11 Things About...Northampton

AARON Kendall brings you 11 things about our destination this Saturday - Northampton.

1) Northampoton Town hold the record for the shortest time taken to be promoted from the bottom tier to the top tier and relegated back down to the bottom again, in the space of nine years in the 1960s.

2) The club’s main rivals are considered to be Peterborough United, which is a similar distance from Northampton as Exeter is from Plymouth. 

3) Due to unfortunate events, the club went into administration in 1992.  These events sparked the formation of the Northampton Town Supporters Trust, which has a shareholding in the club and a representative on the Board of Directors. This was the first such instance of a supporters' trust taking over a football club.

4)The club nickname is "The Cobblers", a reference to the town's historical shoe-making industry which has spanned over 900 years. Queen Elizabeth II herself went to Northampton at one point to get some new shoes.

5) George Washington's great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Lawrence Washington, who purchased Sulgrave Manor from Henry VIII, was Mayor of Northampton in 1532 and 1545.

6) The club’s official mascot is Clarence the Dragon. The dragon stems from the image of a dragon on the club’s crest, which also includes Northampton castle and a shoe.

7) Walter Tull, who played 111 games for Northampton in 1911 and 1914, was only the second black person to play in the top division of the Football League and became the first ever black officer in the British Army having signed up to the Football Battalion during the First World War.

8) The football club moved into Sixfields Stadium in 1994, having previously played at the County Ground, which they shared with Northamptonshire County Cricket Club. You can see the cricket ground from Sixfields’ main stand. 

9) Northampton has the biggest market square in England. The original market, chartered in 1189, was held around All Saints’ Church there; then in 1235 Henry III took umbrage at sacred ground being used for commerce and ordered it moved to its present site.

10) Popular comedian Alan Carr grew up in Northampton. His dad Graham Carr – formerly a half-back with The Cobblers in the sixties – was the manager of Northampton Town football club between 1985 and 1990, and is now a scout for Newcastle United. 

11) What’s that big tower that dominates the Northampton skyline? Well, it is the National Lift Tower, used by lift companies for research, development, testing and marketing. It locally nicknamed the Northampton Lighthouse.