When everything seems lost in a season there are two things you can do – you can accept defeat, gloomily will away the rest of the campaign and start planning your holidays or you can stand up, be counted as supporters and fight till the very end. The latter is what Jake Moore and a growing band of Cobblers fans have done brilliantly over the last few games as they look to invoke the spirit of the last time we were in this much perilous danger going into the final few games – the infamous 1992/93 season and Pat Gavin’s moment in the sun at Shrewsbury.
If you were at Liverpool Street station last weekend ahead of the game with Dagenham and Redbridge you know exactly what I’m talking about. Having gathered the troops through social media, Jake and his campaign team – named the #gavinitlarge movement – had managed to attract hoards of Town fans to the Wetherspoon’s pub just outside the station. Songs were sung, drinks were had and belief was instilled inside each and every one of us that this would be the day that we finally escaped the bottom two.
We have to backtrack a few weeks, though, for the origins of the idea. Jake, speaking three days before Saturday’s huge final day of the season against Oxford United, says:
“I’d had a few beers and had just seen Bury thump us 3-0. I’ve seen us in trouble before, but never this much trouble and I quite honestly thought that was it for us. I have a bit of an outreach on Twitter and I thought to myself “if the Libyans can overthrow Gaddaffi, then we can save the cobblers”. I mean – I’m not saying that gavin it large is exactly like the “arab spring uprising”, but it is similar. I mean it is spring and I’m 99% sure John Marquis would kill a man given half the chance.”
Despite a slow start, the campaign has now really kicked in and Dagenham was proof that a twelfth man can be created even before supporters arrive at the ground. Jake continues,
“Ian “Branty” Brant and Neil “Edgy” Edgerton both said to me “Jake, do you realise what you’ve done? You’ve made us look stupid, nobody will come. I hope when we go to Dagenham by ourselves dressed as Morris dancers (in tribute to Ian Morris) that an east end wide boy kicks your head in and kills you”. I said “lads, if we build it, they will come”. Admittedly we did look a bit stupid at Portsmouth, but Portsmouth fans always look a bit stupid – they live far too close to the sea, but at Dagenham the dream came alive and now Mr Cardoza has given me a roman thumbs up and allowed me back into the stadium after the “deadline day incident” the sky is the limit.”
There was even a surprise guest joining the fun for the Dagenham trip with Cobblers reporter Jefferson Lake getting right in the thick of things to capture the atmosphere of travelling with the ever loyal Town support.
“Jefferson Lake is an enigma, he constantly speaks in riddles, always wears a bowler hat and says “the sun shines bright in the west” even when it’s raining,” Jake says, “I asked him “Jeff are you having fun?” he looked into the middle distance and replied with a sigh “Lord Palmerstone will not be pleased with this harvest”. I naturally made my excuses and left him trying to buy an elephant from London Zoo (He’d lost his travel card). I’m glad he got involved as his public profile is huge, but I worry for him, he is a deeply troubled man.”
With all of the hype and importance surrounding the game, what happens on the pitch for what could be ninety nail biting minutes is the most important thing of all. Looking into his crystal ball, Jake thinks there could be an unlikely hero in the ranks. He says,
“I am predicting that we will need a Pat Gavin-esque moment and it will come from the big man, Ben Tozer.”
For anyone looking to get involved in the #gavinitlarge movement this Saturday, here’s the full itinerary of where and when the procession will be taking place:
Itinerary – 10am: Moon On The Square (it’s cheap in there)
11am: The Sevens (its reasonable in there)
12pm: Carr’s Bar to make a right old row and racket. Also everybody needs to bring a scarf.
You can follow Jake on Twitter at @snake_moore and read his blog containing updates and reports here: http://northamptontownimproudtobe.blogspot.co.uk/