Langmead says Northampton Town ‘will always be a big part of my life’

GOLDEN MOMENT - Kelvin Langmead runs away to celebrate after scoring a last-minute winner to secure a crucial 1-0 win at Burton Albion in March, 2012
GOLDEN MOMENT - Kelvin Langmead runs away to celebrate after scoring a last-minute winner to secure a crucial 1-0 win at Burton Albion in March, 2012

Captain. Player of the year. Scorer of crucial late goals and, if the terrace chant is to be believed, quite the physical specimen.

Kelvin Langmead was all of these things and more to the Cobblers and their supporters for 41 months, a spell which began with the defender in form he admits was ‘poor’ in 2011 and ended with a contract termination in the Sixfields offices on Monday afternoon.

Cobblers V Oxford United. 'Kelvin Langmead. ENGNNL00220130324141201

Cobblers V Oxford United. 'Kelvin Langmead. ENGNNL00220130324141201

Between those two milestones, the centre-back played with a courage and tenacity which saw him go from unwanted Peterborough United loanee to the most loved member of the squad, at least on the terraces anyway.

But there is no sadness in the eyes of Langmead when he tells the story of his departure, instead they sparkle at the prospect of opportunities elsewhere and a fresh start with another club.

It is, he stresses with the same kind of certainty with which he contests headers, the correct thing to do, for all parties but ultimately for himself.

“I know it’s the right decision,” he says, with a look which manages to be both penetrating and cheerful.

Northampton Town FC v Sileby Rangers, Fernie Fields, Moulton, Northampton.'Alex Nicholls and Kelvin Langmead. NNL-141207-205843006

Northampton Town FC v Sileby Rangers, Fernie Fields, Moulton, Northampton.'Alex Nicholls and Kelvin Langmead. NNL-141207-205843006

“I’ve been in football a long time and you look at it for what it is. The club has moved on and I think it’s time I did.

“It’s a club that I will always hold dear to me. I still live in the area and I will always look out for their results.

“It’s always going to be a big part of my life but it’s the right time to be starting a new chapter in my career.”

There might never be a player who rose so meteriocally from Cobblers zero to hero as Langmead did.

Northampton Town FC V Exeter City FC ENGNNL00120121013171750

Northampton Town FC V Exeter City FC ENGNNL00120121013171750

The low water mark of those bad old days was a 7-2 home defeat to Shrewsbury, after which the defender was described on a fans’ forum as ‘a waster’ among the usual cliches from supporters offering to drive him back to London Road themselves.

The replacement of Gary Johnson, who retains a great faith in Langmead’s abilities, with Aidy Boothroyd, who retains an even greater one, was the turning point, and specifically the pairing of the player with Clarke Carlisle at the heart of a resilient and ultra-organised back four.

Langmead did not miss a game in the 2012-13 season until the knee injury he suffered in March, at a snowbound Sixfields and, in what romantics will call a foreshadowing of future events, against an Oxford United side managed by Chris Wilder.

That injury was misidiagnosed and when he returned from it, Wilder had replaced Boothroyd and the impact of the spell on the sidelines was another injury, this time to his Achilles.

Cobblers V Derby County. 'Kelvin Langmead celebrating his goal. ENGNNL00220120108093102

Cobblers V Derby County. 'Kelvin Langmead celebrating his goal. ENGNNL00220120108093102

“Every season I had here threw different challenges at me,” he said. “In the first season I was poor and I had a really difficult time but I managed to turn that around.

“The second season was a huge improvement and then I was hit by the injury. That was a very difficult time for me and gave me challenges I’d never had before in my career.

“Then this season, there was another injury, a change of manager and new players and it was more stuff that was new to me.”

Langmead didn’t get to play at Wembley in 2013. He wasn’t fully fit and Nathan Cameron had done enough to be trusted with partnering Carlisle in the play-off final.

That might have been his finest hour, but instead it is another memorable moment which he selects as his Northampton highlight.

“One of the best moments was being told I was going to be the captain,” he said. “We were all stood together and it was done as a group.

Northampton Town FC V Burton Albion ENGNNL00120120324183310

Northampton Town FC V Burton Albion ENGNNL00120120324183310

“To be made captain of this football club was one I really enjoyed, I never took it for granted, it was something that was an honour and something I will look back on as being a big highlight of my career.”

And what of the current squad’s hopes for the rest of the season?

“It’s a really good group of players,” he said.

“Individually they are some of the best that I’ve played with at this level, and it’s just about finding a formula that works.

“That hasn’t happened so far but I’m sure it will soon. It’s a good group of players, it’s a good dressing room, they look after themselves in there.

“Once it clicks I’ve got no doubt the club will start to get results.”

Langmead remains well liked by the current squad and the affection is mutual, although his farewell to the supporters has been limited to Twitter.

“Even if I don’t get to play at Sixfields again, I still have a lot of friends at the club and so I won’t be walking away from it,” he said.

“It will still be a part of my life.”

Northampton Town FC V Burton Albion ENGNNL00120120324183230

Northampton Town FC V Burton Albion ENGNNL00120120324183230

Northampton Town FC V Burton Albion ENGNNL00120120324183220

Northampton Town FC V Burton Albion ENGNNL00120120324183220