Cobblers executive chairman Kelvin Thomas has admitted the current design set-up of the east stand at Sixfields is ‘not ideal’, but has pledged the club will end up with a ‘stand it can be proud of’.
Thomas, who took control of the club on November 26, has been in talks with builders Buckingham about the way forward for the completion of the stand, and has ruled out knocking down the structure that has been built and starting again.
He feels that option would be ‘cost prohibitive’ and says that all avenues are being investigated as to how to ‘get the best stand we can’ built.
“We had a good meeting with Buckingham to talk about things, and we are continuing conversations with them, and the council,” said Thomas, who has been back in the UK from his Florida base since last Tuesday.
“I am going to the Milton Keynes Dons game tonight (Tuesday) because they (Buckingham) were involved in the build of that and Pete (Winkelman) there has kindly offered to give us a bit of a tour to see what options we have.
“We will continue that research and it is all about trying to make sure we get the best stand that we can over there.”
Asked if he had seriously thought about starting the structure again, Thomas declared: “I don’t think it is a starting again situation, I think that would be cost prohibitive, but there are improvements to be made.
“Would we have put that stand up if we were here from day one? I think it’s fair to say no we wouldn’t.
“But is it terrible? No, it’s not terrible and I think fans will be surprised once we are able to show them some of the plans we have in place.
“It’s not going to be ideal, but nothing ever always is, but it can definitely be a decent stand that the club can be proud of in the end.”
Plans have been sketchy from the outset of the how the east stand development would end up, with previous chairman David Cardoza publishing various different artists’ impressions over time.
Thomas is not in a position to publish any sort of plans as yet though, and just stated that they are looking at getting as many seats into the structure as they can.
“We are trying to get as many seats in as we realistically can,” said Thomas, who was at Kenilworth Road to watch the Cobblers beat Luton Town 4-3 on Saturday.
“We don’t to put in too many or any restricted viewing seats, but we want to try and get the capacity up as high as we can, and Saturday (against Portsmouth) is a good example of why because we are going to sell out.
“This sort of game would be a great time to have additional capacity.”
Thomas has been in charge at Sixfields for just three weeks, but has been working hard behind the scenes to get a grasp on the nitty gritty of day-to-day life at Sixfields, and he admitted he has been pleasantly surprised at the state the club is in.
“It has been a very busy period since the takeover, we have been talking to people, meeting people, and just trying to find out as much as we can about all areas of the club, and figuring out what our priorities are,” said Thomas.
“I think in all fairness, internally we have found the club to be better than we expected.
“We are excited, we have had some good results and we have a few big games coming up, and we are pleased with what we have found.
“We have been meeting everyone and finding out how the departments work, who does what, who is responsible for what, and trying to find some immediate areas where we can maybe make some improvements or change some thinking.”
One of those areas of improvement will be evident this Saturday as a ‘fans’ village’ is being situated behind the north stand at Sixfields, with Thomas feeling he had to offer somehere for the club’s supporters to congregate pre and post-match following the fire that destroyed the Sixfields Tavern pub on December 5.
“With the pub fire, it was a case of what can we do to help? Our fans need somewhere to go,” said the 43-year-old.
“We donated to the cause of the landlord and his family, but just as important was getting somehere for our fans to have a drink, as there a lot of people go to that pub.
“So we have put together a village type environment with bars behind the north stand, and there is an area for a hog roast for this weekend. So we’ll see how that goes.”