Cobblers boss Stuart Gray

COBBLERS QUIZ: Just for fun... looking back to the 2008/09 season, and a needless relegation

Welcome to the latest of our regular quizzes focusing on a season in the Cobblers' not too distant past.

By Jeremy Casey
Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 9:59 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 10:00 am

Sport is on lockdown for the foreseeable future and the Cobblers, like every other sports team in the country, are currently sat on the sidelines

So for those of you looking for a little bit of a football fix, we at the Chron are putting together a regular little quiz, focusing on a Town campaign of the past - and it's just a bit of fun.

Today, we are heading to the season from summer 2008 to May, 2009.

After an extremely encouraging ninth-place finish the season before, hopes were high that Stuart Gray could make the Cobblers genuine play-off challengers in 2008/09.

He added to his squad with the signings of Abdul Osman, Liam Davis and striker Leon Constantine, but his plans were thrown into disarray by the end of August as he lost the services of two key men in the shape of goalkeeper Mark Bunn, and central defender Gabor Gyepes.

Bunn had been the Cobblers player of the year in 2007 and had been attracting plenty of attention, so it was no surprise when he was finally sold to Blackburn Rovers for a fee believed to be in the region of £500,000.

What wasn't ideal was the fact he was sold five matches into the new season.

And it was a similar story with Gyepes, with the Hungarian international being sold to Cardiff City for an undisclosed fee after just three games.

The sales were too late in the day to make significant signings before the end of the transfer window, which meant Gray once again set about utilising the loan market - but it wasn't to work so well this time.

In all, the Cobblers made a staggering 16 short-term loan signings over the course of the campaign, with only striker Karl Hawley and goalkeeper Frank Fielding reaching double figures in appearances, and it not surprisingly led to inconsistent performances from a disjointed team.

That said, things were looking okay at the end of January, with Town sitting fairly pretty in 12th place in league one following a 5-1 hammering of Crewe Alexandra at Sixfields.

But a run of just two wins in the next 15 matches - 10 of which were defeats - meant Town dropped to 21st and were in deep, deep relegation trouble.

There was a rally though, and wins over Leyton Orient and Hereford United, and a draw with Scunthorpe United, meant the Cobblers went into their last two matches of the season with their fate in their own hands.

As it transpired, a draw from either their last home game of the season against MK Dons or a trip to Leeds United would have been enough to stave off relegation - but an uninspired and lack-lustre Town lost them both.

They were beaten 1-0 at home by Dons, before surrendering pathetically 3-0 at Elland Road on the final day of the season, meaning relegation back to the fourth tier of English football was confirmed.

Away from the league struggles, the Cobblers did make the headlines in the League Cup as they secured a 2-1 second round win at Premier League Bolton Wanderers thanks to two goals from an unplayable Adebayo Akinfenwa.

They then travelled to another top flight side in Sunderland in round three, and were winning 2-0 at the Stadium Of Light with just four minutes of the match remaining... but Roy Keane's men fought back to draw 2-2, and then won the penalty shootout 4-3 to knock Town out.

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