We visit Northampton Town this weekend, for only the second time in almost a decade.
We did go there one the opening day of the 2018/19 season, winning 1-0, but prior to that, we haven’t been since our relegation season. That year, we lost 2-1 and spiralled towards the National League.
The Cobblers are a side we have faced on plenty of occasions, 55 times in fact. The record is delicately poised too, 15 wins each and 25 draws. we did play them in our last third-tier stay, 1998/99, drawing and winning at the Bank. In truth, there is little between the two clubs historically, but we will feel we should be favourites this weekend.
Given that the two sides are close (ish) geographically, it stands to reason plenty of players have played for both. We start our look at fond (and not so fond) Northampton memories with a 1976 title winner.
Ryszard Lech Krzywicki, born in Wales to Polish parents, had perhaps let the best of his career pass him by when he signed for City. He had Welsh international caps, eight of them to be precise, and in April 1970 he scored for Wales against then World Champions England. He was always on the fringes at West Brom and not long after his historic goal past Gordon Banks, he left the Baggies and joined Huddersfield for a club-record fee of £45,000. He banged in a couple of goals to help them win the Second Division title, meaning in 1971 he was a First Division player, the equivalent of today’s Premier League. Impressive.
By 1973 successive relegation saw the Terrier slip to the Third Division for the first time in their history and after loan spells at Scunthorpe and Northampton Town, Kryzwicki joined Lincoln City in Division Four. He only appeared eight times for the Cobblers, but scored on three occasions.
In his first season, City missed out on promotion by goal difference, with the flying Welshman making 34 appearances and scoring eight times. He scored in consecutive games against Darlington away (4-1 win), Shrewsbury away (4-1 win) and Torquay at home (3-1 win). When he then set up a goal as we beat Doncaster 4-0 at the Bank and added his fourth in five games as we beat Barnsley away, a new hero was born. He signed off the season with a goal at Southport as we missed out on promotion, having missed just six league matches.
The following season, 1975/76, might be one you’ve heard a bit about. He made 21 starts, scoring seven times. Usually playing on the right flank, his most important goal of the season came after a switch by Graham Taylor. On March 17th, nearest rivals Northampton Town came to the Bank needing something to stop us in the title chase, and Taylor switched Kryzwicki to the centre of attack. He promptly picked up the ball, ran half the length of the pitch and grabbed our second goal of a 3-1 win.
It wasn’t his last goal in City colours, that came against Stockport a few weeks later, but it was his last at the Bank. Two days later he started through the centre against his old side Huddersfield but was forced off and replaced by Percy Freeman, himself having been a victim of injury.