Northampton Town Supporters’ Trust has put £10,000 of the money raised by fans into a hardship fund for Cobblers staff who have not been paid for six weeks.
Loyal staff at the club have been working at Sixfields without pay for six weeks since the club’s accounts were frozen following the winding-up petition by HMRC over £166,000 of unpaid taxes. The Chron understands that none of the 200-plus staff have resigned, and their commitment to the club has been praised by fans.
Following a meeting last night of the supporters’ trust, members agreed to set aside £10,000 of the £40,000 so far raised by the trust, fans and local businesses.
In a statement, the trust said: “It’s hard to imagine how troubling this must be for those staff and their families as we approach Christmas and the festive season.
“Mindful that playing staff have been paid via the PFA, the Trust board has decided to set aside £10,000 to create a hardship fund to support the non-playing staff.
“We shall be in touch with the club to agree the details and the most pressing individual needs.
“We should stress that the fund will be repayable to the Trust if and when a takeover is complete, but for now the immediate priority is to support the staff in this desperate situation.
“We know this is a distressing time for fans, but please continue to support the staff, players, management and your fellow fans as you have done so magnificently over the last few weeks,” the statement said.
The trust also responded to yesterday’s announcement by ex-Oxford United chairman Kelvin Thomas, who said negotiations were hanging by a thread following delays and news that other parties had been brought into the discussions. Chairman David Cardoza said it was unfair to blame all the delays on him and that a deal would be done ahead of the forthcoming court hearings.
The spokesman for the trust said members were “disappointed” to hear that the deal was hanging in the balance.
He said the trust had had little contact with Mr Cardoza in recent weeks and their understanding had been that the offer by Mr Thomas and his consortium was the only one being discussed.
Because of this, the trust had been unable to review the accounts and assess the financial position of the club.
“It is, therefore, something of a surprise to learn that the chairman is in talks with other interested parties about whom we have no knowledge,” he said.
“We have met with Northampton Borough Council on several occasions over this same period following the motion passed at the Extraordinary Full Council meeting on November 2, and we remain in contact with Kelvin Thomas.
“As Mr Thomas stated yesterday, it is increasingly unlikely that any other party could complete all the necessary due diligence required before the hearing.
“Should Kelvin’s takeover bid fall through; the Trust has been working with its advisers and other potential local investors on a fallback option, which has been shared with the borough council.
“However we have not been able to access the club’s full accounts, so it is, therefore, difficult to see how we could put this plan into action in the time available,” he said.