Thanks / No Thanks: Northampton Town


Both Thanks and No Thanks: April 1987


Jimmy Gilligan head us in front

In April 1987, the 26th to be precise, I learned a valuable lesson from Northampton Town which I’m not sure whether I should be thankful for or not. On that warm spring day we turned over the Cobblers, 3-1 at the Bank. Jimmy Gilligan hit one goal, Willie Gamble added a second and an errant back pass by Phil Chard gave us a 3-1 win. 

They were top of the table, nine points clear of Preston with four to play. We were sixth from bottom on 48 points in the aftermath of the game and such a victory convinced me, as a naïve nine-year-old, that we were as good as the Cobblers. Three matches and zero points later, we were relegated to the GM Vauxhall Conference.

Should I be thankful for being taught such an important lesson about strugglers and title winners being separated by such fine margins? Or should I be angry that the victory that afternoon convinced me we’d still be in Division Four the following season?

I don’t know. You decide.



  1. Richard Butcher, followed by Dick Krzywicki who I remember scored a cracking goal against Northampton in 1976 in front of over 13,000 at SB. All about opinions but rated Dixie McNeil above all those ,signed in 1972 from Northampton, part of a double signing in January with Tom Spencer from Workington.

    • Remember when they both made their debuts against York both very good players but I think we lost that game 4-5 yes that is the correct score good to watch it though.

      • Er – Dixie McNeil and Tom Spencer both made their debuts (and both scored) in a 4-1 win over Brentford in January 1972. The 4-5 home defeat to York was towards the end of the previous season when John Ward scored his first goal for the club in his second game. The first half was good to watch (4-4 at the break)!

  2. Yes John agreed Dixie, though injury prone was more of a fans favourite at the time if I remember correctly.

  3. We missed promotion in the 74/75 season on goal average. If goal difference had been used back then Lincoln would have been promoted not Chester but then we would have missed the record breaking season that followed!

  4. Dick Krzywicki had only been on loan at Northampton from Huddersfield. I’d also agree about Dixie McNeil being more to thank Northampton for.

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