OPINION: Brett's legacy at Kettering is cemented

Jon Dunham gives his thoughts on Brett Solkhon's Kettering Town career after he was released by the club

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 3:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 3:08 pm
Mike Capps captured the moment the ball rolled into the net and Brett Solkhon wheeled away after opening the scoring for Kettering Town against Notts County in their famous FA Cup run in the 2008-09 season
Mike Capps captured the moment the ball rolled into the net and Brett Solkhon wheeled away after opening the scoring for Kettering Town against Notts County in their famous FA Cup run in the 2008-09 season

It really is the end of an era.

I am sure the 21-year-old Brett Solkhon couldn’t have envisaged the impact he would go on to have on Kettering Town when he made his debut for them back in 2003.

But here we are, 18 years later reflecting on a career that has cemented him as a Poppies legend.

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The Poppies legend scored this goal to equalise against fellow contenders Stourbridge during the Southern League Premier Central title success. Kettering went on to win 2-1. Picture by Peter Short

That statistics are impressive - 598 appearances, 113 goals. You really don’t have to say much more (but I will).

Solkhon has created memories for himself and the Kettering supporters.

The first games that really spring to mind are the clashes with Notts County in that unforgettable run to the fourth round of the FA Cup during the 2008-09 season.

Photographer Mike Capps captured the moment at Meadow Lane as Solkhon wheeled away towards a huge Poppies following as the ball rolled over the line to give Mark Cooper’s team the lead in the second-round tie.

Brett Solkhon made his 500th appearance for the club during the 1-0 home win over King's Lynn Town on New Year's Day, 2018. Picture by Peter Short

That game, of course, ended in a 1-1 draw and Solkhon duly headed home Kettering’s equaliser in front of the live cameras in the replay at Rockingham Road before Gareth Seddon hit the winner to secure another upset on a run that eventually ended with a 4-2 home defeat to Premier League side Fulham.

A season earlier, Solkhon had played a key role in the Conference North title success. I shall never forget the moment he put Kettering 3-2 up against fellow high-flyers Southport at Rockingham Road before they went on to win 5-2 - that was the game that convinced me they would eventually be crowned champions.

Solkhon’s appearances, of course, came across three spells with the club after he played for both Corby Town and Brackley Town in between.

And even when he returned to Kettering for what proved to be ‘the last dance’ he still managed to have a big impact.

In the truly big moments, he was there.

In the Southern League Premier Central title success in 2018-19 he scored the equaliser in the game at Stourbridge before on-loan Tom Knowles won it with a dramatic injury-time free-kick. That was the game that ultimately propelled the Poppies to the championship.

We could go on about his impact on the pitch but his impact off it was as big.

Always a popular figure with the club’s fanbase, Solkhon enjoyed and will, no doubt, always enjoy his legendary status and it has been well earned.

Whether it’s presenting trophies to the club’s youth players, turning on the town's Christmas lights, handing out Christmas gifts or Easter eggs to children at Kettering General Hospital or simply stopping for a chat with fans, he was always willing. That, as much as his displays on the pitch, endeared him to the supporters.

From a personal point of view, Solkhon was one of those under the category of ‘Mr Reliable’ for the media.

If I was ever struggling for a back page story, he’d be at the top of the list. ‘You just tell me what to say Jon, and I’ll say it’.

A true professional in a largely semi-professional world, Solkhon’s legacy at Kettering is cemented.

Now does feel like the right time for the club and player to part ways.

As he said in his statement on social media, he doesn’t believe it is the end of his playing days and I am sure that is the case. He’s as fit as a fiddle and is more than capable of still doing a job for someone, somewhere, even at the grand old age of 38.

Whatever comes next, I wish him and his young family all the very best for it.

Players with such loyalty but, more importantly, desire to win every time they put on the shirt don’t come along very often.

When retirement does come, we will be talking about one of the great non-League careers.

From a Kettering perspective, it may be a while before we see someone like him again...