Formed in 1872, before becoming founder members of the Alliance Premier League in 1979, Kettering Town is a club with history. They were the first British club to play with a sponsorship name on their shirts and reached Wembley on two occasions.
But the last three years or so have been what can only be described as a complete and utter nightmare for fans of the club.
|Historic club wound up over debts|
No, Gareth Bale nor any other footballer have an obligation to relieve Non League clubs of debts - but it is repulsive that in a lucrative industry oozing cash, the decision to dissolve a club with so much history has been made.
In November of 2011, the club was unable to pay players their wages leading to players not turning up for training. Things got worse in February 2012 as George Rolls took over.
April seventh was the ill-fated day that the club suffered relegation from the Conference Premier, and a month later, Rolls confirmed that debts at the club had reached a staggering £1.2 million. He said that the club would enter a CVA agreement involving a league demotion to the Southern Football League and a transfer embargo.
On the sixth of June 2012, Rolls was suspended from football for five years after he had been found guilty of breaching the Football Association betting rules.
Things got progressively worse for the Northamptonshire club when only 34 people attended their 2-0 victory over Peterborough Northern Star in the Northants Hillier Senior Cup, October 2012.
Four days later the club were defeated 7-0 by Bashley in the league. A horror of a match where Kettering were able to field only ten men, including playing a goalkeeper outfield. For a period of time after the defeat, the club were unable to play a series of fixtures due to not having enough registered players.
On Monday second September, the story ended after the club were issued a winding up order over their debts of £58,000.
On Monday second September, Kettering Town ceased to exist. While the club have released a statement announcing they will appeal and will do whatever they can to try and resume business, for the time being, Kettering Town is no more.
While the royalty of the Premier League have spent over £520 million pounds on players so casually, the peasantry of the hierarchy are left to deteriorate in debt. The government of the industry has clearly ignored the calls of the poor, leaving the welfare system of football to be laughed upon and mocked.
Is this what lies ahead for English football? The Barclay's Premier League sitting upon a throne of money whilst the founders of football, the creators of grassroots are left to ruin? The clubs where people invest time and money purely for the love of the game are being ignored while the oligarchs serving players on golden platters for obscene amounts of money are applauded for their efforts.
There is only one feeling filling my mind regarding this situation, and that is a feeling of revulsion. A feeling of disgust. A feeling of utter horror that this has even been allowed to happen.
The palace of the Premier League is all that matters. Revenue, corporate deals, and lucrative sponsorship's are the precious things with value. Grassroots, lower leagues, and genuine enjoyment of the game appear to mean nothing.
Ironically, and embarrassingly, September the seventh is the date of this season's Non League Day. A day which should be celebrating the core values of English football, a day to appreciate grassroots, and a day to celebrate the contributions made to football made by the lower leagues. Arguably, this is now all to be done in vain.
Voices of the Premier League will cheer for Non League Day, sickeningly commend the efforts of the lowly peasants, and patronise the value of grassroots football. Then for the rest of the season, the clubs at the bottom of the food-chain will be ignored. They will be forgotten about, the romance will be rekindled only when one Conference club has moulded and sculpted a young player over years of encouragement, support and time into one of Football League ability.
It is abhorrently wrong. Non League football lays the foundation of the football pyramid of this country. It provides the grassroots for the Football League to bask upon. Non League football deserves a hell of a lot more than what it has been dealt with today regarding the fate of Kettering Town.
A sad day for all those involved with the club, a sad day for all those involved with Non League football. A sad day for the oligarchs who have failed to even acknowledge the devastation caused by today's events.
There is a chance that an appeal will be made and Kettering Town will be once more. But that is unequivocally not the point. The point is, why the hell has this been allowed to happen in the first place?