A former council leader and lifelong Cobblers fan has pleaded with the club’s chairman to fight the High Court winding up petition on November 16.
With only nine days to go until the hearing, David Cardoza is yet to confirm whether the League Two side will be represented in court, should the £166,000 debt to the taxman fail to be cleared before then.
By appointing new directors David Cardoza is not being asked to give up ownership of the club. He is just being asked to give supporters who care passionately about it the chance to save itMichael Walker
Michael Walker, a Cobblers supporter since 1970 and former leader of Daventry District Council, has asked the club’s chairman to appoint one or more new directors to the board of the League Two side on a temporary basis so they can appear at the High Court and seek to get an adjournment of the petition - which if approved would see the 1897-formed club immediately liquidated.
The deadline for informing the High Court of a will to contest the winding up petition is 4pm on Friday, November 13.
Mr Walker, now a successful businessman with expertise in insolvency matters, said: “There are only five working days left to save the Cobblers.
“It is time for drastic action and everyone who cares about saving the club needs to do everything possible immediately.”
At a public meeting on Wednesday night organised by the club’s supporters’ trust, it was argued an “exclusivity arrangement” made between David Cardoza and the prospective buyer Kelvin Thomas is preventing any further action being taken to save the Cobblers.
However Mr Walker claims there is “absolutely nothing” stopping David Cardoza from appointing one or more directors to the board immediately who could file an “appropriate legal response” to the HMRC petition or outlining a financial plan that could save the Cobblers.
He said if the petition is adjourned then this would buy time for negotiations with Kelvin Thomas to continue.
Unless the football club, or anyone else permitted under the Companies Act files papers asking for an adjournment by Friday, November 13, the winding up will go through without challenge.
Cobblers would be no more.
The Chronicle & Echo has been informed that there is a “plan B” being worked on by Northampton Town to avoid it being wound up in the event the Kelvin Thomas bid falls through.
However it is not certain what form this would take.
It could be that the club manages to find the funds to pay the £166,000 or that an adjournment is sought prior to the court hearing on November 16.
Northampton Borough Council has only gone as far as saying it is in talks with the HMRC, but has neither confirmed nor denied whether it would be willing to apply to the High Court for an adjournment.
Mr Walker said the new directors, could be appointed from the Supporters Trust and also other experienced supporters with skills in corporate law and accountancy.
Mr Walker added: “I am not asking anybody to give way on their negotiating stance. Everybody has their opinion on how the club has reached this point but this is largely irrelevant now. The only thing that matters is adjourning or setting aside the winding up petition.
“There are two aspects to asking the High Court to set aside the petition. Firstly you need to comply with the legal requirements for whom is permitted to contest the winding up.
“Second you need to have a viable and credible plan to put before the court with regard to the outstanding debts and show that you can manage the finances of the club going forward.”
If new directors were appointed immediately, Mr Walker said they could create a plan showing how they could help the club survive until the summer.
Immediately after adjourning the petition, Mr Walker said the directors can work with the existing owners of the club, the borough council and other creditors to find a longer-term solution.
“By appointing new directors David Cardoza is not being asked to give up ownership of the club,” he said. “He is just being asked to give supporters who care passionately about it the chance to save it.”