THE Cobblers have agreed a groundshare deal with Coventry City which will see the Sky Blues playing home games at Sixfields for the next three years.
Northampton Town have released the following statement:
Northampton Town and Coventry City have signed an agreement that will see the Sky Blues play their home games at Sixfields for the next 3 seasons.
Coventry's owners, the Otium Entertainment Group, have been looking for a venue at which to play City's home games, and they have now signed a deal with the Cobblers.
"Coventry will be using Sixfields to play their home games for the next 3 seasons," said Cobblers Chairman David Cardoza.
"This helps out a fellow club who came to us and asked for our assistance and it is a much needed additional revenue stream for Northampton Town Football Club.
"When the home fixtures clash, Northampton Town's games will take priority and Coventry's games will be played second. That means if both teams are at home on the same weekend, Coventry will play on the Sunday and if there is a midweek clash, Coventry will play on the Wednesday. No Northampton Town games will be moved as part of this arrangement, subject to any television requirements.
"We totally understand that the majority of Coventry fans feel their club should be playing in their city and we are sorry they are not but the issues about whether or not they could use the Ricoh or any other venue in Coventry are not ours to discuss. Coventry City Football Club felt the only option was to move outside of the city, and our first involvement in this process was when we were approached by Coventry City asking us to help a fellow football club. There wasn't any plan for us to try and tempt another club away from their local community for our financial gain. We are simply helping a fellow football club at their request.
"As Chairman of Northampton Town, my responsibility is to the players and supporters of Northampton Town Football Club. We are not judge and jury over everything in football, of course Coventry should be playing in Coventry but the reason why they cannot for this temporary period is not down to us. Coventry City have come forward, asking to hire our stadium on days when it is not in use, helping Northampton Town's cash flow in the process and have Football League approval to do so. We are a League 2 club who are battling to break even, so given the facts that are presented the decision has been made in the best interests of Northampton Town Football Club while also attempting to help Coventry City.
"The income we will receive will be welcome, but it doesn't change things massively for us. What it does do is help our cash flow, which any League 2 club would benefit from.
"Had we not reached agreement, and had Coventry been forced to look somewhere else, it may have been at a stadium even further away than Sixfields and with a club who were less aware of the sensitivity and emotion felt by Coventry fans. All we can do, and we will do, is to make the period when they are playing their home games at Sixfields as bearable as possible for Coventry City FC and their supporters.
"We know this move won't be popular with Coventry supporters and we genuinely feel for them. It is never nice seeing a club have to play their home games in a different location on a temporary basis but we are just doing our best to help.
“This is good news for the local economy. Northampton shops, restaurants, petrol stations, hotels and pubs will all benefit from the extra footfall these games will bring to the area.
“Our Groundsman Paul Knowles did a terrific job of getting the games on in a bad winter last year, we have done our research and we are confident our playing surface will stand up to the increased number of matches.
“The work we have done over the last couple of years was to prepare for the additional workload of the rugby league matches, so we are confident we can deal with the extra matches Sixfields will be staging.
“Our staff will work with Coventry's staff for the first couple of games to smooth the transition but after that Coventry's staff will generally be running their home games.
"We will work with Northampton Borough Council to limit the traffic and parking issues when clashes with Northampton Saints fixtures arise.
"This is a genuine attempt to help a football club who have asked for our help. In no way did we try and tempt Coventry here, we are just helping out, as asked, a club who has nowhere to play."
Leader of Northampton Borough Council, David Mackintosh, added "This is a real boost for the local economy to have thousands of regular extra visitors. We will work with the football club to make sure the Coventry fans and away supporters not only have a safe and pleasant visit to our town but also see what else Northampton has to offer whilst they are here."