JOHN GRIFF: Northampton owes so much to Chris Wilder

It is often said that a week can be a long time in politics.

Thursday, 12th May 2016, 10:51 am
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2016, 11:57 am
Chris Wilder's Northampton can seal promotion against Bristol Rovers Picture: Sharon Lucey

I’m sure that that is true right now, what with local government elections, elections for the new police and crime commissioners across the country, parliamentary elections and a number of mayoral elections, all of which have taken place in the past week.

In a few weeks’ time we’ll all be asked to make our choice over Britain’s continued membership of the EU – or otherwise.

And right now the American public is being asked who they want to vote for in the presidential runoff towards the end of the year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Each and every one of those political realities has its own sidebar stories which give it greater or lesser prominence, so yes, a week really can be a long time in politics.

It seems that a 24-hour period can also be a long time – in sport.

On Sunday the Cobblers made the short but triumphant journey from Sixfields to the centre of town, to parade and be paraded as champions in the ascendant.

A civic reception saw them celebrated as conquering heroes in a season which at its start had seen them looking at sporting oblivion and with the real potential to vanish altogether.

Thousands of people came to fete them for their exploits.

And then the following day, the man who was the chief architect of their victory took a call seemingly making him an offer he could not refuse.

As I write this, Chris Wilder remains the manager of Northampton Town Football Club. But that could change in hours if an offer to move to Charlton is taken up and indeed, by the time you read these words, Chris Wilder may have already become the former manager.

We first broke the story on the Afternoon Show when, moments after the club had itself gone public with the news, Joe Townsend walked into my studio unannounced and asked for the microphone.

I won’t forget the moment for a long time, because after all that the club, its board and its fans had been through, it felt like a low punch to everyone.

But should any of us really think that way?

The club has its reward for all its labours this season – a trophy and promotion to League One with not only its kudos, but its obvious financial benefits too.

For Chris Wilder, his reward – if he takes it up – is presumably a much bigger pay packet than the Cobblers can offer and at a club with heritage.

I’m being overly simplistic perhaps, but when chairman Kelvin Thomas spoke frankly on the hastily convened Radio Northampton phone-in on Monday night, he made it very clear that although he would rather the manager stayed rather than left, he wouldn’t be at all surprised if a deal didn’t take place.

Fascinatingly, all of this took place in the most proper of circumstances, Charlton asking for permission to speak to Chris Wilder before doing so.

A very honourable way to go about matters.

Whether Chris Wilder goes/has gone, the club and town owe him a debt of gratitude and best wishes for his future.

This kind of thing happens in every walk of life every day, be it in sport, business and certainly in politics.

The club at Sixfields will undoubtedly attract a new manager with the lure of League One football and with it, in turn, the chance to better itself through competition.

It’s never fun to break up the band, but with new players in it you get new music.

Just as it should be.