POPPIES CRISIS - Clash at Leamington postponed

Kettering Town's game at Leamington has been called off
Kettering Town's game at Leamington has been called off

Kettering Town’s Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division game at Leamington tonight has been postponed due to the Poppies being unable to field a team.

The problems at Nene Park are now deepening as this latest news comes on the back of Saturday’s 7-0 defeat to Bashley as Kettering were only able to put 10 players on the pitch.

The financial crisis at the Poppies has now taken its toll on the field and the Northamptonshire Telegraph understands caretaker-manager Alan Doyle had just six players available to him for tonight’s game.

They had hoped to de-register other players in a bid to bring new ones in but it now seems the Southern League have blocked such a move after a new transfer embargo was placed on the club with the current squad still yet to receive their wages for this month while some are still owed money from September.

The crisis is deep with numerous financial issues, not least the electricity being cut off at Nene Park this week due to unpaid bills while the club have also fallen behind in the Company Voluntary Arrangement payments.

It is understood £3,000 must be paid by next Monday or the club will face being wound up.

Majority shareholder, Imraan Ladak has insisted there is “serious” interest from at least one potential investor but time is now running out with the Poppies due to host Bideford at the weekend.

Doyle, meanwhile, has been left without a game for tonight and he confirmed he was down to “six, maybe seven” players.

“Warren Byerley has a hamstring injury and Sean Bonnett-Johnson and Matt Bamber could not get off work,” Doyle said.

“And John Still at Dagenham & Redbridge got in touch about Andy Burns and they are not happy about the situation.

“It is a real mess but to be honest, it was a bit of a relief that the game was called off. It means I only have to ring six people to tell them about it.

“As far as Saturday’s home game is concerned, I have heard a generator could be used for the electricity.

“But as far as the players are concerned, we have to wait and see whether we will be allowed to bring more in. At the moment we can’t.”

In a short statement released by the club regarding tonight’s game, they said: “Tonight’s League match is postponed due to the current situation with players available at Kettering Town FC.”

And the Southern League confirmed the news before chairman Ken Turner released a statement to say that the decision to postpone the game wasn’t “taken lightly”.

The statement also confirmed a registration embargo has been placed on the Poppies and was done so when they still had “a sufficient number” of players.

In the statement, Turner said: “I can confirm that the League has ordered the postponement of tonight’s Premier Division fixture between Leamington and Kettering Town.

“The decision was not taken lightly but was made after the League Secretary had been in communication with both clubs and was based on the distinct likelihood that Kettering Town would be unable to field sufficient players in the game, particularly as they had failed to field 11 players for their home match against Bashley on Saturday.

“It was considered that it would be totally unreasonable and unfair to Leamington FC and its fans to merely wait until this evening to see whether or not Kettering Town would turn up with 11 players and members of the League’s Board were hurriedly contacted so that a decision could be reached.

“I can also confirm that the Board, at its meeting last Wednesday, placed a registrations’ embargo on Kettering Town and that this will continue until such time as the conditions surrounding it have been satisfied.

“At the time the embargo was placed, the club had a more than sufficient number of players registered with the League to fulfil their commitments but a large percentage of these were, on Monday, cancelled by the club, for reasons best known to themselves.”

The Southern League have now confirmed there will be no further comment on the matter for the time being.

Stay tuned to this website for more breaking news on the crisis at Nene Park