Wilder keen to recognise the unsung heroes of Cobblers’ glorious season

Chris Wilder and counterpart Paul Cook on the touchline at Fratton Park. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds
Chris Wilder and counterpart Paul Cook on the touchline at Fratton Park. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds
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After Northampton ended their campaign with victory over Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Saturday, manager Chris Wilder paid tribute to the ‘unbelievable’ effort and commitment of everyone who has contributed to their success this season, including those off the pitch.

A 2-1 victory over Portsmouth put the gloss on a roller-coaster nine months for Northampton, which started with the club in financial turmoil and ended with promotion and the League Two title.

While the players have taken plenty the plaudits, it was the unwavering unity and defiance of the club’s staff and supporters that helped keep the club alive during difficult times in the autumn.

Despite not being paid, the non-playing staff remained loyal and committed to the cause and Wilder is determined to ensure they are recognised for the part they played in the club’s success this season.

He said: “The staff went three months without getting paid but they didn’t walk away because it’s their club and they wanted it to carry on and they didn’t want it to die.

“The staff have really kept their club going when they could have easily put the white flag up and that’s unbelievable commitment and passion from them.

“Let’s talk about the character of the players, the character of the staff, the character of the non-football staff that give me an opportunity to prepare the players.

“The support we’ve had has been outstanding – the support at Coventry and at Notts County and for me that’s what football is all about and that’s what we’re here for.”

Saturday’s victory saw the Cobblers clinch the League Two title by 13 points over second-placed Oxford United, and Wilder believes there are various ‘special’ qualities which have contributed to them winning the division by such an emphatic margin.

He added: “We’ve got results in every different way and in every different location and to do that is incredible.

“We’ve just kept going. I thought we were up after Stevenage but we’ve just kept rolling out training sessions, rolling out performances and rolling out results.

“We’ve never had a day off this season and we’ve turned up in every game and that’s a special quality which the players have, driven on by the staff who set the standards.

“There’s no day off for winners. We said that at the start - if we want to achieve, we can’t afford to have a day off.

“There are days where we’ve not been great and not been at our best and there’s been days where we’ve lost but we’ve always come back and got ourselves going and gone again which is terrific.”