Poppies Voice Round 2 – Response 8

Ian Gilbert asked the following question:

“The Manager has made reference to a 5 year plan on several occasions and the fact that we are now back to year 1. Can the Board expand upon what the aims of this plan are for both on and off field elements and give an indication of the year on year developments anticipated?”’

The club’s visions can be split into three key areas, these being on-pitch, off-pitch, and aspirational (for want of a better word).

The simple answer is that our on-pitch target is to get promoted to the National League, whilst making sure that we don’t go backwards.  Our off-pitch target is to ensure that the club meets all grading requirements and develops in a manner that attracts more sponsors, more fans, and more signings, whilst remaining sustainable.  And whilst all of this is being monitored and managed, we have our primary aspirational target of moving the club back into Kettering.

The reality is that the off-pitch targets must be the priority in the short term, as failing to meet grading requirements will see the club relegated, regardless of where we finish in the league.  Yes, technically a team could win the National League North, miss a grading requirement, and end up being relegated.  To date we have achieved most requirements including enhancing the changing rooms, the officials’ rooms, the floodlights, the ground’s capacity, and the number of operational turnstiles.  This work was all completed to schedule but we’re still not there.  We now need to offer 500 covered seats across no more than two stands, meaning that we are again looking at adding another 250 seat stand akin to the last one installed.  Work which must be completed before the end of March 2022.  Our year 1 target will be to meet immediate grading requirements, which will protect our position.  Our ongoing goal will be to improve the facilities, ensuring that expenditure is warranted, whilst continuously looking to increase sponsorship avenues and attracting new fans.

Achieving the required grading is based on The Poppies plying our trade in the National League North and this is what we aim to do, as a minimum.  So, whilst the club review grading requirements Paul and his backroom team, obviously supported by the board, will be focusing on the on-pitch activities that will start by protecting our position in the National League North whilst striving for promotion be it direct or through the play-offs.  We are realistic and expect this to be a real challenge and one that will probably take several seasons to achieve, but it’s a goal we are striving for.  Neither target is a given and nothing should be taken for granted, just maintaining our position will be the first battle.  Ironically at a time when we are so close to ticking all grading requirements at our current level, the club is aiming higher, which will open even more grading challenges.  With promotion will come a lot more expense.

And then there is the side distraction of progressing the development of the new site in Kettering.  Given the current situation and the challenges ahead, it is likely that this project will take 7-10 years, although an extended cup run or someone friendly winning the National Lottery may expedite the development.

Sorry the answer has dragged on but as you can see, from this overview, there are a lot of things that need to be considered, some areas can heavily influence another, and nothing is certain.  It is accepted that you have to spend money to make money but with football you have to spend the right amount of money, at the right time, whilst hoping you can keep your destiny in your own hands and not rely on others.  And come the end of every season there are only two teams that will go up and usually three that will go down. 

One thing is for sure there will be a lot of clubs who spend a lot of money this season and don’t achieve their goals, we want to make sure that The Poppies aren’t one of them.


The board’s response is made to the question(s) presented, which may have been adjusted where multiple people asked a similar question.  If you were named as someone who submitted the question but feel it does not reflect your original request, then please present your question again – stressing what was omitted/changed.

Watch out for more responses.