Thursday, 19 May 2016

2015-16 Round-Up Part 2 - The Top Three 45 minutes of the season

It takes a lot for a football team to perform to the absolute maximum for a whole 90 minutes.  From first whistle to last, to boss the opposition into a numbed submissive posture.  Listening to Poppies fans on matchdays leaves one with no doubt as to how rare and precious such a feat is.

But we often turn it on for the occasional magical 45 minutes which leave you breathless, and annoyed that it can't be repeated the other side of the ref's whistle.  So, what were our best "half-games" this season?

1)  The second half away to Kings Lynn.  We had actually had by far the better of the first half and were leading 1-0 at the break.  The second half was as comfortable as a comfy pair of particularly comfortable slippers.  We scored a couple more and could have added any further number to the tally.  The fun part was this all occurred in front of the biggest group of simmering bad losers in the Southern League.  No, not us.  At least, not this time!

Kings Lynn supporters have the most enormous, insular sense of entitlement.  No doubt, coming from being the only town within 3-days donkey ride of the next dwelling place with more than a double-digit population.

On that afternoon they soon went from being wanabee big time Charlies, with their big stand, big terraces and big chanting, to being grizzly, narky and bitchy - mostly against their own players and manager.

All in all, a most pleasant way to spend Boxing Day, considering the alternatives were to spend more time with either the in-laws or once again watch the temporary inmates of Stalag Luft III on the telly.

2)  The first half away to Cambridge City.  We have generally struggled against Cambridge City the few times we have encountered them, including them doing the double over Carl Shutt's Southern League Championship Winners,

This time there were no such worries.  We were a goal up before we'd settled down to finding the best place to stand.  Two up by the time we'd realised it was a bit warmer then expected and taken our coats off.  Three up by the time we'd fished out our sunglasses.  And four up by the time we were pondering a half-time cuppa.

The rest of the game was an obvious anti-climax as we made player changes, went through the motions, and Cambridge set themselves up to limit any further damage.

But still, a lovely Spring afternoon, lapping up the welcome sun and the equally welcome 3-points.

3)  It would be impossible to ignore the second half at home to Bideford, when, if you could compel people to give you a penny for every mention of "game of two halves" you'd have enough for a hefty down payment on a season ticket for 2016/17.

We needed a hefty win to keep pressure on the teams above us after we had mystifyingly lost to an appalling Bedworth the week before.  Bideford worked hard and we were bereft of ideas.  They earned a 0-0 half time score, much to our collective annoyance.  We had blown it for the second time in a week and the natives were turning (even) uglier.  Also counting against us was this was the evening we were finally wearing the famous "Kettering Tyres" shirt - which is without doubt the unluckiest shirt in the history of football.

Why so unlucky, you ask?  Let's look at the evidence.  Wearing it in the 1970's resulted in the club being admonished and dragged down the FA headquarters in London for a proper, old-school bollocking.  A few years ago, when we were dying on our arse at Nonce Park, Bet Fair proposed for us to wear a version of the Kettering Tyres shirt as part of an advertising gimmick.  Before Imraan could bank the money from Bet Fair, league sponsors, and fellow online betting outfit, Blue Square, called "foul", and another bollocking ensued.

This season, as part of the 40th anniversary of the shirt, we have tried several times to wear the damn thing, and each time the weather has had the last word.  And now, at half time against a lowly Bideford, we'd finally got on the pitch wearing the Kettering Tyres shirt, and couldn't look less like scoring.

And then the second half started.  Forty five minutes later and we'd racked up 7-goals and about a thousand near misses, in the most dominant half of football anyone at Latimer Park that day would remember.  It seemed as though the entire half was played in the Bideford 6-yard box.

Not a bad way to sign off the 2015-2016 home fixtures.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

2015-16 Round-Up Part 1 - Dubi Bye-Bye

Not exactly an enormous surprise to hear that Dubi's contract with the Poppies hasn't been renewed.  It has been terribly sad the way both Dubi's Poppies career, and his footballing career in general has gone.

When he joined us from St Ives his impact was immediate and prolific.  Looking back now, it seemed he scored a hat-trick every game of his first season.  That tailed off last season to the odd cameo, and by this season he was so far down the pecking order that he struggled to hold down a place on the terraces, let alone the starting XI.  His inability to actually get to our matches didn't help him much, Nor was his seemingly indifference to any possible footballing career.

