Cricket

Northampton will not sell Wantage Road despite money worries

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Northamptonshire County Club have denied considering selling their Wantage Road ground despite chief executive Ray Payne admitting that the club may need financial support from the ECB.

The club, who play their cricket in Division Two of the County Championship, made a loss of £305,636 last year - and are forecasting another heavy loss this time around.

The ECB have now insisted that the County must now undergo an independent financial review before the possibility of borrowing any money is facilitated.

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The sum needed to meet urgent financial obligations is in the region of £500,000, meaning there is now a high chance that Northants will lose a number of key players before the start of next season.

Wholesale

England one-day player David Willey could be the first out of the exit - despite being under contract until the end of 2016 - as the wage bill may he dramatically cut.

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Other big name players that could be offloaded are Scotland international Kyle Coetzer, and former England Under-19 skipper Ben Duckett.

Talking to BBC Radio Northampton, Payne explained that the money from the ECB was not an emergency loan, but the beginning of a three year plan to try and make the club more sustainable:

“It’s about long-term cash flow and ensuring the losses of last year are not repeated. It is not do or die for the club.

“We are asking the ECB what money is available. There is some debt, but not as much debt as some other clubs.”

Common issue

Payne went on to add that the problem facing Northants is in fact common among English county sides - and that supporters should not worry.

"First-class cricket has issues. We are not the only club talking to the ECB and local partners about how they might survive. But there is no panic and no worry at the club."

Despite the speculation surrounding the club’s finances, moving from Wantage Road – home to the County since 1905 - is not an option according to Payne, with recent investment and plans to hold other non-cricketing related events meaning they are to stay at their historic home ground.

"There has been substantial investment in the ground and its facilities and it remains the intention of the board that following the capital investment in the club, it fully maximises the potential of its meeting and events space."

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