Cobblers to invite elected supporter on to the club's board of directors

The Cobblers have announced they are to offer a supporters' representative a seat on a newly-expanded board of directors.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 10:11 am
Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas

The position will be democratically elected by the general fanbase, with the winner of the vote being one of two new members of the Town board, the other being long-serving chief executive James Whiting.

Chairman Kelvin Thomas says that now is 'a good time to implement' changes to the board structure, which as it stands includes himself, David Bower and Michael Wailing.

It will be the first time since Thomas took control of the club in November, 2015, that there will have been supporter representation in the boardroom.

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Chief executive James Whiting, pictured here with Kelvin Thomas, has been promoted to the Cobblers board of directors

The chairman believes the club will be 'getting ahead of the curve' with the professional game in England facing change 'in terms of independent regulation... financial distribution and other important aspects' of football governance.

Prior to Thomas and Bower taking over the club, under the regime of David Cardoza and also prior to that, there had previously been fan representation on the board in the shape of a designated member of the Northampton Town Supporters Trust being a director.

Trust members will be welcome to stand in this election along with any other supporter of the club.

The person in question doesn't even have to be a season-ticket holder, but to be entered into the voting process 'must be proposed and seconded by two current Northampton Town season ticket holders'.

The election process is open to all Cobblers supporters

Thomas said: "The board along with the staff have been discussing for a while the structure at the club, and decided that we were going to add two places to the board.

"With the way that the football world seems to be moving we have decided this is a good time to implement those changes

"We are very pleased to welcome current CEO James Whiting to the board in what is a natural progression for him.

"James has been a wonderful and dedicated servant of the club, was born and still lives locally in Northampton and is popular amongst staff, sponsors, and supporters alike.

"He will continue to be a great asset to the club in his new role and this move is well deserved.

“At the same time, we will also be opening up a position for a supporters' representative to be elected and we think this is very exciting for the club.”

And he added: "As a club we engage strongly with supporters every day, but we have been talking to a lot of other clubs and consultants, including the Fair Game movement.

"We will be watching the release of the fan lad review by Tracy Crouch very closely, but we thought it makes sense for us to get ahead of the curve.

“We feel there will be changes coming in terms of independent regulation, hopefully financial distribution and other very important aspects of football, and having a supporters' representative on the board with us as we navigate some of these matters will be very useful."

On who the supporter on the board could possibly be, Thomas said: "We have no preconceived ideas on how this will formally work.

"But we look forward to working closely with the successful candidate to structure the position and the role, so they are engaged in the running of the club but can also provide valuable feedback to and from fans.

“As a club we will not be dictating in anyway who this person is or what type of fan they are, which is why we are not saying they have to be a season ticket holder, member or anything like that.

"We are also not expecting them to change in terms of how they support the club now, like where they sit on a matchday or anything like that.

“All we are asking is that the successful candidate is available for regular board meetings and possibly other discussions on an ad-hoc basis, plus available to feedback to the fanbase.

“Anyone who meets the qualifying criteria is welcome to apply and the supporters will decide who they wish to represent them via a formal vote.

"We do think having a democratically elected fan is a major step forward and we look forward to welcoming the successful candidate to the board.”

The club has announced details on the nomination process for the supporters' representative, and they are as follows:

'Anyone who wishes to stand for nomination must be proposed and seconded by two current Northampton Town season ticket holders and each candidate is invited to submit a maximum of 250 words, which will be published publicly, to explain why they think they would be the ideal candidate for the role.

'After the two-week nomination period, which is open now and closes on October 5, 2021, supporters will be able to vote via an online form that will be emailed out to the club’s database or at the Mansfield Town home game on October 16.

'Each supporter will only be able to vote once and the club will be performing checks to ensure that the votes are from Northampton Town fans.

'The candidate who receives the highest number of votes will be elected to the club’s board of directors to represent fellow supporters and will attend regular board meetings.

'To stand for nomination, supporters should download, print off and complete this form before emailing to [email protected]

'All candidates will also be subject to the EFL’s Owners and Directors test.'