BREAKING NEWS: Kelvin Thomas will buy Cobblers if borough council can agree a deal on £10.25m loan repayment meeting hears

Northampton Town supporters file into the Guildhall for a public meeting.
Northampton Town supporters file into the Guildhall for a public meeting.

Former Oxford United chairman Kelvin Thomas has agreed terms to buy Cobblers...but only if a deal can be struck with Northampton Borough Council on the £10.25 million debt.

Northampton Town Football Club Supporters’ Trust director Stuart Taylor revealed details of the behind-the scenes talks to buy the League Two side as part of tonight’s public meeting on the future of the club at the Guildhall.

Mr Taylor said that he had met with council chief executive David Kennedy prior to tonight’s meeting.

He added: “He (Kelvin Thomas) has now agreed with David Cardoza to buy the club, he has agreed with Buckingham group Limited to take on the development of the East Stand.

“What is not agreed is whether he will be able to take on the £10.25 million owed by the club.

“It is in negotiation with the council now.”

During the heated meeting, attended by close to 200 Cobblers fans, the club’s chief executive James Whiting also revealed that the club now owes the HMRC £166,000 after missed VAT and PAYE payments.

Breaking his silence for the first time, Mr Whiting said that the last few months had been an “extremely difficult situation” for staff there.

He said: “Are we in a desperate situation where we need to find a buyer? Yes.

“We need cash in the short term and the HMRC petition needs to be sorted in the next few weeks.

“The football club also still owes the council £10.25 million.”

In a night of revelations, the six-person panel, which also included Jacqui Forster, of Supporters Direct, Kevin Simons, who recently set up a crowdfunding bid to raise £100,000 for the Cobblers supporters’ trust and Northampton Town’s communications officer Gareth Willsher, Mr Whiting was asked by a member of the public whether he knew where the council’s loan had gone.

While he said all the loan transactions were handled by Cobblers chairman David Cardoza, he added: “As soon as that money arrived it went to the football club contractor, 1st Land.”

However he explained that some of the £10.25 million was “held back” as a contingency fund.

Later it was confirmed to the meeting that about £7.37 million had been given to 1st Land.

When Mr Whiting was asked whether, in hindsight, the club should have chosen 1st Land to project manage the Sixfields development, he said: “Clearly that was an error.”

But he went on to say that all matters to do with the stadium redevelopment were again “handled by David Cardoza”.

Following the meeting, a Northampton Borough Council spokesman said: “We note that the outline of a deal to acquire the Cobblers is reported as having been agreed. We also note that it is also reported that a proposal is to be made to the council. The council will consider any proposal with due regard to our responsibility to protect the public purse.”