Chairman Thomas hails '˜fantastic' Wilder for overachieving at Cobblers
'He's done alright, hasn't he?,' says Kelvin Thomas with a smile etched on his face.
The Cobblers chairman is sitting on one of the new seats in the East Stand, surveying a sunny Sixfields and giving his thoughts on manager Chris Wilder’s contribution to it all.
Thomas knows it would be hard to put into words what Wilder has done for Cobblers, on and off the field this season, so some lighthearted sarcasm is a good way to start.
“He’s put a bit of effort in,” Thomas adds, jovially.
“Chris has been fantastic. We knew coming in that he was a good manager and the work he’d done prior to us arriving, this is what’s happening now.
“We’re not unrealistic enough to think ‘this is us, we’ve come in and all of a sudden we’ve gone on a 10-game winning run’ - that’s not the case.
“He’s been planning for this point in the season and he’s obviously pleased.
“In financial terms, he’s overachieved, if you look at the budget that he’s on. That’s all you really ask for from a manager.
“We’re absolutely pleased that it’s gone as well as it has - for him as well.”
Cobblers will win promotion if they beat Bristol Rovers at Sixfields on Saturday and they can win the title if that happens and Oxford United fail to win at Crawley Town.
It would cap a remarkable rise for the club since winning 1-0 at Rovers on the opening day of the season back in August.
Since then, the chairman has changed, with Thomas having bought the club from David Cardoza at the end of November.
Wilder played a huge part in that deal, with his impassioned speech after a game at Notts County pushing Cardoza to sell up.
And the manager has gone on to mastermind an 18-match unbeaten run that goes back to December 19.
So how much does Wilder deserve the imminent title success?
“Everyone at the football club deserves it,” Thomas said.
“When you’re on 87 points with six games to go, there’s not a person in the club who doesn’t deserve the promotion: the players, the staff and the manager - they’re all part of it.
“The key to Chris and the reason we work well together is because we have the same sort of feeling. It’s not about Chris, it’s not about me, it’s not about Ricky Holmes, it’s not about Rico (Marc Richards), it’s about everyone.
“You don’t see Chris running around celebrating with his manager of the month awards and you won’t see me on the pitch with a scarf on.
“It’s not about us. It’s about the collective team and everyone around.”