It has been a trying time for the Supporters of the Northampton Town Football Club, for the club itself and the players.
Somehow plans for creating a brand new stadium, for generating new income from bigger crowds and the development of the land went badly wrong. The Labour Group on the Council decided we had to separate two issues. One was the future of the club. The Cobblers are an asset for the town and part of the rich cultural mix we offer to our communities and visitors. They provide hope and inspiration to many of our young people looking for role models and examples of how dedication and hard work pays.
The other issue, of course, is where is the money? The club was lent 10.24 million pounds by the Council. And no-one as yet knows where the money is. There is a half built stadium. There are invoices on NTFC headed paper showing expenditure on a new build house. And there is a development company owed lots of money.
The deal done by the Council about the loan means the new owners are not liable for the money. This is good news for the Club. Not such good news for the tax payers. The Council has agreed to repay the loan from money they make through the development of the land at Sixfields. Easier said than done. What if the land is so contaminated no-one wants to develop there? What is plan B?
If the land is developed and the loan paid back - that will be taking 10.25 million out of the public purse. Money that could be used for building more Council houses and more affordable homes. Money that could be used on services. We want the Cobblers to have a future and to have success. Hopefully with a new owner now in place they will have both. But we also want our money back. At present there are three investigations under way. A Police investigation, a review by the Audit Committee and an Independent Inquiry by the external auditors. We need answers. Lets hope we get them soon.