Thomas ready to back Curle in January despite ‘ongoing’ takeover talks

Kelvin Thomas
Kelvin Thomas

Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas is ready to back manager Keith Curle in the transfer market next month despite the continued possibility of a takeover.

Thomas first opened the door to a potential sale back in May, a result of his built-up frustration with the East Stand saga, but despite holding talks with several interested parties, little has changed in the time since.

It’s ongoing and it’s a very fluid process. We’ve spoken to a few people and one of the big concerns for us is that no-one comes in and separates the land from the football club.

Thomas continues to run the club as normal though, and with Curle making no secret of his desire to strengthen the squad he inherited from Dean Austin, the chairman will offer his support in the January transfer window.

He said: “We’ve started discussions in terms of January and we’ve always said we’ll operate the club as we should going forward, whatever happens in terms of the ownership and January is no different.

“Things are happening in the background and we’re working towards it. Keith will want to put his own stamp on the squad.

“I don’t think it’ll be anything major but I’m sure he’ll want to bring a couple of players in and naturally a couple of players who want more games or whatever might move on.

“We supported the squad in the summer by not forcing Dean (Austin) to get players out, especially higher paid players, and at some point, whether it’s January or the summer, we’ll have to address that issue in terms of getting out budget back to a more realistic view.

“There’ll be an evolution in the squad as we go on and they’ll be football decisions. Financial decisions will come after football decisions and it’ll be a two-way conversation and we’ll talk about it and see where it gets to.

“We’ll try and make good decisions and better decisions than have been made previously and then go from there.”

Thomas also gave an update on a potential takeover of the club after opening himself up to offers back in May, adding: “It’s ongoing and it’s a very fluid process. We’ve spoken to a few people and one of the big concerns for us is that no-one comes in and separates the land from the football club.

“It’s important that the land is used for the benefit of the club and we’ve said that from early on and we think that’s right so some of those discussions have fallen away because some of it has been a bit more property-based which is not what we want.

“Some has been football based but there has to be a balance. We don’t want people to come in and buy the football club and not worry about the East Stand so we’re moving things along.

“We’re continuing as normal. Most football clubs would welcome extra investment but we’ll only have those conversations if we find the right group or people to take the club forward better than us.”

It was Thomas who made the decision to sack Austin and then quickly replace him with the experienced Curle after Town’s poor start to the season, and he’s pleased with how his new man has turned things around.

“I think Keith has done well,” he said. “What’s most pleasing is that he’s instilled a grit in the side and a determination not to give up and to keep going and we saw that on Tuesday.

“I’m not sure it’s necessarily the football he wants by talking to him and it might not be as fluid as he wants but it’s been effective and that’s what we needed at the time.”