Where Are They Now? Northampton Town 1975-76 Division Four Runners Up
JIM HALL believes the relaxed attitude of manager Bill Dodgin helped the Cobblers climb out of the Fourth Division.
Hall top scored with 21 goals and combined with strike partner Paul Stratford for a total of 37 as Northampton finished six points behind champions Lincoln City, but eight above Reading in third.
He had been on the ground staff in the early sixties when when the club rose through the divisions to play in the First Division.
The Cobbers finished the season as one of four clubs unbeaten at home along with Lincoln, Sunderland and QPR, and climbed out of the bottom division. Hall says he can only ever remember Dodgin getting upset once and that was when he scored a first half hat-trick at Bournemouth with his side leading 6-0.
“What I mainly remember is how laid back Bill was. I couldn’t believe pre-season training – we used to work our socks off at Peterborough,” said Hall.
“At Northampton, we had to be ready and changed for 10am and then jog up to the racecourse and it was over by 12.30 – I think because Bill wanted to get onto the golf course.
“He was fanatical about his golf. It was smashing that he was so laid-back, relaxed and it rubbed off on the players because they wanted to play for him.
“He didn’t put us under undue pressure. He had his moments, though. We played Bournemouth that season and were 6-0 up at half time. And he gave us a telling off.
“I am being serious. He went off on one and said we had to work harder. It didn’t work because we didn’t score another goal. Bill got the balance right with his squad. I had been on loan at Northampton the season before because I wasn’t in the Posh team, and had half a dozen games.
“David Gregory was up-and-coming, so I went to Northampton for a month. I think I scored four goals. Bill told me he would come and get me at the end of the season.
“He stuck to his word. He had young lads like Derrick Christie and Paul Stratford who would run all day and a group of players like me who were around the 30 mark.
“Paul was a special player and we hit it off. But there were plenty of good players who would create no end of chances. It was the right blend. But alot of it was down to his attitude. You knew he was the boss and that was it. There was no ranting and raving and stuff.
“It was a lovely place to be. I’d been there in the 1960s with all the promotions under Dave Bowen, and I was pleasantly surprised because I’d taken stick before I left.”
BACK ROW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT
1. John Clarke: Worked as a wholesale parts rep for Carnation Skoda until he died of a heart attack in Northampton on New Years Day 2011 aged 64.
2. Stuart Robertson: He settled in Abingdon, living and managing a sports complex until retiring.
3. Jim Hall: Taught in a workshop for the disabled and then ran a sheltered housing estate in Great Yarmouth before retiring to Northampton. He is returning to Norfolk this week.
4. John Gregory: Held a number of management positions with Portsmouth, Wycombe, Aston Villa, Derby and QPR, then in Israel, and latterly in Kazakhstan.
5. Jeff Parton: He returned to to live in Lea, near Preston and has worked in the licensing trade, running pubs.
6. Alan Starling: He lives in Mount, Huddersfield. After working as a salesman he became a national account manager for a pharmaceutical company.
7. Robin Wainwright: Based in Luton he has worked in a warehouse and managed a sports centre.
8. David Carlton: He settled in Little Billing, Northampton and set up his own business supplying golf equipment.
9. Alan Oman: Still living in the Northampton area and has had various jobs but is now a carer for the NHS.
10. Gary Anderson: Returned to east London and after a spell as player-manager of Barking became a train driver.
FRONT ROW FROM LEFT TO RIGHT
11. John Farrington: He became the player-manager of AP Leamington, later working as a club steward in Newbold Verdon, Leicestershire.
12. Paul Stratford: Never gave up his job as a plumber and returned to it when injury ended his career aged 22.
13. Barry Tucker: He settled in Northampton and works in the sales office for engineering company FG Metcalfe.
14. Billy Best: Lives in Earls Barton, Northampton and after working as a painter and decorator he became a salesman for McConnell’s Seamless Roofing.
15. Derrick Christie: Lives in Peterborough. Worked as a legal executive, and has been at the Land Registry since 1989.
16. Gary Mabee: Became a TV news cameraman for Anglia Television and is now freelance with his own business.
17. David Liddle: He lives in Bedford, was operations manager for a vending machine company, and now works in a warehouse for Argos.
Don Martin: Managed Corby and set up a painting and decorating business until his death in November 2009.
Alan Mayes: Works for a company that does corporate hospitality at sporting events.
Neil Davids: Became a jeweller on the Fylde Coast and ran a property development company until his death in December 2011.
Steve Phillips: Ran his own bar, Inchys Sports Pub in Benalmadena, Spain, ran the King’s Head in Spratton, then The Crown in Wellingborough.
Graham Felton: On retirement he worked as a painter and decorator from his home in Billing, Northamptonshire.Andrew McGowan: Died in May 1999 aged 42 after he stopped breathing during a routine leg operation.
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