Monday, 15 October 2018

The Aldershot Connection

So Aldershot, we meet at last.  We didn’t quite get to know each other when you were the original phoenix club, working your way back up the pyramid. By the time we had made it back into the Conference, you’d gone a step further, and by the time you dropped back, we had fallen down a rabbit hole. 

But though we’ve never met there is a connection that we’d probably both rather not talk about.  Does the name Brian Talbot mean anything?  Thought so. You sacked him not long before the old club folded and he next popped up at our place, providing a short lived cover story for his ‘business partner’ Mark English. Maybe that name also rings a bell.  It was a long time ago but I’m pretty sure he was also sniffing round the old Aldershot near to the end, probably trying to figure out how many of his relatives he could get on to the payroll, and the likely benefit if he siphoned off the bar takings.

Ah happy days.  In a where are they now, we’re happy to reveal that after that brief spell at Kettering, Brian Talbot spent several years taking part in a controlled experiment to establish the lowest IQ it is possible to own whilst mastering simple hand tools and promoting a plastic vanity project to the Football League.  He now works as a scout and is close to acquiring his woodcraft badge.  Mark English, meanwhile, still lives in Essex and is keen to return to football once his 99 year FA ban expires.       

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Klondike (and Race Night) Watch Part 5

Another home fixture and another hundred away from the winning Klondike number.  I managed to compound last week's gambling misery with an evening at the Trust / Dylan Cecil Memorial Race Night, which offered me an opportunity to lose an even thicker wedge of my disposable income.

An opportunity, you won't be surprised to hear, I duly took.

As much as I bemoan my abject lack of any sort of good fortune with our beloved half-time draw, even a jaded grouch like me wouldn't begrudge my (hefty) contribution to such good causes.  Or at least not now I've given it a week before commenting.....

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Lest we forget

Six years ago to the day, ten footballers representing Kettering Town FC slunk off the pitch at Non Park after a 7-0 defeat to Bashley in front of just over 300 people.  It was less a game of football than a 90 minute open-air wake for the football club we loved.  To all intents and purposes that was it for the Poppies.  There was lots of gallows humour, and more than a few tears.  Not only did we think it was all over, it FELT that it was all over.  Curiously, I don't recall any anger or resentment - I guess we were past recriminations by then.

Six years later we are top of the same division we were about to be thrown out of, and a move back to Kettering is on the agenda.  Had this position been offered to any of the 304 in attendance at 4.45pm on Saturday 6th October 2012 every single person would have taken it in a heartbeat.

You know where you were on 6th October 2012, and how you felt.  This is how we felt at the time, and why, in the years that followed we've never quite treated everything Poppies related as a matter of life and death.  Because we were that close to losing everything.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Klondike Watch Part Four

Well, another big wedge of randomly purchased Klondikes brought me
no closer to my deserved, but long-delayed win.

The news of our future return to Kettering has (slightly) mollified my
ire at the continued inequity, I suppose.  Well played Poppies, well played.

But what are the club going to announce next week to deflect my attention
once again from this on-going miscarriage of lottery-justice?

Two new grounds?

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Is today the beginning of the beginning?

It's not often we get summoned to Latimer Park at a few day's notice to get an update from the club.  Well, ever, actually.  This has led us to fly straight past the "speculation" stage right to the "what shall we name our new ground" stage.  And who could blame us?

The club admit this is an update on the ground situation.  At least a couple of Borough councillors have hinted something about a land sale.  Cllr Michael Brown, who has seemingly waged a one-man war on our behalf with his fellow councillors, has announced he'll be at today's meeting.  People who know nothing about the Poppies give you very specific details about what's going on that they have over-heard.

Well, we'll hopefully all find out at 1.00PM today.   I daren't imagine the reaction if the news is not good.  But let's look on the positive side.  Hard for a Poppies fan, I know.  But let's try?

If there is news about land being made available, closer to the heart of Kettering, it will undoubtedly be brilliant news.  If this is the case, I just hope we all don't get carried away.  A piece of land is a long way and a lot of money away from being a football ground.  Particularly if the piece of land is situated in the Weekly Glebe area as has been suggested many times.  The fields around there have no electricity, gas or sewage connections.  Nor any meaningful access at this time.  And, if all this is overcome, there's no way a second Rockingham Road will rise there (which I fear will disappoint appreciable numbers of supposed-supporters who have stopped coming).  That's not how modern non-league stadiums look.  No-one builds stands that can hold twice their average gates!

But look.  I've managed to get ahead of myself!  Let's see what happens today.  Let's cross everything and get to Latimer Park.  Excited?  You bet.

Today - doggies chasing balls
Tomorrow - Poppies chasing balls?

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Klondike watch part 3

For the past few home games I have been very cunningly purchasing my Klondikes from multiple matchday outlets, otherwise known as the table in the clubhouse, and the table in the ground.

By doing this I thought to outfox the efforts of the usually upright club officials, who, seemingly only resort to underhand tactics to prevent me claiming my rightful half-time draw win.

Thus far I need to report that they seem to continue to hold the whip hand, but this race is a (bloody long) marathon, not a sprint.....

Saturday, 15 September 2018

STOP PRESS!!! - Leiston IS a real place!

Not normally one to brag, but I happen to know that Leiston is an actual place, and physically exists.  Not only do I clutch this knowledge protectively to me like a mother Koala bear with her offspring, but I can go one better.....


Having heard of Leiston ahead of them appearing in our division this season would have put me in quite a select group at Latimer Park, but physically having walked their streets must make me an almost unique beast amongst my Poppies peers?

Yes folks, Leiston is real and I have been there, and know it to not be a made-up entity, like Lilliput, Atlantis or Thrapston.  My good lady and I stayed there for a couple of days in the mid-noughties as a kind of Christmas-time romantic getaway.  With the ability to make such grand romantic, moderately-priced, gestures it can be no surprise we are still very much together all these years later.

Some people would gravitate to the painfully obvious "romantic" destinations of Paris, Rome or Barcelona.  But, tell me, what do they have that Leiston in December drizzle doesn't have?  Admittedly I recall nothing of Lesiton other than it was shut, and that the shingle beach coastal walk from Sizewell to Aldeburgh is bloody hard work.  But, still.  I've been to Leiston, and the chances are, you haven't.  So there!