Both Thanks and No Thanks: April 1987
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.