As hinted at earlier today, the reports of the takeover by Kelvin Thomas were genuine. Finally, after months of mind games, livelihoods being played with, false dawns and broken promises the deal is done. Kelvin Thomas has completed the agreement with David Cardoza and the club looks like it’s been saved at last. It was an afternoon spent refreshing Twitter as frantically as any period of time since its invention but at around 5pm the details started to come through and Cobblers fans across the board breathed a collective sigh of relief and celebrated as if the team had just won promotion. In many ways, it’s as good a feeling.
In the last couple of hours, Thomas gave his first statement of many that will surely follow this week, saying, via the official Cobblers website:
“We are very pleased that we have an agreement. It has been tough for David and Tony Cardoza because they have been with the club a long time. We still have work to do with the rest of the process but working together with the Council and the lawyers we expect to get everything done in time for Friday.”
“Once again we appreciate all the support and good wishes from fans, all the hard work by the staff and players and thank David Cardoza for his kind words.”
It’s all very brief at the moment but hopefully as more and more unravels in the next few days Mr Thomas will be able to give more details about the ins and outs of any agreement with Northampton Borough Council and their loan repayment, the building/rebuilding of the East Stand and the status of staff and players getting paid.
The Supporter’s Trust have also released a statement this evening that reads:
Northampton Town Supporters’ Trust is very relieved and absolutely delighted that the sale of the football club has finally been agreed prior to upcoming legal deadlines.
In what has been undoubtedly the most testing two months in the history of our great club, the Trust has tried its utmost to ensure that any sale that goes through can allow the club to prosper and recover from the desperate situation it currently finds itself in.
Our interim supporters’ elected director Stuart Taylor has been in regular contact with Kelvin Thomas throughout the last few weeks – and now we are looking forward to sitting down once more with Kelvin and his consortium and holding positive discussions as to how the Trust and the broader fan base can assist the new owners in the task of strengthening the club’s financial position and placing the club in a far more positive light.
We are greatly anticipating hearing more about his plans to move the club forward, and we welcome his statement on Friday that he has agreed to fully include the Trust in the future of the club as part of his agreement with the Council.
It has taken so long to agree to this deal, during which many loyal members of staff have been unpaid and the business of the club neglected by the former chairman.
We therefore take this opportunity to publicly thank those loyal staff for their unstinting loyalty to NTFC and hope that prompt repayment is forthcoming to them in the run up to Christmas.
We have throughout this crisis tried to focus on the need to rescue the club and to work with all parties to achieve this.
Like all Cobblers fans will be, we are relieved that David Cardoza has finally done the right thing and sold his stake on, as a consequence departing the football club.
There is still much work to do, we need to recover our reputation with local creditors, our staff and many others in the football world.
We hope that the East Stand is completed as soon as possible, and we need to work with the Council to assist them in recovering the monies they lent to the club for which NTFC has seen no material benefit.
And we have to reward the incredible efforts of the playing staff and management and continue to support their drive for promotion. Chris Wilder and his staff and players have been a credit to football and we are indebted to them for their professionalism and loyalty.
We now look forward to discussing these next steps in more detail with Kelvin and his consortium members.
It’s clearly been a trying time for the Trust as well as everyone else and I applaud their efforts in fundraising, being as open as possible and working with the new owners in the lead up to this announcement. There now needs to be a much stronger working relationship between the new board and the Trust moving forwards.
What happens now?
Until we know more details, it’s hard to know for sure. The most pressing matter is getting rid of the threat of administration, getting the staff paid and going from there. The staff deserve medals for how they’ve worked on no pay for weeks and should be recognised in some way.
On the pitch, if we can avoid administration then we’re in a tremendous league position and you can only hope that now the backs aren’t against the walls as much we keep up the performances of the last couple of months. We’ve made a fantastic fist of things to get into the top three and it’s going to be a heck of a task to stay in and around those places. With the desire that’s been shown since September, though, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t still be up there come the end of the season.
At the moment, though, it’s all about having a team to support and there are no words for the relief that’s being felt that we can do that and start to look forward again.
If all of that wasn’t drama enough, police have served a warrant at Sixfields this evening to secure documents relating to the loan from Northampton Borough Council to the club.
The club are said to be fully co-operative with the investigation which we certainly haven’t heard the end of. There are still plenty of people, Cardoza included, who must answer serious questions. He’s dragged the club from pillar to post ever since the news of his sale of the club was announced. Just how much has gone on behind the scenes will hopefully be revealed by these investigations and we can only hope that we finally find out the truth one way or another.
The overriding emotion at the end of a dramatic day is relief. Relief that we will still have a club to support. Relief that a decent group of people will be in charge. Relief that we can go to Crawley tomorrow night and welcome Yeovil on Saturday with the mind set of promotion candidates and not looking back to where minus twelve points would take us down to. And relief that no-one is taking our Northampton away.