Jim Lyon - Saints have got no chance (fingers crossed)

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

It is not in the Northamptonshire psyche to be optimistic.

Most of us are not created with the gene that generates positive thinking about chances of success.

If something is going well, it is bound to go wrong at some stage.

There is an oft-quoted remark on our sports desk from the days when Kettering Town were challenging at the top of the Football Conference (remember them??).

Not long after the final whistle had gone at a game the Poppies won and earned three points that moved them to the table’s summit, a former colleague of mine made his way to the social club bar.

“Why so glum?” he asked a frown-faced fan. “You’re top of the league.”

“Well, there’s only one way to go from here, isn’t there?” came the reply. “Down!”

When the county’s cricket club were enjoying a period of relative success in the 1980s Matthew Engel, born within our boundaries and later to become editor of Wisden, wrote a piece the gist of which asked for Northamptonshire to stop performing so well and go back to being a bit rubbish so we all had something to grumble about.

There is, by and large, a glass-half-empty outlook, even it is in often tongue in cheek, from within the Rose of the Shires.

And, if it is alright by you I’m going to keep it that way.

Two weeks ago I gave Northampton Saints no chance of beating Saracens and booking their place in the Aviva Premiership final.

The statistics were against them, form was against them and history was against them.

They went and won it.

Last weekend I let us all down.

I had a sneaky feeling Northampton Town were going to win their play-off against Bradford City and earn promotion to League One. Within minutes they were 3-0 down.

I can only apologise.

So there is no optimism from me ahead of the big game with Leicester Tigers tomorrow.

Saints have lost their last seven games against their east midlands rivals and the record of success they have in big games is poor.

They nearly always bottle it on the big occasion and I’ve been there too often when they have fallen short at the final hurdle.

There is no chance of them taming the Tigers so what is the point of going, or even watching.

I’m going to play cricket instead and wait for the bad, bad news of a terrible loss to come through.

Here’s hoping, eh...