Friday, 23 June 2017

Farewell Liam

Liam Canavan's departure from Latimer Park has been greeted with a resounding "Meh" from Poppies fans.  Which is sad.

Liam was a player who could completely change a game.  For good or ill.  Or both.  Often at pretty much the same time.  Even his supporters, of which I am one, would cheerfully have throttled him half of the time.

But while he will be fondly remembered for his ability to cleanly strike a ball better than anyone else currently playing in Poppies red, he certainly won't be missed for his often pointless little flicks and touches which served only to baffle all at the game, including, I daresay, himself.

Liam has something.  We can all see it.  But will he ever show it consistently?  Or even twice in a game?  Over a couple of seasons here can it honestly be said that he noticeably improved ?  Even his diving (which he assiduously continued to work on) still looks like a five year old throwing himself to the floor in a tantrum over a cuddly-toy that's not even really wanted.

He now has another chance at Conference North level, albeit in a team pretty much guaranteed to be in a relegation battle from mid-September onwards - and all the best to the lad.

But what's the betting that his 2017-2018 season looks a bit like this: -

  • Starts in the Leamington team
  • Spell on the bench
  • Spell out of the squad
  • Dual registration with the Poppies
  • Starts in the Poppies team
  • Spell on the bench
  • Spell out of the squad
  • Return to Leamington in time to be released.....

Liam contemplates life in the fast lane.
At Leamington.....

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Wow! I can't believe we all missed this!

Georgy Porgy's ban is up!

Five years are up?

So soon?

Let's all agree not to let him know where we are these days.  Hopefully if he goes over to Non Park he'll think the Poppies have gone the same way......Had he remained that surely would have been our fate.

"Tenner says you'd love me back.
No, twenty.  No, thirty.
I don't have a gambling problem.  Really."

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Attendances - Part Two

Straight away I've got to admit I've leaned very heavily on the Southern League Website and, even more so, on the "Turnstile League" section of the Kings Lynn FC website when putting this piece together.  Have a gander The Turnstile League here - Turnstile League, and save it into your favourites section.  Perhaps replace the old Poppynet link you still have?

As we know, there are probably more former-Football League clubs bumming around at the non-league level than ever before.  And not just in the top division.  York, Stockport and Kidderminster are all currently just one sh*t-season away from sampling the delights of Latimer Park!

This glut of ex-League teams means there are a lot of clubs getting enormous gates in context of their non-league status.  Tranmere and Lincoln both pulled in average home gates of over 5000 this season.  Mind you, that only tells part of the story.  Lincoln had their best season for, well, probably ever.  5000+ for them is dream-land.  In the meantime, a crowd of 5000 at Prenton Park probably looks very spartan!  And those in attendance are probably still shell-shocked at being a non-league club and then losing out to the hobby-humus club from Nailsworth in the play-off final.  Forest Green Rovers managed to lose 5 supporters compared to the season before, despite promotion.  That said, an average gate of 1753 is not to be sniffed at when you have a population of under 6000.

But, who cares what other clubs did?  What about the mighty Poppies?  Overall our average league gate dropped from 522 to 502.  Does mean the 20 biggest whingers on Poppies Chat Facebook group actually put their money where their considerable mouths were and stopped attending?  We can but hope!  502 isn't a great average gate by KTFC standards.  However it was still the fourth highest average gate in our division last season.

And we had the most consistent support in the division.  Consistent?  How does that work?

Our highest gate of 658 contrasted with our lowest gate (a Tuesday night game against Redditch - obviously) of 343.  343 represents a 48% differential between our largest and smallest attendances.  The "South-West Mafia" of Weymouth, Chippenham and Dorchester all had a highest attendance far in excess of ours (no doubt when playing each other), but all recorded smallest gates lower than us.  Thus, Weymouth experienced a 74% difference between highest and lowest gate.  Chippenham had a differential of 76%.

Dorchester had an eye-watering 93% difference between their highest gate - an incredible 2033 against Weymouth, and the piddling 149, no doubt for a Tuesday night February game against Redditch.  Such is Dorchester's relaince on their local derby with Weymouth, that this game accounted for over 20% of their total home support for the entire season!

