At today’s League Two play-off final Exeter City will face Northampton Town and, while it will take place in front of near empty stands, it’s actually a fixture that has special significance for supporters.
Those of you familiar with the legacy of Brian Lomax will know that he formed the original supporters’ trust at Northampton Town in 1992 – a legacy that’s still alive today in the form of community-owned clubs such as Exeter City.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Exeter City fans banding together to set up their own supporters’ trust and current chair Nick Hawker paid tribute to Brian’s work.
“The late, great Brian Lomax provided motivation to the supporters of Exeter City to set-up its own trust, an action that contributed ultimately, to the saving of our Club.
“Since that time we have developed a firm friendship with Northampton Town Supporters’ Trust.
“We are indebted to Brian Lomax and hope sincerely that our ongoing friendship is, in some small way, a testament to his passion, but also to the possibilities that supporter ownership can create.
“This year, with the impact of COVID-19, many will feel we have seen some of the worst of football, but when you reflect on the huge efforts being made by supporters of all clubs to help communities and the clubs themselves, we are also seeing some of the very best.
“In our 20th year, it seems fitting that Northampton Town will play a huge part in our future and us in theirs.
“Whatever happens, I know that we will remain friends, remain supportive of one another, and remain a proud testament to Brian Lomax and his vision for football.”
Brian’s formation of the original Cobblers Trust in 1992 was held, coincidentally, in Northampton Town’s Exeter Rooms and eight years later he helped the Grecians set up their own trust.
Current Northampton Town Supporters Trust chair Andy Roberts remembers that time well.
“I can still vividly recall his rallying message of hope to the travelling Exeter City fans – one of whom carried a banner saying ‘Don’t Let Our City Die’ – at Sixfields on the final day of the 1994-95 season,” says Andy.
“We have followed Exeter’s journey with great interest ever since and we have the utmost respect and admiration for the hard work and commitment which has been invested in the club and its community at St James Park.
“Nick Hawker and Elaine Davis of Exeter’s trust have been very supportive in recent years as we at Northampton explore a way forward for a potential future community ownership model of our own.
“They have certainly strengthened our faith in the values of supporter kinship and friendship within the game and, win or lose in this ‘friendly final’, that kinship and friendship will certainly endure.”
The League Two play-off final between Exeter City and Northampton Town will be taking place tonight at Wembley, behind closed doors and kicks off at 7.30pm.