New signing Dean Bowditch says that playing his football in the ‘fantastic’ atmosphere at Sixfields was a key factor in him signing for the Cobblers.
The 31-year-old put pen to paper on a two-year Town deal on Thursday has spent the past six seasons at Milton Keynes Dons, who play their home games in the sumptuous 30,000 all-seater Stadium MK
And although Bowditch loved playing in such a fantastic setting, he did admit the fact the club’s average home gates of around 10,000 meant the atmosphere on match days, with the ground only a third full, wasn’t always the most inspiring.
But that’s not something he anticipates being problem at Sixfields.
The capacity at Town’s ground is only around the 8,000 mark, but the average gate in Sky Bet League One last season was more than 6,200, and Bowditch knows from experience what it is all about.
He played in the 2-2 FA Cup second round draw at Sixfields in January, 2016 and also the Dons’ 3-2 league defeat there last season, a game in which he scored but also fouled Kenji Gorre to concede a penalty.
Justin Edinburgh contacted us pretty much at the end of the season and showed interest, which is great because I felt wanted right from the startDean Bowditch
“I have been at MK Dons for six years, and I enjoyed my time there,” said Bowditch, who began his career at Ipswich Town and had a two-month loan spell at Sixfields in the 2007/08 season.
“But when you have such a big stadium, and not the amount of fans that you want, then sometimes you can get a little lost.
“Then you come to places like Sixfields, especially when I have been with the Dons, the atmosphere has been fantastic, and that was definitely one of the reasons I came here.”
There were other attractions for Bowditch as well, namely the fact he knows a few players in the Town squad, and that Justin Edinburgh and his staff made it very clear they wanted him to join the club.
“Obviously, there is the personnel as well and I know a few of the lads here, which is always a good thing,” said Bowditch, who played with both Alex Revell and Daniel Powell at Milton Keynes.
“Not only do you look forward to seeing them, but they are wanting you to come as well, which is nice.
“The staff were also really enthusiastic about me coming, and every player will tell you, if you feel wanted then that’s the main thing.
“Hopefully I can now play as many games as possible and score a few goals along the way.”
So did he have a chat with Revell and Powell before signing?
“Alex was one of the first people I spoke to, and Powelly signed early doors as well so I spoke to him about it,” said the Bishops Stortford-born player.
“Revs really wanted me to sign, as did Powelly, so it’s nice knowing that you know a couple of lads here really well. You know you are going to get on well with them, and that they are going to show you the ropes.
“But I am not just looking forward to playing alongside those two, because there are plenty of other players here that I like and look forward to teaming up with.”
He is also looking forward to working with manager Edinburgh, who has been trying to tempt Bowditch to Sixfields for the past couple of months.
“Justin contacted us pretty much at the end of the season and showed interest, which is great because I felt wanted right from the start,” said Bowditch.
“Like every player, they go away on holiday and try and relax a little bit, and the older you get the more you enjoy those holidays.
“I was just excited to get back and try and sort things out, and I am just glad now that I have signed and we can enjoy the next couple of years.”
And he added: “Justin was really good, and he put his point across when I first met him.
“He seems like a really nice fella, and I have come across him a couple of times on the opposite side of the fence, but he seems a good guy who really wants to put his stamp on this team, and I can see that happening this season.”
So were the Cobblers the only team knocking on Bodwitch’s door following his decision to leave Milton Keynes?
“There were one or two others I’ll be honest, and after weighing everything it was the right decision to come here,” he said.
“I am quite local so it is not too far for me to travel, and with everything that’s going on in my outside life it was the right thing to do.
“But it’s not just that, I also think that the club is heading in the right direction, so it was quite exciting to put pen to paper.”