Cobblers legend Sampson lands role as club’s academy chief

Ian Sampson has worked with BBC Radio Northampton in recent years. Picture: Pete Norton
Ian Sampson has worked with BBC Radio Northampton in recent years. Picture: Pete Norton

Former Cobblers player and manager Ian Sampson has been named the club’s new academy manager.

Sampson hardly needs any introduction to supporters having amassed a mighty 449 appearances for the Cobblers between 1994 and 2004, the second most in the club’s history. 

He enjoyed some great times during those years, not least when helping Northampton beat Swansea City in the Division Three promotion play-off final in 1997, a day he described as the highlight of his career. 

Sampson, now 50, also held a number of other roles at the Cobblers during his post-playing career, initially joining the youth team set-up as coach before being promoted to the first-team in 2006. 

After two stints as caretaker, Sampson became permanent Cobblers boss in 2009 and the highlight of his 18-month reign was the memorable penalty shoot-out victory over Premier League giants Liverpool in the League Cup in 2010. 

After a spell coaching young players at the FCV Football International Academy, Sampson will now return to Northampton when he starts his new role in mid-November, and Cobblers chief executive James Whiting believes he is the ideal man to take on the position.

He said: “Ian is very well respected by everyone connected with the club, not just for his time as a player, but for his work as a coach since his playing days came to an end.

“A lot of that time as a coach has been working with and developing young players and he knows the club very well, he has that connection with the club, he knows the local football scene and he is the perfect person to build on the fantastic progress that our academy has made in recent seasons.

“As highlighted by the U16s winning their league to retain their title last weekend and with the U18s being top of their table as well as the fantastic progress being made by our younger age groups, our academy is in excellent shape. 

“More and more local players are coming through to be part of the first team squad, players are also emerging through the pathway from our Football & Education programme and we are even seeing some coaching staff progress internally up that pathway too.

“We think he is the perfect man to head things up. Ian knows football in Northamptonshire inside out, he has a lot of contacts and he has the respect of the footballing community.

“He will inherit some excellent coaches and staff as well as a very talented group of young players and we are delighted to welcome Ian back to the club in this very important role.”