Do the right thing and reveal yourselves early is the message from Northampton’s Liberal Democrats to the mystery investors said to be on the cusp of buying Cobblers.
Yesterday, takeover talks between Northampton Town and an Indian consortium finally fell through when the unknown group of London-based businessmen pulled out of the deal.
But within an hour of the confirmation, Cobblers chairman David Cardoza claimed a new group of investors, believed to be around six or seven men, were poised to swoop in and buy the League Two side if an agreement could be reached.
But the leader of the Liberal Democrats on Northampton Borough Council, Sally Beardsworth, said fans should not have to endure another three months of mystery and speculation while back room deals are hammered out at Sixfields.
She said: “The current situation is one of incredible uncertainty for the fans and the players, not to mention local tax payers, who are on the hook for over £10 million if loans are not repaid.
“Every resident of this town is an interested party in these discussions.
“The Cobblers is not merely a business – it is an institution, defined and supported by its fans.
“Enough discussions in smoke filled rooms that leave us hanging for three months, just to be let down again. Enough secrecy. Who are the Cobblers in talks with?”
Councillor Beardsworth has also called for David Cardoza to reveal details of the club’s accounts and give information on the use of the loan money.
But she has also criticised the Conservative administration on Northampton Borough Council for giving he money to the football club back in 2013 anyway.
“The Conservative administration is acting like a pay-day lender,” she said. “Who put together a shoddy deal without checks, and are now calling in the loan despite the catastrophic damage it could do to the club and town.
“We need a solution that is fully supported by the public, that protects the Cobblers as an institution and protects the tax-payer – and puts those issues first, and business interests of millionaires second.”
Leader of Northampton borough Council, Councillor Mary Markham (Con, Park) said in response: “It doesn’t surprise me that Councillor Beardsworth is criticising the borough council over this, as the Liberal Democrats refused completely to help our sports clubs while they were in administration.
“This is why, in keeping with the will of Northampton residents and our manifesto commitments to them, we pledged to financially support our football, rugby and cricket clubs. It is precisely because they are so important to our town and residents that we offered this support.
“The business of running Northampton Town Football Club is down to David Cardoza and if Councillor Beardsworth believes he should not be holding his business meetings in ‘smoke filled rooms’ then she should raise this matter with him.
“The borough council, while being mindful of the commercial sensitivity of the situation, is being as open with the public as is possible, and I reiterate that I have had, and at their request will continue to have, meetings to keep opposition councillors informed of the ever-changing situation.”