Thomas wants to “give something back” to the Kettering fans

New Poppies boss Dean Thomas
New Poppies boss Dean Thomas

Dean Thomas is hoping he can “give something back” to the Kettering Town supporters during his reign as the club’s manager.

The experienced boss has taken over from Thomas Baillie, who has become the assistant-manager, as their application to lead the Poppies proved to be successful.

Kettering still have a number of hurdles to negotiate before the full focus can go onto the football with Ritchie Jeune still trying to gain control of the club from majority shareholder Imraan Ladak while a long-term lease at Nene Park needs resolving and a winding up petition from HM Revenue & Customs must be resolved by June 24.

Jeune’s long-term aim is to get the club playing in the borough again at Latimer Park in Burton Latimer after they finished the recent Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division campaign at Corby Town’s Steel Park stadium.

A second successive relegation means the Poppies are likely to start next season in the Southern League Division One Central - just one level above the United Counties League.

It has proved to be a testing time for the club’s fans and attendances dropped to record lows during the last campaign.

But Thomas is keen to reward those who stayed loyal and also do his bit to bring those who have deserted the club back. And he insists the best way to do that is by simply winning games.

“The fans deserve something back. They have stuck by us and they believe in us,” the new Poppies boss said.

“If the move to Burton Latimer goes ahead then hopefully that will capture the imagination of those who haven’t wanted to watch the club outside the borough.

“But ultimately they want to see their club winning matches and it is my job to make sure that happens. “We all know people will come and watch you if you are winning and that’s what we have to achieve.”

Thomas’ main job over the summer will be to put a squad together and he says there are “five or six” of the team that finished last season that he would like to keep.

And he believes a mixture of youth and experience will be key if Kettering are to challenge for honours.

“The work has already started to an extent,” he added.

“The players were obviously asking questions after the last game of the season about what would be happening.

“There are players who we feel can do a job for us. I would say there are five or six that I want to keep.

“We will be looking to keep the best ones and then we will be trying to add other good players to that.

“Ideally, we want a good mixture of youth and experience and I think we have something to sell here. I think players will want to come to us.”