After just 12 games and 142 days in charge, Dean Austin has ‘parted company’ with the Cobblers.
The club announced at 8.45pm on Sunday night that Austin is no longer the Town manager, a little over a day after a humbling 4-0 Sky Bet League Two defeat at Mansfield Town.
It was a defeat that was followed by an emotional and raw post-match interview with Austin, who, as well as accepting his own responsibilities, blatantly pointed the finger of blame at his players for the club’s shocking start to the season that sees them sitting 21st in the basement division.
Town have managed just one win in 10 league games, and find themselves just two points above the relegation zone having only been relegated from the third tier in May.
It is not the start to the season that anybody was expecting.
The bulk of the squad from last season was kept over the summer in the hope that an immediate return to league one could be achieved via promotion, but it hasn’t worked out that way.
The club has sunk into a depression of losing games far too often, and is effectively back where it was when Wilder was appointed in January, 2014Jeremy Casey
Indeed, the team are in with a chance of getting themselves out of league two, but not the way anybody wants!
The club issued a statement on Sunday night that gave no further details on what had happened with regards to Austin, other than they had ‘parted company’ with the manager who was only appointed to the role on May 12, and chairman Kelvin Thomas is scheduled to face the media at 9am on Monday to throw more light on the situation.
So, was Austin sacked? Or did he decide to walk away?
We simply don’t know as yet, but there is one thing that is crystal clear, and that is that Northampton Town Football Club is in a bit of a mess, and it’s a mess that needs clearing up quickly.
The club is in a downward spiral, and has been for the past 20 months or so.
Since Chris Wilder left Sixfields after steering the club to the league two title in May, 2016, four managers have been employed and lost their jobs in pretty quick succession.
None have lasted longer than eight months, with Rob Page the first to try and fail to fill Wilder’s sizeable shoes, only to be followed by Justin Edinburgh, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and now Austin, who had also been assistant to his predecessor.
Austin’s time at the helm is the shortest reign of the lot, even if you take into account his stint as caretaker boss at the end of last season, a campaign that saw the club relegated back to the Football League’s basement division.
It was his first job as a manager at Football League level, and his tenure lasted less than five months.
Quite honestly, what has happened to the Cobblers since Wilder quit to take over at Sheffield United has been little short of disastrous, with all the good work done in being promoted less than two-and-a-half years ago, now completely wasted.
The club has sunk into a depression of losing games far too often, and the fact they have won just once on home soil since January 20 is simply not acceptable.
The Cobblers are now effectively back where they were when Wilder was appointed in January, 2014.
At that time, Town were rock bottom of the Football League and in a seemingly hopeless position, and although it is not quite that bad yet, it is getting there.
There is a lot of work to be done to turn things around, and the players need to take a very long, and very hard look at themselves.
I mean, is what is happening on the pitch every week really all down to the managers?
Aside from the obvious on-field issues, things are up in the air off it as well.
Chairman Thomas revealed last week that he is in talks with three parties about investing in the club, and hinted he may be close to selling it, but surely that has all got to be put on the backburner now?
Thomas and his fellow directors have the much more immediate task of appointing yet another manager, and they need to pour all their energy into ensuring that this time, it is the right person for the job.
The new manager, whoever it may be, will be the fifth appointed under Thomas and this board’s watch, and they quite simply can’t afford to make another error of judgement.
They have to get this one right, as it is no exaggeration to say the future of the club could very well depend on it.