Sky Bet League Two Preview: Northampton Town

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Tue 03 Jul 2018

History 

The club was founded in 1897 after meetings between the town's schoolteachers and local solicitor A.J. Darnell led to the development of a local football team.

The club's main traditional rivals are Peterborough United, a rivalry which began back in the 1960s. Other rivals include Oxford United, Milton Keynes Dons, Rushden & Diamonds and Cambridge United

The shirt colours are claret and white and they have played their home fixtures at the Sixfields Stadium with a 7,798 capacity. The club nickname is "The Cobblers", a reference to the town's historical shoe-making industry. 

The club's initial period after the first world war saw their debut season end with Town conceding a club record 103 goals. The club after their disastrous season were still accepted to join the Football League.

The Cobblers seemed to be on the rise after Northampton were promoted three times in the five years between 1960 to 1965. By 1966 the club had finally reached the first division. However, they were then relegated back to the Fourth Division over the next five years, playing in the bottom tier once again in 1969–70.

For the first time since becoming a league side the club had to apply for re-election in 1971, they finished the most favoured club with 49 votes proving an historic moment for the club. The 1975–76 season saw Town finish 2nd in Division Four earning promotion behind champions Lincoln City.

The Cobblers incredibly achieved promotion without losing a home game and having every regular player scored during the season, including the goalkeeper, Alan Starling, who netted from a penalty in the penultimate home game against Hartlepool United. The following season would sour the achievement of the previous year the 1976–77 season saw Town relegated back to Division Four.

A difficult return to the Fourth Division for the first half of the decade frustrated the club's high ambitions to climb the Football League ladder once again. In 1984–85, the lowest ever league attendance was recorded at the County Ground where only 942 people turn up to watch the Cobblers lose 2–0 at home to Chester City - the only ever league attendance under 1,000.

The 1990s began badly, with the club relegated to the Fourth Division at the end of the 1989–90 season. The following season began well as the club looked on course to return to the Third Division at the first attempt. They were top of the table in February, but fell away and finished mid-table. 

The darkest day in Town's history saw the club go into administration in April 1992, with debts of around £1.6 million. However, this did lead to the formation of the Northampton Town Supporters' trust, which has a shareholding in the club and a representative on the board of directors. Amazingly this was the first such instance of a supporters' trust taking over a football club.

Northampton Town started a new era when they moved to Sixfields Stadium and there was a capacity crowd on 15 October 1994. 

The club's real first change of fortune occurred when the 1996–97 season saw the Cobblers go to Wembley for the first time in 100 years, where they beat Swansea City 1–0 in the play-off final in front of 46,804 of whom 32,000 were Northampton supporters. 

Arguably one of the great upsets of modern football saw Town progress from the third round of the 2010–11 Football League Cup, knocking out Liverpool at Anfield. The game was drawn 2–2 after extra time and the Cobblers beat the team that were 69 positions above them 4–2 on penalties.

The Cobblers most successful season in recent years saw them promoted to League One in 2016 after Town dominated League Two finishing champions with a points tally of 99.

Last Season 

The 2017/18 season was sadly not a successful one for the Cobblers as the club were relegated from League Two after finsihing 22nd in the table.

Town were five points adrift from safety after winning only 12 of their 46 league fixtures. Defensive issues were a thorn in the club's side as Northampton boasted the worse defensive record in the division conceding 77 goals and having a goal difference of -34.

A successive three-wins on the bounce gave supporters hope in January that the club had the tools to potentially survive the drop. However, those impressive wins were followed by only one win in the club's next fourteen league games. 

The Cobblers, going by their managerial record last season were unsuprisingly seemingly destined for the drop as the club went though three managers in just nine months. Justin Edinburgh took the reigns for Northampton back in January 2017, however, he was dismissed only six months later, following a poor run of results including losing the first four matches of the season.

Jimmy Flloyd Hasslebank was the man to steady the ship in League Two following Edinburgh's sacking. After a successful spell with Burton Albion, Hasslebacnk seemed a sensible appointment for the job. The 46-year-old's time in Northampton saw him dismissed in April 2018 after a loss to Peterborough United made it nine games without a win and had the Cobblers in the relegation zone with five games remaining of the 2017–18 season.

Dean Austin was appointed caretaker boss after Hasslebank and attempted to save the club from an inevitable relegation. The former Watford assistant manager did however, win two of his five matches - losing only two - but it was not enough to save Northampton from the drop.

The club named the 48-year-old manager their permanent boss in May as the Cobblers look to secure an instant return to League One, where they will feel they belong. 

Ash Taylor won the club's prestigious player of the year award after featuring 52 times for Austin's side after his move from Aberdeen in 2017. The 27-year-old scored seven times for the Cobblers despite being a centre-back and has a contract at the Sixfields Stadium until 2020. 

Head-to-Head 

Macclesfield Wins: 5

Games Drawn:

Northampton Wins: 9

How to get there

By Car: Leave the M1 at Junction 15A and take the A43 towards Northampton and you will come to the ground on your right. Leave the M1 at Junction 16 and take the A45 towards Northampton and you will come to the ground on your right. Sixfields stadium is well signposted around the area.

By Train: Northampton Railway Station is over two miles from the PTS Academy Stadium, so it is probably best to hire a taxi. To find the taxi tank then when you go through the ticket barriers keep to the left and go down the steps in front of Starbucks (there is also a lift if needed) to the ground floor go out of the doors. The taxi rank is across the road.

NN5 5QA 

 

 

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