Monday to be a key day for Poppies’ future, says Jeune

Ritchie Jeune
Ritchie Jeune

Ritchie Jeune believes the events that take place tomorrow (Monday) will be a “big telling point” for the future of Kettering Town.

Jeune secured a one-game deal with Corby Town chairman Kevin Ingram for the Poppies to use the Steelmen’s Steel Park stadium for yesterday’s Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division clash with Redditch United.

Jeune has been helping the crisis-stricken Poppies along with a band of volunteers, which now includes a full squad of players, and sealed the deal with Ingram in the absence of majority shareholder Imraan Ladak who has been struck down with illness.

The new-look and inexperienced Kettering side were beaten 1-0 in front of 487 fans as Redditch grabbed a last-minute winner.

But attention is now turning to a potential takeover of the club, which Jeune believes could happen this week although he insists he is not part of the consortium which is looking to seize control of the club.

And it seems the situation will become a lot clearer tomorrow as Jeune confirmed that a set of payments for former players still owed money by the club are due to be paid.

Those payment plans were put in place as part of the “certain conditions” the Poppies needed to meet to remain in the Southern League after they went a full month without playing a game.

And Jeune said: “Clearly, something needs to change at the club.

“We need a structure in place where revenue can be generated and if revenue can’t be generated, we need to be in a position where shortfalls can be met.

“I was told on Friday that things were looking good for next week and I know that as part of meeting the Southern League’s conditions for continuing playing football, the player payments have got to happen on Monday.

“That will be a big telling point. I am told the new investors will be paying that. I don’t know how much that is because I am not party to those discussions. I am definitely not part of this consortium.

“People have been asking me why I have been doing what I have been doing but I just want to see this club taken over and prosper in the future.

“The fans have been fantastic to me and I have enjoyed the rollercoaster I have been on since February.

“A club with this history deserves to carry on and if that means me giving up a week to help that happen then it would be stupid not to do it.”

The one-off game at Steel Park proved to be a success as an almost brand new Poppies side held their own.

And Jeune was delighted with the performance as well as the numbers that came out to watch the game.

“I was a bit tentative and concerned about it because the lads didn’t really meet each other until they were doing the warm up,” Jeune added.

“But they were brilliant for the club and in the end it was disappointing not to get a point. We probably didn’t deserve a win but we deserved a draw.

“The attendance exceeded my expectations, I thought we would have 250 there.

“We were talking to the guys from Corby about potential numbers and 250 was the figure we gave them.

“But it was fantastic to see more come out and support the players, it gives them a lift. It is difficult to get people to come and watch a club that is in crisis but I was delighted with the turnout.

“It shows that people care. This is the one thing that I have realised over the past couple of weeks.

“The passion of people, and not just in Kettering, is huge. The non-League family have been very good to us and we had three other venues from far and wide offered to us.”

Jeune arrived at Kettering earlier this year around the same time as George Rolls was trying to complete a failed takeover of the club.

He was chairman of the club for just a week before being removed by the shareholders but continued to work with others to help keep it alive.

Kettering’s Nene Park remains unusable at present with the electricity having been cut off due to unpaid bills.