Sky Bet League 2
Saturday 2nd January 2016
Telephone: 01604 757773
Club Colours: Claret and White
Nickname: The Cobblers
Manager: Chris Wilder has been at the helm at Sixfields since January 2014. He managed Oxford United between 2008 and 2013 guiding them back into The Football League via the Play-Offs in 2009. He had a previous spells at chez Halifax Town (see what I did there?) and Bury after a 15 year playing career as a full back with Sheffield United, Rotherham, Notts County, Bradford City and Halifax amongst others.
Brief Directions by Road: A nice and easy one! M1 to junction 15a (signposted Northampton (N) A43). Simply follow the signs for the A43. After approximately two miles, take the 2nd exit at the roundabout, effectively straight on (still on the A43) and you will see the ground directly ahead. Follow this road until you reach the next roundabout adjacent to the Little Chef and TGI Friday and turn right into the stadium complex.
Car Parking: After turning into the complex, turn right at the next small roundabout and down the slope to the parking area to your right. There is a £3.00 charge for parking. In the past, I have experienced delays in getting out of the car park and onto the A43 after the game, therefore try and get a space close to and facing the exit gate.
Directions by Train: London Euston trains bound for Birmingham New Street stop at Northampton, journey time approximately 75 minutes. Once outside the station, a choice of three buses will take you to the ground, the numbers 1, 27 and 28. A taxi will cost about £6.00. Walking time from the station to the ground is around 30 minutes and a bit of a trek.
Eating and Drinking Locally: Built by a Leisure Centre, there is not much on offer I’m afraid apart from the bar in the Bowling Alley, The TGI Friday or possibly the Social Club under the main stand but recently the home fans stronghold Pub The Sixfields was gutted in a fire so restrictions may be put on visiting supporters in the club bar. Usual fayre on offer in the ground but the best place for pre-match is always in the Town Centre where the Malt Shovel pub opposite the brewery in Bridge Street near the station is by miles the best pub in Northampton.
Ground Description: Northampton Town originally played at the Northamptonshire County Cricket ground, which was only three sided as directly opposite the modest main stand was the expanse of the cricket pitch. The fully covered Sixfields Stadium was opened in October 1994 with a full house for the visit of a certain Barnet FC whose goal in the 1-1 draw was scored by Dougie Freedman. The arena frankly has little character but football has changed and this type of stadium is now the norm. It resembles a larger version of the stadium that was constructed for Chester City but is all seated. The single tiered main stand holds 4,000 while the stand opposite is currently being redeveloped. The stands at either end of the ground (South and North) are identical and do not quite stretch the width of the pitch. These stands are designed to allow for easy extension. The South Stand is reserved for away fans and can accommodate up to 800 although some seats have restricted views. It does however have excellent facilities for the disabled.
Admission Prices: Adults £20, Seniors (Over 65) £16, U18s £8, Under 7’s Free, Disabled Adults £14, with carers free of charge. Prices will increase by £2 on the day of the game but can be purchased in advance.
Previous Meetings and Memories: The last visit to Sixfields was for the last game of the League Two 2012-13 season when the 2-0 defeat condemned us back into The Conference. Our visit in 2005 was very memorable however when the floodlights failed before the teams returned after an eternity and Nicky Bailey sealed a superb 2-1 win. Barnet have had some unforgettable times against Northampton Town including winning an FA Cup 1st round replay in 1989, when we were still a Conference side, 1-0 on one of the coldest evenings ever. The winning goal was eventually credited to the much missed Kevin Durham direct from a corner in the second half. Barnet held on, just. However the replay should never have been as the Cobbler’s Bobby Barnes was guilty of one of the misses of the decade in the first game drawn 0-0 at Underhill in front of the Match of the Day cameras.
Celebrity Watch: Northampton are the only club to suffer four successive relegations from Division 1 to Division 4 although they may not thank you for reminding them. The road which leads to Sixfields – Walter Tull Way – is named after allegedly only the 2nd black footballer in English Football – Lieutenant Tull was unfortunately killed in action in France during World War 1. Formula 1 motor racing brothers Michael and Ralph Shumacher bought a sizeable piece of land close to Northampton and built a pair of houses for their families. American actor and singer David Soul, famous for his role as 1970s TV Cop Ken Hutchinson in Starsky & Hutch and two number 1 hit singles in the UK has a cottage in the nearby village of Upper-Elmington. Northampton Town had allegedly made sizeable offers for various Barnet players over the years including Dougie Freedman, Duncan Hardy, Roger ‘Harry’ Willis and Andy Clarke.