Cobblers chairman David Cardoza gave an almost staggeringly honest portrayal of the club’s playing budget and finances at Thursday night’s open forum, organised by the supporters’ trust.
The Sixfields owner, who spoke for around an hour and a half at the event in Carr’s Bar at the stadium, clarified the position on the current spend on the squad and confirmed last year that only two clubs paid more on players than Northampton Town.
Cardoza, who brought printed financial documents with him to the meeting, also spoke extensively about the redevelopment of the ground, issues on the playing side so far this season and the arrangement with Coventry City.
But it was when discussing the budget that he was at his most forthright, and after he spoke, the supporters in attendance gave him a long ovation.
“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,” he told the forum.
“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.”
Cardoza also confirmed the net income from last season’s play-offs was far lower than had been expected, with the costs of hiring Wembley Stadium wiping out any serious profit.
“We only made £200,000 in profit from the play-off games, that is all three matches,” he said. “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.”