“2011 has seen the Cobblers go through six management teams, pick up just nine league victories from forty eight games and face the possibility of going into the New Year in the relegation zone or even bottom of the entire Football League. We’ve also conceded the most goals of any of the top four divisions in the country” (Aloadofcobblers blog, December 2011)
As you prepare to settle down for your Christmas dinners today I hope that all is well in your world. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, the chances are that reading this you are a supporter of Northampton Town. If you are, then welcome to my Christmas message of 2012, if not then we just need to become better friends. Hello and Merry Christmas to you all!
I thought I would send out my random thoughts on all things Cobblers in my Christmas message. If the Queen can do it (don’t ask about my views on monarchy, that’s for another time!) then I can certainly spare some time in this festive period.
Above is an extract from a similar blog I wrote a year ago. It followed a poor start to Aidy Boothroyd’s reign as Cobblers boss that created heightened panic after a 3-2 defeat to Burton at home on Boxing Day. A year late and we’re not only winning games but looking at an outside chance of exiting League Two at the right end.
2012 has been a year of transition for Northampton Town. Boothroyd’s promises that things would get worse before they got better were true but when it did get better it was just in time to save us from the dreaded drop. Sixfields has become the home that we so needed it to be. Teams are beginning to come here with fear again and some have tried to shut up shop early on, showing a change in attitude from where visiting teams were twelve months ago.
Young players have come to the fore with the FA Cup First Round Replay at Bradford highlighting some of the terrific prospects that we have on the books. Lewis Hornby has gone from strength to strength to become a staple of the starting eleven and leading many to compare him with Michael Jacobs who is now flourishing at Derby County.
Goals are also readily available. Alex Nicholls was a surprise hit after signing from Walsall in the summer and setting the bar high in the leading scorer’s charts. His nightmare injury was awful timing but the incident and the gutsy win against Port Vale highlighted a new attitude in the squad. Bayo has picked up the mantle and has once again proved beyond any doubt that he needs to stay at Sixfields. It makes any slight rumour of his departure send panic waves through anyone with a Cobblers persuasion. A new deal needs to be sorted as soon as possible for a man who is becoming more than just a Northampton player and more a brand name and a reason to come to Sixfields. 2012 was the beginning of the #beastmode movement and there’s plenty more to come.
Looking ahead to 2013, we have a good enough squad to compete in the top half of League Two. The problems will lie when injuries hit but even when we went through a shocking run of absences we’ve been able to deal with it well with young and hungry players chomping at the bit to come in and do a job. It’s easy to forget that the likes of John Johnson, David Artell and Luke Guttridge are still to come back into the squad in the New Year. Maybe we’ll even see Nana again!
So there’s plenty to bring us cheer this Christmas time with a positive outlook on the horizon. If you’re celebrating Christmas or doing something completely different, I hope this message finds you in good spirits. There’s a lot of bad news in the world at the moment and this blog has never meant to be ignorant of any of it but instead provide something mildly entertaining for football fans to read on their rounds of the blogs. Football can provide an escape for many people for a variety of reasons and I’ve enjoyed coming through another year of writing about my beloved team.
My final message, then, is to thank you – yes, you there- for sticking with me during 2012 and making me feel like it’s all worthwhile. I’ll be back after the Gillingham game with a roundup of the two post-Christmas games but for now I wish you all the happiest of times over Christmas and beyond.