The Death Of Kettering Town

On the same day that Gareth Bale broke the world record transfer fee by arriving at the Bernebeu for £85,000,000, Kettering Town Football Club was wound up over debts of £58,000.

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
In an age where money in football has inflated so much that Gareth Bale costs nearly triple what Robin Van Persie cost when he was bought by Sir Alex Ferguson, it seems utterly unbelievable that a club with so much history can be dissolved when there are players who could clear their debts with just over a day's wages.

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?


  1. #Wikipedia. But a well written story.

    1. Yes some of the history of the club I researched via Wikipedia - but when writing about a topic there are always facts you need to research - you can't make them up?

  2. Sad, sad day for a famous old club. My own club AFC Wimbledon has shown that there is a route back but it's bloody hard. A word of advice for fans of KTFC: don't expect any help from the richest people in the game, because you won't get it.

  3. Sad Day for football..It does make you wonder sometimes about which direction football is going these days. The F.A/PFA should make a ruling of players paying a percentage of their wages into a pot to help grass roots football.

  4. I will gladly offer my services to play for the new club to get them going!

    I am also if any local business men interested in getting a small consortium together to regenerate the club!

    I can be contacted via my twitter initially!

  5. At the end of the day, KTFC have over-spent their means. Sure, it's abhorrent that PL clubs/players spend/earn so much, but it's simple supply and demand. This is not the PL's fault; it's Kettering's, and no-one else's.

  6. http://west-midlandsfootball.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/saveketteringtown-poppies-wound-up.html

    Another blog post and a just giving page!

    Please donate to Kettering town supporters trust! Please help to save Kettering town!

  7. Jon. Not entirely true. A sad day for my home town club. Can't help feeling that they've been stitched up on several occasions. So gutted.

  8. The problem is chairmen who chase success pretending they have money only to realise within a month or so there plan might not work and like much of society nowadays they throw it away because its not fun anymore, pulling out all funding and protecting there money!which is fair enough,but they must realise it maybe just a hobby to them which they can step away from once disinterested(still rich!!) but there are people who have a genuine care and passion for football clubs at any level who either work there or pay to watch and with some chairmen's kamikaze approach to running clubs they put families at risk by people losing jobs or they kill a club with great history. It boggles the mind that some chairmen who have made a lot of money in business then lose all business sense once they acquire a football club. At lower levels players are even more dedicated as they won't be retiring on the money they get they are holding onto a dream hoping to get higher or retiring soon. Which means chairmen are playing roulette with players and all other employees of the club plus there families. Just live in your means be honest to fans and staff, a club existing is better than no club at all. Build solid foundations for the club and it won't wash away in the storm.

  9. Let us not forget which club and its benefactor started throwing money at players to buy success. Back in the day, even the likes of Manchester united couldn't match the deep pockets of jack walker, hence Shearer choosing Ewood over Old Trafford.

  10. Always sad to see a football club go under especially one with so much history!....


    Very informative article and great topic to be writing about. More provision is needed to help protect the lower leagues, but I feel this for now is very wishful thinking, such is the cut throat business football is nowadays. Hopefully the footballing community will be able to club together the much needed funds to survive.