This must be resolved by the end of the month, says Poppies chairman Mahoney

Kettering Town have voted for the National League North season to be declared null and void but there are no signs of the saga ending

By Jon Dunham
Thursday, 11th February 2021, 7:34 am
Updated Thursday, 11th February 2021, 7:36 am
Kettering Town chairman David Mahoney. Picture by Peter Short
Kettering Town chairman David Mahoney. Picture by Peter Short

David Mahoney believes the National League situation will have to be resolved “one way or another” before the end of the month.

The Kettering Town chairman confirmed exclusively to the Northamptonshire Telegraph this week that the club have voted in favour of ending the National League North season and declaring it null and void.

The voting process on the future of the 2020/21 season started last week and is expected to continue until the end of the month as clubs decide the way forward.

The National League season has been thrown into chaos with a number of clubs, including the Poppies, furious at the prospect of having to take on loans to get through to the end of the campaign with fans currently banned from attending matches due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Clubs were assisted by National Lottery grants for the first three months of the season and say they were led to believe that would continue for as long as supporters were not allowed into grounds, which is the main source of most clubs’ income.

Instead, loans are being made available but it has resulted in a number of clubs refusing to play matches until the situation is resolved.

Kettering were one of those clubs and Mahoney revealed they have been charged by the National League for failing to fulfil last weekend’s home clash with Chester.

The Poppies’ home game with Leamington on Tuesday was called off due to a frozen pitch at Latimer Park and they are scheduled to travel to Southport this weekend, although the Sandgrounders are another club who are refusing to play while the saga rumbles on.

Mahoney firmly believes the chaos that has developed over the last month or so could have been avoided and he insists that if the funding situation can be sorted then Kettering will gladly play out the remainder of the campaign.

“Personally I think that has to be resolved, one way or another, before the end of February,” the Kettering chairman said.

“If funding is not clarified then several clubs will be one month behind in their fixtures, through no fault of their own and re-scheduling that many games before the end of May will be a real challenge.

“If funding is sorted, for the clubs that need it, then we can push on and we will work to complete the season.

“This could have all been avoided and the situation made easier by attacking the funding challenges head on in December or by simply extending the recent suspension for another two weeks and having a real focus on club finances.

“People keep asking ‘why won’t you play?’ I wish they’d ask ‘Why can’t you play?’ It’s a minor change but the latter is the real question.”

The voting process seems to have pitted clubs against each other with some wanting to continue and others wanting the season over due to the funding concerns.

But Kettering’s stance on the matter seems to have been well received by their fanbase with the Kettering Town (Poppies) Supporters Trust giving the club their full backing.

“The support we have received has been marvellous and truly appreciated,” Mahoney added.

“The decisions we have taken were not easy but they were right for the club and the game we all claim to love.

“I don’t participate in social media very often but was compelled to say thank you when the news broke and the support was forthcoming.

“We know we’re doing the right thing for the club and it's great knowing that the fans have our backs.”

The Trust, meanwhile, have also confirmed that they have contributed £600 towards the cost of new drainage work at Latimer Park.

A new French Drain has been dug along the length of the ground between the main pitch and pitch two at the ground, which is hoped should reduce the risk of waterlogging which has been an annual problem at Latimer Park,

The Trust passed on its thanks to Malc Harris, who managed to acquire many of the materials needed through his contacts, and also to Kettering Town's maintenance engineer ‘Jez’, who carried out most of the work.

The money donated by the Trust paid for the cost of transporting the materials (including around 60 tonnes of gravel) to Latimer Park.