Mark Cooper’s warning that this week is a case of “all or bust” for Kettering Town is possibly the biggest indicator so far that the club is heading for oblivion.
It’s no secret that the problems at Nene Park run deep but, strangely, we seemed to find out a lot more about the situation after a game was called off instead of going ahead at the weekend.
And when you find yourselves in this predicament, it’s usually best to start with what you DO know.
So, what do we know?
Well, first off it’s clear that the Poppies are severely in debt.
The figures seem to vary but the consortium who want to come in and save the club confirmed they believe the total debt stands at well over £1m.
We know that a winding-up order has been issued to the club. If there is someone you don’t mess with, it’s the taxman.
We know that for the third month running the players haven’t been paid their wages in full and, as of Saturday, it was discovered that other staff, including the stewards, were also waiting for their wages.
The club remains under a Football Conference transfer embargo because of that failure to pay the players properly and over money owed to Crawley Town, although the rules were relaxed ahead of the weekend due to the lack of registered players now on the books at Nene Park.
We know that negotiations between the consortium and current chairman Imraan Ladak have been continuing for a lengthy period of time.
And it is now blindingly obvious that Ladak has lost pretty much all support from the fanbase as the talks stall, despite his constant argument that the club are owed sponsorship money by DRC Locums.
Just last week, the Kettering Town (Poppies) Supporters Trust issued a statement in which they said they were “no longer prepared to support the club financially whilst Imraan Ladak is chairman” before following up with their belief that “even the most ardent supporter of Imraan Ladak must be losing faith in him as we slowly watch him squeeze the life out of our beloved club.”
Judging by those quotes and what you can garner from the general sense of feeling amongst the fans, Ladak’s time is up.
The problem, of course, is that the club’s time may be up soon as well.
Cooper was clearly brought back on a promise from the investors that a deal was to be done – that was nearly two weeks ago.
And here is where we start getting into what we DON’T know.
Why are negotiations taking so long? There is clearly nothing of any value as far as Kettering Town is concerned so what on earth is being discussed?
It may be looking at it bluntly but why would Ladak want to remain in a mess that so many are blaming him for?
Let’s make no mistake, his reign has been controversial but it has also brought incredible times almost unparalleled in the club’s 139-year history.
Why would he want to tarnish his legacy as possibly one of the most successful chairmen the club has had?
The situation is bleak but more and more you see and hear things that just defy belief.
Cooper has revealed that the club are up before the Football Conference this week to answer their financial problems – that could well end in a points deduction.
Then throw in the fact that the Football Association are well aware that the Poppies were, as of last week, yet to settle up with Southend Manor for the money they are owed in gate receipts for the FA Cup fourth qualifying round clash back on October 29.
The sum is just over £3,000 and Kettering could well be sanctioned if that situation doesn’t change.
In footballing terms, not paying a club who have earned every penny is almost unforgivable.
And then, on Saturday, the home game with Forest Green Rovers was postponed with the opponents having just arrived and their supporters’ coach just down the road.
No frost sheets were placed on the pitch overnight and it’s not unfair to say that had everything been rosy in the garden, they would have been.
The fact is that the fans and, even more importantly, the people who have made the club tick in the past have run out of patience. They have had enough.
And surely it will only be a matter of time before those who feel they can come in and make a difference do the same.
The time has come. Imraan Ladak’s time would appear to be up.
For goodness sake, take the deal on the table and do the right thing.
Then, in the future (if there is one), people may just be able to look back and remember the good times you gave them.