Ahead of the full council meeting of West Northamptonshire Council on Monday evening to discuss the club's East Stand development plans, the Northamptonshire community have been reaching out to show their support for the proposals.
After 97.67% of supporters backed the club's plans in an online poll, ahead of the meeting messages have come from fans, stakeholders and members of the Northamptonshire community to show their support.
The Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, the University of Northampton, Northampton Saints, Moulton College, Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, Cynthia Spencer Hospice, local schools, the Northamptonshire Football Association and Sands United are just some of the businesses, sports clubs and charities who have backed the plans, while former promotion winning managers Chris Wilder, Graham Carr and Colin Calderwood have added their support as has the club's second highest appearance maker Ian Sampson.
Sunny Singh, Director of Business Development, Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce said:
“Having seen the plans for the development of the East Stand at Northampton Town Football Club, the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce as representatives of our members, our stakeholders and the wider business community provide our full support to these plans. It is evident that these plans have embarked on an extremely thorough independent process and we very much hope that they are approved swiftly, so that the exciting project can get underway. Not only would this expansion be a benefit to the standing of a renowned local institution, but it would also provide a boost to the region's economy and would provide improved facilities for the fans and the business community that we represent.”
Cobblers fan Nick Hilliker is from Sands United, a local football club set up in Northamptonshire to support fathers who have suffered the loss of a baby or young child. He said:
“At Sands United we have received excellent support from the club and are happy to add our support for the club’s East Stand plans. A lot of us in the team are Cobblers fans and we want to see the stand completed as soon as possible for the good of the club, the local community and all of Northamptonshire. The plans look good, they are sensible and here at Sands United we are right behind the development! Good luck Cobblers!”
Gavin Warren is the Chairman of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club. He said:
“Northamptonshire is very fortunate to have three professional sporting club representing the town and county with pride. I have seen the club’s plans for the East Stand, and they look very exciting. I like the Football clubs’ ambition that will help the club and the community both on and off the field. I have got to know Kelvin well since he joined the club, and he must be congratulated for his continued enthusiasm that has made a positive impact on not just the Cobblers but the wider community of Northampton too. I am pleased to offer my full support for these plans and look forward to seeing the football club flourish.”
Mark Darbon, Chief Executive Officer at Northampton Saints added:
“Everyone at Northampton Saints was delighted to hear that the discussions on the completion of the East Stand at Northampton Town Football Club have been positive. The elite sporting clubs of the town now enjoy an excellent working relationship, bound by a shared view about the powerful role sport can play for the Northamptonshire community, and we are therefore delighted that progress is being made."
Owen Morris is the Deputy Director, Public Relations and Corporate Communications, at the University of Northampton and Owen said:
“The University and the Cobblers have had a successful partnership since 2013 and we share the same commitment to this town and the community of Northampton. The long-anticipated completion of the East Stand will be a benefit to the club and its fans for generations to come, and we hope the project is able to progress as soon as possible.”
Scott Desborough, Chairman of the Northampton Town FC Community Trust said:
“The plans for the East Stand look terrific and are particularly exciting for the Community Trust. The development will provide us with much needed space and enable us to welcome, support and engage with an even more diverse range of groups from across the community, driving our vision to create a healthy, happy and connected Northamptonshire.”
Nina Gandy is the Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser at Cynthia Spencer Hospice and Nina said:
“Northampton Town Football Club play a vital part in the local community and, the plans for the East Stand will only add to this. NTFC have shown great support to local charities including ourselves over a number of years. The plans will enable a more inclusive environment for all and provide great facilities to a wide and varied fan base and the local community. The development plans will enable NTFC to continue their work with the local community as well as enhance this further which, will be of great benefit."
Chris Wilder managed the club to the League 2 title in 2016. He is the current Middlesbrough manager having also managed Sheffield United to the Premier League. He said:
“I really enjoyed my time at Northampton Town and we achieved some great things together. I said when they arrived that Kelvin and David would do good things for this club and Northampton is now well known in football as a well-run Football Club. I am delighted to see that progress is also being made on the East Stand development. I know how hard the club has worked to make that happen and it will be an exciting day when that stand is finally completed.”
THE CURRENT POSITION
• The club has never had direct control of the leases on the development land
• The opportunity to do so only arose when the current owners secured control of the leases through CDNL
• Following that, the owners always said any benefit from the land would benefit the club
• To confirm this, the owners transferred ownership of CDNL from themselves personally to Northampton Town Football Club
• So thanks to the actions of the owners, the club now for the first time ever, has the opportunity to benefit from any funds generated from the land.
IF THIS DEAL IS APPROVED, THEN FOLLOWING APPROVAL OF THE DEAL....
• The club will finally be able to complete the East Stand
• Any development profits will go to the club through the club's ownership of CDNL
• West Northamptonshire Council will continue to be the freeholder for the stadium site and Northampton Town Football Club will be a leaseholder. The stadium will continue to be subject to the existing Asset of Community Value
• Northampton Town Football Club will also hold the freehold for the section of the former athletics track that will initially be a fan zone, car park and can be developed in the future for the club's benefit – this is an asset of significant value that the club has never had!
Chief Executive James Whiting: “If approved, this changes the financial landscape of the club and protects the long term future so much more than we could have hoped for.
“Just by reading the bullet points you see where we could be with a finished East Stand and some freehold land.
“There is no question in my mind and that of all the staff here that this plan has the overwhelming support of so many people because it is in the best interests of the club.”