With Corby Town showing admirable solidarity with their tenants and snatching relegation from a seemingly safe mid-league position, Northants football reaches the end of a turbulent 2012-13 season.
Somehow our landlords managed to secure entry into the AGM Cup, even despite their surprising win at an safely-ensconced-in-the-play-offs Brackley Town. Another win in any of their remaining games would have secured their survival, but none of their other opponents proved to be so accommodating.... Our groundshare may well have helped both clubs make it to the end of the season - us with somewhere other than Nonce Park to lose our games, and them with an extra weekly windfall. And yet, somehow they still managed to pip Histon to that final relegation spot.
Especially galling for the club was the final day gate of over 1800. OK, it was free entrance. And OK, most of the once-a-seasoners probably spent all game moaning about the fare served up for them(as is the way with Northants football), but it must have annoyed the powers that be that this many people turn up once the club are doomed. Still, it must make a nice change to get a good gate for a game where neither Rangers or the Poppies are the opponents.
Woodford United made damn sure they wouldn't line up against the Poppies next season by diligently managing to lose all 42 league games this season. They almost spoiled a perfect season by going into the 75th minute of their last game leading Godalming Town 1-0. They soon reverted to type and managed to secure another defeat to see the season out. 84 hardy souls stuck this last game out, and before we find such a paltry crowd laughable, it's worth noting that we've had a number of attendances this season which were less than double this figure. And if we'd lost every game this season (instead of just seemingly losing every game) could we guarantee we'd attract more through the turnstiles?
Daventry Town finished just outside the play-offs, so, Imraan's continued twatty-ness not withstanding, will be our latest, bitter local rivals. They will be following on from such former league enemies as Corby, Boston United, Hinckley Town, Stevenage, Scum, and, Heaven help us, Luton Town! We will no doubt start the pre-season build-up in hostilities with Daventry just as soon as we find out anything about them! Christ, we don't even know what colours they play in!
Scum Part II have, we think, been promoted into a division uncomfortably close to our own. Fair do's, they have managed to turn their fortunes around through their own efforts, and ought really be applauded for their resurgence. And if we weren't such bitter bastards we would no doubt congratulate them too, but for a hundred different reasons that is impossible. Not least amongst these reasons is the fact that all we can see is the guaranteed loss of 6 points in a couple of years time!
Brackley Town have manged to buy their way into the Conference North play-offs, much as we managed to buy the actual title a few years ago. One can only fear how far they will fall once the money is withdrawn.
The Cobblers too have ended the season in the play-off places. Somehow even Boothroyd's Neanderthal footballing-methodology hasn't entirely defeated the enormous investment of the Cardoza clan. It's doubtful they'll manage to haul themselves out of League Two, as they cannot win outside of Sixfields, but one thing is for certain, there will be no way of turning on Radio Northampton without hearing all about it. 24 hours a day. Everyday. Forever.
So there you have it. Another season done. Apologies to any team we have omitted, but I'm sick of typing, and you're obviously not that important!