Poppies chairman Jeune wants to get fans talking about football again

Poppies boss John Beck
Poppies boss John Beck

Ritchie Jeune believes Kettering Town will have come a long way if they can get their fans talking about football again.

The new Poppies chairman, who took on the role yesterday, is focused on trying to bring some stability to the club that has been plunged into financial crisis in the past few months.

But the new season is just around the corner and Jeune is feeling confident about the on-field situation.

New manager John Beck has been tasked with building virtually a brand new squad to compete in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.

The Poppies suffered a double demotion to that level after entering a Company Voluntary Arrangement to clear their crippling debts of £1.2m

Last night, the Poppies drew 2-2 with a Northampton Town XI at Nene Park and they travel to Solihull Moors on Saturday before their final friendly at home to Rotherham United on Tuesday.

And Jeune believes the club have the right man in place in the form of Beck.

“John is proven at a lot of levels,” the Kettering chairman said.

“He is phenomenal really, his work ethic is outstanding.

“He knows what he wants from the players and he makes sure they know what he expects from them on and off the pitch.

“The team is very new and young. We are trying to put together something that is going to last.

“We are trying to build a core of a team that, yes, for the league we are in is quite a high budget but for the leagues that we want to be in, it is low.

“Most importantly, we want to see the team playing with a bit of passion and pride.

“If we don’t get promoted but the players give their best then I think the fans will be proud to support them.

“We just have to get back to focusing on football.

“Obviously people have questions about what is happening behind the scenes – it is difficult because there are so many different aspects to it.

“If we could just get back to playing football and putting a decent team out on a Saturday then I think we would have come a long way forward.”

Jeune is not making any bold predictions for the new campaign, especially with the club starting with a 10-point deduction – a further punishment for entering the CVA.

But he does believe a play-off place is a realistic expectation.

“I am always the eternal optimist and I believe we can get into a play-off place,” he added.

“No-one is in dreamland and believing we are going to run away with the league.

“Even without a 10-point deduction, the league is so competitive it is unlikely anyone would run away with it.

“I have got hopes of getting into the play-offs and I don’t think that is unrealistic.”