I made a small donation to the ‘Save the Cobblers’ fighting fund this week. It wasn’t much, and I thought long and hard before giving money to the local enemy, but it would be a sad day for football in general, and for Posh in particular, if Northampton Town FC ceased to exist.
Of course there would be laughter and mockery from these parts initially.
I suspect Cobblers’ fans would act in a similar way should Posh owner Darragh MacAnthony finally get fed up with low crowds and Twitter trolls and leave us at the mercy of unscrupulous owners looking to make a quick buck as a priority over growing a club.
To Posh fans of a certain vintage, Cobblers are the real local rivals. They provide the only ‘true’ Posh derby match even though the clubs now dwell in different counties.
If the taxman forces Cobblers out of business next week, it would not only wipe out 118 years of history, but ruin the prospect of seeing another brilliant match-winning goal from Simon ‘Digger’ Davies at Sixfields, or a scruffy one from Chris Plummer as Posh even once managed to win at Northampton under Mark Wright’s management.
Many football seasons, like the one Posh spent under Wright for instance, are dull, but lifted by derby games with great atmospheres.
I also laughed when Ade Boothroyd’s horrible Cobblers’ side capitulated in a recent play-off final against Bradford City at Wembley. It’s fun to watch one’s rivals struggle, but dying altogether is something different.
Take Cobblers away and what are Posh fans left with? To some fans six points in a season against Northampton was better than winning promotion.
Cambridge United are still about, but derby games with them are not the same.
They lack the history and the tradition. Posh have met Cambridge 30 times in the Football League, but they’ve played Northampton 50 times (and pleasingly boast a 23-14 winning record) in a rivalry stretching back to the 1960s.
Posh are in danger of inheriting MK Dons as their closest rivals and no-one surely wants that?
Ah MK Dons. Now there’s a club I wouldn’t shed a tear for should they fall on hard times.
There would be no donation from me to save them from extinction. I would feel no sympathy for fans who embraced a set of imposters.
But Northampton fans are completely innocent victims in a very sorry saga.
Okay they could start dismantling the theory that they live in a rugby town by visiting their soul-less, charm-free stadium in greater numbers.
But it isn’t their fault that council money has gone missing and the taxman hasn’t been paid. I just hope those responsible are punished properly if frauds and gross mis-management is proven.
But please don’t the club go under.
Just deduct them enough points to be condemned to non-league football.