Now don't get me wrong, pitch invasions are not to be condoned, they can of course lead to further unrest and further trouble, and the host club is often fined, but once in a while they are accepted as just part of footballs rich tapestry.
So when around 50 Cobblers supporters last night raced onto to the pitch to celebrate a wonderful 92nd minute injury time equaliser by Liam Davies, the stewards were cool enough to realise that this was just such a moment, no arrests needed, just a stern shepherding back into the Dave Bowen Stand. You can almost imagine the stewards saying
"Come on boys you have had your fun, now get off the pitch, before we need to get heavy"
All's well that ends well you say ! But this particular pitch incursion had not ended.
You see Northampton Town Football Club has far more disabled supporters than most teams, and it one of a handful of grounds that a wheelchair user can watch their football from any of the four stands, at ground level, or elevated, and one of our disabled fans (Derry?) complete with motorised wheelchair wanted part of this particular celebration.
He set off therefore from his position in the East Stand to join all the happenings in front of the Dave Bowen (North) Stand, but by the time he and his motorised wheelchair had made it onto the pitch the rest of the crowd had been cleared, The ball had been returned to the centre circle and the ref was waiting to restart the the last few seconds of the match. But there was Derry stranded in the middle of the pitch! The crowd took a double take:
"no it cant be"
Having the time of his life was the answer, and also knowing that every second he took to clear the pitch would bring the final whistle and a well earned point for the Cobblers a few seconds nearer,so he decided that instead of going back to the East Stand where he came from (10 yards) that he would make it all the way to the Dave Bowen Stand (60yards) at any cost."why is there a guy in a motorised wheelchair in the middle of the pitch?"
The rest as they say is history, recorded by mobile phone for us all to enjoy, he was given a heroes welcome by the Cobblers fans in the Dave Bowen Stand and a standing ovation from every other Cobblers supporter at Sixfields. The stewards were powerless, after all they could hardly go on and lift him and his wheelchair off the pitch! and given that every other incursion of the pitch a few moments before had gone unpunished then how could they get heavy with this new found Northampton Town hero?
The game eventually restarted and then finished as the crowd celebrated the well deserved point.
But another point had been made.
"All football fans are equal, but at some clubs some fans are more equal than at others"
Another first for Northampton's strong Independent nature and history, the first pitch invasion by a supporter in a motorised wheelchair.
Derry, as much as I shouldn't, I have to say
"Well done sir, I salute you"