Bob’s Part In Epic Promotion Triumph
Cobblers Reunion Sparks Happy Memories
Bob Coy nearly missed out on his personal spoils from the historic Northampton Town title march that came at the expense of Wolves and others.
Thankfully, with a little help from Wolves Heroes, he was fully involved in the 30-year reunion that has just taken place in commemoration of some momentous feats.
“It was a great night,” he said today. “We finished with 99 points, scored 103 goals and won the Fourth Division by a mile, so the lads had lots to talk about.
“For some reason, though, the manager, Graham Carr, didn’t have a medal for me at the awards night at the time, although my 17 appearances was comfortably past the number you needed to qualify for one.
“I saw some of the other lads with theirs and remember asking Phil Chard, who later came to Wolves, why there hadn’t been one for me. I had to go and see the club owner, Derek Banks, and he sorted me out with one.”
Much more recently, it was Carr who prompted the small helping hand we played in getting Coy, an early 1980s Wolves defender, to last weekend’s celebration night in the Northampton’s Park Inn.
He didn’t have an up-to-date number for him and the matter landed at our doorstep when he asked his fellow north-easterner and our good friend, Jim Barron, whether he had any ideas as to the 55-year-old’s whereabouts.
“I’m so glad I was there…..I think the only one who couldn’t make it was Dave Gilbert, who had a brilliant left foot and made a lot of our goals with his set-pieces,” Coy added.
“He made my only Northampton goal actually, although I sort of forced that one in against Gillingham in the League Cup. It was nothing particularly planned.
“I had gone there from Chester and had a good run in the side because of an injury in a game at Albion’s training ground to Russell Wilcox, who had just been signed from Frickley.
“I played in late September when we beat Wolves 2-1 on that strange slope next to the cricket pitch at the County Ground. It started us off on seven wins in a row in the League, including the one straight afterwards in midweek at Halifax, where the manager gave us the biggest bollocking you have ever heard. We conceded three and he seemed to overlook the fact we scored six.
“We had some good players there, including Ian Benjamin, my oldest contact in football. He played for Nottingham Schools against the Birmingham Schools side I was in when we were both at under-11 level.
“Trevor Morley, who now analyses Premier League matches on Norwegian TV, was in our attack as well and our top scorer was Richard Hill, from Nuneaton. He must have scored nearly 30 that season and went on to Watford.
“Eddie McGoldrick was another who went on to big things – with Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Manchester City – and we saw on the screen at the weekend what good saves Peter Gleasure made for us.”
Such was Northampton’s dominance of the division that their points tally meant they finished a full 29 ahead of one of the other promoted clubs, Aldershot, Wolves infamously totalling 79 and then losing to them in the last of the two-legged play-off finals.
“You would think we might have wrapped up the title in March or something but that wasn’t the case,” Coy said. “We played a lot of games in a short space of time at the end of the season because of postponements and Cup commitments.
“We played Newcastle away in the third round and seemed to spend almost a week up there because it kept getting called off and then being pencilled in for a night or two later.
“I also had a decent run at the end of the season, including the last day at Wrexham, and recall Graham being devastated that we had fallen just short of 100 points. He could be a hard man to please!”
When Coy fell out of favour at the County Ground, it was to his good fortune that he had a friend who lived next door to Bobby Gould’s brother, Trevor – then the manager of Aylesbury. An invitation to drop on loan into non-League followed and another medal was picked up, this time for winning the Southern League Premier.
Even luckier, Aylesbury were the club Bobby Robson turned to for an unlikely friendly shortly before he took England to that summer’s European Championship finals in West Germany. As a centre-half, Coy found himself up against huge names…..
“Gary Lineker and Peter Beardsley were playing,” he recalled. “So were Glenn Hoddle and Mark Hateley. I had got to know Mark while he was at Coventry. Peter Beardsley went off and I asked for his shirt. He came back on and I had his second jersey at the end! I still have them both.
“We lost 7-0 and it was like a training session. Bobby came in before the game and said: ‘Lads….we have a big tournament coming up, so it might be better if you don’t make any tackles.’
“It was still a great experience and I might have stayed at Aylesbury longer but I was working for the Prudential by now and the need to collect the premiums made it hard to put all the training in.”
Talking of which, Bob was brought down to earth from his memorable weekend with the news on Monday that he was being made redundant for the second time, on this occasion as a sales consultant with a tool hire company. We wish him well in his search for new employment.