Hi and thanks for talking to us: first of all, how did you get into supporting Northampton?
Hi! Well like most fans of Northampton I image, I was born and bred in the town. Not many people in my family were interest in football, at least not in the lower leagues but as I grew older then I started going to more games. I didn’t enjoy Premier League matches or the modern day football attitudes of so called bigger clubs and I fell in love with Northampton Town FC all over again.
Well if I remember, at the time then Plymouth were near the wrong end of the table around the time as were we. We had recently brought Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in and after a bright start there was some more problems. I think the fans really thought this was a game that we had to win to show that we didn’t deserve to be around the bottom of the league and when we did lose, I remember very clearly that this was the point the majority of supports knew it was going to be a long season even with Jimmy at the helm.
I think what Plymouth have gone on to do since then though is incredible.
With Dean Austin only taking his 3rd game in charge, there is no predicting how we should set up. I’ve watched probably half a dozen different formations over the season. We’ve won and lost games with all of them and I’m pretty sure every fan has a different team they would like to see out there. The only lesson I think we can l learn is perhaps in seasons to come, look at what Plymouth did after that result and how a bad start to the season can be turned around!
Where do I start..? Personally, I think consistency has been the main issue. Justin Edinburgh lost his job at the beginning of the season for various reasons but there was a lot of tinkering and formational changes as well as a stint with 3 at the back which ultimately cost him his job after a drubbing at home to our local rivals, Peterborough. Most the players who started or made debuts in the first game of the season away at Shrewsbury, aren’t even at the club anymore. Then with Jimmy, the football improved and there was a slight improvement in front of goal but again, the results started to worsen. Perhaps due to an odd squad that he inherited. He signed a lot of players (11 I beleive..?) in January but I felt he was panicking with his team selections. We would lose a few on the bounce with different formations and players in each game and once a game produced a positive result, we’d ride that team selection for a few weeks before it failed again and then start all over. I’d love to see someone come in with a philosophy and a belief in how they want the team to play. It may fail sometimes but give it long enough and it might work. The tinkering and rather odd attacks on the fans in the press then cost Jimmy his job too and left Dean Austin with a near impossible task.
There’s been a few actually. It’s a weird season as at one point, our squad was actually very talented with a lot of very good individuals at this level. They’ve all had their moments and games but consistency and teamwork has been lacking. My player of the season is Ash Taylor. He took over the captaincy this season, his first season at the club, and has looked the only defender capable of saving this club at times. As well as that, he’s chipped in with some vital goals including a brace (as a CB!) and the later winner last week. Shaun McWilliams also getting some first team action this season and a real exciting prospect as a local lad and academy graduate.
You’re right, as I said before there is a lot of individual talent in the squad. Our main strength would be probably be strength itself. John Joe O’Toole, our talisman and fan favourite, is a monster in the air and very physical player. We do have a lot of players capable of putting their body around the pitch should they so desire as well as some aerial ability. This has not been utilised much through the season and O’Toole has largely been injured or suspended. Fun stat, our win ratio is 8% when he doesn’t play!
Weakness would have to be pace and genuine width. Even with the loan signings of Pereira and Aryibi, they regularly were asked to play centrally and now have left the club. We’ve lacked pace and direct flair all season and it’s cost.
It’s too early to say for Dean Austin, let’s see if he pulls off mission impossible and keeps the club up!
I think JFH probably got more time or respect as a well known ex-player but there’s not much to separate the two managers in their results whilst at the club. We probably played better football at our peak with Jimmy but he was so infuriating at other times so I can’t pick between Jimmy and Justin Edinburgh.
Ask me after the Plymouth game!
Every chance from what I’ve seen and you’ve got the games in hand. Again, I think this is a question for after the game!
Cobblers have been poor at home all season but new manager and a big week of the players rallying the fans that we can pull off a miracle has awoken the football romantic in me. I’m going 2-1 to Northampton!