Jefferson Lake’s Cobblers v Bradford City view: Town players can be heroes

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There is a strong possibility that at some point during the build-up to Saturday’s league two play-off final, ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie will be played over Wembley Stadium’s public address system.

It’s a great song and one that has gradually eased its way into the lexicon of music that is traditionally pumped out before big sporting events.

It also contains the line ‘we can be heroes, just for one day’, which is a great line, except in this instance it does not really apply.

Because any player who does make themselves a hero in this game will be do so not just for a few hours in north London on a May afternoon in 2013.

They will be a hero for the rest of their lives, and for as long as the club exists.

So much is at stake – an entire 48-game campaign distilled into 90 pressure-packed minutes.

Whoever establishes the outcome of the game will become an overnight Sixfields icon, for reasons both of practicality and in terms of sporting romance.

The most tangible reasons will come on the balance sheet; almost overnight the club will add in the region of £1m in extra revenue through increased gate receipts, as well as gain a higher profile that will attract more advertisers at larger rates and ensure packed houses in the sponsors’ lounges.

The overall prestige of the club will increase – although Portsmouth are a league two club next season they will be by far the biggest draw in that level, while league one boasts Wolves, Coventry City and Sheffield United among league one’s crowd-pulling heavyweights.

Local fixtures with Milton Keynes Dons, Walsall, Notts County, plus the return of the Peterborough United derby, would swell gates even further.

It would, in short, be an excellent division to be in next season, and provide Aidy Boothroyd with the financial clout to continue his project at the club.

It would enhance the manager’s ability to bring in the men he wants, and improve the standard of players being taken into the youth system.

It would be a much larger step up in many terms than the one the team made when it was last promoted in 2006.

But to speak about the practical effects of winning a Wembley final seems somewhat vulgar when compared to the sporting achievement on offer.

With so much at stake this will not be a fixture for the faint-hearted.

This will be a game when the current players learn a lot about each other and also themselves.

Much of it will come down to whoever holds their nerve, 
whoever can keep their head while those around them lose theirs and all the other cup-final cliches.

Does having visited Wembley already this season benefit Bradford? Possibly.

But there’s also a school of thought that, because they were routed there (by Swansea in the Capital One Cup final) their players’ memories are unlikely to be particularly positive.

Will the results between the two sides, none of which went the way of the Cobblers, give the Bantams a psychological edge?

Or will it be the recent form of Boothroyd’s side – three wins on the spin, all to nil, with a very strong performance against league runners-up Port Vale thrown in for good measure – that proves pivotal?

The answers to all these questions will be delivered over an hour and a half on the Wembley turf this Saturday.

Whatever happens, a hero could be created.

And not just for one day, but for the entire life span of Northampton Town Football Club.