We all heard tales of his trials with bigger clubs the length and breadth of the country, where he would turn up late, at the wrong place, or not all all,  One was left with the impression that his default position was to hope for the best, but then shrug of the shoulders when everything went wrong.  A shame as he has everything going for him as a footballer, except the drive to actually make it.

So, it's farewell to Dubi, but we all have some great memories of him.  Leaving aside his goals, my top three Dubi moments were: -

1) The game away to Rugby a few seasons ago (when we spanked them for fully 90 minutes and only got a draw, and not the game when they spanked us and we left with the title).  In the first half we had something like 350 corners in front of our assembled masses on their huge terrace.  At one point we were singing Dubi's name and he stopped and looked at the fans with a sweet mixture of amazement and embarrassment, reflecting perhaps the fact that such adulation was completely new to him.  At St Ives it is probable the closest he got to this was when a couple of their lunkish retards accidentally poured beer on his feet as they attempted to pat him on the back.
Dubi sprints for the exit

2)  The same season away to Royston where we huffed and puffed during the first half to break them down.  Dubi came on as a substitute at half time and within a couple of minutes picked up the ball, beat a couple of defenders and slotted the ball home.  As his teammates came whooping over to him in delight, he merely trotted around in front of us shrugging in usual fashion, as if to say, "what's the problem?"

3)  More of a personal one.  We were winning away to Biggleswade, on an evening when Canavan was destroying the home team single-handedly.  Towards the end of the game, with Dubi having been substituted, we had a goal disallowed for offside.  As ever, maintaining the theatrics of modern football, our entire bench jumped up and berated the officials for daring to cost us another goal.

I was stood on my own (sad, I know), 10 yards from the dug-out, and perfectly level with the offside decision.  Our guy was so far offside, even a linesman at our level couldn't help but get the decision correct.  Even as our management team and subs were still lambasting the officials, Dubi turned to me and raised his eyebrows in a questioning manner.  I nodded and motioned with my wide-placed hands how far our guy was offside.  Dubi merely nodded and re-took his seat in the dugout even as his colleagues were still ranting and raving.

A cool customer.  Which was part of his quality as a player.  And also, unfortunately, may prove to keep him playing park football when he should be performing at a much higher level.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Last Day Drama Unfolds!

There was everything to play for as the season reached the final round of matches. Only three points would do for the Poppies at Dorchester, whilst relying on Hungerford - already assured of a playoff spot - to win at Leamington.  It promised to be an afternoon of twists and turns!

3.00 – They’re off!  Kettering immediately test the Dorchester keeper.  Leamington immediately give theirs an early touch of the ball.  

3.06 – Poppies take the lead!  Hungerford off to a patient start.

3.15 - Poppies double their advantage!  Still cagey stuff at Leamington.

3.16 – Dorchester score! Hungerford nearly get into Leamington’s half.

3.31 – Howe makes it 3-1 for Kettering!  Leamington switch to 6-4-0.  As do Hungerford.

3.45 – Half time.  Poppies form a determined huddle before leaving the pitch.  Hungerford stay on for a picnic.

4.00 – Second half begins at Dorchester.  Leamington decide to have a second cup and an extra biscuit.

4.06 – Second half begins at Leamington. Hungerford bring on the coach driver for his first appearance of the season.

4.30 – Hungerford and Leamington meet in the centre circle to swap family photos and chocolate.

4.45 – Solkhon makes it 4-1 to Kettering.  Leamington take the ball into the corner.  Hungerford let them.  

4.48 – Final whistle at Dorchester. Leamington keeper chats to his opposite number.  

4.50 – Travelling Poppies fans clap the team off.  Travelling Hungerford fan finishes his crossword.  

They think it's all over...

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Wham Bam - records tumble at Latimer Park (probably)

7.45PM - Cheer team onto pitch

8.15PM - Boo team off the pitch

9.30PM - Cheer team off the pitch.  Not quite believing what we've seen.

10.00PM - Google maps being consulted.  Just how far is Dorchester?

And, how about those records?

SEVEN goals in a League game for the first time since 1979.  Apparently.

