The father of a young Poppies fan killed in a car crash says he will do ‘everything he can’ to keep the club alive in his son’s memory.
Richard Kirk wept as a signed replica shirt with ‘RIP Ryan’ was presented to him from the players and manager of Kettering Town after Saturday’s game was called off due to a frozen pitch.
Ryan Kirk, 19, was killed with Charlotte Filer, 17, when his car collided with another vehicle in Grafton Underwood on Tuesday.
Mr Kirk said: “This club meant everything to Ryan and it is in his name I am going to do everything I can to keep it going.
“There was a protest planned today about how the club is being run and I know Ryan would have been right amongst it.
“I want to now continue fighting for this club because I know my son would have wanted me to do so.”
The club supporters and players had planned a minute’s applause before the game against Forest Green Rovers.
Books of condolences were also to be laid out for fans to sign on their way through the turnstiles at Nene Park.
But instead about 100 fans attended the stadium’s bar to see the club’s squad present a shirt to Mr Kirk and his family.
The players also signed a book of condolence.
Mr Kirk said: “We’re gutted we couldn’t pay our respects today.
“It’s ironic because when Ryan sponsored a game for his 18th birthday and that too was called off because of a frozen pitch.
“We’ll hopefully hold the minute’s applause at the next home game.”
Kettering Town caretaker-manager Mark Cooper added to the tributes, saying: “It puts things into perspective.
“As desperate as things are at the football club, when things like that happen and young lives are taken it’s impossible to understand.
“I have a son and daughter not quite as old as they were but it puts everything into perspective and makes you realise that other things are so unnecessary.”
Chairman of the Kettering Town Supporters’ Trust, Mark Severn, said he had wanted to pay his respects to Ryan had the game gone ahead, and added: “We hope to hold the protest at our next home game, if there is another home game.”