Home > Football > My time at.. Northampton Town..Part 2. Off to a flyer

My time at.. Northampton Town..Part 2. Off to a flyer

At one stage it looked like I was heading back to Utrecht for pre-season training. Luckily things managed to sort themselves out before that happened. When I had left there in the December I was hoping it was for good.

The transfer fee was the only thing out of my control. FC Utrecht had somehow calculated a figure as to how much they wanted. Considering they got me on a Bosman for free you would have thought that they would have let me go for free but that would have been too simple!

My wages, although I had to take a cut, was not something which I would have wanted to jeopardise my path back to England. I had decided that money was secondary for me in this. Getting back to England was the top priority here and to come back to Northampton, where I felt so much at home, was my preferred destination.

I had an agent at the time who had some personal issues to attend to which prolonged the transfer. I felt like I was in the dark as I just couldn’t get hold of him for most of the summer. I forced it a bit by calling Utrecht to say that I would be returning for training in July. It was a huge bluff which seemed to get things moving. They really didn’t want me back.

I had lived in the West midlands during my time on loan at Walsall but we wanted to move down to Northampton. I have never enjoyed travelling too far from where I played so this was a good decision. We were lucky that we didn’t have a house to sell so we had moved down to Northampton by the end of pre-season.

Marco Gabbiadini and Chris Hargreaves were the other two big arrivals at Sixfields that summer. Although it was not a big squad there was a lot of quality in there.

There was a pre-season trip to Dublin for a few days which always allows new players to gel that bit quicker. It was a very relaxed ship that Kevin Wilson ran. There was not too much discipline.

This resulted in a bit of a Guinness-fest for the few days we were there. Some managers will allow this on pre-season trips and some won’t. It all depends on the individual. Not that he had much say in the matter. Within an hour we were all in the local pub and the black stuff was flowing.

Who is to say what is right and wrong ? A few beers always makes the bonding process that much quicker. The matches were low-key so all in all it was a great trip. It certainly didn’t affect league results.

We started with a home match against Brentford. Momentum had gathered from the previous season and there was a real buzz inside Sixfields that afternoon. The sun was baking hot, as it always seemed to be on the opening match of a season.

I got off to a flyer with a 25 yard effort. It was one of those shots which can go anywhere. Luckily for me it found the top corner and I was off and running. We drew the game 1-1 after Brentford scored in the second half.

Next was a two-legged league cup tie against Fulham, managed by Jean Tigana. They were big spenders at the time playing amazing football but we managed to beat them at Sixfields 1-0 in front of the live Sky TV cameras with Gabbiadini getting the goal.

Goals came thick and fast for me at the start of that season. It felt like everything I touched ended up in the back of the net. I felt fit, strong and my confidence was high. It encouraged me to shoot from everywhere and most of those shots went in. I can’t put my finger on why this was the case. Looking back I regard this to be the peak of my career. I was 26 years old and things just seemed to be happening for me. I had some good players round me. Steve Howard and Marco Gabbiadini were around and also creative players like Dave Savage helped make chances for me. It was a time that I look back with great memories.

Up to the turn of the year I think I had scored something like 17 goals. I was up at the top of the scoring charts which was fantastic. At around this time Kevan Broadhurst left the club and was replaced by Russell Slade who was elevated from his youth team role. This was a major blow for the club. Kevan was brilliant. He was the brains behind the operation if you like. Tactically he was superb. He knew opposition weaknesses and allowed us to exploit them. Kevin Wilson was not as tactically aware and this was made evident after Broads left. This, in my opinion, was one of the major factors in our poor form after Christmas that season. There had been some disagreements between Broads and Kevin Wilson and I think that Kevin Wilson threatened to leave if nothing was done. As manager I think he pulled rank and the board had to make a decision. The wrong man went. I thought so at the time and I think I was proved right

Categories: Football
  1. Gareth
    October 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I’m enjoying your blogs about your time at the Cobblers. Your comment about the 2 Kevs backs up the feeling I got at that time. That Brentford goal remains in my memory as one of the best goals I have seen at Sixfields. If it had been scored in the Prem, the Match of the Day crew would have been dribbling. When your confidence was high you were a fantastic player and you remain one of my favourite players of the Sixfields era. Thanks for what you did for us.

  2. Charles Commins
    October 29, 2010 at 11:01 am

    The day that Broads left was really disappointing for me. I definately remember thinking that might be it. Who knows, we might have made the play offs that year if Broads had stayed.
    I can’t remember if you were still with us when he came back, but he wasnt given enough time by the new board and he was a great loss to the club.
    Did anyone ever say when the decision was made to make Wilson manager and Broads coach? I remember they were joint caretakers after Ian Atkins left and then one day it seemed Wilson was the boss without anyone saying anything.

    Great work Jamie, keep it up

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