Northampton’s Labour group leader demands answers on why Cobblers loan payments were missed

Labour group leader Councillor Danielle Stone says Cobblers fans deserve an answer as to why the club did not meet two loan repayments to the borough council.
Labour group leader Councillor Danielle Stone says Cobblers fans deserve an answer as to why the club did not meet two loan repayments to the borough council.

Fans deserve a “full and honest explanation” as to why the Northampton Town Football Club loan repayments were not being met, according to the leader of the borough’s Labour group.

This morning Northampton Borough Council revealed it has asked Northampton Town Football Club (NTFC) for the repayment of the £10.25 million loan, made to pay for the club’s East stand development, within three weeks.

It has threatened the club with legal action of it does not do so.

Among the reason for demanding the money back, the borough council said the football club had missed two repayments of the loan and the council said it was also concerned takeover of the club, “does not seem to be proceeding at this point.”

Leader of Labour group on the borough council, Councillor Danielle Stone, has called on the club’s chairman David Cardoza to give a full explanation as to why it missed loan repayments.

She said: “It is really disappointing and shocking that NTFC have missed their last two repayments.

“It seems patience has now finally snapped and there is now a demand for the loan to be repaid in full.

“Work on the East Stand has been repeatedly delayed and the take-over negotiations were dragging on and on. People are now asking where the money has gone.”

She said that the Labour group generally supported the decision to loan Cobblers the money back in 2013, but added that she had concerns about the “credibility of the East Stand development a the time.

But she said the deal has now gone “badly wrong,” and fans need to know why.

“Northampton town Football Club must now be open and transparent and give a full explanation as to why repayments were missed, work delayed and the secrecy around the sale.

“Fans deserve a full and honest explanation.”

She said Labour only discovered the two loan repayments had been missed when it was announced in the Chronicle & Echo this morning and said the Conservative administration should have kept opposition councillors more informed about how the loan repayment was progressing.

She finished by saying; “The loan deal between the Borough Council and Northampton Town has gone badly wrong and it is taxpayers’ money which is at stake. It is now obvious there is not going to be a more modern and bigger stadium for some time.”

In a statement, leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Mary Markham said: “This is a financial contract and we wouldn’t intend to give a running commentary on it. Opposition councillors have been kept informed throughout and had they requested further information on the status of repayments they would’ve been updated in confidence.

“However, at the Council meeting on Monday Labour Councillor Les Marriott stated clearly that he did not want to ask any questions regarding the repayments on the loan. His other questions relating to Northampton Town Football Club were answered fully and he accepted the responses.”