Northampton Town Podcast Cobblers 0-3 Blackpool – It’s all over for Northampton Town as they are relegated back to League Two after just one season.
The Fat Lady Sings
So that’s it. Northampton Town’s latest spell in League One is over. In truth it’s been one of the worst season’s in living memory. We’ve all had to watch it on iPads and laptops, which some might see as a bonus. But as fans we’ve been disconnected from the football despite the best efforts of the Community Trust. If we had been watching the games from the stands then perhaps some of those defeats would have been draws and maybe even a couple of draws may have been turned into wins. We will never know of course and it will go down as the worst Cobblers side in a lot of people’s minds.
As I have said before, it is the hope that kills you. If I’m honest with myself, I’ve known we were going down since before Christmas. For me, Jon Brady was a breath of fresh air but wasn’t given enough time and he didn’t provide enough of a change to make me really believe we would stay up. This isn’t a slight against Brady, Sammo or Rico. They tried their best and put their heart and soul into the challenge but the damage was done and there was no room given to make any changes in personnel other than Alex Jones. I don’t think that they should absolved from blame either as line-ups and substitutions have, at times, been questionable.
I also don’t fully blame Keith Curle.
I keep reading that he didn’t know what he was doing and that he was out of his depth in League One. Curle always had his detractors from day one. Some refuse to give him any credit for the play off win, always going back to Covid stopping the season prematurely and citing luck as the biggest reason for the two wins. Regardless of whether the Cobblers would have gone on to achieve promotion from League Two or not that season, the improvement that Curle oversaw from the time he took the managers role cannot be ignored.
It is my opinion that the owners, having already ploughed over £6 million into the club since they bought it, saw Covid as a real risk to English football and tightened the purse strings. Despite the FA Cup run and the sale of Charlie Goode in the summer, the budget was reduced and Curle’s hands were tied. The most telling piece of transfer business which points to this is Vadaine Oliver’s decision to sign for Gillingham rather than stay at Sixfields.
I can’t believe that Keith Curle didn’t think that his leading man from the play off campaign wasn’t worth giving an extra couple of quid to stay at the club. While Callum Morton took the limelight, Oliver was the key man to Curle’s style. Without Oliver it didn’t work. Harry Smith wasn’t the same player and even though he started the season in the team, Oliver soon took his place and didn’t give it up.
One thing that I will say Curle got wrong was the playing style. Continuing to play the same way as we had done the previous year, despite it obviously not working in League One, was a terrible decision. The team have played better since Brady gave them licence to express themselves and play less regimented. Curle definitely got that wrong but I can understand why he felt playing a very limited style of football would give us the best chance of survival.
As discussed on this week’s podcast, the club will no doubt disagree with me about the budget. Money was spent on bringing Danny Rose, Ricky Korboa and Benny Ashley-Seal to the club. There’s also the cost of the wages of course but I fully believe that our budget was reduced following promotion because of the pandemic.
I’m not suggesting that our owners spend more money than they have in their pocket and risk the future of the club but there is more money to be made in League One with the likes of Sunderland, Portsmouth, Sheffield Wednesday and their large fanbases potentially visiting the town on a match day.
I’m sure there will be conversations had amongst those who run the club and the supporters over the coming weeks. And many suggestions will be made as to how the football club can pick it self back up and go again in League Two next season. For now though there is still one more game to be played this season. How many Cobblers fans will be watching it remains to be seen.
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