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Kettering quit Conference


Kettering Town's debts have led them to resign from the Blue Square Bet North where they had been relegated.  They will play in the Southern League Premier next season.

The club's debts total £1.2m.   Former chairman Imraan Ladak and other directors owed money have agreed to write off their loans and to leave £402,000 outstanding.   Creditors will get about 10p in the pound as part of a three year company voluntary arrangement.    

The Conference's rules insist that every penny of every debt has to be paid, a requirement that no club in financial trouble is likely to be able to meet.   Owner-in-waiting George Rolls, formerly chairman at Cambridge United and Weymouth, stated that the league would have required a £100,000 bondx to be lodged to prove the Poppies could fulfil their fixtures next season.   Poor season ticket sales at Nene Park had prevented the club finding that sum.

Rolls claims to have cut losses from £40,000 to £15,000 a month and hopes to have the club breaking even by October.    It will, however, have the £20,000 a month playing budget planned for the Blue Square North.   Given that my non-league team plays in the Southern League Premier, I would say that you could guarantee promotion with half that sum.

Away fan numbers in the Southern League Premier are often poor, but fans may be incentivised by the novelty of visiting Nene Park, a ground that saw League 1 games with Rushden & Diamonds. Unforunately, it costs a lot to maintain.

Redditch United, ranked as the No.3 club in Worcestershire, are also in the Southern League Premier. They have also faced financial challenges, with baliffs threatening to seize the floodlights.  However, they have now turned things round but are very reliant on off pitch income to sustain the loss-making football side.

Nene Park was built with well-equipped conference facilities, but the location is not ideal (although not too far from the A14 and A45) and there is no hotel, although that was part of the original ambitious plans.