The great city of Leicester came to a standstill last night to cheer their East Midlands neighbours Northampton as they made an unlikely return to League 1 in front of 90,000 empty seats.

They’re the ultimate yo-yo club, along with Luton.

Northampton's goalscorers in the 2020 League Two play-off final
Too close

Some Leicesterians may even make a trip south to Sixfields on Saturday to enjoy great pubs like, er, TGI Friday and Hungry Horse.


Photo : Dwadfish

My first trip to the newbuild Cobblers ground came in 2014,when I became the first person to walk up the grass bank behind the goal, cheered on by Bury fans.

With respect to any former Cobblers stars who made Sixfields their home, I preferred the County Ground they used to share with the cricket club.

Carpet Supacentre !!

In the early ’90s I made a few trips to their charming 3 sided ground, the 4th (cricket side) being a row of duckboards with an atmosphere somewhat akin to a Stonegate pub.

See the source image

But at that 1993 fixture I saw a team destined to finish bottom of the league, reprieved by Kidderminster’s fire safety failings, smash Mansfield 5-1. Shoulda been 10.

My hero was Abraham Anstruther, monthly contributor to the What A Load of Cobblers fanzine.

This guy’s reminiscences about the team’s mid-60s highs and lows and ’90s pre-Clarkson lows always concluded with some heartfelt philosophy, such as this paean to the joys of a trip to Leyton Orient for a 2-0 defeat;

I love this

Abe (real name Norman Maycock) fondly recalled the ’60s team which plummeted back to Division 4 as quickly as it rose, stopping only to give West Brom a tough game in 1967 (the Best masterclass came 3 years later).

John Kurila was Abe’s hero

Always a joy to read the ads in ’60s programmes, including one for a camera you can legally use in Sam Smiths pubs,

Beer at football grounds, a joy

and two beers revived as successfully as the Cobblers’ fortunes.

The Phipps tap is a wonder.


The Albion was one of half a dozen fine pubs on our 2018 crawl through a wonderfully friendly, law abiding town.

Richard’s favourite

Just watch out for the guy wearing Bass braces.




22 thoughts on “COBBLERS

      1. What more could a man ask for? Breakfast with “the epitome of the reliable right-back” interview. Great stuff.


      2. For many people, going to an away match is their only real adventures apart from the annual fortnight in Spain or Greece. Some of the best football writing concerns away trips, public urination and being hit by a blown up condom filled with urine in the away end at Rotherham.


  1. Fantastic! Proper football and delighted to see them win last night….if they do well they’ll nick a few fans from saints and would love to see them in championship.
    Crap pubs by the ground though you’re right! Although I only ever went to Chicago Rock anyway 😄😄


  2. Remarkable feat to win promotion through the play-offs from seventh position in the league table and with form pre-lockdown which reads LLWLWL. Only three teams had equally bad or worse recent loss ratios, and they were in 14th, 22nd and 23rd places! Tremendous achievement, well done to Keith Curle and the lads.

    “They’re the ultimate yo-yo club, along with Luton.” I think you’ll find that Luton Town are still ahead in that particular race. I make it 10 promotions (including this one) and nine relegations for the Cobblers since first entering the football league in 1946, with only one season in the top flight; 11 promotions and 10 relegations for the Hatters, with possibly one more of the latter still to come this season. Plus reaching the top flight not just once, not twice, but three times altogether, and staying there for 10 seasons the third time. And not forgetting our spectacular plummet from the Chamionship in season 2006/7 to non-league in 2009/10, and back to the Chamionship for season 2019/20. “Yo-yo”? Don’t you mean roller-coaster…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yo yo coaster ?

      You’re right, not matches Luton’s periods of top division stability followed by collapse etc. etc. I guess Pompey have had a fair stab at it, and Burnley tried to fall out of the League once.


  3. Yes, a lovely few paragraphs there from ‘Abe’ albeit a bit dated.
    Nowadays it might be
    “And what if the beer garden of the St Giles Ale House led to a life-long devotion to gardening,
    And what if their afternoon was livened up with an upstairs discussion about Autovacs,
    And what if a man walking down an alleyway chanced upon an absolute bargain of a haunch of beef to take home to his beautiful wife”

    Liked by 1 person

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