Thomas says ‘We’ll deal with it and move on’ if boss Wilder quits Cobblers

Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas
Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas

Kelvin Thomas says the Cobblers will ‘deal with it and move on’ if manager Chris Wilder takes up the offer of becoming the new boss of Charlton Athletic.

The Town chairman revealed on Monday that Charlton had made an official approach to talk to Wilder, and that the club had ‘regrettably’ agreed to those talks taking place.

Thomas also stated he has ‘accepted’ that Wilder will be leaving, but is staying positive, insisting ‘individuals aren’t bigger than the club’.

“It’s always a wrench when you lose your manager, especially someone who along with his assistant have been very successful,” said the Cobblers chairman.

“Individuals aren’t bigger than the club, so we deal with it and we move on.

“There are a lot of managers who have moved on from clubs and been successful and not been successful, and there are a lot of clubs who have continued their success, or been more successful when a manager has moved on.”

Thomas has a close friendship with Wilder, with the pair having worked together at Oxford United.

Wilder played a major part in attracting Thomas to take over and rescue the Cobblers from its financial crisis back in November, and the pair had been seen as something of a dream ticket, with the team flying to the Sky Bet League Two title on the pitch, and real progress being made off it as well.

But their partnership now seems certain to be broken, and although Thomas admits it is a disappointment, he says the future of the club is the only thing that matters and it is now his duty to get the right man in to replace Wilder - if he goes.

“There is always a period of disappointment, especially because we were going so well,” admitted Thomas. “My ownership of the football club transcends our friendship, and that has always been known.

“So we will react and deal with this in a professional way, and now my job is to find a good replacement if Chris decides to go.

“I will be measured more, and the club will be measured more on the replacement rather than if Chris goes or not.”

Thomas has said he already has ‘a few ideas’ about any management structure if Wilder were to quit Sixfields, and admits that, as a chairman, he is always keeping his eye on what is happening in the football world.

“We always pay attention to managers definitely, and you always look out for who’s doing well, who’s not doing well, and who’s been sacked and who hasn’t,” said Thomas.

“It’s not that you have a list ready to go, but you certainly have an idea of some managers you might want to speak to, and as you can imagine, my phone has not been quiet.”