Jon Dunham - Can there be a happy ending for Poppies?

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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The final chapter in the latest volume of the epic Kettering Town story seems to be in full swing.

But the big question is this – can those who will write the final words of this particular chapter provide a happy ending?

As always, time will tell. But once again this week we have seen an example of those who are trying to provide the club with a future doing what they feel is best to give it just that.

The Poppies look set to start next season, in whatever division they may find themselves in, at Corby Town’s Steel Park stadium.

Talks have taken place between Ritchie Jeune and Steelmen chairman Kevin Ingram about extending the current ground sharing agreement after the Southern League refused Kettering extra time beyond March 31 to bring their proposed new home in Burton Latimer up to standard.

The work, as part of the agreement with Burton Park Wanderers, will continue at Latimer Park but the fall back option of starting the new campaign in Corby now looks like it will be used. And that is thanks to a good relationship that has been created between Jeune and Ingram.

The long-term plan will be for the Poppies to move back into the borough at Latimer Park as soon as possible once the work is completed.

But, perhaps the most telling quotes that came from Jeune’s mouth this week related to the two key issues that must be resolved if Kettering are to continue beyond this season.

Those, of course, are the long-term lease the club remains tied to at Nene Park and the fact that Imraan Ladak remains the majority shareholder.

Jeune says discussions with Ladak and the Nene Park landowner have taken place and it is now a case of “making the dots join up”.

But the key point he made was that those issues must be resolved soon after the current campaign ends. And he is right.

Being rid of Nene Park and Ladak will be the only way the faith can be restored in the dwindling Poppies fanbase. That is a common fact now.

And I sense that Jeune does have a breaking point on these particular issues. There will only be so long that he will put himself on the line.

While others at the club have brilliantly volunteered their services to help keep the club alive, it is Jeune (for whatever reason) who has put the money up when it has mattered.

This season will end in another relegation, there will be serious work to do on the field over the summer but all of that will be for nothing unless the future is seen to be guaranteed.

It looks like a close one to call at the moment. So many things still need to fall into place for Jeune’s plan to come to fruition.

And, despite his cool exterior, it is clear he knows full well that it will be a near-impossible task for the club to regain the trust of their stay-away fans unless the big issues can be sorted out.

But he has been proven to be a trier and he has already come a long, long way with a club that probably should have died five months ago.

It won’t be long before this final chapter is written and one hopes some common ground can be found among the key players and those who need to do the right thing will do it.

As ever, all everyone can do for the time being is wait and see if there really can be a happy ending.