Cobblers chairman David Cardoza faced the music and the club’s supporters at the regular open forum at Sixfields on Thursday night.
It has been a difficult start to the season on and off the pitch at Northampton, and Cardoza faced plenty of questions from fans regarding the team’s poor start to the season, the playing budget, allowing Coventry City to rent the Sixfields facilities and much more.
Cardoza, as always, was honest and open in his answers to every question he faced, and our man Jefferson Lake was on hand to document what happened.
Here, in the second of our two-part special, we publish every question put to Cardoza, and every answer he made, in full.
Open Forum Q&A
Q: Are you able to give us an indication of how this year’s budget compares with last year’s?
DC: There is a belief that certain things have happened in regards to the budget but I’m going to be very honest with you and tell you everything now.
Last year our wage bill was £1.671m, the third highest in the division; I’m able to say that because once or twice a year we get a list of what all the other clubs have spent and although you don’t see their names, we were third on that list.
We also get a list of every club’s income and we were 11th on that. Our club should have a £1m-£1.1m wage budget to break even and it has never been as low as that since I’ve been here.
Sammo (Ian Sampson) was close to it before the January transfer window when he signed Shaun Harrad and one or two others.
This season we’re three players short of last season’s wage bill – Nana, Paul Turnbull and Jake Robinson – and if we had this year’s wage bill in last season’s league two figures it would put us fifth.
I’d say it’s probably about sixth or seventh. People can have a go at me about a lot of things but not about the money that I put into the club.
We only made £200,000 in profit from the play-off games, that is all three matches.
The Wembley rent pretty much took everything out.
We made £40,000 for the two televised games in broadcast fees, about £35,000 in gate receipts and the rest was from the final.
I’ve never bought a player for cash and made a profit on him and the only player we’ve bought since I’ve been here that we got our money back for was Paul Reid.
Aidy Boothroyd is a very special manager and we are lucky to have him here.
He’s really got something about him and of the players we have tried to get we haven’t missed out on anyone – the only one was Nathan Cameron, who chose to sign for Bury on less money.
We’ve lost six in seven games and none of us is happy about that, but Aidy tells me we’re very close to something special and I trust him and I believe in him.
Q: How do you feel about the 11 years you have had as chairman of the club?
DC: The worst thing I’ve done is give managers money. If we’d started out with a £1m budget and stuck to it we maybe could’ve built the club up in a different way.
Q: If Aidy comes to you and says he wants to sign a player on loan that will definitely improve the squad, would you provide the funding for that?
DC: We have Jacob Blyth on loan and that is probably going to be extended, and again that is something that will cost us money.
We’re probably going to be bringing in an experienced central defender next week and there will of course be a cost involved with that.
There are lots of costs to bear in mind that people don’t really think about. Our medical budget for a season is £30,000 but because of the Alex Nicholls injury last year and the Nana injury we ended up paying more than £100,000 out.
Q: A couple of young players have left the youth set-up to go to bigger clubs recently – is the club under pressure to sell such players?
DC: We are never forced to sell anyone and if we allow someone from the youth system to go it is because the coaches don’t feel he is a good enough prospect for us.
The youth system is very important to us because (a) the players are generally from Northampton and have an affinity for the town and the club and (b) they save us spending £1500 a week or whatever on a player that has to be brought in from outside.
Q: How does the 55 per cent rule fit into the budget situation and are there ways around it?
DC: There are always ways around it and you can of course put more cash in. Last season we had more money coming in because we had the (Michael) Jacobs transfer fee and we obviously won’t have that this season.
Q: Can you do anything to encourage more stability on the playing side? There has been another big turnover of players this summer.
DC: After the play-off final, Aidy said to me that Bradford went up because they didn’t change much, they only made little tweaks to their side, and we decided that that’s what we would do.
Then we started to get into it and he felt Luke Guttridge would not be a first-choice player and that it was going to be difficult to keep Ben Harding with the other targets he had and so changes were made to the midfield.
But we will be going that way in the future, I think stability is very important.
Q: Have you spoken to Ishmel Demontagnac since Tuesday night and is he remorseful for what he did?
DC: I genuinely don’t really see the players at all so no, I haven’t seen Ish. Off the pitch he is a nice, decent lad who never gives anyone any trouble but on the pitch he’s a psychopath. He’s potentially way above league two standard but he obviously needs to address a few things because people are winding him up in games and he is reacting to it.
Q: Have the players that have been sent off this season been fined?
DC: Yes. All that money goes into a pot and it’s up to Aidy to decide what he wants to use it for in training or whatever. I have absolutely no involvement in the playing side of the club but Aidy and I do speak on a daily basis and I’m up to speed with everything that goes on.
Q: Do you feel the current side is lacking leaders?
DC: Aidy is actually of the belief that we have more this season than we did last season, and he talks about players ‘digging each other out’ – and those are his words – in training all the time.
We are certainly missing Kelvin Langmead because he is a real leader and someone who I am really proud to say is the captain of this football club.
Q: What was the situation with David Artell?
DC: Aidy has views on players and one of his views is that character is just as important as playing ability, and sometimes it’s even more important. We brought Dave in on that basis, that he had captained Crewe to a promotion but he didn’t quite fit into how Aidy thought things should be done.
Aidy is a very smart bloke, he felt the character of the team last season was a big factor in getting them as far as they did and so I trust him on such things.
Plus Dave was having to commute a long way from his family and spending nights in hotels, there were lots of factors to take into consideration.