Chairman Kelvin Thomas has admitted if Chris Wilder quits the Cobblers to take charge at Charlton Athletic, it will be ‘unrealistic’ for the club to try and strike a deal to ensure he can’t try to sign any Northampton players.
And he has made it clear that nobody will be leaving Sixfields without proper compensation coming the other way.
After an official approach was made by Charlton on Monday morning, Wilder has held talks with the Addicks about taking over at The Valley, and Thomas has said he has pretty much ‘accepted’ he will be losing the Town boss to the south London club.
With reportedly a much larger playing budget to work with if he were to take the Charlton post, the fear for Cobblers fans would be Wilder trying to take a few of the league two tirle winning Northampton players to the capital with him.
Thomas understands those concerns and says the club could yet fight with Charlton to have an agreement in place so that Wilder wouldn’t be allowed to sign Cobblers players, but admits such a deal is ‘unrealistic’.
Instead, he made it clear the club has ‘protected itself’ to ensure no player will be going anywhere without adequate compensation coming in.
The entire playing staff at Sixfields was signed by Wilder, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he wanted to take some of those players with him if he were to leave the Cobblers, but all bar Danny Rose, Josh Lelan and Paul Corry are under contract for at least one more year.
Asked if he would try to stop Wilder returning to try and sign Northampton players if he leaves the club, Thomas said: “The truth is, we could fight for that type of agreement but it is a little unrealistic in this world.
“We have obviously talked about that situation, and we have protected ourselves as much as we can.
“We have no concerns about the players in terms of Charlton or any other club.
“I know Chris well enough, and I know Chris is not going to come in and try and take half a team, but would he be doing his job if he didn’t look at one or two players? I don’t know.
“But the overriding fact is that nobody will leave this football club without significant compensation.
“We don’t want to lose any players, nobody is for sale, but we also live in the real world.”
Wilder is on a one-year rolling contract at Sixfields, and Thomas also confirmed that if he does leave, then Charlton will have to pay for his and assistant Alan Knill’s services.
“We did inherit contracts where there was a compensation figure, and we are quite happy with what he have negotiated with Charlton,” said Thomas.
Thomas admits that any negotiations that might have been planned with players over the coming days may have to be put on the backburner until Wilder’s future is sorted out one way or the other, but the chairman did say he is keen on tying midfielder Rose to the club.
The former Oxford United man spoke last week of how much he wants to stay at Sixfields, and Thomas says he will be chatting to the former Manchester United trainee.
“I think we will continue those sort of discussions, because I think Danny has done very well,” said Thomas.
“We would probably continue that discussion, but as with any discussion it is always two-sided, so Danny might have a change of heart.
“We had a bit of a chat on Sunday after the parade, and I think he has loved his time at the club and thinks it has been fantastic, so we’ll see how that goes.”