Supporters' Trust respond to letter written by Cobblers staff

'It is inconceivable that the Supporters' Trust would be publicly critical of the club’s staff members and any comments made by individuals on social media (whether Trust members or not) do not represent the view of the Trust or its board.'

By James Heneghan
Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 10:26 am

Northampton Town Supporters' Trust have issued a response to the letter written by Cobblers club staff over the weekend.

Northampton's 'senior management and full-time staff' penned an open letter to the Trust on Saturday 'following a period of consultation', in which they gave their full backing to owners Kelvin Thomas and David Bower.

"We have seen that trust board members and advisors have set about making comments on social media platforms and forums that try to discredit both the owners and the club itself," read the letter.

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"This has been a problem over several years now despite us being informed that it was addressed several years ago and assurances given by the trust board following a meeting that they would address it.

"But in recent months it has got completely out of control. Feedback and constructive criticism is normal and indeed welcome, but not when that turns into constant negativity towards the club and even as we have seen recently derogatory comments about the club’s community work of which we are all incredibly proud."

It went on to add: "The campaign to influence political figures, and to spread misleading information and rumours with the council and to try to destabilise the club and owners has all been seen by the club staff and is extremely worrying and demotivating."

Furthermore, in the letter, staff wrote how they felt the Trust's every move is 'clouded' by their desire to remove the current owners and run the club themselves.

It continued: "What is abundantly clear to us now is that every demand, every stance and every statement you make isn’t a considered view with the long-term best interests and progression of the club at its heart. Instead, it’s clouded by a position of wanting the current owners out of the club and for the supporters trust to own and run the club.

"You have stated publicly that you see any ownership as a “rainy day” option if the club was in crisis. But your actions do not align with this. We believe you are trying very hard to force that crisis situation where this can become a reality to the detriment of the club."

The Trust released their response to the letter on Tuesday morning.

It read: "As long-standing supporters of our football club, all Supporters Trust board members personally know many members of staff at the club – in some cases associations and friendships go back over many years – and we have always appreciated the dedicated service they have given, and continue to give, to the club.

"Like them, we too care passionately about our football club and have a determination to see it prosper on a sustainable and progressive footing in the months and years ahead.

"Over a period of almost 30 years, right from its formation during the discredited days of owner Michael McRitchie, the Trust has always worked in the best interests of the club and its staff and it will continue to do so.

"In the dying days of the David Cardoza ownership, the Trust ensured that staff members did not go without pay and we also paid for coach travel to ensure the team was able to fulfil a League Two fixture at Crawley.

"It is inconceivable that the Supporters Trust would be publicly critical of the club’s staff members and any comments made by individuals on social media (whether Trust members or not) do not represent the view of the Trust or its board.

"As for criticism of the Community Trust, again we have financially supported the football club’s community programmes and initiatives over many years.

"From the days of the old car boot sales to the introduction of the Abdul El Bayati award right through to support of the befriending service, the offer of profits from the sales of face masks and helping sponsor the Women’s team in the last year alone.

"We are proud of the work that the Community Trust does and we always look to support them as much as we possibly can.

"We do however need to challenge the suggestion in the letter that the Trust has a ‘hidden agenda’ of ‘destabilising the club’ in pursuit of wanting to own and run the club.

"This has never been our intention and suggestions otherwise completely misrepresent our true position, which is that we continue to explore viable community ownership models for the football club should it one day again find itself in crisis.

"It is a wholly sensible position to adopt, given the club’s recent history and the likely advent of greater involvement of supporters in their football clubs following the European Super League fiasco.

"This position was endorsed by our Annual General Meeting in November 2018, and again in a survey of Trust members (and the wider Cobblers fanbase) in March of this year.

"In closing, and in our desire to find a positive and constructive way forward, we would be happy to meet with any club staff members who would like to discuss any concerns they have about the Supporters Trust and its role."