Saturday, 6 February 2016

More Goodies from the Club Shop

How better to celebrate our upcoming Senior Cup Final
with our new friends at AFC Rushden & Diamonds
than with a new half and half commemorative scarf?

Three Grounds Where We Used To Play

The daffs are out, blossom is starting to appear and it’s just turned February. At this rate we’ll be blackberrying in June and collecting conkers in July. It also keeps on raining. The season we used to call winter is now an extended wet autumn morphing into an equally wet early spring.  

As the club enters its third month in which the only activity on the Latimer Park pitch has been the futile squelch of the groundman’s boots, we need to talk again about the options. We really can’t face a future like this. Just as well we had the foresight to get knocked out of the cups early.

To turn the surface, which by common consent is the worst draining slab of clay in the county, into something reliably playable would cost a fortune. And we’d still be watching our football at a village ground.  

What are the options?  Go back to Corby?  Twice the distance for many, and would probably knock a couple of hundred off the average gate.  But playing 3 games a week when LP finally returns to action will do that anyway.  Plus compared to Latimer Park, where on the colder days you have to wrap up like Captain Scott, Steel Park at least offers some decent cover and a better view. 

Alternatively, a lot closer to home, Rockingham Road sits there, slowly decaying but a stadium still, not houses. There are arguments against returning – the cost, the deterioration, the old limitations – but to me, whatever the negatives there are two very big arguments for:

1. It’s in Kettering.

2. It’s a football ground.

There you have it – no never ending search for a plot of land that isn’t immediately earmarked for starter homes or another huge warehouse, no planning battles, no objections from local residents, no site clearance costs, no 3 year wait for the first ball to be kicked if, and it’s a very big if, an alternative site was ever ours.

Even with a derelict main stand and temporary dressing rooms, RR outscores the present alternatives.

Except it’s not for sale. Or apparently not. Or the valuation is too high. Who knows with the Pickering family, who make North Korea look open and communicative.

Ultimately, whatever they would like the place to be worth, the market will decide.  While they hold out for a sum that no one is willing to pay, the site continues to rot and they don’t receive a penny. And we’re going nowhere on yet another blank Saturday.        

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Rene and the Law of Diminishing Returns

Will the real Rene Howe hurry up and get his clearance from the Welsh FA, so we can dispense with the tubby lookalike who has been filling in these past few weeks? 

If only.

Regrettably for both us and him, this is the actual Rene Howe and it’s quite a sad spectacle.  Just a year ago he was still a League striker, with a goalscoring record that had carried him around the lower divisions. Yesterday, instead of Fratton Park or the Kassam he was on show in front of a few hundred at Hungerford and looking no closer to regaining his mojo.   

In another statuesque performance, the only noticeable movement was when his studs slipped, resulting in a fall that seismologists picked up 25 miles away. It’s looking increasingly like his best days as a forward are behind him, unless he switches codes to rugby union. 

But isn’t this a familiar tale whenever an old favourite reappears? ‘Never Go Back’ should be drummed into every footballer at any level because it is so rarely a happy homecoming.  In our case the rap sheet has numerous previous entries. Top of the list: Carl Alford.  His sale to Diamonds was like a death in the family for us, and how we longed for him to come back. Then, in our hour of need, several years later, he did.  The good news was that he had been on a strict diet.  The bad news was that it was Dominos.

Then there was Dean Martin. Another who made a big stir first time around, and whose early return was seen as a major plus. Again, we should have known better.  Did he feel he had nothing to prove?  Pretty soon the pop side were offering advice to the contrary.  He never really recovered from that infamous miss against Bath. Will we ever forgive him? Eventually, but it still feels too soon.    

Lee Harper built his entire transfer policy around re-signing old players, so back came Iyseden Christie and several others. Luckily we’d hung on to those size 46 shorts, which in fact are currently enjoying another new lease of life. The difference with Harper’s return to old faces was that they weren’t that hot first time around either, but the downward trend continued. 

It applies to managers too –

Peter Morris: first spell - runners up, Cup success; second spell - runners up, Trophy heartbreak, the drop, the sack.

Morell Maison: first spell - hmm; second spell – meh; third spell – ugh.

Marcus Law: first spell – ok; second spell – can we get back to you on that?     

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Coming Soon from the Poppies Club Shop

Place your order at the next home game,
assuming we ever have another one

The 70's Strike Back

Good to see Canavan really getting into the spirit of the
1970's, looking like a shaggy-haired bass player
from some mid-70's Brummie rock band.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Clutching at Straws Dept.

As memories of seeing our team play home games recede to the point of becoming legend, PATGOD is being forced to cast ever-further for anything Poppies related to report on from a Saturday afternoon.

This week the BBC quiz show "Pointless" came to the rescue with this week's painfully-thin-Poppies-connection-to-keep-us-ticking-over-until-it-stops-f**king-raining/snowing/freezing.  In a round of the quiz where the participants had name the artists behind various 70's disco classics, our old mate Van McCoy's Poppies staple - "The Hustle" was the best answer of the round.

That's right.

Instead of a pre-match pint, natter with mates, followed by football, half-time cup of tea, more football, some chips and another drink, with more nattering and catching-up, we have to subsist on a diet of a 10 second burst of a tune the team used to run out to 40 years ago.....

Slim pickings at the moment!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

In your face Met Office!

Poppies home game with Stratford defies freezing conditions!

Yes, it looks like the flooding is too deep to actually freeze.  Result!

See you all in March........