Aylesbury United manager Tony Joyce said he is sad to see the demise of Saturday’s opponents Kettering after the club was wound up at the High Court this week.
The Kettering match was expected to be cancelled as a result. But it now looks likely to be the Poppies’ last ever game, which ironically takes place on Non League Day, after they exercised their seven-day right of appeal.
Kettering play in front of crowds of up to 700 for home games and were permitted to play what looks to be their last ever game, against the Ducks. Joyce said he is happy that his side will get some game time having faced the possibility of two weeks with no game following the postponement of their match against Royston on Wednesday night. But he is sad to see one of his old clubs on the verge of folding.
The plight of the Poppies, who were wound up in the High Court on Monday over a £58,000 debt to Rushden & Diamonds relating to rent owed from the club’s time at Nene Park, has been receiving national exposure in the past few days.
Kettering’s predicament shows just how precarious life can be for non league sides. Joyce was at one time reserve team boss at Kettering for two weeks and says is down to clubs living beyond their means.
“Aylesbury have been in a similar situation before and Kettering get good crowds so it will be sad, it is always sad,” Joyce said.
“Three or four years ago they were in the Conference with one hell of a squad, who were on big money and that money hasn’t been spent wisely, obviously.
“But the game is on and we look forward to going there. It will be nice for the players to play in front of such a big crowd.”
Over £2,000 has already been donated from football fans from as far a field as the United States with the target for that site being £20,000 to go towards the paying of the debt and court costs as the Poppies appeal the decision to wind them up.
Make a donation to the Poppies’ cause.
Alternatively, they can make a donation direct to the Kettering Town Poppies Supporters Trust. The bank details are – Sort Code 30-94-68. Account number 00306003.
United last played Kettering in a competitive game in the 2003/4 season and a 2-2 draw at Buckingham Road in the Ryman Premier. The Ducks lost 2-0 at Kettering in the reverse fixture that season and have never beaten the Poppies.
Kettering were the first team in England to sport sponsors on football shirts.
The Ducks faced Kettering in a cup semi-final in 1987 amid some controversy. United had to play seven games in the last nine days of the season and were originally told by league chiefs at the time they could wait until the end of the season to play the Kettering cup match.
However, a u-turn left the club facing a fixture nightmare and they duly lost 2-0 at home.