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REMEMBERING WEMBLEY 1997, 25 YEARS ON

A look back on that famous day

24 May 2022

24th May 1997, 25 years ago.

On that sunny May Saturday, 32,000 Northampton Town fans made the trip to Wembley Stadium, the club's first ever visit to the old twin towers and in the Cobblers centenary year.

Swansea City were the opponents, the second Welsh club the Cobblers had met in the 1997 play offs after overcoming Cardiff City 4-2 on aggregate in a fiery two legged semi final that had seen both teams pick up a red card.

Anticipation for the final was high. Fans had queued for many hours for tickets, merchandise sales were at a record high and local band Warehouse produced a song - Sixfields Boys.

On the day itself, Wembley was awash with claret and white. Shirts, face painting, wigs and more, Cobblers fans got in to the spirit of things.

The game itself didn't quite live up to the hype. Chances were few and far between in a cagey affair.

In front of an overall attendance of 46,804 fans, both teams were locked at 0-0 deep in to added time and extra time loomed.

But in the 93rd minute, left-back John Frain shot a free-kick into the defensive wall.

Referee Terry Helibron ruled that some Swansea players had encroached and ordered a retake.

Frain later admitted the ball was moved slightly for the re-take, and from that re-take he curled the ball around the wall and beyond the despairing dive of goalkeeper Roger Freestone to send the Cobblers fans into ecstasy.

Scenes of pure joy followed. The trophy lift, a lap of honour and parties long in to the long, warm early summer evening.

That wasn't the end of the celebrations, as two days later thousands of Cobblers fans lined the streets of Northampton to celebrate the promotion.

History had been made, the Cobblers had won at Wembley and May 24th 1997 was etched in to Northampton Town history.

Highlights of that famous day at Wembley are here.


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