Friday, 19 December 2014

But for the grace of God......

Hereford United were wound up in the High Court in London today. 

Their "owner" was big on promises but short on delivering.  Bills unpaid.  Dodgy characters lurking around, sniffing out scraps. 

There are too many parallels between the hell Ladak put us through and the situation at Hereford to stop anything but a cold shiver lance down my spine and a feeling of deepest sympathy and empathy.

Although most of their fans have stayed away from Edgar Street this season as the club were relegated two divisions, and pushed towards the brink by crooks, they have ensured that their "owners" were challenged at every turn on a host on online outlets.

Whilst Poppies fans are looking forward to hopefully watching their team open up an 8-point lead at the top of the league, decked out with spanking new scarfs and hats, Hereford fans are being asked to camp out at Edgar Street over the weekend to stop their crooked ex-owners looting the place before the Council can re-take control on Monday!

I hope some of our more critical fans take a look at the links above and perhaps ponder what might have been, before taking to the online forums to moan about the nature of a Kettering 5-0 victory as they did last week.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Giving It Both Barrels

Over the years, footballers names have evolved with changing fashions. In the Fifties, it was all Berts, Nats and Tommys. In the Seventies the football world was full of Kevins. Today it’s James, Thomas and Alfie, presumably named after the popular series of multi coloured railway engines. The next generation will probably be stuffed with retro chic Jacobs, Josephs and Joshuas. And not just first names are moving with the times. Witness the sudden proliferation of footballers with double barrelled surnames. Once the exclusive territory of Tory toffs who can trace their lineage back to the Plantagenets, now a typical teamsheet boasts a couple of good examples.

It’s quite a shift in a few years from the sheer novelty value of a hyphenated member of the professional ranks. Once there was just Ian Storey-Moore, Chris Bart-Williams and of course Ron Chopper-Harris.  Storey-Moore overcame any perceived foppishness by being a renowned dirty bastard in an era when they were ten a penny, whilst RC-H ended his career at the Bridge with 795 appearances, 14 convictions and 42 other offences taken into consideration.  Now, far from being an indicator of poshness, a pair of surnames either hints at a very modern approach to equal marital partnerships, or a chequered upbringing. Either way, it’s the new Smith or Jones and probably here to stay.

Until the present crop of Ward-Prowses and Oxlade-Chamberlains intermingle and start to reproduce. Then things could get very complicated. If neither parent gives ground, we could be up to a 32 barrel surname within 4 generations. Which, if players are still wearing shirts then, rather than hologram projections with rotating advertising and data on pass rate completion and volume of spit expended, will call for a fair bit of editing across their shoulders.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Hamilton nails top award

Despite the naysayers who despair of the Poppies lowly position these days, and, indeed, his lack of appearances for us this season as either starter or bench warmer, our sometime winger Louis Hamilton has still managed to win the "Sports Personality of the Year".

We'd like to think this national award is as much a reflection of the way the fortunes of the good ship Kettering Town FC have been turned around in the past 12 months.  Either that or Louis truly has the greatest personality in the history of sport.  Probably both.

A typical all-action Hamilton moment,
lacking only the ball, which won
the nation's hearts, and votes.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Personality Goes a Long Way

The relentless countdown is almost over and in just a few hours we will learn who is the 2014 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.  Just in case anyone fails to care enough about the outcome, the BBC has been filling the airwaves for weeks with reminders of the event and profiles of the main contenders (helpful background info for the majority of sports fans I suspect, who had never heard of half of them).  ‘Who will win this year?’ is the question that has supposedly been debated in pubs and clubs across the land.  Maybe it has, I don’t get out much.

But as we settle down to watch this potted summary of the sporting year presented by the BBC at its self satisfied best, is it heretical to ask, what exactly is the award meant to be for?  Is it, as the name suggests, the biggest sporting personality of the year, or just recognising someone who’s won a lot of stuff?  For every Henry Cooper, David Steele or Gazza among past winners, there has been Nigel Mansell (so boring his car came a close second), not one but four ice dancers, and Nick Faldo, who is dull even by the standards of a sport where you only have to wear a pair of checked trousers to be lauded as a great character.  And for anyone who put the 1971 award going to Princess Anne as the sort of cringingly deferential thing that couldn’t happen any more, there was a shock when the 2006 award went to her daughter. And again for success in an event that is open to 0.003% of the population.

