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Chinese firm takes Cobblers stake

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A Chinese firm 5USport has taken a stake in Northampton Town FC.   The size of the stake has been revealed as 60 per cent. but the chairman of the Cobblers, Kelvin Thomas, insists that it is a partnership rather than a takeover.

It does show that Chinese firms from a variety of backgrounds are prepared to take an interest in football clubs below the Premier League level.

5USport was formed in Guangzhou in 2008.  It appears to have a relationship with Eurosport News.

Kelvin Thomas said, 'Originally, I believe they started as a media company and they had the rights to TalkSport in China, and they have the rights to Icons.com in China, which is a memorabilia site, selling signed stuff from sport stars.  They have developed an education/football division recently, and that is what the investment is here, in terms of them looking at the way we can educate in China, and use Northampton Town as a brand in China.'

'There is an emerging market there, we all know that, and it is about how do we, Northampton Town, develop that.' And he added: 'I think what’s in it for them, and I think this is a really big advantage for Northampton Town Football Club, is the education market in China. That’s what they see. They now have a brand that they can take into China and sell their educational services, which is important.'

Quite how the Northampton brand will help to sell education services in China remains to be seen.