Speculation is mounting that a deal on the future of Northampton Town will be announced on Wednesday with just four days left for paperwork to be submitted ahead of the winding up petition hearing against the club.
Next Monday, the HMRC will be taking the club to a winding up petition over £166,000 of unpaid taxes and any submission to defend the club in the High Court would need to be submitted by Friday.
If the League Two side is wound up by the taxman, it would cease to exist, though the hopes of many fans have been pinned on an 11th-hour buyout deal could be struck by former Oxford United chairman Kelvin Thomas.
The last time he spoke to the Chron, the radio station entrepreneur said negotiations had been “complicated” as the club owes Northampton Borough Council £10.25 million given to it to develop Sixfields back in 2013.
Mr Thomas’s consortium has been seeking some leeway in repaying that loan using proceeds from a development on the 33 acres of land around the ground.
Sources close to the club have told the Chron that new owners could take over the controlling stake in Cobblers on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, an agenda item has now appeared for Wednesday night’s Northampton Borough Council cabinet meeting, entitled “Northampton Town Football Club and Sixfields”. No supporting documentation has yet been published for the agenda item, so it is not known what is due to discussed.
A council spokesperson declined to comment further on what would be discussed during that agenda item, but said a report on it is due to be published online ahead of the meeting.
It would be the last opportunity for council members to discuss the issue before the tax hearing.
Questions over the whereabouts of the £10.25 million loaned to Northampton Town by the borough council in 2013 have intensified over the weekend with the national media now covering the issue.
The Chron understands a total of £8.75 million was given to 1st Land Limited, the Hertfordshire firm appointed as the project manager for the large part of the Sixfields development.
The original contract value for the whole stadium redevelopment at Sixfields, including the West Stand, was £8.2 million.
The Chron reported earlier this month that one tranch of the loan - £1.5 million - was held back by the club. Some of that money held back paid for the big screen at Sixfields and seating in the North Stand.
Currently 1st Land, which was owned by Bushey-based businessman Howard Grossman, is in the hands of administrators Mazars LLP.
A statement of affairs as part of the administrators’ report listed 1st Land as owing 18 creditors a total of £2.6 million, the biggest of which was builders Buckingham Group Limited, owed nearly £2 million.
As reported in the Chronicle & Echo on October 29, Cobblers chairman David Cardoza and his father Anthony received, what they described as a £2.65 million “joint venture fee” from 1st Land as part of the Sixfields development. But the report from 1st Land administration suggests this was a loan. There is still a dispute over whether this is a loan or a venture fee.
Neither 1st Land nor Mr Cardoza will comment on any matter regarding the money paid in and out of 1st Land due to a “legal agreement”.
Among the clauses in the loan £10.25 million agreement, now published by Northampton Borough Council on its website, one states: “The borrower shall use all money borrowed under this agreement for the redevelopment and improvements to Sixfields stadium (excluding the development of and any preliminary works required for the development of hotel accommodation at the Mortgage Property), Northampton.”