2023 has been some year for Northampton Town Football Club.
The highlight for many was of course that Bank Holiday in early May where, up on the Wirral, we beat Tranmere Rovers 1-0 to secure promotion to Sky Bet League One.
A sold out away end, huge support and a day/night/week of celebrations was the culmination of two years worth of hard work and progression, but that wasn't the only highlight of the year just gone, far from it.
Here we take a look back at some of the other highlights of 2023.
A key component in that promotion success was the 22 goals scored by Sam Hoskins of course, and in March, when netting in the 2-0 win at Doncaster Rovers, Hoskins became the first Cobblers player to reach the magical 20 mark since Richard Hill in 1986/87.
In April, the Northampton Town Women Development squad were crowned champions of the East Midlands Regional Women's Football League Division One South, beating second placed Dunton Ladies to claim the title, while there was a double award success at that month's EFL Awards in London.
Josh Tomlinson was named the League 2 LFE Apprentice of the Season while Sam Hoskins was named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Season, and in addition, Hoskins and team mate Mitch Pinnock were both named in the EFL Sky Bet League Two team of the Season. Hoskins swept the board at the club's End of Season dinner shortly afterwards.
The youth team won the EFL Youth Alliance Merit League 2 in the second half of last season, remaining unbeaten. The side was mainly made up of under 16 players who performed well against older, more experienced players.
The Northampton Town Women first team achieved a hugely creditable 5th placed finish in their first ever season in the FA Women's National League. As well as winning the East Midlands Regional Women's Football League Division One South, the Women's Development Squad also made the final of the Northamptonshire FA Women's Cup while the Under 18s won the U18s Girls County Cup!
At Sixfields, the average attendance in 2022/23 was up by over 10% on 2021/22 (5,920) v (5,366) and 17% up on the 2019/20 season, helped in part by the club once again achieving the EFL Family Excellence Award!
The Family Excellence scheme sees clubs receive two mystery shopper visit assessments each season, in order to determine the quality of the family matchday experiences they provide. The scheme recognises the continuous improvement and best practice that emerges across the EFL and rewards clubs for their efforts in attracting and retaining young supporters.
The Cobblers were rated 8.3/10 across a number of areas in May, where clubs were rated, and this ranked the club second in Sky Bet League Two for the family matchday experience offered, and 15th in the entire EFL.
The club marked the tenth anniversary of our long standing and successful partnership with the University of Northampton in June, while as the new season began, August saw a first Nene Derby victory for seventeen years.
October saw the opening of the club's very first, new dedicated training centre up at Moulton while attendances continued to be very healthy as the season progressed, putting the club on course for the highest ever average attendance at Sixfields and the best for 55 years.