Chairman David Cardoza is appealing to the Cobblers supporters to put the club’s increasing off-field problems to one side and fully support the team in Saturday’s crucial Sky Bet League Two clash with Leyton Orient at Sixfields.
Cardoza understands the fans’ frustration and anger at the ongoing lack of progress on the proposed sale of the club, and Friday’s dramatic news that Northampton Borough Council has given the Cobblers just three weeks to repay the £10.25 million that has been loaned for redevelopment of the stadium.
The chairman expects criticism to come his way, but continues to insist that the sale to an unnamed Indian-led consortium is still on track, and that the loan will be repaid to NBC on time.
He also says he is aware the latest development is ‘alarming’ for the fans, but he wants the supporters, for two hours on Saturday at least, to concentrate their efforts on what is happening on the pitch at Sixfields, rather than off it.
The Cobblers have won their past two games, and on Saturday host the Os hoping to make it three in a row.
The most recent home game, against Oxford United two weeks ago, saw a section of the Cobblers support make a #WeWantAnswers protest against Cardoza.
But there was no disruption to the backing for the players as 10-man Town battled to a 1-0 win, and Cardoza wants the fans to rally behind the team again on Saturday.
“I would like to thank supporters for their patience,” said Cardoza, who didn’t attend the win over Oxford.
“We have a big game at Sixfields on Saturday, and the players and Chris Wilder need their support in what will be a tough game against the league leaders.”
Cardoza issued a statement in response to the Borough Council that confirmed the club had missed the past two repayments on the loan, and that the council “does not have confidence in the club’s ability to pay these and later repayments”.
A spokesman for the council said: “We can confirm that Northampton Borough Council has issued legal notices to Northampton Town Football Club requiring the repayment of the £10.25 million pounds that has been loaned to the club.
“The notices give the club three weeks to repay the loan in full. If the sum is not repaid, then the council will begin legal proceedings to recover the debt. The chairman has repeatedly informed us that the council will be repaid in full when the club is sold, but the sale does not seem to be proceeding at this point.
“The last two repayments have been missed and the club has not given the borough council confidence in their ability to pay these and later repayments.
“This step was not taken lightly but is the proper process to protect the public purse and collect the debt in these circumstances.
“We continue to support the club and remain open to discussion on ways to deal with the debt owing to the council.”
In response, Cardoza is adamant that matters are in hand, and that the council ultimatum is ‘a deadline we intend to meet’.
The proposed sale of the club was initially announced back on June 24, but the process is still ongoing and unresolved 93 days later.
Inititally, Cardoza spoke of a possible timeframe of six weeks, and he says he is as frustrated as everybody else at the delay.
He also revealed that other parties are now interested in buying the club.
“I understand the news today is alarming for supporters, but it is a deadline we intend to meet,” said Cardoza.
“Talks regarding the takeover are taking longer than anyone would have hoped but they are progressing and are close to being concluded but it is a complex, legal situation that takes time.
“That is frustrating for everyone but that is the situation. We fully intend to complete the takeover with the proposed new owners but there is significant other interest in the club should things change.
“We completely understand the urgency to bring matters to a conclusion and it is our intention to have the debt repaid.”