Saturday, 6 October 2012

Read it and weep

Today 304 people paid their last respects to Kettering Town FC. There was an air of finality about it. When, if ever, in the club’s 140 years of existence have there been fewer than 11 players willing and able to take the field? This alone was a new low – a former giant of the non league game now worse off than your average Sunday league side. The ten that were there deserve no criticism for the eventual scoreline nor did they receive any. Ultimately we all knew it didn’t matter any more, and that included Bashley who barely celebrated as they racked up yet another meaningless goal that will shortly be chalked off. 

That said, in the dying minutes the Kettering players clearly caught the desire of the crowd to celebrate one final goal, and staged a late rally. The groan when we hit the post was as if it had cost us a vital win. As the digital clock (making its own final appearance before the power is cut off) reached 90 minutes I couldn’t help it, I gave in to sentiment and thought of some of the great names in the club’s history. Hapgood, Lawton, Daldy, Gully, Atkinson, Peck, Clayton, Suddards, Ashby, Kellock, Evans, Murphy, Keast, Cooke, Moss, Brown, Price, Norman and so on and so on.  The championships and cup runs and other bits of history unique to the club. And the local people who supported the club through the generations and never in their worst nightmares imagined it would end like this.

If it’s any comfort to know, the few at Nene Park today maintained a spark of passion and humour, and probably for the last time cleared their throats to sing some of the old songs. As the players left the pitch it was very moving...    


  1. We were once called the Manchester United of non league ! :(

  2. That picture even though the seats say KTFC , i still reads Max griggs RDFC :-(

  3. No one really cares, how many turn up to games?

    I viited Rockingham Road many times as an away fan and was subjected to being caged and having bricks thrown. On other occasions the stewards and fans were very inhospitible.

    Lets not paint KTFC to be a great club with great fans than non league will miss.

    1. You have your memories at attending Rockingham Road. We have ours. Caged and pelted with bricks? Makes me wonder why you ever returned? By "caged" I assume you meant segregated? Not exactly something we had control over? Having bricks thrown is, of course, inexcusable. I doubt we are the only club to ever attract a few knob-heads?

      We'd never apologise for being inhospitable - we wanted our team to win, and your team to lose! Let's not pretend otherwise, and during the game we would be as vociferous as any other set of supporters.

      Of course KTFC weren't a "great" club. Our European cup triumphs were far and few between, but the club was everything to us. Surely I don't need to explain this to someone who has a club of their own, do I?

  4. Theres segregation and being put in a cage at the car park end, theres hospitable and lunatics being allowed to hurl bricks.

    Clubs go bust for overspending and having a team they cannot afford.

    Some clubs fans have raised 100s of thousands to keep there club going or save them when the hmrc come knocking and other debts pile up. The fact you havent suggests to me , no one cares.

    The bottom line is an AFC Kettering will have more chance if its run by the fans. In that case you havent lost anything all you have done is gained control of your club. If you have to spend a few seasons in lower leagues its a price worth paying.

    Maybe you could look at getting rid of the nobs?

    1. Again, I will ask, what authority do you believe supporters had with regard to segregation, or overspending?

      Ladaak wildly overspent, and most of us knew this. How many of us would refuse to atend games because the owner was spending his money on success? We knew it might end in tears, but assumed this would be playing back in Conference North in front of 800 souls, not dying on our arse miles away in legoland.

      We did go through the phase of raising large amounts of money last season to keep our club going. The difference between us and other teams is that in our case there was no helpful council, vacant football ground, and several thousands of fans. We had a rapidly dwindling number of supporters and a Chairman who refused to stand down and squeezed every penny out of us to fund a ridiculous rent he had agreed.

      We are so far from the light at the end of the tunnel that we are not even aware that we are in a tunnel, it seems as though we are just in the dark. Which we are. Or rather, were.

      I hope KFC succeed. I hope they manage to relocate into Kettering. It would be a crying shame if this town had no team to cheer.

      As for getting rid of "nobs". I think our move to Non Park effectively did that for us!

      You can continue to have digs at us, but franly what's the point? If you've got a club (you haven't mentioned one), cherish it. Get involved. Do what you can to help it flourish. Don't let any one person take complete control. Don't sell your ground. Continue to enjoy your moaning when you lose.

      We don't have that anymore. Let us grieve. Don't believe for a second that no one cares. Of course our crowds dropped - no one wants to see their club suffer a living death.

  5. "Read it and weep". I did both. I have no connection with Kettering at all but find it extremely sad. I visited Rockingham Road twice and Nene Park once.

    Seems like Truro are on their way as well.