Club Statement – 2nd October 2023

We are now 13 games into the 2023/24 season, and as part of our renewed approach to communicating and connecting with our fans, we want to provide an update on where we are and our goals for the season.

After last season’s last day relegation disappointment, and Lee Glover’s desire to leave the Club, we appointed Andy Leese as our Team Manager. Andy has huge experience at our level and has a strong track record of working over the longer term with the Clubs where he has managed. Kettering Town has had 10 managers over the last 13 seasons and as we have said before, we are now at the point where stability, on, and off, the pitch has to be our priority. We have to balance this with short term pragmatism and longer-term ambition.

It is now almost five months since Ritchie stepped back from day to day involvement in the Club and to be fair, at that moment, no one knew if our Club could, or would, survive.

Club Directors, Gary Graham and Mick Coe, immediately offered themselves up as Company Directors at Companies House to ensure Kettering Town F.C. Management Limited could continue trading, as the Company Board was dissolved, and whilst all other Club Directors (other than Ian Hopewell and Mark Severn) left the Club Board, there were just the four remaining Club Directors, plus President Ken Samuel and former Commercial Director Martin Bellamy, left sitting round a table wondering where the Club might end up.

The situation worsened, just a few days later, when former Manager, Lee Glover, asked to leave the Club, at a critical time for player recruitment for the upcoming season.

Fortunately for us all, a number of volunteer fans stepped forward to form a Working Group to assist the Company and Club Directors to try to steer the Club through a very testing period. Working parties were set up to find and appoint a new Manager, to create and enhance our fundraising activities, to draw up a budget from scratch, to generally stabilise the Club, and also to tidy up the ground, whilst the search for a new owner continued. .

This season is therefore one where we need, first and foremost, to focus on stability and re-establishing ourselves with a proven squad, a proven manager and management team, and continue to improve our connection with fans. We know and appreciate that our fans are core to what we do. We have fantastic support week in week out and we are looking to sustain and develop that over this season.

Building on the off the pitch activities, we have collectively invested time and effort in improving the match day experience and have future plans and initiatives in place:

• With the valued help of a number of benefactors, the fans and our volunteer army invested in our stadium to make it more accessible and to improve the facilities.
• Run further fan engagement sessions over the season where we, and our Manager, can meet with fans, to build connection, hear your views, and answer your questions
• Continue to establish the football depth in our club and build our younger playing squads at U18’s and below. We need to develop that depth and pathway, to ensure we have strong links up to our senior team, with a clear pathway of opportunity.
• A new experienced Football Manager was recruited and much delayed player recruitment followed.
• The new Events Committee was formed and very successful events have been held, with more planned for the future.
• The Club’s marketing strategy has been overhauled to enhance and encourage communication with the fans and this has been very well received.
• Our strategy for our home matches has been to develop a whole new match day experience and make all welcome and offer them a pleasant, happy and safe experience. This both in and outside the ground, in the Clubhouse and in the already very successful hospitality offering at club1872. So, win, draw, or lose, fans will have a good time (an even better time when we win!)

On 2nd May Ritchie agreed to cover all normal trading creditor debts up to that date and that process is continuing.

In addition to those normal trading debts, Kettering Town F.C. Management Limited has loans in its balance sheet which were taken to help it and the Club survive COVID, at deferred repayments and low rates of interest. Those loans from Sport England total six figures.

Ritchie has, as publicly in the past, indicated that he would sell Kettering Town F.C. Management Limited for £2 and clearly this would mean that the new owner or owners would take on the COVID loans, as they come with the Company.  There is also a potential requirement for stadium improvement grants to be repaid, in certain circumstances.

Whilst the sale of Kettering Town F.C. Management Limited has never been formally advertised, there has been some limited interest, which, so far, has not produced a buyer. In addition to the purchase of Kettering Town F.C. Management Limited, there are essential assets at the ground which are owned by another company, also under the ownership and still under the control of Ritchie, which ideally should be purchased alongside the Club, so again the two are in common ownership and control.

The present Club structure lacks one important element – a leader or ‘Chairperson’. No one within the Club Board or Management Committee wishes, or feels able, to take up that position – hence the recent advert for that position.

We are pleased to announce that a suitable person has contacted us and discussions about him becoming our ‘Acting Chairman’, are ongoing. We hope to make a formal announcement within the next few days, or so. This is a voluntary (so unpaid) position and will not involve ownership, or funding, of the Club.

Whilst, with this impending appointment we expect to have a full structure in place to run our Club the challenges, particularly financial, are many and varied.

We need to carry you, our fans, with us at every stage. The Club has been put on a solid base and necessary financial decisions are being made to ensure we are trading legally and meeting all our liabilities.

However, there remains a continuing challenge to balance the books over the season, especially in the absence of an owner prepared to make up any losses, and ensure all financial obligations are met. We need you, our fans, to run with us on this – to come through the turnstiles with friends and family, to buy Klondike tickets, to support the Social Club and our events, to enjoy matchday hospitality and help promote sponsorship. We need our local businesses to support, advertise and sponsor our matches, or to hire our facilities, to help bridge the financial ‘gap’. Anything each and any individual, or business, can do will be welcomed with open arms.

Whether, and when, and to whom the Club may be sold – we simply don’t know. But what we do know is that with your continued support, and with the continuing hard work of the Directors and Management Committee we will do our utmost to stabilise, then move the Club forwards and upwards, pending a new owner coming forward to do the same.

So that’s where we currently are. We know that so much in football is about expectation. We remain realistic and pragmatic – we continue on a journey to improve all aspects of the Club and we will be ambitious and progressive in that pursuit. But we must also focus on making sure that we have stability, so this season is about trying to ensure we learn, quickly, how to perform at this level and set sensible goals, knowing we have a proven manager who delivers for the short, and equally importantly, the longer term. You, our fans, are central to this, and we want to thank you for your ongoing support. We will ensure that we will do all we can to build your involvement, engagement and deliver what you want from us both on and off the pitch..


Keep the faith – COYP!