taken.
So that left another week for the rumours to spread and the doom mongers to flourish. It all gets a bit boring and not to say depressing, seeing your club’s own “supporters” continually sniping and seemingly revelling in our misfortune. Will they be the same people celebrating success when it eventually comes our way.
So match day arrives again at Sixfields, today’s opponents are Torquay United, currently riding high following early season successes in English League Division 2. It doesn’t augur well for the Cobbler’s as we are anchored 1 place above the relegation line. But it’s early days yet and hopefully the season will be turned on its head come May 2012 when the prizes are handed out.
I don’t know why I bother listening to BBC Radio Northampton on the way to the game – the doom mongers were broadcasting and by the time I arrived I felt totally depressed and nervous for the game. If we are to get any positive energy over to the players from the fans, this is not the best way to motivate the crowd. We know we haven’t been playing that well, we know it’s been a bit of a struggle to find some form but we need to approach every game individually and not keep carrying the baggage of despair with us. Come on lad’s lighten it up a bit and raise the mood!
The mood was brightened somewhat by the guard of honour provided by the Carlsberg Girls for the teams before kick off. They all looked so please to be there!! Rumour had it that Jedward were making an appearance at today’s game! Fortunately, I can report that they didn’t show – what are they trying to do to us!
Players were kitted out for pre-match warm up in “British Heart Foundation” T-shirts. (These would be a very apt sponsor for the Cobblers and the irony was not lost. I don’t know whether they were arranged by My Johnson during his “Illness.” Just wondering.
Anyway – much to the disappointment of a lot of the crowd none of the players tried to exchange shirts with the Carlsberg Girls – that would have raised a cheer!
The first forty-five minutes were not the most exciting ever witnessed at Sixfields with both sides desperate to give the ball away to the other. Chances at both ends continued to be missed. We still looked a bit shaky in the centre of defence but we held firm and managed to protect our net. On a bright sunny afternoon in Northampton, the floodlights shone in all their glory. We are obviously a rich club to be able to run the lights in daylight and it’s nice to see that the local council have allowed us to keep all four pylons fully lit and not turned off every 3 in 4 as they have done across the county!
Thought I was going to hit a crisis at half time when I found the fruit gum packet was empty. Normal service was restored when I realised they had fallen out in my pocket.
It’s strange sitting watching the games this season without my son at my side. He has now taken up residency in Greenwich and is living the “life” of a student. I decided to update him by text, hoping I wasn’t going to get him out of bed, only to get an immediate text reply saying that he was following the game on Cobblers Player – That’s my boy!!!
Texts also exchanged between Sixfields and Madejski Stadium, home of Reading FC where I find my brother drowning his half time sorrows with the fact that they are losing 1-0 to Watford. He reported that “Manset was playing well and the new left back looked useful. Apart from that the rest of them needed a Taser!” Good job he closed his Twitter account after his last adventure!!!!
Second half and Cobblers dominated the game. Bayo should have had a hat trick, (We must use goals that are two foot higher in training), Lewis Young missed one-on-one with keeper, Jacobs free kick beaten away by keeper, Tozer unlucky near end. We could have had a hatful!!
The game was being orchestrated by Arron Davies. (Personally I haven’t been impressed so far but I’m the first to acknowledge when someone puts in a shift). Second half he was first class. Unfortunately he tweaked a Hamstring with about 15 minutes to go and we seemed to lose a bit of momentum after he left the pitch. Keep it going Arron that was more like the player you are rumoured to be.
So the whistle finally blew on the afternoon’s entertainment with the Cobblers having to settle for a share of the points. I would imagine Torquay will be quite content to go away with a) a clean sheet and b) a point.
Very disappointed to hear boos at the end of the game and it would probably be better all round if those people chose not to turn up rather than have a go at a team that had performed well on the afternoon. As I’ve already mentioned in previous post, “Frustration, although painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.”
I don’t know whether we’ve turned a corner but what I do know is that the team worked hard this afternoon and were unlucky not to win. A bit more shooting practice required by all please and it’s only a matter of time before we wallop someone. (Crawley, (Hot favourites for promotion this season), got thrashed 6-0 at Morecambe this afternoon. Puts our result in perspective really. It may be that Morecambe are the team of the moment and our “Black” Saturday of a couple of weeks ago is not that bad after all.
