Poppies hope to be home within five years

Kettering Town supporters packed into the Latimer Park social club to hear the club's plans as they bid to return to their hometown. Picture by Peter Short
Kettering Town supporters packed into the Latimer Park social club to hear the club's plans as they bid to return to their hometown. Picture by Peter Short

Ritchie Jeune is hoping Kettering Town can complete a move back home within the next five years.

In a landmark day for the club, it was announced last weekend that they have come to an agreement to purchase an area of land in the town on which they hope to build a new stadium complex.

The deal was done between the Poppies and Kettering Borough Council following a number of months of discussions between council officials and club owner Jeune, chairman David Mahoney and vice-chairman Neil Griffin.

It means the club has now moved a step closer to a return to the town, having played outside of its borders for the past seven years since they left Rockingham Road for the ill-fated move to Nene Park.

The area of land in question - known as French’s Field - is off Scott Road and it had been identified as a potential site a number of months ago.

The focus will now switch to the development of a planning application and Jeune is hopeful the timescale he has in mind will be achievable.

“We would like to say within five years we will be back in the town,” the club owner said.

“We are setting ourselves that target of having a playing facility back in Kettering within five years and we hope that is achievable.

“We are obviously delighted. I think we have done a few things for the club since we have been here. We had some targets and the only one we haven’t achieved is getting back to the National League.

“We have secured a site for the club back in the town and that was really important for us.

“Emotionally, the fans have been connected to the club a lot longer than I have.

“They want to be back in the heart of the town. The demise of Rockingham Road was the catalyst for it and the fans demonstrated their beliefs publicly.

“This is the first step to it. We aren’t popping champagne corks yet but we have a route back into the town which is important.

“We have a lot of people to thank from the fans, to the councillors and to the council officers.”

More Poppies news – pages 102 & 103