Updated: Poppies’ chairman says he has not ruled out Rockingham Road ground bid

Kettering Town FC ground Rockingham Road has officially gone on the market NNL-140310-101023001
Kettering Town FC ground Rockingham Road has officially gone on the market NNL-140310-101023001
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Kettering Town chairman Ritchie Jeune has not ruled out the prosepect of the club making a bid to buy the Rockingham Road stadium.

Signs advertising the sale of the ground went up yesterday (Thursday) outside the entrance to the stadium.

Rockingham Road in 2010

Rockingham Road in 2010

The site is being marketed by property estate agent Savills as a ‘development opportunity.’

Speaking today (Friday, October 3) Mr Jeune said the club’s board would be meeting in the near future to discuss plans.

He added: “Bids have to be submitted by the end of the month so it’s quite a quick timescale.

“Obviously the fans want to go back to Rockingham Road for sentimental reasons but it is less practical for us because of the amount of work that needs doing to the infrastructure there.

Kettering Town fans watch their side's play-off victory over Daventry Town at Latimer Park NNL-140430-094643001

Kettering Town fans watch their side's play-off victory over Daventry Town at Latimer Park NNL-140430-094643001

“It will all come down to there being a willing buyer and a willing seller.

“There is nothing to stop us putting in an offer but this only came to light yesterday so we obviously have not had time to meet as a board yet.

“We never rule out anything so we could make a bid and if it is accepted then it is accepted - I am sure the board will want to make a bid.”

The club moved out of the ground in 2011 when, after a period of financial turbulence, it was repossessed by bailiffs acting on behalf of the owner Ben Pickering.

Home fixtures are now played at Burton Park Wanderers’ Latimer Park. The club have agreed a five year deal to stay at the ground with their landlords, while they seek a permanent home in Kettering.

In July the club announced that they were seeking a possible return to Kettering at the former Avondale School site although an alternative planning application for more than 70 homes was recently approved at that site.

Northants Telegraph chief sports reporter Jon Dunham has reported on the Poppies ups and downs for more than a decade. He said: “I think in their hearts, the supporters always wanted to believe that there was a chance that they could return to Rockingham Road one day.

“It’s their spiritual home and they played there for more than 100 years so there will be a lot of sadness to see the signs go up.

“I am intrigued about the timing of this because the ground has been lying vacant for such a long time.”

Rockingham Road was built in 1897 and had a capacity of 6,200.

The official sales details say Savills are inviting sealed bids for the site before Friday, October 24.

They say that the four acre site has been identified by Kettering Borough Council’s as suitable for 88 homes.

Neither the ten pin bowling centre or the car park are included in the sale.

It is also envisaged that the future access to the site will be from Rockingham Road.

Potential investors can phone Abigail Jones at Savills on 01223 347094.