Supporters’ Trust ‘fully supportive’ of Cobblers’ decision to cut ties with 5USport

Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas with 5USport CEO Tom Auyeung
Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas with 5USport CEO Tom Auyeung

The Northampton Town Supporters’ Trust is ‘fully supportive’ of the news the club has reacquired the shares sold to Chinese investors 5USport last summer.

The Cobblers announced on Thursday night that they had ended their association with the Gangzhou-based company, and that their representatives Tom Auyeung and Oliver Zheng had left the board of directors.

The Trust has, for some time, had concerns about the viability of 5USport’s investment – we are fully supportive of this course of action and we will be happy to address any concerns raised with us

Northampton Town Supporters’ Trust statement

Town chairman Kelvin Thomas and fellow director David Bower sold 60 per cent of Northampton Town Ventures - the club’s major shareholder - to 5USport in June, 2017.

But since late last year, ‘overseas investment restrictions’ in China have led to problems with the cashflow, and after a final deadline for providing funds was missed, Thomas and Bower reclaimed the shares.

It means the club is effectively back to where it was before 5USport’s investment was announced, and the Supporters’ Trust have backed the move by the Sixfields club.

Trust members met with Thomas, Bower and James Whiting at Sixfields on Thursday afternoon, where they were briefed on events, and an official statement from the Trust was released on Friday morning.

It read: “The Supporters’ Trust welcomes the news that David Bower and Kelvin Thomas have reacquired the shares which had been purchased by Chinese investors 5USport last summer.

“The Trust met with Kelvin and other club officials yesterday afternoon and were fully appraised of the situation in respect of the club’s ownership and why it was felt necessary to take this step.

“Following a full and frank discussion, we believe the return of the shares is in the best interests of safeguarding the immediate future of the football club.

“The Trust has, for some time, had concerns about the viability of 5USport’s investment – we are fully supportive of this course of action and we will be happy to address any concerns raised with us.

“We also discussed the need for longer-term investment in the football club and the position with regard to the east stand development.

“But we agreed that these were topics that should be explored more fully at a later stage – and that presently the clear focus needs to be on keeping the club in League One and getting fully behind the team, starting with this afternoon’s home game against Charlton Athletic.”