Crisis For Northampton Town As Sixfields Redevelopment Could Be Halted

A major construction company that had been redeveloping football stadiums including Northampton Town’s Sixfields and Liverpool’s Anfield is on the brink of collapse, reports the BBC.

Buckingham Group, which is based in Buckinghamshire, has stopped trading, citing “rapidly escalating contract losses”.

In April this year, the Buckingham Group was also appointed contractor for Championship side Birmingham City, with the mandate to specifically complete the structural work to enable the lower tiers of the Tilton and Kop stands to reopen this season.

The company has also been involved in earthworks regarding HS2 and East-West rail lines.

A notice has been filed to administrators, however, the employee-owned construction group stressed it was not currently in administration.

Despite a turnover of £665 million in 2021, and a “very strong commercial performance across most of the business”, it had suffered “deep losses and interim cash deficits on three major stadium and arena contracts, and a substantial earthworks contract in Coventry”.

A combination of the conflict in the Ukraine as well as other challenges in the Sport and Leisure division were cited as reasons for the downfall, and it has been without success when searching for additional funding, a statement read.

Northampton Town are currently monitoring the situation as Buckingham Group was contracted to build the new East Stand, with the League One side awaiting an updated quotation.

What’s been said?

Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas said: “As a club we have no financial risk or commitments and we have had conversations with other contractors anyway, to make sure that we had some comparative figures and back-up plans.”

He added: “Buckingham’s have been good to the football club and we hope they can work through this.”

The company had been delivering the 7,000-seat expansion of Anfield, which was anticipated to be completed during the 2023/24 campaign.

A Liverpool statement added: “We will work with Buckingham Group on the planned phased opening of the remainder of the new stand and will continue to keep supporters updated on arrangements for future games.”

Writer’s View

It is encouraging news for Northampton fans that the club is under no financial risk or commitment regarding the redevelopment of their East Stand, however, it remains a frustrating setback.

The club should also be commended for being proactive in the search for back-up plans which should place them in the best position to avoid substantial disruption.

Meanwhile Birmingham City had a goal for the lower tier Tilton to open by the end of September and for the Kop to be fully open by the end of November, as the Blues hoped to welcome back 30,000 fans to St Andrew’s week-in week-out by the end of the year, but this is looking increasingly unlikely following this news.

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