Football Non-League Notebook: Kettering faced with liquidation

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KETTERING TOWN have finished in the top five of the GM Vauxhall Conference in each of the last five seasons, and with their excellent Rockingham Road stadium they have been regarded as leading and deserving candidates for promotion to the Football League. Unless a wealthy saviour makes a prompt appearance, however, they could be out of business within a fortnight.

Last season there seemed little reason for alarm. Brian Talbot, the former England midfield player and West Bromwich Albion manager, was managing director, and Peter Morris, once Talbot's team-mate at Ipswich, was doing a good job as manager.

Before the start of the new term, Talbot departed for a new career in Malta when he found that the financial support promised by his chairman, Mark English, was not forthcoming.

Morris also left, for Boston United, effectively exchanging jobs with Dave Cusack, who became Kettering's new manager. English was replaced as chairman first by Michael Gil-Anderson and then by Jim Lynch as the club, over pounds 300,000 in debt, began to fall apart.

Kettering are now being run by Pannell, Kerr and Forster (PKF), a firm of insolvency specialists. 'We are trying to retain the company's good will and trade on an even keel,' Mark Bowen, for PKF, said yesterday, before adding that his company is searching for missing financial records.

Cusack and George Ellitson, the company secretary and also a director, have been suspended on full pay by the new administrators. 'We were told we were better off out of the firing line,' Ellitson said. A winding-up order is due to be heard on 12 October, when liquidation is a very real possibility.

Graham Carr, formerly in charge at Northampton Town and Maidstone United, is now Kettering's acting manager. They are in the bottom half of the table, beaten 4-0 at home by the leaders, Wycombe Wanderers, last weekend, but picking up a point from a 0-0 home draw with Dagenham and Redbridge on Tuesday.

After nine consecutive wins, Wycombe suffered their first defeat of the campaign on the same night when they lost 2-0 at Bath City, but their 12-point lead remains intact. Tomorrow Wycombe meet Stalybridge Celtic, while Kettering travel to Witton Albion.