Chairman Thomas says Cobblers ‘financially secure’ despite split from 5USport

Kelvin Thomas and 5USport CEO Tom Auyeung at Sixfields in June, 2017
Kelvin Thomas and 5USport CEO Tom Auyeung at Sixfields in June, 2017

Chairman Kelvin Thomas has reassured Cobblers supporters the club is ‘financially secure’ following the shock news that the association with Chinese investors 5USport has come to an end.

The club announced on Thursday night that the board of directors had reacquired the ‘major’ share purchase that was made by 5USport last summer, following difficulties with payments being made to the club from China due to ‘overseas investment restictions’.

5USport’s Tom Auyeung and Oliver Zheng have stepped down from the Cobblers board, and the club is effectively back to where it was before the Guangzhou-based company’s investment was announced a little over 10 months ago.

Thomas has made it clear the latest development is ‘in the best interests of the club’, that there are no financial issues to be worried about.

He also stated that the club will still be looking to find investment to take the club forward, but for now he wants everybody to ‘come together’ and concentrate on doing their bit to help the team avoid relegation from Sky Bet League One.

“Since David (Bower), Mike (Wailing) and I became involved we have always done what we thought was in the best interests of the club,” said Thomas.

We have provided funding this season at various points to ensure obligations are met and also to continue to invest in the future with player acquisitions this past January

Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas

“That rationale underpinned the original involvement of 5USport and also underpins this decision.

“We can confirm that the club is financially secure, and this will continue under our ownership as we have always said.

“We have provided funding this season at various points to ensure obligations are met and also to continue to invest in the future with player acquisitions this past January.

“We are still of the mindset that for the club to fully prosper on the pitch especially at higher levels of play, it will need a long term and more sustainable model and inevitably further outside investment, but those discussions are for another day.

5USport's CEO Tom Auyeung said Cobblers 'ticked all the right boxes' last June

5USport's CEO Tom Auyeung said Cobblers 'ticked all the right boxes' last June

“We feel strongly that any conversations about investment are not for now and all our focus needs to be on the pitch and the next seven games.

“I think we will all accept this season hasn’t gone the way we would have hoped and expected, but we still have it in our hands to retain our League One status.”

The Cobblers are at home to Charlton Athletic on Good Friday afternoon (ko 3pm), and Thomas is calling on the supporters to turn out in numbers and get behind the team as they strive for a much-needed victory.

“We have had a couple of periods during this season already where we have won a few games in a row and we now need one of those runs” said the Town chairman.

“As a club we are right behind the manager, his staff and this group of players and feel we all need to all come together.

“There will be enough people on the outside wanting to see us fail, so it is up to us to stand up for each other, all starting tomorrow against Charlton.”