'I was the next big thing. Now I'm 10 times better'

Aidy Boothroyd tells Glenn Moore how he is rebuilding his reputation at Northampton

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The Independent Online

In December 2010, Aidy Boothroyd was manager of a Coventry City side that sat fifth in the Championship, four points off a place for promotion to the Premier League, where he managed Watford three years earlier.

A year later he became the 10th manager in 11 years of Northampton Town, three points off relegation from the Football League. It suggested he was desperate to manage again.

He says: "Another manager rang me up and told me, 'This is either a really clever move, or a bloody stupid one'. I said: 'I'm hoping it will be a clever one'."

After six weeks the Cobblers were three points adrift at the foot of League Two. Boothroyd had won one and lost six of his first nine games.

"My worry was we'd get some hidings, but I saw promising signs. Then we had a spell when we played twice a week, beat teams around us and started to climb the table."

The Cobblers secured safety with a 0-0 draw at Hereford at the weekend.

"It was a risk," Boothroyd says, "but you have to have faith in yourself. To me it is more important to be working for the right club, and the right person, than to be working for a club with a 'name'."

Northampton's chairman, David Cardoza, is prepared to invest in players and the ground. That, Boothroyd hopes, will lift gates in a town with a population similar to Norwich. An average near 5,000 is respectable.

Northampton were bottom from Boxing Day to 10 March, but Boothroyd knew results would not change overnight.

"On my first day we had a practice match and I thought, 'There's going to be a few phases to this job.' The first phase was to get the best out of what you have until January when you can bring people in."

A dozen players arrived in January. Fourteen left. Significantly, Cardoza turned down a six-figure bid for Adebayo Akinfenwa, Town's leading scorer.

The strong finish will raise expectations but Boothroyd has learned to manage those. "I'm the man who said at Watford we'll be in the Premier League next year, and after we did that I started telling everybody we'd be in Europe, but we got our arse kicked. I was the next big thing, the next Mourinho, future England manager and all that nonsense. But I'm 10 times the manager now."