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The latest in our series of extracts from Only Connect

20 February 2020

Only Connect is a new book, written by author Rodney Marshall and available on Amazon.

Here we bring you another passage from the book.

Tom Cliffe works at the club on match days as a hospitality host. More importantly, he set up TRACK NN Limited in 2018: a social enterprise which supports autistic people in their bid to access employment.

Tom grew up as a Cobblers fan, his first season being the glorious 1986-87 Champions campaign under Graham Carr at the old County Ground. He has fond memories of family trips to watch the Cobblers from the cricket-side of the ground and, after his father’s sudden death in 2007, he came to work at Sixfields on match days.

‘I love everything about the club. It is that sense of community. You get people who come into the hospitality restaurant who say that it is amazing; that at other clubs they have not experienced anything like this. On a personal level, the club cannot do enough for me. They help us out with support. Last season we worked together for the home game against Macclesfield, with an allocated area of seating for autistic people and their families, and we will do that again for a match later this season. We are looking at doing training with the club staff and possibly with the players. Cobblers players will come into Café Track if we need something publicised. Or Clarence. Some people will visit the café because of the links with the club. They may have read about it in the club programme, an ‘awareness reminder’ that not everyone is on social media.

‘Whether it is the disability football, or going into Café Track, for some people it might just be about getting out of the house. Something which has broken that negative cycle. And it is about what that might lead to which is exciting. Often, it is Northampton Town Football Club which is the catalyst.’

Only Connect, written by Rodney Marshall is available now from Amazon, priced at £7.99.

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