Cobblers made a small profit in the financial year ending June 30, 2021, largely due to the record sale of defender Charlie Goode, the club’s latest set of accounts have shown.
The figures, covering the 12-month period up to June 30 last year, also reveal the club’s debt was down to £ 5.4million by the end of the financial year, although that has since increased again.
The recorded profit of £ 127,980, compared to losses of over £ 500,000 which were posted last year, comes despite the impact of COVID last season when matches were played behind closed doors. Ticketing income was reduced by 61 per cent, with turnover down 13 per cent.
Whilst Goode’s seven-figure departure to Brentford was the overwhelming reason for recording a profit, the club were also helped by access to the Government’s furlough scheme.
In addition, the accounts show that the club invested a six-figure sum in two exclusive pitches for the first-team at the training ground last May. The works included significant drainage and irrigation works and means the club now have use or control over four pitches, maintained by the club’s ground staff for the first-team and academy.
The directors’ report states: “The 2020/21 season started with a lot of uncertainty and presented significant challenges to the club and its supporters due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It was always expected that the season would initially commence behind closed doors with a hope, based on Government guidelines, that supporters could return to games in October. This date was unfortunately delayed due to the emergence of a new variant of Covid-19 with supporters returning to matches, socially distanced, in late November 2020.
“Unfortunately, the return of spectators was short lived with a surge in Covid rates prior to Christmas and with the country facing further lockdowns, the season was completed behind closed doors. On the pitch it was a challenging season and unfortunately the club suffered relegation at the completion of the season.
“This was despite operating a playing budget that was comparable to previous seasons in League One and a budget that EFL benchmarking reports show to be significantly above the actual league position. Results on the pitch resulted in an extensive review of the football department and operations.
“The result of which was the appointment of a new manager and coaching staff, a new structure along with new systems and processes for recruitment. The board believe that the new structure and processes along with continued investment in the training ground and academy will provide medium and long-term benefits for the club, enabling the club to be more competitive and consistent on a continuing basis. “
On the reduction of the debt, the report adds: “As stated in the going concern note within these financial statements, the owners continue to support the club financially.
“Funds are introduced into the club by the owners as required for the club to meet its financial obligations and, at times when there is a cash surplus, funds are transferred out to reduce the debt to the owners. No interest is charged on these loans .
“At the end of the financial year the debt to the owners was £ 5,441,025. This was reduced from £ 6,131,025 at the start of the year. At time of signing these financial statements in March 2022 the current debt is £ 6.1m, with the monies temporarily used to reduce the debt in financial year 2021 now having been reintroduced to the club to meet financial obligations as they fall due. “
On the East Stand and Sixfields land deal, it continues: “It was noted in last year’s financial statements that the ownership of County Development (Northampton) Limited (CDNL) was transferred by the club’s owners from them personally to the club.
“The club held an open house event in summer 2021 and shared its plans for the East Stand and development land with supporters. A subsequent poll resulted in 97.67 per cent of supporters backing the plans.
“Following a long process with West Northants Council, a deal for CDNL to acquire land at Sixfields was agreed at a West Northants Council Cabinet meeting on 8th March 2022. The deal will now progress to the contracts stage.
“When contracts are completed, the deal will see CDNL purchase the freehold for the land on which it currently holds the leasehold for. Through the club’s ownership of CDNL the club will directly benefit from any proceeds from the land. The freehold for the former athletics track land will also be transferred into the club upon completion of the land purchase.
“Progress on this matter is significant for the club. Once the deal is completed it will allow the club to complete the East Stand and gives the club assets that it has never previously had. It has been a long and challenging process and the Directors would like to place on record their thanks to all stakeholders involved in the process. “