Come On Cobblers…Come On!!
“I get a kick out of soccer” – author unknown
I don’t know why we do it. Suffer, and pay for the privilege. Suffer the tension of a recreation. Suffer the mood swings of a maniac. Suffer the ninety minutes
of torture, and then come back for some more. What is it with being a football fan. It can only be the promise that it will improve, it will get better, we will have that great undefeated run, we will get promotion.
I can proudly say, “I am a Cobbler, I get a kick out of Soccer.”
There I’ve said it. I don’t know whether this is like standing up at a meeting and admitting I have a problem…(hang on a minute, I think I may have a problem), but is quite cleansing to at least confess the root cause of my grief.
I’m back at Sixfields stadium, home of Northampton Town football club, English Football League Division Two, (The Cobblers), for the uninitiated. (I keep putting this bit in ’cause I’ve had a couple of readers in far-flung corners of the world and unless they are Northampton ex-pats, I think I’ve cracked the Asian market. Note to Gareth Wilsher and the commercial team, please prepare the kit for despatch we’ve a growing fan base in far off climes…No Gareth, I don’t need 500 small, 1 will suffice for now!).
Anyway back to the plot…..I pull off the ring road into the Sixfields complex at just after 2.00pm.
“Are you sure it’s not a 5.30 kick-off dad, there’s not many here!”
Well he’s right. For the first time in a very long time we take a place in the front row of the car-park normally filled by the early arrivers. Worrying. I expected a few more here by now. I know things haven’t been great, (Understatement), but even during the depths of last seasons tragic run I never made it onto the front row. Very Worrying. Never mind, there’s probably a traffic jam in Jimmy’s end that’ll explain it.
Nice to see the telly in the bar has still not been fixed. It’s getting to be a thing with me now. I’m fed up with squinting to see the TV in the far corner on a smaller screen due to the adopted Cobblers Wraparound, (Why?).
I didn’t get my 50:50 tickets before going in the bar….clearing up shower, (well deluge really), thought I’d get them before going in. 14.45 – I sent my “fit” son to run and get the 50:50’s. He’d been gone almost 5 minutes and returned with money in hand. Can’t find any on sale anywhere. Oh well, their loss I suppose. Take our seats for the afternoon entertainment.
|This is Northampton Town being friendly with the Morecambe players before the match….nice
This is the result of being friendly with Morecambe before the match
NORTHAMPTON TOWN 0 MORECAMBE 2 (Not Nice!!)
Come on lads.
Where’s the passion?
Where’s the pride?
Where’s the points?
Like a lot of other people I know the answer to question 3.
As for the other two, I am totally at a loss to even begin to double guess what is happening on the football pitch. We offered very little and apart from a defensive error and a ridiculous hand ball to enable Morecambe to score, they offered very little either.
I know they’re near the top of the league but we should have beaten them. We will play far better sides than Morecambe and win so why not today.
We seemed to be playing with a hangover. (I can speak from experience of what this feels like ’cause I’ve done it a few times on a Sunday morning. It’s not big and it ain’t clever). And neither was Town’s performance today.
I’m not going to offer any deep analysis on why, what or how but I will offer some of my own personal observations of the day.
Morecambe were clearly confused as to where they were and what dressing room to get changed in. They have gone to the trouble of having the word “Visitors” put across the back of their away kit, so if one of them get’s lost they can easily be pointed in the right direction! Cool.
The signs were not good from the start. Bolt of lightning. Clap of Thunder before kick-off, Jake Robinson a no-show for kick off. (Under the sick-bed?). (This is the second time this season we have lost a player during the warm up. Stop warming up).
The 50:50 winning number was 11511 – this also seemed to be the formation we played in the first half! Any coincidence? (I know there’s 2 player’s missing, there was in the first half!).
Hallelujah! The carrier bag made a welcome appearance early in the second half. His darting runs and swirling crosses were mesmerising until he was put out of the game by the Morecambe boss. In my opinion he should have been booked for a) stamping, and b) encroaching onto the field of play. Miserable git. I bet he’s fun on a windy afternoon in Morecambe!!
