BSB Premier club Kettering Town have issued a statement detailing their ongoing work to ensure the club's existence beyond 2013.
The lease of the Rockingham Road ground is set to expire in two years, although the Pickering family are said to have offered an extension to the lease.
The club spent a substantial period of time negotiating with ASDA and Tesco, eventually securing two offers in the region of £20m to build a new stadium.
ASDA was selected as the best partner for several reasons, including the fact that their offer would have the least impact on the town centre, a further £2.5m contribution to youth football in Kettering (in addition to £2m for community facilities of the councils choice) and the possibility that Tesco might only be bidding to block ASDA’s entry to Kettering.
In August 2009, the club was made aware of the contents of a meeting between ASDA and Kettering Borough Council CEO David Cook, following which ASDA understandably felt a planning application would be a waste of time and money.
Further opportunities have been brought to the councils attention over the last twelve months but deemed unsuitable. At the present time the club has no opportunities to build a new ground that will be supported by KBC.
The club understands and respects the position of KBC but believe that a more supportive Council would have ensured the opportunity to build a new stadium did not end so prematurely.
The club has no plan or wish to groundshare or merge with another club. However, following the collapse of the new stadium plans, the Board have had to deal with the possibility of the club being homeless from 2013.
The board unanimously agreed fourteen months ago that no groundshare or merger with another club could go ahead without the majority of Kettering supporters voting in favour. With this in mind, it was deemed prudent to investigate all options.
The club had already paid for an option to groundshare at Corby Town FC which formed a necessary part of our application to remain a member of the Conference Premier in early 2009 to satisfy the rules applicable at the time. It must also be noted that at this time all that was required for our own new ground was council support and a planning consent as funding and land had been secured. Costs of upgrading the new Rockingham Triangle site to Conference grade `A` standard would be substantial and taking up the option has not been formally discussed since it was signed.
As disclosed by Keith Cousins, a meeting with a “for sale” Rushden & Diamonds was held with both options discussed hypothetically but the financial proposal and supporter rivalry was deemed prohibitive. No further talks were held.
Kettering chairman Imraan Ladak reached an agreement to acquire the land at Rothwell Town FC but no solution could be reached with Persimmon Homes to buy back their option. The terms of the agreement from Rothwell also changed once solicitors were instructed and necessary warranties could not be satisfied.
Extension of lease at Rockingham Road:
The Pickering family have always been reasonable to the football club. Former Finance Director Amanda De Choisy was and Non-Executive Director Ken Samuel continues to be in contact with the Pickering family who have offered an extension to the current lease which is due to expire in 2013. The club is very grateful for this offer but are awaiting official feedback from the Football League and Conference Board in relation to certain clauses.
Purchase of Rockingham Road site:
Valuation is difficult but Kettering Town FC does not have the funds to acquire the site. However, a serious interest from a third party contact of the chairman to acquire and lease back the site to the club has recently been brought to the attention of the Pickering family.
Supporters should appreciate that all negotiations are and will remain private.
Last season two approaches to purchase the club were received. Neither were on acceptable financial terms or believed to be in the long term interests of the club. The shareholders have openly stated their wish for the supporters trust to be the future custodians of the club and in early 2011 will submit a proposal for this to become a reality. This is to be a gradual process and should not in any way be misinterpreted as the chairman turning his back on the club now or in the future.
The difficulties of the economy have deeply affected supporters and sponsors in the area. The upcoming increase in VAT will further impact the clubs income streams. This is further compounded by the unacceptable performance and lack of commitment on and off the field from some members of the first team squad which has resulted in the club languishing in the league table and knocked out of the FA Cup and Trophy at the first hurdle. The wage bill has become unsustainable and must be reduced. Ticket prices will have to increase in January 2011 and players will have to leave and be replaced. If certain players refuse to leave this will present a problem for all parties by February. The club is acting as responsibly as it can under the circumstances.
The current management team believe that full-time football can be sustained at Conference Premier level within a budget manageable for Kettering Town FC. It is also believed that the club would become uncompetitive at this level by making any change. As it currently stands, the club would only consider reverting to a part-time status if it was relegated.