Following requests from Trust members and other supporters, the Supporters Trust is today publishing the 25 questions we have asked club owner David Bower and chairman Kelvin Thomas concerning the future of Northampton Town FC.
While we continue to support the club securing a land deal with West Northamptonshire Council which results in the completion of the East Stand, we have always said it has to be a deal which guarantees future revenue benefit for the club in years to come.
We remain unsure of the detail of the proposal being brought forward to WNC and believe now is the right time, in the interests of transparency, to ask these questions about the development in an attempt to establish the exact nature of what will be under discussion.
The club has offered to chat through the questions with the Trust board on a Zoom call but we feel supporters would be better served by the club providing written answers to the questions so they are clear, understood and on the record.
The questions are as follows:-
· How would any future land deal guarantee ongoing benefit to the club? What asset provision or financial mechanism would arise from any wider development to guarantee this?
· The option agreement might loosely ‘benefit the club’ but which entity exactly would the freehold title be transferred to? NTFCL? CDNL? NTVL?
· What freehold land exactly is being referred to? The NTFCL leasehold area? The CDNL leasehold?
· What is the nature of the financing of the East Stand being considered? Is this in the form of a capital injection into NTFCL? Or is it debt financing in any way, shape or form?
· Has the issue of the boundaries and overlap of the two leases been resolved? And how does the freehold land area that you are seeking from WNC overlay those lease areas?
· What is envisaged by 'community use'?
· Will you dissolve CDNL?
· Who is going to develop the East Stand?
· Can we see the plan and the costings that support a £3m completion cost estimate?
· Have updated cost estimates for completion been requested/obtained from Buckingham and others? What does the ‘agreement’ with Buckingham state and would it meet current rules around competitive tendering?
· Will any development and construction on either lease area be subject to competitive tendering?
· You have previously suggested that alternative plans for the East Stand are not viable. Where are the plans/costings? Who was invited to submit proposals?
· Reference is made to a 'build and hold' approach which was previously dismissed out of hand. What has changed?
· Is the proposal under discussion exactly the same as that put to NBC?
· How many parking spaces are planned for behind the East Stand?
· What is the fans’ zone – area, facilities etc?
· How other than match day ticket sales, executive boxes fees, connected food & alcohol sales is revenue going to be earned from the East Stand 24/7?
· 'Potential new sponsors'. Who are they?
· What are your plans for the club? Over one, five and ten years?
· Do you have an exit strategy?
· If there is no plan to exit, what will the club structure look like over those timeframes?
· We have heard previously that you want to leave the club as close to debt free as possible - does that mean that you envisage a prioritisation of creditors? And how will the bridge to a debt-free position be achieved?
· How might the club accommodate a 50+1 ownership model?
· In a worst-case scenario, are you prepared to write off the £6m debt?
· Are you prepared to consider selling the club and the NTFCL lease area for £1, cash and debt free?