Northampton Town

Ground No. 59
Visited - Monday 28th March 2005
Result - Northampton Town 2-0 Shrewsbury Town
Competition - Coca-Cola League 2
Attendance - 6514

I'd decided to go to at least one game over Easter, and not wanting to travel too far decided to pay a visit to Sixfields, the home of Northampton. Wolves had played there in the summer, but I didn’t especially want to go to a friendly, so it was a new ground for me, with the bonus of seeing my second team Shrewsbury Town in action.

The train journey down there went fairly well, with a quick change over in Birmingham, arriving in Northampton just before midday. I had a quick walk around the town before heading off for the ground, taking time to stop off at Franklin’s Gardens. After I'd finished taking pictures there, I carried on walking down to Sixfields, getting there in plenty of time before the game.

I'd read about the huge hill at the North end of the ground, but you really have to go there to see how big it is. After taking a few pictures of the ground from up there, I went down and around the outside. Its an interesting ground, the West Stand is modern, with its glass frontage and looks especially impressive, whilst the two ends of the ground are identical, in being quite small and predominantly made of concrete and breeze blocks, which despite looking a bit cheap up close, from a distance do look quite attractive. The rear of the Alwyn Hargrave Stand is hidden by the athletics stadium, which is adjacent to Sixfields.

After buying a ticket and making a quick visit to the club shop, I decided to go into the ground with about an hour left to kick-off. The stewards on the turnstile were, to be polite, ‘particularly efficient’ and it didn’t stop there, with several stewards inside quizzing me why I was taking pictures of the ground. I managed to fob them off with an excuse, but their almost paranoid nature was quite off putting and not really needed. They were the same throughout the afternoon, being overly zealous in their attitude towards the away fans.

As for the ground, inside its quite impressive, the good weather and well maintained pitch probably helped to make it look better than I imagine it does during winter or at night, but with only the two ends having the same design as each other it has a bit of character that a lot of new grounds lack. We were in the South Stand, where both the facilities and view were good, although the legroom was non-existent, with the seat in front cutting into my knees. To our left was the West Stand, which was taller than the other three, and looked quite good. Opposite, the Dave Bowen Stand was the same as the away end, and looked nice enough, especially with the huge hill behind it, giving the ground an enclosed feel. The final stand to our right, was about the same height as the two ends, but was a slightly different design and fitted in well.

After having got enough pictures, I found a decent place to sit, and waited for the match to start. When it did it was quite a good game, with both teams looking to attack in the first half. Despite Shrewsbury having a fair amount of possession, it was the hosts who looked the more dangerous, going close several times early on, before taking the lead through Martin Smith on 16 minutes when Shrewsbury’s defence failed to clear the ball. The rest of the half was pretty even, until with half-time approaching Northampton doubled their lead when Ashley Westwood scored from a corner.

The second half was much the same, with the visitors having the better chances in front of goal, but they couldn’t convert them, and not helped by a poor performance from the referee never seriously looked like getting anything from the game. The only real incident of note was when Stuart Whitehead got sent-off because of stupidly elbowing a Northampton player during injury time.

Throughout, the away fans kept up a good atmosphere, which was partly matched by the Northampton supporters, it was good seeing a ground at this level that was mostly full, hopefully when they expand the ground they wont have masses of empty seats, as that would kind of detract from it.

After leaving, I had a brisk walk back to the station, and whilst waiting for the train noticed that on one platform there was a waiting room decorated in the clubs colours, and had team pictures hanging on the walls. I've never seen anything like that elsewhere, but it was quite good and nice to see the club having a presence in its own town, something which whilst walking around earlier, seeing plenty of people in rugby tops, yet no football ones I'd thought was lacking, but obviously not!

Overall it was quite a good trip, I was glad that I went for both seeing a new ground and it was also good to see Shrewsbury play again. The only bad point were the stewards, who I couldn’t help thinking with the same attitude would have caused trouble if it was Wolves that were the visitors, but thankfully the general attitude of the travelling Shrewsbury supporters was less threatening than a Wolves crowd can be, so there were no signs of potential trouble.


Rear of the Dave Bowen Stand

Rear of the West Stand

The Club Shop

Rear of the South Stand

The West Stand

The Dave Bowen Stand

The Alwyn Hargreave Stand

The Alwyn Hargreave Stand

The Dave Bowen Stand

The West Stand

Sixfields Panoramic 1

Sixfields Panoramic 2

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