This Weekend In 2005: Northampton Town, Keith Rumours and Mascot Insults

Courtesy Graham Burrell

As you may know, Bubs often posts photos of a weekend from his history behind the lens on social media, looking to spark a few memories for supporters during these challenging times.

This weekend, he’s sent me the snaps from our game against Northampton Town on April 23rd 2005, which seems like the perfect place to start a bit of a series. Whilst Bubs’ is happy to send me the photos, I’ll be doing a little snapshot of that game in context, with some wider football bits and analysis too.

I would imagine many supporters on their way to Sixfields that afternoon would have been in good spirits. ‘Employment’ by the Kaiser Cheifs had just been released, it sounded fresh and not tainted by the later love-in with Radio One and Chris Moyles that, in my eyes, turned them from a half-decent act into a fawning symbol of everything bad with modern music. As Ricky thingymabob thrashed out ‘I Predict a Riot’, Imps’ fans were busy predicting a League One place next season.

We had one defeat in seven matches behind us, that coming at Notts County in an anti-climax of a game following a superb 2-0 win against Scunthorpe United live on Sky. We’d drawn 1-1 with Southend at the start of the run, a fine result as they were top of the table and only saved by a 90th minute Freddie Eastwood penalty. We’d beaten Rushden 4-1 away in a wonderful trip to Northants and travelled to the Cobblers with a 2-0 win against Macclesfield in our last game, an encounter Keith described as complete. With three matches to go, four points separated us and the Iron in third.

Down at the bottom of the table, BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Steve Thompson was having a torrid time at Cambridge United, despite picking up four of their seven wins of the season in his previous ten matches. Still, we knew that whatever went on elsewhere, this game was one that we had to win. The 1-0 defeat against Notts County, courtesy of a penalty, had severely dented our hopes. After handing Scunthorpe a defeat in front of the Sky cameras, momentum had been lost despite them having Stefan Oakes sent off just after half time. We had it all to do a needed a win at Sixfields to keep the pressure up on the top three. Above us, Swansea travelled to Bristol Rovers, Southend were at Oxford, Grimsby hosted Scunthorpe and Yeovil hosted Wycombe.

I didn’t travel that day, although 850 did, but if I had I would have been royally hacked off with the coverage of Poacher in their programme. I (he) was (accurately but) rudely described as being one of the ugliest mascots in the division on a page dedicated to a dragon called Clarence. I might have been ready for a falling out, had I been at the ground.

It’s also interesting to note that Northampton were knocking out their season ticket renewals in the programme and guess what; their most expensive tickets were the same price as our renewals this season. I know people moan about ST prices, but this was from a side below us in the division, asking £370 for their West Stand.

It was always going to be a tough encounter, with the Cobblers eager to secure themselves a play-off spot too. We’ll come to our team in a minute, but make no mistake this was a strong opposition. Scott McGleish was a good forward in his day, Marc Richards is still going strong and we knew all about Andy Kirk from his time at Boston United. Sam Togwell and Josh Low tried to pull the strings in midfield and current Cambridge boss Colin Calderwood was at the helm.

For the Imps, the squad had a ‘classic’ feel to it, falling at the end of possibly the strongest period n our history up until recently. McAuley, McCombe, Futcher and Paul Morgan all started, with Kevin Sandwith at right back. It was one of the final games in which we saw Peter Gain and Richard Butcher together, whilst Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Simon Yeo were both impressive. Our starting XI was capped off by Derek Asamoah, who joined after Marcus Richardson was farmed out on loan. On the bench, Lee Beevers, Ritchie Hanlon and Franny Green all got a run out, whilst Matt Bloomer and Martin Carruthers were the unused subs. The side does feel a little unbalanced, a lack of out and out right back in the starting XI was made up by having two on the bench. Bloomer had fallen out of favour after a torrid time in a game against Wycombe a few months earlier in which they were 3-0 up at half time and he came off after 48 minutes, with us reducing the deficit to 3-2 in his absence.

That’s the context, what of the game? Well, you can find Bubs’ action pics on the next page, before we finish with the conclusion.