Diamond: I've played in the UEFA Cup, I've played in the Allianz Arena - Cobblers title win tops the lot
It was the perfect culmination of the perfect season; a day to bask in the glory of what this remarkable football team has achieved over nine magical months.
Luton Town may have arrived at Sixfields with aspirations to spoil the party but this day, like many this season, belonged to league two’s outstanding team and while the game itself had little significance, you wouldn’t have known from the manner of the Cobblers’ impressive victory.
It was fitting that, on this their last outing at Sixfields, they produced one of their best performances of the season, a performance that showcased just why all before them have fallen by the wayside.
And once the 2-0 victory had been achieved, it was time to celebrate as the champions soaked up the occasion and were introduced back onto the pitch, one by one, with each player greeted by a huge roar from the record Sixfields crowd who were in the mood for a party.
Zander Diamond has experienced plenty in his 13-year playing career, but this season goes straight to the very top of his list of achievements.
“I don’t think words can describe it,” he said during the celebrations on Saturday.
“It’s the first title of my career. I’m 31 now and I came down south from Aberdeen where I didn’t manage to win anything, but now I’ve won a league championship.
“It’s the best season of my career without a doubt.
“I’ve played in the UEFA Cup, I’ve played in the Allianz Arena but to win a medal at the end of a season is fantastic.
“It’s been a great year for me because I got married last summer so to top it off with a championship medal is amazing and will go down as the highlight of my career.”
Northampton’s success this season has been built on a team that is capable of winning all types of matches; from those achieved through grit and determination to those where teams have simply been blown away by Town’s attacking prowess.
Diamond added: “The January-February period epitomised our season when we steamrollered teams and won games of football when we were on the canvas.
“You look at the Dagenham game and then the Orient game and it shows we’ve won all types of games and that’s a mark of champions.
“The whole season has been a highlight. Everyone focuses on the lowlights before Christmas, but we’ve won games of football with different types of performances when teams have written us off.
“Every week we seem to have a chance of breaking a record and to go 23 games unbeaten at any level of football is remarkable and a fantastic achievement.
“It’s the first time I’ve achieved that in my career and I don’t think there’ll be many teams who do that in the next 15 or 20 years.
“We’ve smashed records left, right and centre and it’s a special group of players, a special crop and we have to make sure we savour the moment because this doesn’t come along very often.”
With recent wins at Leyton Orient, Plymouth, Oxford and Carlisle, Luton went into Saturday’s game with a track record of upsetting the form book but as many teams have discovered to their expense this season, Northampton simply had too much class as they eased to a thoroughly deserved victory.
“We knew Luton would come and have a go at us so it was important to start the game on the front foot and we got the goal which settled us,” added Diamond who got the ball rolling with a thumping fourth-minute header.
“We played some decent football, got the second goal and the second-half was about being professional and seeing it out.
“We obviously knew we had the celebrations to come but you want to win football games and we did that.
“To score a goal and then get a clean sheet is all you can ask for on a special afternoon like this.”
With just one game of the current campaign remaining, the focus will soon shift to next season and how Cobblers equip themselves in league one.
“Only time will tell,” continued Diamond. “We’ll have a good pre-season and the manager will earmark players that he wants to bring in.
“But we’ve got a special group of players here and that doesn’t come along very often.
“From the guys who start to the guys on the bench and those in the stands, it’s been a team effort and it’s fantastic.
“You want it to last forever but we’ll enjoy it and then the hard work next season.”