A number of the newly-minted clubs also saw a surge in support.  At least until they stop winning.  AFC Fylde saw the small matter of a 275% increase in "lifelong Coasters" from 522 to 1962.  The media whores at Salford City saw gates balloon from 642 to 1395.  It's strange how the small matter of national exposure and their own BBC TV series can double your attendances!

More fun are the crowds at the lower end of the non-league scene.  Not for the small sizes of the crowds.  We're in no position to mock clubs for small crowds.  No, more enjoyable is when you see a club average exactly one person less when compared to the previous season.  It makes you wonder if something personal happened!  Or did a fan exclaim, "Shent goo agen" and actually follow through on the threat?  Then you see another team added a single fan during 2016-17 and you wonder if this fan simply changed allegiance!  But for every club in turmoil, you have a Soham Town Rangers, who averaged exactly 125 contented, steady-souls for the past couple of seasons.

"Keep-up lino!"


Sunday, 4 June 2017

Anyone looking for an entirely flat piece of land in Northants?

According to the Sales Brochure this site has: -

** Two careless former tenants **

** Easy access to a tin-pot village **

** Only the outside possibility of flooding every Spring.  And Autumn.
Very rarely Winter.  Almost never Summer **

** Nearby bridge with resident troll **

** A nice new wooden fence keeping members of the valued
travelling community off the site for all of five minutes **

Offers in excess of One Billion, Billion Pounds will be considered.
Please apply to the owner, c/o Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Kettering - the 1930's Silicon Valley?

How did I not know about this?  Does anyone know about this?  I've spoken to a couple of other Kettering folk today and they also looked at me with blank faces, registering nothing (although this isn't entirely unusual).

We all know that Kettering is famous for literally a scant handful of things, so the fact that a Kettering man built a robot back in the 1930's has seriously wowed me.  Add in the fact that the robot's creator taught him to smoke, consider my gob well and truly smacked!

WTF? Robert the Kettering Robot!

Whatever next?  Will someone unearth evidence of a dinosaur known to have roamed the Grange Estate back in the 1960's, that somehow we've collectively forgotten?  What about the little known flying saucer crash at Wickies in the 1970's?  Or, even more unlikely, will proof of Mark English actually paying a Tax Bill be found?

We need to know!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Attendances Part One

Who doesn't love looking at non-league attendances?  How amazingly small some are.  How shockingly large some are.  Admittedly, it was more fun when we were nearer to the top of the pile when it came to crowds, but still, some great stats are thrown up.

And everyone loves to massage a good attendance stat.  Even hoary club officials, who really should know better.  Many moons ago, when coming back from an away game, Peter Morris popped up on the radio, seriously bigging-up our support base.  We listened, wide-eyed as he told the interviewer that were we to get promoted to the Football League (not quite as mad an idea back then), we would be getting 4000+ through the turnstiles every week!  Wow.  That's a lot!  What a great addition we'd be to the Football League!

Not that Peter Morris was alone in cherry-picking our attendance statistics when it suited.  I've also heard Imraan Ladak use similar figures.  Probably at a time he was trying to unload us to another schmuck valued investor.

Of course, this figure of 4000+ was based almost entirely on the last two home gates the previous season, when it suddenly dawned on the people of Kettering that their local club had a really good chance of winning the league, and were it not for the fact that Maidstone United's team of exciting young talent stayed stubbornly above our team of veteran journeymen, we may well have done it.

This led to three obvious results.

  1. The gates swelled from, an already healthy 2000+, to an incredible 4000+ for the last two home games
  2. You couldn't stand anywhere near where you'd managed to comfortably stand for the previous 9-months
  3. The team shat themselves in front of a large crowd

The additional bodies who came for the last couple of games boosted our average home attendance for the 1988-89 season to a massive 2500.  To put into context, this is almost exactly 5 x what we see today.  A once-in-a-generation golden age of large gates, title attempts, FA Cup glory, and botched finances by our boardroom.

Where our rivals such as Macclesfield, Wycombe and Barnet turned such bonanza periods into new grounds, promotion, or both, our officials pluckily managed to avoid paying Tax bills, fritter away goodwill, shed support and leave us ready for being picked off by shysters like Mark English and his ilk.

Cowper Street, circa 1989