2015 - a year to remember on and off the pitch for Cobblers fans

NEW CHAIRMAN - Kelvin Thomas
NEW CHAIRMAN - Kelvin Thomas

Well, what a year that was for Northampton Town Football Club!

As the clock ticked into 2015, few Cobblers fans could have anticipated what lay ahead for them or their club in the 12 months to follow.

Cobblers boss Chris Wilder was named league two manager of the month for November

Cobblers boss Chris Wilder was named league two manager of the month for November

The playing year began on January 3 with Chris Wilder’s Town team stopping what was becoming a worrying rot with a 0-0 draw against Southend United at Sixfields.

That draw ended a run of five straight defeats for the Cobblers, and eight defeats in nine, a run that had seen Town slip worryingly towards the Sky Bet League Two relegation zone.

But Wilder was given the green light by chairman David Cardoza to dip into the transfer market, and into the squad came Jason Taylor, Ricky Holmes and Brendan Moloney, the trio making their debuts in the draw against Southend.

It was the start of a squad overhaul that saw also some fans favourites leave - Kelvin Langmead, Alex Nicholls - but the results were almost instant, as a rejuvenated Cobblers won the next five matches in a row in January, and nine of their next 12.

NEW FACES - Nicky Adams (left) and Alfie Potter

NEW FACES - Nicky Adams (left) and Alfie Potter

It was a sequence of results that saw the Cobblers become unlikely candidates for a play-off place, but task proved too great as the season petered out in the final few games, and Town had to settle for a mid-table finish.

But the signs were good.

A spring signing spree saw the likes of Alfie Potter, Nicky Adams, Dave Buchanan and Adam Smith brought in before the summer had even started, and things looked to be progressing smoothly,

But then, off the pitch at least, things started to unravel.

The unfinished east stand

The unfinished east stand

The first hint was the stopping of work (again) on the redevelopment of the east stand, which was explained away by Cardoza as being part of a planned takeover of the club by an unnamed Indian consortium.

Something we now know not to be the case.

I am not going to go into the ins and outs of what then transpired over the non-payment of the £10.25m Borough Council loan and the club falling foul of the taxman as it has all been well documented previously, except to say the club came within a few very worrying days of going out of business.

Those off-field woes were eventually solved by the takeover of the club by Kelvin Thomas and his consortium in late November, with Cardoza selling up to the former Oxford United chairman to end months of uncertainty.

Throughout all that off-field chaos though the team, amazingly, was turning in some superb performances on the pitch.

And the club’s support, always loyal and vociferous, seemed to grow and get even louder as they got right behind the team they love.

Wilder’s players started to produce some exhilerating and exciting attacking football, winning game after game, and by the middle of December had risen to the top of the league two table.

A remarkable achievement.

As we head into 2016 the team is still flying high, sitting in second place, and on a stunning run of form that has seen them win 10 of their past 12 matches in all competitions.

They are looking very good for a promotion challenge, and are also in the third round of the FA Cup for the first time in 10 years.

So there is little doubt that, eventually, 2015 will go down as a very positive one in the history of Northampton Town FC, and it is 12 months that Wilder is certainly very proud of.

But the Cobblers boss is all too aware that success is still a long way off for him and his players.

“It has been a great year for us, and if we can replicate the year that we have had, then we will be delighted,” said Wilder.

“The season doesn’t run from January to January, it runs from August to May and we still have a lot of work to do, but we have put ourselves in a great position.

“Taking 46 points from 23 games is an outstanding effort, and we want to build and we want to go forward.”

On the off-field situation, Wilder went on: “We would like the see the stand moving, and we know the chairman is working unbelievably hard at doing that.

“But that has to be right and needs time, so we have to be patient.

“The club is in great shape on and off the pitch, and I am working extremely hard with Kelvin on quite a few bits, on the training ground, on recruitment and team strenghtening in general.

“It’s all about making us better, but we have to be patient and we have to make sure that we get it right.

“Kelvin would be one who can tell you more than me, that if you try to come in and do everything in a hurry you don’t get it right.

“So we all have to be patient with everything we are trying to do, but we will get there.

“I think there is a lot to look forward to at this football club going into the new year, and it’s important that we don’t stand still off the pitch, and that on the pitch we kick on, and that is what we are desperately trying to do.”

If that is the case, and this Town team does kick on from where it is now, then I fancy 2016 is going to be a very happy new year indeed for Cobblers fans.