The worst fears have been confirmed and I guess pretty aptly the Cobblers finish 2011 and begin 2012 at the very bottom of the Football League. Despite an improvement of all aspects performance wise over the last few weeks as Aidy Boothroyd stamps his mark on the squad the results have still been on the negative side to push us to the foot of the table.
It’s a perilous place to begin a New Year with absolutely no luck seeming to come our way and another late goal conceded yesterday was coupled with the fact that visitors Swindon had earlier been reduced to ten men. Michael Jacobs could well have scored the final goal of his Cobblers career after slotting in a first half penalty to give us the lead against the promotion chasing Robins but Alan Connell levelled things mid-way through the second half.
Oliver Risser was given his marching orders for a challenge on John Johnson, sent off himself on Boxing Day, but Paulo Di Canio’s men wrapped up victory with an Alan McCormack strike that sent the Swindon manager into delirium as he ran all the way to the South Stand to celebrate. Whatever situation you’re in and however much emotion takes over there’s simply no excuse for that sort of conduct as far as I’m concerned. Di Canio showed no class and a complete lack of respect for the home support and players who were absolutely sunk by another dramatic defeat.
We’ve been through one hell of a year and when it’s capped off in this manner with such a late defeat the last thing we need is it being rubbed in our faces by the opposition number. Apparently he’s apologised to Aidy Boothroyd but he needs to do the same to the supporters of our club who he’s royally upset.
The aftermath, in which the realisation set in that we were bottom following Plymouth’s draw, was one of desperation. We know that there’s months to play – half the season in fact – but it’s going to take a monumental effort on and off the pitch to ensure ourselves of league status for next season. The Gary Johnson debacle needs to be sorted and while I trust wholeheartedly in Boothroyd to gets us out of it I can’t help but be overwhelmingly nervous about the months to come.
2012 begins with a transfer window which is a good start and I expect a lot of activity coming up. Ben Harding has already signed up loan from League One Wycombe Wanderers until the end of the season and there’s likely to be at least one more in tomorrow.
It’s a hell of a time to be visiting Shrewsbury Town tomorrow afternoon – the side that hammered us 7-2 in November – but we must stick behind the squad, new and old, to recover our proud club together.
A Happy New Year to you all!
***Since writing this blog, the Cobblers have signed Sunderland left back, yes LEFT BACK (at long last!), Blair Adams on a month’s loan ahead of the Shrewsbury game.
Described as an attacking defender, Adams has made his way through the ranks at Sunderland and has been close to breaking through so hopefully it’s another good spot from Mr Boothroyd.
Meanwhile, Boothroyd boarded the supporters’s coach this morning to thank fans for their support and to wish them a Happy New Year. Great stuff from the boss! ***