Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Poppies at the creaking gates of dawn?

And so it seems, from advance leaks, that Friday’s meeting will be nothing less than the final rattle of the bucket before we go under. It is being suggested that £35-40,000 must be raised or pledged before Monday’s showdown with HMRC. On a hardcore home support of a thousand,that’s about £40 each. But excluding juniors and the unwaged, and those who object on moral or religious or pure distrust of Ladak grounds, call it £400!

To raise even half, in a few days, from a standing start, would be an achievement. Realistically, it will take some wealthy benefactors to come to our aid. If they exist, where have they been hiding all these years?

And of course the sum quoted is just the immediate, urgent debt. Beyond that lies ongoing players wages, stadium running costs, coach transport, stewards, programmes and all the other things that go with the territory. In a recession, with our support and wider goodwill eroded by the displacement of the club outside the borough, it can’t be sustained by fan fundraising – so yet again we are reliant on someone or some people ploughing money in.

Ultimately any football club at our level, without huge swathes of private cash or TV or sponsorship money (as if!) should be self sufficient. But our record wasn't exactly unblemished long before the move to Legoland.

The last time we were in the last chance saloon, the Trust salvaged the club from the debris of Mark English, who took control from Jim Lynch, who inherited a huge tax liability from Cyril Gingell, who was party to the sale of the ground in 1985 to Ben Pickering, which apparently saved Kettering Town (1982) Ltd from oblivion.

Kettering Town (1982) Ltd was formed out of a previous crisis, again with its roots in debts created by premises we couldn’t afford - then, if memory serves me right, the indoor bowling green, built by John Nash, the chairman of Kettering Town (1950) Ltd. And Kettering Town (1950) Ltd was formed from the wreckage of the previous incarnation, and so it goes on...

And so, maybe, it always will. There are probably many who would say the sooner the club is put out of its misery the better. Every ET piece on our problems has a footnote of comments to that effect. But many of the same people would be quick to jump on the bandwagon of a revived club again enjoying success. As unlikely as it may seem right now, as long as there's a breath of life in the old girl we have to keep it alive. The club has flirted with disaster so many times in its history but has always pulled through. Yes, creaking gates and all that. In a decade's time, if KTFC survives, it will have lasted for 150 years. Meanwhile, who knows where we’ll be this time next week. All we can do is keep believing, and an open mind.

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