Alec Swann - Poppies’ woes aren’t football’s fault

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

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Unless you’ve been in outer space, and that probably wouldn’t have made any difference, you won’t have missed the big footballing story of the past seven days.

Gareth Bale’s move to Real Madrid - for a world record £85.3m - ended a predictably drawn out saga that was only going to have, realistically, one ending.

In this area, however, another story has been in the headlines and that concerns the latest twist in the soap opera that is Kettering Town.

A High Court-issued winding-up order over an unpaid debt constitutes the latest dark chapter in the history of the Poppies and could, although this scenario has been predicted many times before, lead to the final nail being hammered into the proverbial coffin.

That would be a crying shame because it’s never particularly pleasant to see a club, whatever their sport and whatever the level they compete at, go to the wall.

Opposite ends of the footballing spectrum and unrelated you would think.

But to take a view of social media in the aftermath of this country’s justice system’s ruling may have led to you thinking otherwise.

Without trawling through all the waffle, the gist of some of the comments were along the line that it’s scandalous one football club can afford to spend the equivalent GDP of a small country on one individual but another are going bust because of a £58,000 debt.

This may have pricked the conscience of some but if you’re one of those then more fool you.

The silly money in the higher echelons of the sport may have reached ludicrous levels but that is irrelevant in the case of Kettering who are in trouble due to years of mis-management, crass decision-making and supporter alienation with this week’s debacle all down to an unpaid rent bill that has come about as a result of the aforementioned factors.

Not because Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham et all are splashing small fortunes on players but because they haven’t paid what they owe.

If the newsagents at the end of your road goes bust while Tesco’s has a complete re-fit, does it stand to reason that commerce is completely out of kilter?

Of course it doesn’t so less of the sentimental moralising please.

Kettering have been inexistence for nearly 141 years and they have been one of the bigger names in the non-league game but these count for nothing in the greater scheme of things if obligations are not met.

And as is the case with every individual, business, organisation and sporting club, if you pay your bills you don’t get into trouble.