Frankie goes to... Northampton with Hartlepool United

Colin Cooper during the game against Northampton Town. Picture by FRANK REID
Colin Cooper during the game against Northampton Town. Picture by FRANK REID

It’s been a few weeks since I brought you my last blog and in that time there’s been a switch in my travel companion.

My usual co-pilot Richard was otherwise engaged on his first of two stag dos (yes I’ve tried and failed in talking him out of it) so my companion for the journey to Northampton was our very own soorts editor Roy Kelly, commonly known around the office as Captain Chaos.

I pulled up to Kelly mansions to collect the man himself only to find Mrs Kelly outside, struggling to put a kayak on the roof of her car. Roy runs out of the house, gives Mrs Kelly a quick peck on the cheek and jumps in the car before she can ask him to help… smart move. Now I must at this point make mention that Roy’s daughter is a kayaker of some note so this wasn’t some kind of failed John Darwin-style escape act, although living with Captain Chaos can’t be easy.

We weren’t on the road for long when Roy was living up to his moniker. Several phone calls from home asking where he’d put the grab hooks to secure the kayak, where the wetsuit was and whether he’d be home in time to treat them to tea followed in quick succession. I’m not sure he managed to answer any of the questions with the response Mrs Kelly was hoping for but it made the journey interesting anyway.

Northampton are known as The Cobblers because of the role they had to play in the British Shoe industry. The Dr Martens brand originated in Northamptonshire and my colleagues here at the Hartlepool Mail will testify to this photographer sporting a pair of oxblood Dr Marten shoes for work each day – always a trendsetter.

The Sixfields stadium is a functional place, although it’s fair to say that it does lack a little character. The ground was built on a retail park and has a similar feel to Scunthorpe’s ground in it’s structure and location. The stadium itself is set in a bit of a hollow and away fans are located behind the goal to the right of the dugouts.

Sadly the pitch was in a bit of a state, fairly soft all over and cutting up badly in places. This is no doubt a result of Coventry City also playing their home games at Sixfields after a rent dispute, although this didn’t stop either team from trying to play the ball on the ground.

Two long away games in one week probably took it’s toll a little on travelling support with just over 260 making the journey south but as per usual they let the home support know they were there.

The next away trip will be an even longer journey down to Buckinghamshire for the fixture against Wycombe Wanderers, scene of our promotion celebrations in 2007. Happy Memories!