The time was right to act, says Poppies owner Jeune

Nicky Eaden pictured during what proved to be his final game in charge of Kettering Town as they were beaten 2-1 at Sutton Coldfield Town in an Emirates FA Cup second qualifying round replay. Picture by Peter Short
Nicky Eaden pictured during what proved to be his final game in charge of Kettering Town as they were beaten 2-1 at Sutton Coldfield Town in an Emirates FA Cup second qualifying round replay. Picture by Peter Short

Kettering Town owner Ritchie Jeune believes the club had no choice but “to act” in the wake of their humiliating Emirates FA Cup replay defeat to Sutton Coldfield Town.

The 2-1 defeat to the Step 4 strugglers proved to be Nicky Eaden’s final game as manager as he was sacked today (Wednesday) following a poor start to the season.

The Poppies have won just two of their 11 matches in the Vanarama National League North following Eaden’s appointment in the summer, which came after Marcus Law resigned having led the club to Southern League Premier Central title glory last season.

But the embarrassing FA Cup exit last night proved to be the final straw for the club’s board as Eaden was axed while player-coach Luke Graham and former Corby Town boss Steve Kinniburgh were installed as joint caretaker managers ahead of this weekend’s trip to Hereford.

“It has been frustrating for us and it has been disappointing for Nicky,” said club owner Jeune.

“Managers often talk about fine margins and that’s been the case.

“I think we have been watching a team that should be doing better than it is, there have been a couple of big results in there and, in general, they have been in every game.

“We have never been a regime that budgets for an FA Cup run so that didn’t come into the equation.

“But if the players can’t be motivated to defeat lower-ranked opposition over two games then I think that represents a problem.

“The fact we couldn’t beat that team possibly suggests deeper issues and when you arrive at that realisation then I think you have to act.”

On the appointments of Kinniburgh and Graham as caretaker managers, Jeune added: “I don’t think you could ask for two better people at this moment in time.

“They have both played for the club and enjoyed success here.

“They know what the fans expect and what they want.

“We are lucky to have two professional people at hand to guide us through this period.

“They are already working together on a daily basis in roles connected to the club so it made it the obvious choice and I think things are in safe hands with them.”

The big question now, of course, is who will be the club’s next permanent manager?

Once they have played Hereford this weekend, there will be a two-week break before they take on Spennymoor Town at Latimer Park on October 12.

But Jeune insists that break doesn’t necessarily mean the new permanent boss will be in place by then as he expects the club to take its time.

“Obviously there are people out there you would hope you can attract and we don’t know who is out there and looking,” he added.

“I am sure the chairman (David Mahoney) will be doing a thorough job.

“But this a tough job for whoever comes into it. Whoever does get it will have to be ready.

“But there is certainly no set timescale as far as we are concerned.

“I am not saying we can sit back on our laurels and you would always like to appoint the right man straight away.

“I am sure David will want to take the right time to consider all the options.

“The good thing is that with the two guys we have in place in a caretaker role, we aren’t in a desperate situation and we have the time to get things right."