Northampton Borough Council has revealed it will try to delay the winding-up petition hearing in a bid to put together a rescue package to save Northampton Town football club.
The council has today lodged a Petition for the Administration of Northampton Town Football Club to give the borough council more control over its future.
The club is due to face a hearing that could place it into liquidation on Monday November 16. Borough council representatives have held discussions with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have indicated that they are unwilling to delay or adjourn this action.
A spokesman for the borough said: “The council will appear in court to oppose liquidation and explain its proposals to the judge, but it would be up to the judge to decide whether or not to allow an adjournment.
“A Petition for Administration would, however, have precedence over the HMRC action, and could prevent the club being put into Liquidation on Monday.
“The borough council has taken advice from the Football League and been told that issuing the petition would not result in a points deduction for the club. Deduction would only happen if rescue efforts fail and the club is eventually placed in administration,” he added.
A consortium led by Kelvin Thomas, former chairman of Oxford United FC, is seeking to acquire the controlling interest in NTFC and is in advanced discussion with the council about the club’s debt, the spokesman said.
Councillor Mary Markham, Leader of the Council, said: “The council when it met on November 2 was urged to take steps to oppose the Petition for Liquidation from HMRC, and it unanimously committed to do all it can to support the Cobblers and their followers.
“This course of action would prevent the club being put into Liquidation on Monday and would give us time to continue working with other interested parties, including the Supporters’ Trust, to put together a rescue plan for the football club.”
The borough council has discussed the Petition for Administration with the Northampton Town Supporters Trust in detail, and both parties continue to work closely together on the way forward for the club.
A spokesman for the NTFC Supporters’ Trust said: “We’re grateful for the council responding to our request for an objection before the court, and to seek an administration order which will allow more time to consider the options.
“It is imperative that the club is given as much time as possible, and avoids an imminent points deduction.
“We still believe a number of outcomes are possible and we are working with all parties behind the scenes to reach a positive outcome.”
A date will be set for the petition to be heard in court, and is expected to be before the end of November.