I understand we spent a good wedge on the new turf at Sixfields to enable us to play fast, attractive, exciting, passing football that the player’s are capable of and the crowd’s will love. (I must be missing something here!). Why do we continually lump the ball forward to our big man, who, invariably is penalised for a foul, and this afternoon is winning next to nothing in the air anyway. Morecambe, like other’s have sussed us out early and play big centre-halfs who have a cushy afternoon pinging the ball back with their heads. Try something different!
Long throw is not working. Try something different. It is getting very predictable and easy for the defence to pick off.
Rumour flew around that Gary Johnson, our manager, had resigned at half-time and had not shown for the second half. What a load of tosh! If anyone had bothered looking, he was sitting at the back of the bench. Not ideal as I like my leaders to stand and fight at the front. he obviously had his reasons but it reminded me of Sammo throwing his toy’s out of the pram at a home game last season and totally losing it with anyone who came near him – mostly officialdom.
Not great by any means…..not “the worst performance ever,” as described on BBC radio Northampton. (Bit over the top boys, it’s not a Hollywood Blockbuster your bigging up here, keep it real!).
Just to prove a point that even the Lord Almighty was upset with the afternoon’s offering, He decided to relieve himself on the walking masses on the way back to the car!! This is the first time I have been soaked through to my vest and pants since I was about eleven!! (No it’s not the same vest, and I’ll change my pants when we win!!).
A thoroughly miserable afternoon but “I get a kick out of soccer!!”
See you Tuesday for the Huddersfield Town match in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, (WTF!!).
Come On Cobblers……Come On!
“The underdog often starts the fight, and occasionally the upper dog deserves to win.” – Edgar Watson Howe (novelist)
Wolverhampton Wanderers, (Wolves), (English Football Premier League), (tonight’s Upper Dog). Hardly a fair competition on paper but this is football, two teams, 1 ball, 90 minutes. (Well 90 minutes if scores are level after 90 minutes, otherwise another 30 minutes and potentially a penalty shoot-out if the scores are still level after the extra 30 minutes). At this rate we might not get home till midnight!
Half time and the Cobblers trail, but we have played with great style at times and done ourselves proud. (Half time joke – “Colonel Gaddafi has been spotted going to Eastlands for a medical – well everyone else has so why not”). (Made me smile). (It don’t take much).
“Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.” – Bo Bennett
At long last the new Cobbler’s kits have arrived in the shop. Three league games into the new season and the adoring Cobbler’s faithful are given the opportunity to acquire the “Uniform.” (Well, actually that’s not quite correct, as there’s already been one delivery before the start of the season but by the time enough had been put aside for the team to wear, I think they were left with about fifteen away shirts!).
I’m at Sixfields for my first home league game of the season against Cheltenham Town, (I missed the first one due to other engagement), and it is with expectation in my heart that I look forward to today’s foray into league two action.
The mighty Cobblers have had a few games already this season. We kicked off with an appetising opener at home against Accrington Stanley. (I looked up Accrington to see what it’s famous and in no particular order this is what is listed: Accrington Bricks, The big mouth bird out of Corrie, Bumble, Ewbank Cleaners, Cobbled Streets, Back To Back houses, The Warriors (Pop group from the 60’s), Smog, Holland’s Pies and Stanley!!), (There’s a list of others but it’s not the Accrington Tourist board blog), oh and it’s near Blackburn if anyone wants to go there.
As it happens we ended up with a 0-0 draw, not a great start to the season but at least we didn’t lose.
The Cobblers‘ love affair with the Carling Cup last year was well documented and this year we kicked off with a visit to Portman Road, home of championship team Ipswich Town. Not a lot expected of the Cobblers as Ipswich had kicked off with an impressive away win the previous Saturday and it was with nothing to lose that our intrepid heroes took to the pitch. It didn’t start well, with only 11 minutes on the clock, Cobblers were trailing 1-0 to a fluke cross come shot that sailed into the net. However the Cobbler’s showed tremendous spirit and with Ben Tozer pulling us level before half-time and Paul Turnbull getting on the end of one inside the six yard box, Northampton Town, after defending resolutely for the last ten minutes ran out worthy 2-1 victors.
