Ritchie Jeune was left somewhat overwhelmed by the turnout from Kettering Town’s fans at the club’s first home game at Latimer Park.
A crowd of 789 were on hand to see the Poppies beaten 3-0 by Barton Rovers in the Calor League Division One Central on their new ground.
And while the result wasn’t what anyone wanted, Jeune was able to reflect on the positives from the evening.
Jeune completed his takeover of the club during the summer as the controversial Imraan Ladak era was finally ended.
And the new chairman led the way in a race against time to get Burton Park Wanderers’ ground up to Southern League standard.
“The turnout on Tuesday massively exceeded my expectations,” the Poppies chairman said.
“I never expected over 700 people to turn up to be honest.
“I had looked at our attendances from Steel Park last season and at Nene Park before that and worked on the basis that if 350-plus turned up then it would be a good effort. We shouldn’t forget that it was a midweek game as well.
“I guess this all brings it home to me how much the club does mean to people.
“I know there were over 2,000 there for the first game at Nene Park but people have not been happy by what has happened at the club in recent years and the attendances have been hit by all that.
“We aren’t foolish enough to believe the attendances will stay that high. But hopefully results will improve and give people a reason to come back.”
Kettering Town (Poppies) Supporters Trust chairman Mark Severn was also delighted by a return to the borough and he paid tribute to Jeune.
“If you take away the game, it was a brilliant night and it is great that our club is back in the borough of Kettering,” Severn said.
“The ground looked amazing and I saw lots of people I hadn’t seen at games since the very early days at Nene Park.
“It felt like a football club again and that is a feeling I have not had for a while.
“I was especially pleased for Ritchie. We have seen first hand just how much work and effort he has done and without his drive and commitment, Tuesday night wouldn’t have happened.
“It was great to see the public coming out and getting behind the club again. It showed the club still means something to people.”
The Poppies play at Latimer Park again on Saturday when the entertain Slough Town.