Kettering Town, nicknamed the Poppies, were originally formed in 1872 and briefly professional in 1891. Between 1897 and 2011 they played at Rockingham Road, after spells at North Park and Eldreds Field. 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.

Kettering Town Football Club Badge

Rockingham Road started as 4 uncovered terraced stands, with the Britannia Road terrace becoming covered in the 70's and had the addition of a gantry. The Main stand, on the north stand was built in the early 90's, due to financial limitations, this only half of the length of the pitch. This was seated and held the dug out, changing rooms, an new gantry and a bowling alley and restaurant behind the stand.
During the 1970s, Kettering Town sought election to the Football League, coming five votes short of election in 1974.

Rockingham Road, around 1999/2000

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 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 198889 season and also the third round in 199192 only to lose to Kenny Dalglish's Blackburn Rovers. As of 1999 the Poppies had scored more goals than any other team in the FA Cups history, with 774 goals scored in 347 appearances.
Season 200506 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. 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. In February 2006, Morell Maison was appointed Kettering Town manager, and led the team to 6th place in Conference North, after a run of seven wins in the last eight games. An announcement was made in May 2006 that the playing staff for 200607 would be full-time, and that six new signings had been made.
In 2007-08, 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 87 points). As a result, the club was promoted to the Conference National.
In the 200809 season, in the fourth round of the FA Cup, they faced Fulham at Rockingham Road. While twice pulling even with the Premier League squad, they ultimately lost the game, 42.
The Poppies also did well in the FA Cup in the 2009/10 season, having drawn 11 to Leeds United at home on 29 November 2009, live on ITV. Leeds won the replay.

Kettering Town 2 Fulham 4, Jan 24th 2009, FA Cup 4th round

On 4 August 2011 Kettering Town club moved into after agreeing a long term lease with the landlord. In November 2011, Kettering Town were unable to pay its players full wages. As a result, a number of players did not turn up for training. On 19 December 2011 the ground was repossessed by bailiffs acting on behalf of the owner Ben Pickering. At the time of its closure, the ground had a capacity of 6,264, of which 1,800 was seated.


Following our success at Nene Park and being in close proximity to Kettering, we thought it'd be rude not to take a look at this one as well. I'm glad we did. Looking across the pitch to the Britannia Road terrace, reminded me of watching 3rd round FA Cup ties where a Premier League heavyweight have been drawn an unheard-of, non-league club, at their decrepit, terraced ground that's not changed in decades. There's still sponsorship boards from the 80's and 90's, but unfortunately Kids have trashed all of the interior.






Dated 17th April 2010













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