Northants County Cricket Club could be given a loan of £250,000 by Northampton Borough Council to “help it get back to a financially sustainable position”, it has been announced.
The plans, put forward by the Conservative administration at the borough council, will be discussed at a meeting next Wednesday at the Guildhall.
A spokesman for the borough council said: “If agreed, Northampton Borough Council would look to offer the cricket club a secured loan of up to £250,000 to help get club back to a financially sustainable position.
“This would be part of a wider package of measures the club is organising as part of their changing business plan.
“The cricket club’s business plan shows that the loan would be repaid within five years. The council would initially only loan the Club up to £100,000, with an additional £150,000 available if more support is needed,” the spokesman added.
Councillor Mary Markham, leader of Northampton Borough Council said: “Later this month we will look at providing financial support to help the Cricket Club get back onto a stable footing. With over a century of tradition the Cricket Club is one of the oldest still playing in the County Championship, and a big part of life in Northampton.
“However, cricket is changing and that means the Club must restructure off the pitch if they are to have a future on it. A secured loan, as part of a larger financial package, would help the Club to make the changes it needs to. They have set out a strong business case that shows how they know what changes are needed and how they could quickly repay the loan.”
Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Danielle Stonec said: “I have no problem giving the Cricket Club a secured loan as we want to see it succeed in the future. Cricket is incredibly popular in the town and the wider county. However, the council admits this loan is help the cricket club ‘get back to a back to a financially sustainable position’.
“The borough council must be very careful to remember the lessons of the loan to NTFC and ensure those mistakes don’t happen again in this case. After all they said that NTFC had a strong business case,” she added.
Back in August this year, the cricket club said things had “changed significantly” since poor financial figures in 2014.
A spokeswoman said at the time that new board members and new staff had been taken on and it had a “comprehensive commercial plan” to address the “historic losses”.
The plans involved utilising the County Ground for both cricket and non-cricket events.
And the intention was to make capital investment in the club to maximise the potential of its meeting and events space.
The club admitted in August that, like all First Class Counties, it was exploring what support can be had from the ECB. No mntion was made of approaching the council or any other organisations for a loan.