Seeing Kettering Town FC reach the playoffs this year was quite an amazing feeling. After a bad few seasons of financial distress, low moral and only a few months ago staring death in the face, at the start of the season I'd begun to think it was all over for the club.
It was back on October 7th of last year that years of uncertainty climaxed and supporters of Kettering all over fell silent as it was to be decided whether or not 142 years of football history would be put to an end in court as the club battled huge debts and challenged a winding up order. Some time before this Former Chairman Imraan Ladak had made a series of 'questionable' choices before dissapearing from the public eye, abandoning ship and leaving the club in a bad state and it's fans to suffer the consequences. Ladak handed the club over to our new chairman Mr. Ritchie Jeune in June 2013, who did a great job of taking care of business so that for the first time in a long while things were looking up. That was until September 2nd when out of the blue Kettering Town FC were officially wound up by the high court for further unseen outstanding debts from Rushden & Diamonds 2008 Ltd. On October 7th, 2013, fans prepared themselves for the worst and awaited the news...
I remember nervously refreshing twitter to find the latest news on the situation, and apart from my regular feeds of video game related posts and other rubbish, all was eerily quiet.
It was while sitting in college, unable to get any work done, heart in mouth staring at twitter that the news came through. As if some sort of miracle, Kettering Town had escaped death and the case had been settled! Order Rescinded! Thank you Ritchie! We had survived!
In the weeks leading up to this there had been an incredible effort put in by football fans from all over donating to try and help settle the debts on the club, and a total of over £20,000 to help pay it all off and #SaveKetteringTown. The amount of support shown by thousands of people using that hashtag on twitter was astonishing.
The whole thing seems like just a bad dream now, as I couldn't have imagined that Kettering Town would now be fully recovered, fighting fit and with a chance of promotion at the end of what must one of the most incredible turn around seasons in the club's history. The situation went from looking like Kettering wouldn't even exist at this current time to Kettering standing a strong chance of winning the league! Suddenly the worst case scenario had gone from ceasing to exist to not getting promotion, and it was great to see the club recover, build a strong team and go on to have an incredible year with a huge win streak and despite the burden of a hefty setback at the start of the season managing to fight their way to the top. Having gone through hell and back, the club and it's supporters are now stronger and prouder than ever.
Now, after a tense 1-0 win against Daventry Town on Tuesday with a record amount of fans attending, all that stands between the club and promotion to the next league is one last game. One final push for glory, one last big effort. Even if Kettering lose the game and don't make promotion this year, the season that we've had has been incredible and sitting back on twitter on that gloomy 7th October, I could never have dreamed of being in the position we are now. I'll be at the match cheering the team on next week at the final, at what should be a great match to watch and a great atmosphere. And whatever the result, and whatever any result, I'm proud to be a Kettering Town supporter, and proud to be a part of this great community. Thanks to everyone who's made this season what it is!
Kettering Town has shown the world this season that with true support, community spirit, great management and determination it is possible to rise from the ashes, defy the odds, resist death and ascend to victory. And that's what true football is about; Community. Which is something Kettering Town certainly has a lot of, and I wouldn't change that for the world.
142 years and counting.
Thanks for reading.
COME ON YOU POPPIES!