Brian Lomax, a central figure in rescuing the Cobblers from administration and possible extinction almost 25 years ago, has died.
Northampton Town today issued a statement paying tribute to Lomax, who passed away following a four-month battle with lung cancer.
Lomax played a key role in the setting up of the Northampton Town Supporters Trust when the club was plunged into administration in 1992.
With the genuine threat of the Cobblers ceasing to exist, Lomax was one of the main men involved in keeping the club afloat.
The Trust was the first of its kind and Lomax went on to sit on the Cobblers board of directors as one of two elected representatives of the Trust, with the club recovering from administration to strengthen and move on from the County Ground to its current home at Sixfields.
“Northampton Town Football Club are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Brian Lomax,” read the statement on the club website, ntfc.co.uk
“Brian was a supporter of the Cobblers for many years, and was one of those responsible for setting up the club’s Supporters Trust, the first such organisation anywhere in the country.
“He played a huge role in helping the Cobblers through a difficult financial period following administration in the early 1990s, and served as a director of Northampton Town for many years in they years that followed, being an elected representative of the Trust on the club’s board.
“Beyond the County Ground and Sixfields he was a pioneer figure in the supporters direct movement and the Northampton Town Supporters Trust became a template for many other clubs up and down the country.
“Brian will be sadly missed at Sixfields and the thoughts of everyone at Northampton Town are with Brian’s family and friends at this sad time.”
Lomax didn’t stop at helping just the Cobblers, he went on to help other clubs up and down the country set up their own supporters’ trusts.
Northampton Town’s Trust was the first of its kind, but there are now more than 170 trusts with more than 300,000 members
In 1996 Lomax launched the first equal opportunities policy in professional football, and almost every league club now has one
In 2000, he started supporter ownership in the United Kingdom, launching Supporters Direct as its first managing director. A total of 30 clubs are now owned by their supporters.
Lomax was awarded an OBE in 2009.
Leading the tributes on Twitter was Labour MP and Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham, who said: “Devastated to hear my great friend Brian Lomax has died. The man who inspired the supporters trust movement. What a loss but what a legacy.”
Daventry’s Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris said: “One of the nicest men I have ever met in both football and politics has passed away. RIP Brian Lomax.”
Former Labour MP and Cobblers director and general manager Tony Clarke added: “So sad at the passing of Brian Lomax a giant of the football supporters movement. Sleep well comrade #RIP #ntfc”
The Northampton Town Supporters Trust tweeted: “We are deeply saddened to hear that Brian Lomax - one of our founding fathers - has passed away. #NTFC”