Previous Rockingham Road owners ‘had no intention of talking to supporters’ trust’

Rockingham Road in a state of disrepair. Picture by Jamie DeRosa. NNL-170921-110332005
Rockingham Road in a state of disrepair. Picture by Jamie DeRosa. NNL-170921-110332005

The Kettering Town Supporters Trust says efforts to open up dialogue with the previous owners of Rockingham Road were met with a wall of silence.

During early 2017, the trust says it made efforts both via letter and phone to contact the ground’s owners, Ben Pickering Ltd.

The ground has now been sold for housing and Poppies fans say the door for them to return was never open.

A trust statement said: “The aim of these efforts was to ascertain if the Rockingham Road Stadium still presented a possible solution to finding a permanent home for Kettering Town Football Club.

“Our hope was that the owners would engage in a dialogue with the trust, to find out whether or not there remained a possibility of them selling the site, either to the football club itself, or to a group such as the trust, who could then make the site available to Kettering Town Football Club for use as its home stadium.

“We had no response at all from the major shareholder, Beverly Windsor.”

Eventually the trust got a short response from another shareholder, Craig Windsor, who said it was ‘not a viable option’.

But following efforts from the trust to open up a dialogue were met with silence.

The statement added: “Our attempts to follow up this message and open up a dialogue were however met with a wall of silence.

“We sent a final letter to the Windsors, expressing our disappointment, but saying that our door remained open should they have a change of heart, and choose to talk about this issue with us.

“In light of the recent announcement on the sale of Rockingham Road, it is clear that the Windsors had no intention of talking to the trust, or the club, and that any hope of a return to the stadium is finally coming to an end.

“The trust board remains committed to helping Kettering Town find a permanent home, and will fully support the club in pursuing any other available options to secure its long term future.”

In the event of the stadium being demolished, the trust are exploring the possibility of a permanent memorial to all those who had their ashes scattered on the pitch at Rockingham Road.

If anyone has relatives whose ashes were scattered at the stadium, they can contact the trust at poppiestrust@gmail.com.

Current Poppies manager Marcus Law was also in charge of the club for a spell while they were still at Rockingham Road.

And he believes the outpouring of emotions on social media since the news emerged shows that there is still a great strength in feeling towards the club and it coming back to the town.

He said: “It’s just a real shame to be honest.

“You hear of clubs all around the country who have their old stadiums and when these sites are earmarked for housing, funds to provide the community with an appropriate replacement do become available.

“What is clear from the fallout on social media in particular is the local community, which goes over and above our core fanbase, seems to be very upset that the town does not have their own football ground within it.

“I’m not a huge fan of the new grounds, I may be a bit old fashioned but I love the old style grounds that have four different sides that were built at different times and that’s what Rockingham Road had.

“I do understand the politics that are involved. The developers are doing what is right by them and I understand that as well.

“I just think there are some who are bit short sighted. With the size of the town and the history that the club has, there’s no doubt in my mind that they will be back at the top tier of non-League football at some stage.

“And should that happen, it will bring thousands of extra people into the town over a certain period of time and create extra revenue streams that will benefit plenty of people aside from the football club itself.

“That’s something that shouldn’t be forgotten by anyone who is involved with making decisions.”