Dean Austin is the new Cobblers manager, signing a two-year contract at Sixfields.
The 48-year-old took caretaker charge of the team for the final five games of the Sky Bet League One season following Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s sacking last month.
He claimed seven points from those five matches, and although he couldn’t halt Town’s slide into relegation to league two, he did enough to persuade chairman Kelvin Thomas and the board of directors he is the right man for the job.
Austin will be appointing a new assistant manager in the coming weeks, with Jon Brady, who was his number two while he was caretaker, returning to his role as the Under-18s manager.
Hemel Hempstead-born Austin has a wealth of experience as a coach and as an assistant manager, the position he held at Sixfields after joining the club along with Hasselbaink last September, but has only managed a team for a short time.
The former Tottenham Hotspur defender spent seven months in charge of non-League Farnborough Town back in 2004/05, but now he has been handed the reins at the Cobblers.
As a player, defender Austin made more than 400 senior appearances for Southend United, where he began his career, Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace, before moving into the world of coaching.
His short managerial stint at Farborough, who were in the midst of a financial crisis while he was there, has been followed by a distinctive coaching career.
First he worked with Steve Tilson at Southend, helping the Roots Hall outfit into the championship after promotions from league two and league one, before leaving the club to become assistant manager to Brendan Rodgers at Watford.
He followed Rodgers to Reading, before switching to a coaching role at Crystal Palace, but that didn’t work out and he left Selhurst Park in the summer of 2011.
Austin had short-lived roles at Bolton Wanderers and Notts County, before returning to Watford to become assistant to Slaviša Jokanović as the Hornets were promoted from the Championship to the Premier League.
He stayed on for a further season to work with Quique Sánchez Flores, before leaving in 2016 to return to Southend as first team coach under Phil Brown.
He then made the move to the Cobblers with Hasselbaink in September, last year.
Austin becomes the Cobblers’ fifth manager in the space of 24 months, following on from Chris Wilder, Rob Page, Justin Edinburgh and Hasselbaink, the latter three all being sacked.
He now has a full summer to get together the squad he wants for a tilt at promotion back from league two at the first attempt next season.