Poppies are still facing 'financial pressure'

The National League North season has been declared null and void but that doesn't mean Kettering Town are now immune from financial problems

By Jon Dunham
Thursday, 25th February 2021, 8:17 am
The gates of Kettering Town's Latimer Park ground will be staying closed after the National League North season was declared null and void. Picture by Peter Short
The gates of Kettering Town's Latimer Park ground will be staying closed after the National League North season was declared null and void. Picture by Peter Short

David Mahoney has warned that the National League North being declared null and void isn’t the end of the financial pressure facing Kettering Town.

The Poppies chairman insists the focus now that the campaign has ended prematurely for the second year in a row is to ensure the club finds “a way to survive until the new season starts”.

The National League North and South divisions were declared null and void after the results from the clubs’ votes were confirmed last week.

While the top level of non-League football will continue, Step 2 has now stopped despite a number of clubs still calling for it to carry on.

The vote came about after clubs were told they would have to take out a loan to see them through the remainder of the season instead of receiving grants, which they had been led to believe would be forthcoming as they were for the first three months of the campaign.

Kettering voted in favour of null and void with Mahoney and his fellow directors adamant they would not do anything to jeopardise the club’s future.

But the fight isn’t over and the Poppies chairman believes there will be plenty of work to do to ensure the club is ready to begin next season, whenever that may be.

“It’s obviously a real disappointment that the league has come to an early end for the second season running, although it does appear that some clubs are challenging the decision,” Mahoney said.

“We never wanted to reach this point but really had no option. If the expected grants had materialised then we would have played on but they didn’t so we can’t.

“So the reality is that whilst it’s extremely disappointing that we find ourselves in this position, it is a relief that the decision has removed some of the financial burden from the club.

“We will now go into the usual end of season set-up, albeit a few months early this year, and when the time is right we will start our pre-season activities for the 2021/22 season.

“That said we can’t underestimate the financial pressure that the club is still under.

“Ending the season now does reduce our financial burden but there are still financial pressures that will remain in force and we now have to find a way to survive until the new season starts, with no revenue coming in.”

Mahoney paid tribute to manager Paul Cox, his staff and the Kettering players for their efforts during the most unusual of seasons.

And he revealed boss Cox is already planning ahead for the new season, which will hopefully be his first full campaign in charge despite having been in the hotseat for over a year!

“The management team, backroom staff and squad have been fantastic over the course of the season and you have to feel for them all,” the Poppies chairman added.

“The gaffer (Cox) has already started planning for next season and I had a good chat with him regarding his plans and aspirations.

“The club seems to like historical firsts, so lets hope a future question is: ‘which Poppies manager took three years to get promoted but only completed one full season in charge to get there?’.