UPDATE: Kettering Town board say they will bid to buy Rockingham Road ground

The Rockingham Road ground, pictured in spring 2012
The Rockingham Road ground, pictured in spring 2012

Kettering Town’s board have confirmed they will be making a bid to buy back their former home in Rockingham Road.

Sale boards went up outside the Rockingham Road ground late last week and the seller, Savills, said it was inviting sealed bids for the site before the end of the month.

This morning (Monday, October 6) the Poppies released a statement which said: “The board of Kettering Town FC are intending to place a bid for their former home, Rockingham Road, which came on to the market only last week.

“A visit will be made to the ground to assess its current condition, before bidding.

“In line with the board’s preferred wish to return to the town of Kettering and to secure a plan for a long term home for the club before the end of this season, the fact that Rockingham Road has been the home of Kettering Town FC for 100 years has had a great bearing on this decision.

“It also appears that the vast majority of our fans would welcome a return to our spiritual home.

“As this is a closed bidding procedure, the board will also continue to progress a bid on the Avondale site.

“We are continuing to work with GPI, who are one of the UK’s largest and most successful investors in primary care, to secure a health care partner in order to conclude the bid on the Avondale site, as a much needed community facility.

“We will also continue to explore other ground options to ensure that Kettering can continue to build on the foundations place in the last two years, and we continue currently to work with and support our hosts at Latimer Park.”

A statement from club chairman Ritchie Jeune was also released to season ticket holders this morning.

It said: “I just wanted to add that this process will be undertaken with the head rather than the heart.

“The board are as passionate as you find the club a permanent home.

“However, we must look to the mistakes of the past to ensure we do not saddle the club with a ground it can not afford.

“We are all aware that Rocky Road is in a state of disrepair and before we can formally bid we will need to view the site.

“To that aim, Ken Samuel will be heading up a site visit.

“Once completed we will then be in a position to place what we feel is a workable valuation for the ground, leaving us with enough budget to return the ground to a ground grade ready site within the timeframe of our current ground-share agreement with Burton Park Wanders.

“I would also stress that we are not pinning our hopes on any one single option, we continue and will continue to work on other options until one has been delivered.

“We are still very hopeful of having a plan in place before the end of this season to ensure a smooth transition from Latimer Park to where ever our home is to be.”

Mr Jeune spoke to the Telegraph on Friday and confirmed that the board was likely to be interested in the site and said a meeting would be taking place to discuss plans.

Earlier this year, the club also announced its interest in building a new ground at the former Avondale School site in Kettering.

Planning permission was granted to build more than 70 homes at that site last month – although that does not prevent Kettering Town from submitting their own application.