Poppies set to kick-off next season at Steel Park

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Kettering Town are set to kick-off next season at Corby Town’s Steel Park after their current ground share arrangement was extended.

The deal has been done after Ritchie Jeune, who is leading a team of volunteers in an continued quest to give the Poppies a future, confirmed the Southern League had turned down a request for special dispensation to allow extra time to get their proposed new home in Burton Latimer up to the required standard.

The ground grading deadline runs out on Sunday so Jeune has moved quickly to extend the current arrangement with Steelmen chairman Kevin Ingram, although the Kettering man confirmed there will be a release clause that will enable the Poppies to move to Burton as and when they get the go ahead from the relevant authorities.

Jeune also confirmed he is in talks with both the landowner at Nene Park and majority shareholder Imraan Ladak about releasing the Poppies from their long-term lease at the Irthlingborough venue and completing a takeover of the club.

Both are situations he wants resolved soon after the current Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division campaign, which is certain to end in relegation, is over.

“The Southern League have come back to us and we haven’t been given the dispensation,” Jeune said.

“We were hopeful it would be possible and clubs have been given it in the past, it is not unheard of.

“But that is the way it is. We have to accept it and move on.

“We had the conversation with Kevin at Corby and we are able to extend the current arrangement we have, for which we are grateful.

“It means the work will carry on at Latimer Park and we expect that to be completed on schedule, which will be in the middle of June.

“Then it will be a case of when the next ground grading can take place. But we will have a release clause in our deal with Corby that will enable us to move as and when the time comes.”

Ingram, meanwhile, insists the deal remains beneficial for both sides and agreeing an extension of the deal was an easy decision.

“We have had the conversation and it is not a new deal, it is merely an extension of the one we already have in place,” the Steelmen chairman added.

“The arrangement works well for both sides, Kettering are hiring the facilities just like anyone else would. They pay us a fee at the start of every month.

“They have made their payments on time without fail and there is no reason why we wouldn’t agree to extend the deal.”