Kettering Town Football Club is famous for many things.
Nicknamed the Poppies, the club holds some unique records, like being the all-time top goalscorers in the history of the FA Cup and the first team in Britain to play with a shirt sponsor, but it is less renowned as a honeymoon destination.
Ryan and Sarah Haines got married on October 3rd last year and they are both based in South Bend, with Ryan being a noisy part of Six Districts Coalition (6DC) – a South Bend Lions supporters’ group.
The couple decided to go traveling in England for their honeymoon and met up with Ritchie Jeune and Chris Rivett at Latimer Park – the home of another one of Jeune’s teams: Kettering Town.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Haines’ are finally able to enjoy their honeymoon 12 months on from their wedding day, which was reduced from 200 guests to 40 due to the health protocols that were in place last autumn.
“It was small, but good,” said Sarah. “We had a big party last weekend to celebrate after a year and then headed out here the next day.”
As part of their honeymoon, Ryan and Sarah went to Old Trafford and watched Manchester United come from behind to defeat Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League, in addition to visiting Stonehenge – a famous landmark in the south of England.
“We’ve been planning it for a while,” said Ryan. “England was always one of the choices, we also looked at Dubai and had Paris in mind; we just wanted to spend time away from the United States and that’s how we ended up here.
“After Kettering we are going to Alton Towers for the day, and then going to Oxford. We’ll visit some Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland places because Sarah is big into those, and Sunday is about spending the day in London and enjoying the West Ham United game before flying back to reality Monday morning.”
In the time they spent at Latimer Park, Ryan and Sarah had a guided tour of the stadium and its facilities and walked out onto the field – helping to join further dots between the two communities on either side of the Atlantic.
“It’s wonderful,” Ryan continued. “It’s exactly what I thought it would be: small, quiet; it’s nice.
“The only thing I’m slightly sad about is that I couldn’t witness a game here, but just being able to tour the grounds was really cool, and to meet Chris and Ritchie was great as well.
“During the season I said [to 6DC] that I was going to be popping out here, but I don’t think they knew the day that I was going. One of us wanted to come out here and I happened to be the first one.
“The goal would hopefully be to get 6DC and the core group of us to come out. The guys would love it.”