A milestone was passed this week as Ian Sampson crawled through into his eighteenth year with Northampton Town Football Club, an association that has seen the popular ex defender rise from reliable head to young manager in a period that will span three decades should he remain in place until the New Year.
No mean feat then for a humble northern lad plucked from Sunderland in 1994 after just 21 appearances. Who knew then that the relationship between the Cobblers and Sammo would last another seventeen years and see him eventually end up as the main man at the top as first team manager.
449 appearances sets himself aside in itself and the fact that he’s survived a couple of scares managerial wise over the last couple of months, namely a five game winless streak, shows the regard that he’s held in at the club both in the knowledgeable board room and on the terraces where Cobblers fans have given him a lot more patience than they would have if pretty much anyone else was in charge.
But after looking back on his tenure with the club you have to admit that Sammo has earned every minute of patience granted to him over the last few months. Personally I have so much time for Sammo that my judgement can be clouded a little when folk on internet forums attack him but after trudging through the nineties and early “naughties” with Sammo in the back four as I travelled the width and length of the country I think that’s ok.
What has set Sammo aside is that he’s not a superstar, he never was. He never sought the spotlight or demanded a bigger wage packet (to my knowledge anyway) and all he wanted to do was give 100% for Northampton Town, something that he’s still doing now whether you believe him to be the right man for the job or not.
Quite simply, Ian Sampson for me is Mr Northampton Town of the present times and if this blog can do one thing with this article I hope it gives younger readers some idea of the regard held by Town fans of Sammo’s playing days.
The Cure once said “Seventeen Seconds, A Measure of Life.” What that makes Seventeen Years is something beyond contemplation in this day and age of football disloyalty and greed. Here’s to Sammo’s legacy continuing long and hard towards twenty years. No-one deserves it more.