Cash-strapped Northants County Cricket Club (NCCC) has issued an urgent plea for a £1 million investment - shortly after revealing it had made £450,000 of losses last year.
Earlier this month chairman of the Wantage Road club, Gavin Warren, played down its financial difficulties, saying it was in a “strong position.”
Tonight though NCCC has announced it is seeking an equity investment of £1 million to help clear some of its short-term debts and lower the interest rates it currently pays on them.
Mr Warren said: “As a board, we are not just concerned about this year, next year and the year after.
“Our priority is to ensure that the club is functioning and prospering in 100 years’ time. We feel this proposal makes that much more likely.”
A spokeswoman for the club said that “while the current cash-flow situation has been stabilised” it claims, it does not provide it with “long-term financial security that the club requires to prosper and grow.”
As NCCC is currently constituted as a members’ club, a new legal framework would need to be established to allow extra equity to be brought in.
The proposal is to allow 10 to 15 major investors, most of whom already have links to the club as supporters and benefactors, to provide a minimum of £50,000 each.
Existing NCCC Members will also have the opportunity to buy shares with a minimum subscription of £250.
A new limited company will be formed which would become the owner of NCCC, subject to the consent of current members.
It is expected that the current board of directors will remain in place “to ensure continuity and a smooth handover,” the club says.
But the spokeswoman also said there would be caveats to the move.
There will be an entrenched legal provision, which prevents the ground from being developed for any non-cricket purpose. This means there will be no benefit to any individual investor should the ground ever need to be sold.
The spokeswoman added: “In the highly unlikely event, at any point in the future, of cricket ceasing there, the proceeds from the sale of the ground could only be used to repay debt and investors.”