Another away league game at Aldershot, saw the Cobblers’ score in the first minute and then hold out for the rest of the game to steal a victory at Aldershot Town.
Games come thick and fast at the start of an English football league season and three days later we’re away again to take on Bristol Rovers, expected to be a force to be reckoned with this season following their relegation form League 1.
Well, in the words of Gary Johnson, (Cobblers’ manager for the uninitiated), for the first forty-five minutes we were “Mullered”. (That doesn’t mean we were covered in yogurt and rice and chilled in the fridge, it means taken literally – (definitions from the Urban dictionary – take your pick!);
1. Broken, smashed or beaten up to the point of being visibly altered, unusable or non-functional.
2. Intoxicated with drink or drugs to the point of non-sensibility.
3. Resoundingly beaten in a competition of some kind.
(I like 2!)
We improved slightly in the second half but came away with a 2-1 defeat. Played 3, won 1, drew 1, lost 1.
What else has been happening whilst this football season has been warming up, well I have been participating in Beata testing a new website for football fans called Bantr.tv a site for football fans across the world to enjoy some Banter during live football matches. It’s easy to get into and can liven up the watching of a TV game, especially the 0-0 draws. It comes alive when you are a neutral fan watching a big game as there are more people to interact with and some of the throw away quips are highly amusing. (Call me an ageing saddo if you like, but each to their own and this site will grow in popularity as more features are added), I’ve enjoyed it and will continue to support during the season.
Well back to the Cobblers, and today in particular. I ventured into the club shop to purchase my shirt, (home version, Claret and White, away version Yellow and Claret. I don’t look great in claret and white and I certainly don’t look good in yellow), so home it is. I can report that male vanity is alive and well in Northampton. I stood behind a group of middle-aged males carefully selecting new shirts, amused by the way that we males obviously see ourselves as our six packs expand to full blow Party Seven’s! “I like it loose but not that loose” says one referring to a 3XL, “I’m more of a medium than a large, but if it’s to tight it shows my shape off too much” (much laughter in shop). I think they opted for a Large. They’re in for a shock when they try it on as they were all more rotund than myself – a comforting and manageable 3XL – which I find fit’s perfectly, (a-hem, cough), and can accommodate the winter requirement of vest, t-shirt and fleece, (Michelin man!)
Nice to see that one of the TV’s in bar was broadcasting in 80’s indoor-aerial-facing-the-wrong-way-mode! (Sky’s 3D, HD technology has a lot of catching up to do). The snowy screen brought us the premier league action between Arsenal and Liverpool but I couldn’t tell what was happening as it was snowing in North London!!!
So the game itself. Well it’s easy to blame the referee and linesmen for spoiling a game, but we do seem to get more than our fair share of inept officials at our games. A whistle happy ref, a non participating official and a fourth official that took umbrage to our manager standing in his own technical area! Priceless.
Cheltenham took the lead with a penalty. Cobblers drew level before half time with an Arron Davies tap in. Cobblers took the lead with a Bayo power header, (Bayo, Bayo, Bayo!), Cheltenham drew level catching us on the break. Cheltenham took the lead through a Cobblers old boy. Cheltenham won 3-2. A game we should have won, we lost.
Bright spot of the day – Lewis Young, (brother of Ashley), man of the match performance. Boundless energy all afternoon. Exciting pace to get past defenders and was able to cover both ends of the pitch regularly in defending his flank. More please
I personally though Nana had a good game – he continually finds acres of space on the flanks with intelligent running only to be ignored more often than not by his team mates. We’re not a one man team, (Michael Jacobs), and need to explore more angles if we are to move forward quickly.
I thought we looked unbalanced with John Johnson reverting to right back and Nana on the left, personally, would have played Corker, (If he’s the only specialist left back, get another one, but until then play players in the right position and keep the shape).
I know Arron Davies scored, and I believe he’s better than average at this level, but he seems to get lost to easily in the midfield battles. Time will tell.
It’s early days yet but we should be performing better than we are. I know it’s only football frustration but that don’t make it any easier. I’ll keep believing that although it may be painful at times, it is a positive and essential part of success – roll on success cause this team at the moment is frustrating the hell out of me and plenty of others!
Come on Cobblers….Come On!!!!