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Gripped by the Cobblers: More managers than sense but Wilkin is the man

Another day, another Northampton manager sacking with the job centre in town crammed full of ex-Cobblers bosses scratching their heads, writes Tom Reed.

Dean Austin was a convenient appointment for the Northampton board, in situ and saying all the right thing to desperate fans. It’s a lesson learned for the shoe army not to take clichéd media sound bites from the 1950’s manager handbook as qualification for managing a Football League club.

But, the sacking says more about the club than it does Austin, a likeable, honest fella not quite up to it.

The turnover of managers at the club is indicative of wider issues at Northampton Town FC. These are deeply embedded issues, which need to be met head on, probably by new owners.

Let’s not forget the players, who if in Italy, would be pelted with rotten fruit but the current crop do not appear to be worth wasting tomatoes over. The likes of Ken Gilllard, Mark Parsons and Pat Gavin managed to avoid the drop to the Conference in the 90’s turning up to training in Ford Escorts not the ludicrous high end wheels of today’s fancy dans.

The message is clear: If you don’t like the club, please leave. If you think Northampton Town is beneath you there’s the door. If losing the club’s historic league status does not fill you with the same horror as the fans then do one at the earliest opportunity.
If however you enjoy playing football, have a semblance of professional pride and are up for a scrap then good. See you next Tuesday for Bury.

Alas, the revolving door of Town managers sends a message that players are not responsible for their actions. It reinforces the disconnect between the players, fans and club. Cobblers are fulfilling the basic functions of a football club but not the spaces in between.

Someone from the Cobblers’ disabled team offered the first eleven to come and watch them in action and see what it really means to take pride in the badge. Let’s seem them take up the offer.

Any new manager will have to sort the players out, while fending off relegation and uncertainty over a takeover.  It is not so much a poisoned chalice but entering the toxic environment of football’s Chernobyl.

That said there is still a project at Northampton Town with a great catchment area and the space to mould the club as an incoming manager sees fit.

Kelvin Thomas, so enthusiastically described as a “football man” in a public meeting before his takeover has seen that side of his reputation torn to shreds. He is good at many things but picking managers does not seem to be one of them.

Maybe it is right that the club appoints a firefighter like Gary Bowyer to see the season through as a League 2 club. In the medium term, Cobblers need to mend a broken club via local football knowledge, some care for the Town and up and coming verve. Kevin Wilkin of Brackley remains a name that is hard to avoid.


  1. Tom Reed puts no blame on the fans for the turnover of managers over the years. Okay Mr Reed what’s your explanation? I assume you won’t read this anyway

    • Quite arrogant to not respond to someone with a different opinion!! It was only a few days ago that you wanted a complete ‘shake up’ at the club but now that doesn’t seem to be the case??!!??

  2. I feel sorry for most of the recent Cobblers’ manangers(Gary Johnson the exception) but I’ve been saying for four years that ‘Sammo’ & ‘Wilko’ in tandem would be the perfect fit. I also think Tom Reed’s comments earlier in the season were unproductive. Looking back at some of his World Cup predictions makes humorous reading.

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