In fact, in recent years the main award seems to have been particularly odd, going in 2009 to Ryan Giggs presumably on some sort of Nectar points basis, then in 2010 to A.P. McCoy thanks to a block vote by Ladbrokes customers.  This year the red hot favourite is said to be Rory McIlroy. Sure he’s had a successful year, but is he a personality?  Maybe he will reveal himself to be one in a gracious acceptance speech, before he jets off to rake in another sack of winnings in Dubai or somewhere.

My pick for this year’s award didn’t even make the shortlist, which just shows how outrageously unrepresentative it is. In a year in which his character has truly transcended his sport and dominated the headlines like no other, who else but Kevin Pietersen?  No one said it has to be a likeable personality!
KP - still optimistic of a recall to the shortlist, apparently

Thursday, 11 December 2014


I truly can't believe a thread on Poppynet (usually the less reactionary of our club forums) about our win last week at Hanwell has reached it's 12th page!

For anyone who can't be arsed to wade through it all, here are the highlights: -

Most people are happy enough that we won at Hanwell, and the team played well.

A couple of posters (one, a suspiciously recent member, and almost certainly not an ex player....) have managed to keep the thread going for almost a week, batting our seeming staggering amount of faults back and forth.  Whilst most normal fans are content that we are doing well this season and clear top of the league, these guys are having none of it!

It simply isn't good enough!

(A) We need to be beating teams better
(B) We need to be beating better teams
(C) Only players win matches
(D) Only managers lose matches.  And do so with their all-encompassing technical naivety.  Or if they haven't lost matches they may well do so in the future!
(E) Managers should be sacked if any decision they make ever fails to generate instant success.  Or if they don't shout more.  Or shout too much
(F) Brett should be put in charge for no apparent reason
(G) If we are promoted the Managers will be found out next year.  Or the year after
(H) Players sign despite the Managers
(I) As we are a bigger club than everyone else in the league we should utterly decimate all our opponents.  No disrespect meant to anyone.  Of course....
(J) The Chairman picks the team.  Or is it the Managers set the budget.  Or something
(K) Failure to win the FA Cup is just that.  Failure!

I'm just glad we actually won the Hanwell game, or these malcontents would really have gone to town!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

A short trip down memory lane

I occasionally wonder if I sometimes go over the top with criticising fellow supporters who moan about our Management team, losing the odd game, lack of cover or even chips at Latimer Park.  Or when people gripe about the Trust, and what they've done for the club.

I was searching google for images of Juventus v. AC Milan to use as the basis of a gag about the way Hanwell's and our kit looked yesterday.  As you do.  Good for a quick giggle.  Instead I happened upon a couple of articles from the website "200%" from what looked very much like our final days of existence.  One of these articles included some particularly fine writing from the Blog you are now reading, and a link to PATGOD from October 2012.

An hour later and I had re-read everything we'd written during the ill-fated removal to Non Park, Imraan, Rolls, Non Park, Not playing football for a month.  Re-birth at Steel Park.  Gates down to 150.  The club barely hanging on by a particularly narrow thread.  Huge defeats.  Relegations.

I hadn't gone back before and looked over the stuff we wrote during this period.  Why would I - far too depressing!  But I found I wasn't depressed by it.  Not to sound too self-serving, but it is a gripping story.  Horrific, but nevertheless gripping, even though we know the ending.  In over 140 years of history I cannot believe the club has been at such a low ebb.  Reading our bumf from back then, you genuinely cannot see how the club could come out of it's nosedive to destruction. 

All of this wasn't 20 or 30 years ago under Gingell or English.  It was just 2 years ago.  It all happened since the London Olympics.  George Rolls is still only halfway through his 5-year ban from football!  Events so recent that they have yet to fully pass into the fabric of the club consciousness.  At least for some people, who wave away those days, and the efforts of those who effectively saved the club, in a rush to go back to moaning about the most incredibly trifling of matters.

If you're bored, have a pop back to the blog from the start of the 2012-13 season.  Compare where we were then to where we are now and tell me we shouldn't still be pleased and grateful to still be able to complain about our football club.  So much has changed.  Oh, except for Pedro looking to launch another "Stay -a - Weymouth!"  Some things remain comfortingly familiar.