Monday, 16 April 2012

Home Sweet Home

The missus and I attended the first half of the Ryan Kirk Memorial Match on Saturday and it was good to see so many people turning up to pay their respects to Ryan, and, as it became apparent, to Rockingham Road too.  From the moment we entered the ground dozens of thoughts and feelings jostled with one another to be experienced first.  The thought that surfaced first was wondering how a family can come to terms with the loss of someone with literally their entire life ahead of them?  Thankfully it's not something I've experienced.  One can only admire and feel humbled by the way Ryan's family have appeared to bear their loss.

The other thoughts were the ones shared by everyone else who wished we'd never left Rockingham Road.  Sure the place seemed even more ramshackle than it did for the pre-season friendly against Southampton.  The terraces looked dishevelled and sad.  The stand looked to be festering.  The bar was dark and uninviting.  In almost every measurable way Non Park is a superior sporting arena.

Except it's not OUR ground, and for anyone of my generation, or even a generation either side of mine I suspect, it never will be.  Non Park is a ground with too much baggage, too many rooms, too costly to upkeep, too sterile, and too far away from Kettering.  The effort needed to generate the income to maintain Non Park makes you wonder what is the point of being there.  If 80% of what the club needs to drag in simply pays for the stadium, you have to ask is this better than earning a lot less and keeping the Poppies where they belong?

Whilst Rockinhgam Road exists, somewhere in the back of my mind I still can't shake off the belief we'll be back there one day, and look back on "Project Non Park" as some kind of temporary nightmare.  £164,000 rent PLUS running costs often (probably inaccurately) quoted at £1,000 per day for Non Park, against probably £70,000 per annum plus a brolly for standing on Cowper Street for Rockingham Road.

Three terraces.  A main stand.  Floodlights.  Changing rooms.  Public bar.  Rocky Road has all these.  At our level, what more do we need?

Rocky Road, still fit for purpose? 
With thanks to for the photograph


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  2. It certainly was great to go back to RR one last time. Shame it was under such tragic circumstances.

  3. RR is all we need for a market town , Legoland is ideal for strangetowns like Northampton etc

    And its in KETTERING.

  4. Nicely put GL. There have been screw-ups, mistakes and misjudgements but moving to Non-Park really is a true extinction event. What a bloody awful shame.

    KTFC in Legoland?? Gerald Ratner couldn't have done better.