Tuktuk Day 24

Kettering Town FC

Today is an unexpected pleasure. Andy Clark saw my post about Kettering Town and has kindly forwarded a mass of information about a club that I must admit I know little about. He is doing it as a kind of thank you to his father in law, Alex Elmore, who is a huge fan. I appreciate you so much Andy and trust I have done it justice!

You may remember I referenced the famous Kettering Town Leeds United game and Alex says, “I was there. They lost the replay 5-2 in extra time but battered Leeds in the second half of that replay. My father in law took me” See YT

“Kettering Town were originally formed in 1872, turning professional in 1891. The club graduated through twelve different leagues from 1892 until they became founding members of the Alliance Premier League in 1979. The club maintained its status in the top flight of semi-professional football until the 2000–01 season. Many honours have found their way to Rockingham Road, winning the Midland Football League title in 1896 and 1900. The Southern League Championship was won on three occasions by the club, in 1928 and 1957 under Tommy Lawton and in 1973 under the guidance of Ron Atkinson. In the 1930s the club won the East Midlands League and in 1948 the Poppies became Birmingham League Champions.

In a Southern League game against Bath City on 24 January 1976, Kettering became the first British club to play with a sponsor’s name printed on their shirts after signing a deal with local firm Kettering Tyres. The deal was brokered by chief executive and manager Derek Dougan. Four days later, The Football Association ordered the club to remove the slogan, but Dougan changed the words on the shirts to “Kettering T”, and claimed that the T stood for “Town”. Nonetheless, the FA ordered the club to remove the words, which the club did due to the threat of a £1,000 fine. Shirt sponsorship was eventually legalised within the English game in 1977.

Kettering are also the first ever British team to have their initials on their ground’s floodlights. The club finished runners-up in the Football Conference in 1981, 1989, 1994 and 1998. The GMAC Cup, (the non-league, league Cup) was won in 1987 and the Poppies were runners-up in 1995, then known as the Bob Lord Trophy. County competitions have been won regularly by Kettering Town, with the Northants Senior Cup won on 28 occasions and the Maunsell Cup 13 times. Kettering Town The FA Cup has brought success and publicity to Rockingham Road with the first round proper being reached on 41 occasions. In 1901 the club reached the last sixteen and in more modern times the Poppies reached the fourth round proper in the 1988–89 season and also the third round in 1991–92 only to lose to Kenny Dalglish’s Blackburn Rovers. During the 1994–95 season the club made their debut live on Sky TV in a first round tie against Plymouth Argyle, soon followed by another appearance against Wrexham at Rockingham Road.

As of 2013 (June) the Poppies had scored more goals than any other team in the FA Cup history, with 846 goals scored. Wembley has been reached on two occasions before. The Poppies lost 2–0 to Stafford Rangers in the 1979 FA Trophy Final. More recently, the FA Trophy Final in 2000 saw the Poppies lose a closely fought final with Kingstonian 3–2. Most recently, the club were narrowly relegated on the last day of the 2000–01 season which ended 30 years in the top flight of non-league football. The Poppies made a quick return to the Conference in the 2001/02 season winning the Southern Football League with a last-day victory at Tiverton Town under Carl Shutt, his first full season in charge. Season 2005–06 was to be one of massive change at Rockingham Road.

In October 2005 it was announced that long-serving Chairman Peter Mallinger was to hand over the reins to a consortium consisting of Imraan Ladak, Mick Leech and England legend Paul Gascoigne. Gascoigne was installed as manager, replacing Kevin Wilson, and ex-Arsenal stalwart Paul Davis was recruited as assistant manager. The eyes of the world were on Gascoigne and the Poppies, and media interest was massive. However, for a variety of reasons, Gascoigne was only to remain in the job for thirty-nine days. Kevin Wilson was given his old job back, but only held onto it for two months as a run of one win in twelve games saw the Poppies slump into the bottom half of Conference North. Chairman Imraan Ladak installed former Tamworth manager Mark Cooper as the new Kettering Town manager for the 2007–08 campaign. The club finished the season as Conference North champions, breaking several records along the way (including seven consecutive wins at the start of the season, 29 wins overall, and a divisional record of 97 points). As a result, the club was promoted to the Conference National.

In the 2008–09 season, Kettering Town beat Lincoln City, Notts County and Eastwood Town to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup, where they faced Fulham at home. While twice pulling even with the Premier League squad and looking like they could possibly produce a draw late in the second half, they gave up two goals and ultimately lost the spirited match, 4–2.

After losing their Rockingham Road ground in 2011, the club went into administration during the 2011–12 season, finishing bottom of the Conference National and were demoted two divisions to the Premier Division of the Southern League. They finished bottom of the Southern League Premier Division the following season and were relegated to Division One Central. A third-place finish in the division in 2013–14 saw them qualify for the play-offs, but after beating Daventry Town 1–0 in the semi-finals, they lost 3–2 to Slough Town in the final. In 2014–15 the club won the Division One Central title, earning promotion to the Premier Division.[9] Following a fourth-place finish in the Premier Division in 2017–18, they lost 3–1 to Slough Town in the play-off semi-finals.

League reorganisation saw Kettering placed in the Premier Division Central for the 2018–19 season. The club went on to win the division, earning promotion to the National League North. In 2022–23 they finished fourth-from-bottom of the National League North and were relegated back to the Premier Division Central of the Southern League.”

Kettering Town 2-4 Fulham (24th January 2009)

Kettering Town FC – 2nd Round FA Cup 1988 Kettering Town FC V Bristol Rovers

When Kettering Town played Blackburn!

GOALS | Stafford Rangers v Kettering Town 1979 FA Trophy Final


….and a friend, Les Easterbrook, who is a huge Kingstonian friend and programme collector was there and kindly sent me photos.

Les will as always be at the West London Programme Fair. Pop along to see him.


Fantastic, Andy, thanks so much. A great football fan. Hopefully he will offer us something about his love affair with Yeovil

“Although my love right now is Corby. I always say support your local football team. They are gonna get vertigo, unbeaten in five!!” … and so say all of us!

As always, I hope that you will consider a donation however small to support FC Deportivo Galicia and/or Prostate Cancer UK If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £10,000 and life would be easier in West London whilst the charity continued their great work. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can. If you can’t you can still help massively by sharing this page about the work of Prostate Cancer. Thanks.


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