Sunday, November 15, 2009

Club focus -- Kettering Town

Yesterday we went to see Kettering Town play Cambridge United, so I thought it might be good to look at a club who have hit the headlines on several occassions over the last few years.

Poppies chairman Imraan Ladak must be saddened to see that Mark Cooper will be moving to replace Darren Ferguson in his role of manager at Peterborough. Especially as Cooper got Kettering promoted from the Conference North and has now fired them to the higher echelons of the Conference National. This was after a couple of ill fated managers who seemed like pblicity stunts filling the role at Rockingham Park with both ex player Ron Atkinson and Paul Gascoigne failing to ignite anything on the field. In fact the 39 days that Gazza was in charge at Kettering were perhaps some of the most bizarre and he was finall made to quit after one bottle of booze too many.

A little known fact is that Kettering are one of the oldest clubs in the World being formed in 1872. They climbed through 12 divisions to reach the Alliance Premier ( now the Conference) in 1979 and they remained there until 2001 finishing runners up in 1981, 1989, 1994 and 1998. They came close to getting a place in the league in 1974 when they weren't elected by coming up 5 votes short, although they will perhaps go one better and gain promotion this season. They look good for a play off place at least, although Oxford are going to take some toppling for the automatic place.

In a couple of weeks Kettering will take on Leeds United at home in the 2nd round of the FA Cup in a game that is going to be shown live. The first time they were shown on live was in the FA Cup ain 1994-5 when Sky broadcasted their game against Plymouth Argyle. Last year they reached the 4th round by beating Lincoln City, Notts County and Eastwood Town. They finally lost to Fulham in the 4th round in the first time a match between premier league and non league opposition has not been shown live on TV (well, obviously since they started showing FA Cup games live in TV). This started all sorts of conspiracy theories about anti muslim sentiments with both Ladak of Kettering being a Moslem and Al Fayed at Fulham, perhaps there was something in it. I on the other hand think that ITV after having to show games with non league games in the early rounds and having to big up the magic of the cup probably thought this was one of the few opportunities a network channel would have to put on the big 4 teams.

Kettering are also known for trying to give up their sponsorship to charity, but they didn't have as much luck in attracting charities as Aston Villa, Barcelona and Brondby have had, and gave up before advertising briefly a Palestinian charity.

Anyway, it would seem that bigger and better things could be around the corner for the Poppies

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