Information for fans planning their trip to Northampton Town this Friday.
County’s next away match is this coming Good Friday, with a 3pm kick off at Sixfields Stadium, home of Northampton Town. The Cobbler’s are on a fantastic run, and despite a number of recent drawn matches they are almost there as this seasons champions. The 1-1 home draw with Cambridge last weekend left them with a 14 point cushion between themselves and Oxford and Plymouth. The champagne is very much on ice, and it’s almost certain that the celebrations will commence with several games to spare.
STAR MAN- John-Joe O’Toole
The tall north Londoner has been in good form this season chipping in with ten goals and given time on the ball O’Toole can cause problems with his shooting ability and eye for the killer pass. He started out at Watford and played 50 odd games for The Hornets at Championship level before dropping down a division with Colchester for whom he made 70 plus appearances. He joined Bristol Rovers on loan on New Year’s Eve 2012 and signed permanently for them the following summer but left the club after their dramatic last day relegation. He opted for Northampton in June 2014, and has been on top of his game this season being a key figure in their amazing run towards the title.
Northampton are managed by Chris Wilder, who is now almost at the 700 game mark as a manager. He had a lengthy playing career, most notably with Rotherham where he spent four seasons. He has been a manager for fourteen years, learning his trade at Halifax from 2002 until the original club were liquidated in 2008. After a brief spell as an assistant to Alan Knill at Bury, Wilder became Oxford manager in December 2008, and he stayed at the club for six seasons during which time The U’s returned to the Football League. He resigned in January 2014, and was appointed Northampton manager immediately. His win ratio at Town is exceptional, at over 48%, and his overall win ratio over 697 games is well over 42% - a fantastic return over such a period.
County were well beaten 3-0 last season, and the season before we lost 3-1 in our first away game since returning to the Football League, although in fairness County could have easily scored five or six goals on the day, but Matt Duke had the game of his life. Town were regularly on the County fixture list from 1920 to 1962, and then again right through the 70’s. Our last win in Northampton was in November 1977. A 4-2 win with goals from Howard Goddard (2), John Emmanuel and big Ron Walker.
Northampton have been at Sixfields since 1994, having previously played at the County Ground since 1897. Built in a retail development area on the outskirts of Northampton, the ground had a nice look about it until recently. Two large covered touchline stands, and two smaller covered stands behind the goals. However, this was deemed insufficient for Town’s ambitions and plans to redevelop the stadium were put in place with a major development of the East Stand the centrepiece of the plan. A £10.25 million loan was secured from the Council, but it would appear there may have been some mis-handling of the funds and building work ceased last summer, with the contractors owed approximately £3 million. However there has been some progress recently, and 1900 seats are expected to be re-installed during the next month into the lower tier.
County supporters will be allocated the South Stand behind one goal, which holds about 1000 seats. The views are unobstructed and the stand is close to the goal too. Despite the closure of the East Stand the atmosphere at the stadium is a good one, with most of the seats in the stadium being occupied, and why not – they win most of their games!
WHERE TO DRINK
The Sixfields Tavern has been closed since being largely destroyed by a fire last December, and this was easily the closest pub to the ground. The next most accessible pub is Sevens (formerly known as the Rover). This pub is on the main A4500 Weedon Road, and is easily found as it’s more or less opposite the Northampton Saints rugby ground. The A4500 is the main road into Northampton and the pub can be found on this road, heading towards the town centre and is within a fifteen minute walk.
Around the stadium is a selection of eating establishments such as McDonalds, Burger King, TGI Friday’s and Frankie & Benny’s.
Catch Dave Butcher’s article ‘On the Road’ in the Official Match Day Programme, available at all home games.
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