FIRST TIME we score SEVEN goals in one half least 1979, but probably earlier.

POSSIBLY BIGGEST recorded number of goals scored while wearing the famous Kettering Tyres shirt.

FIRST TIME EVER we play three consecutive Thursday games!  Presumably.

Apologies if the above is a bit vague, but you come to PATGOD for jokes about Canavan's hair, Rene's arse and Steve Kinniburgh's high-pitched squeaking.  You want hard facts?  Go bother Paul Cooke!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Poppynet R.I.P.

So farewell to Poppynet, which passed away suddenly last Friday. As no one seems to have a backed up copy, future historians have lost literally thousands of posts saying "I'll be there" or "+1", not to mention countless furious over reactions to a defeat, draw, or win by insufficient goals.

To mark Poppynet's passing, the club have thoughtfully announced that  before the next home game there will be a minute's grumbling, with half the crowd united in muttering "Law out" whilst the rest slag off Canavan. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

"Shirt Sponsorship - where will it end?" by Graham James

Graham has sent the following into PATGOD.  

This may come as news to most of you, but we DO accept contributions.  Willingly.  Gladly.  Gratefully.  It means we have to do less!

As the celebrations to commemorate football being run by greedy, capitalist accountants, (sorry, to mark the 40th anniversary of Kettering T becoming the first team to misspell their club's name on a shirt), became more like a continuously postponed wet t-shirt competition (do they still have them?), I thought it was about time to reproduce a newspaper cutting that I surprisingly found recently. I can't find the gas bill reminder which came only week but amongst programmes that have remained unread for 37 years there was this amusing cutting which appeared in the Daily Express in 1976.

This was when it was a sort of news paper, long before it became obsessed with Princess Diana, then Madelaine McCann, then foreigners, pensions, extreme weather warnings and health warnings/breakthroughs. I keep waiting for the headline about an influx of migrants causing pensions to fall, snow to fall for three months and hospitals to close! It was about this most peculiar notion of having advertising on football shirts. Now of course even Little Sodbury in the Marsh under-7s reserve team are probably sponsored by something like Frank's rat control company. (well at least they are until Frank's son no longer plays for them).

It shows how much attitudes have changed since then regarding the funding of football clubs and the acceptance of seeing adverts absolutely everywhere. I mean, have you opened up the Evening Telegraph website lately? Oh, you haven't have you. Well all I can say is I now know which clothes websites my wife has been looking at lately. It is rather off-putting seeing a photo of Rene Howe with an advert of a bra popping up next to it. 

You probably have to take into account that chairmen of clubs in the 70's were mainly local, elderly businessmen who probably considered the records of the Beatles to be the Devil's music and that it was corrupting the nation's youth. The words odorous and even prostitute were used to express their distaste of this revolutionary new move.

Now how much did Manchester United just receive for a new deal?

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Poppies Diary Update

As our fixture dates continue to morph due to the odd passing shower, and Latimer Park's complete inability to absorb water, we thought it best to update next week's fixtures.

Monday 18

Redditch (away) - postponed due to being a shit place

Tuesday 19

No game (wet pitch)

Wednesday 20

A combination of our kids, backroom staff and bar staff will take on AFC Scum-lite.  The supporters of the pretend-plastics are already walking to Northampton in their droves to attempt to recapture a sense of being a big club again, playing at a big Football League stadium, against an old rival.

This, all despite the fact that their club has never been a big club, never played in the Football League, and have never played against the Poppies before.

Having fulfilled his 2-week contract with the club, James Jepson is expected to have left Pseudo-Scummers immediately prior to the kick off.

John Cecil will be representing the Poppies at the game.

Thursday 21

No game (wet pitch)

Friday 22

No game (everyone has got better things to do on a Friday night)

Saturday 23 

7.00AM - Kick off at Redditch.  Post match, quick shower and back to Latimer Park.

Midday - Kick off against Barnstaple, with a few changes from Redditch.  A quick shower, bite to eat, and then back on to the coach to Dorchester.

7.45PM - Kick off against Dorchester, with pretty much the same team that played at Redditch.  After all, they've had upwards of 12 hours rest!

And there you have it.  2015-2016 over and done with (unless we win all three league games....)