"If you be out, sir, I can … cobble you"
So we start another football season, and bearing recent developments in mind there is evidently more optimism around than might otherwise have been the case. Darrell Clarke’s squad have had an extensive work-out and pre-season schedule, and the final pieces in his jigsaw would appear to be in the striker department although the League 2 programme looks like starting with “what we’ve got”.
Northampton Town has significant relevance to me - the first game I saw at Fellows Park was on 4th April 1955, we walloped Northampton Town 6-1 and I was hooked. The fact that we finished bottom-but-one in Division 3 (South) was actually an improvement on the previous three seasons where we had ended up rock bottom … but we kept on being re-elected to the League, largely because of our healthy attendance figures (usually averaging well into 5 figures).
The Cobblers have had broadly similar results to ourselves in their pre-season activities:-
July 16th Sheffield Wednesday (H) Lost 0-4
July 20th Sheffield United (H) Lost 0-2
July 23rd Brackley Town (A) Lost 1-0
July 26th M K Dons (H) Won 2-1
Can’t see any ex-Saddlers in their current squad, but three ex-Saddlers have filled the managerial position in Northampton … Kevin Wilson, John Barnwell and Kevan Broadhurst.
Last season Northampton Town finished 15th in League 2, but were notable for having a higher number of drawn games than any one else (19 out of the 46 played).
In addition to the 6-1 game I witnessed as a 10-year old, there have been other games between us where the final score merits a second glance … in 1927 Northampton Town established their record League score by winning 10-0 against us, but in 1947 we got some measure of revenge by going to their ground and winning 0-8 !!
Although Darrell Clarke may yet sign a player or two between now and Saturday that would leave precious little time to successfully integrate him/them into the squad, so we shall have to see what Elijah Adebayo and Josh Gordon can produce in the rough-and-tumble of League 2.
Prediction? In view of the Cobblers’ drawn games recent history coupled with a perceived lack of class strikers on our part, it was tempting to put this down as goal-less. But possibly the novelty of a sell-out in the away accommodation may inspire us, so how about a narrow 0-1 win, with the only goal of the game coming late on from the head of Darrell Clarke’s namesake!