Saturday, 8 December 2018

Bouncing Back

The saying that runs along the lines of, "It's not about how many times you fall, it's how many times you get up", has been attributed to many people.  Whether you believe it was General George Custer, presumably some time before Little Big Horn, or, indeed Rhys Hoenes during the first 10 games of this season, then sentiment is true.

Despite our excellent start to this season, our last 4 home league games read a very poor lost 2, drawn 1, won 1.  So, suddenly, we face a home game against lowly opposition and everyone's calling it a "Must Win" fixture.  It's not exactly a relegation haunted mid-April 6-pointer, but there's truth in this statement too.  Anything but a convincing victory is going to make the rest of this division think we are there for the taking.  A month ago they had resigned themselves to competing for the play-off placings, and now they can see serious chinks in our armour.  I'm not sure if it's an actual saying, particularly as I've just made it up, but everyone knows - "No-one who gets spanked by St Ives deserves to get promoted"  We are now in the chasing pack's sights, but our fate is still in our hands.

Players used to look like men,
not skinny-latte drinking,
skinny-jeans wearing,
hipster beard-wearing,

(c) kappasports
A lot of us oldsters have been comparing this season's start with the 1990-91 season when we went the first 15 games unbeaten until Wycombe thumped us 5-1.  We ended that season a distant 4th behind Barnet, despite being 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 point clear top at Christmas.  The total number of points clear depends on who you ask, and how much they've had to drink....

In the Wycombe bar after the game (the lengthy queue to leave the ground's car park via a single track still haunts me) I made one of only a few ever approaches to a Poppies player and asked Dougie Keast what we were going to do in our next game (a home fixture with recent Football League expelees, Colchester United). 

Dougie gritted his jaw and growled, "We'll have to pull our socks up", which honestly sounded more threatening and definite from Dougie, then it reads here.  I had a sense that he had been quite vocal with his teammates about our abject display in the changing room just a few minutes earlier.  I also had the sense not to ask him anything else!

Well, the following game, Dougie was as good as his word.  Socks were indeed raised.  We beat Colchester in front of over 5000 at Rockingham Road.  Not only that, Dougie scored the only goal with the sort of thumping drive that only thighs of his girth can deliver.  He then spotted me in the crowd, and pointed me out, making sure everyone knew the goal was both dedicated to and inspired by me.

OK, that last sentence was a complete lie, but then again we were never 20 points clear at the top of the league either, so, ya-boo sucks to you!

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Diamonds get a place of their own

Great to hear that Inbreds 2.0 have acquired their own plot of land to build a new ground, just off the A6 near Higham.  Anything we can do, they can do… better?  We’ll see. Wonder which of us will be relocating first. 

Obviously there will be various obstacles along the way for both clubs. In addition to the usual planning and other matters, Diamonds will also have to address the fears of some of their support, who will be far from happy at the prospect of having to continue to cross the Nene.  Irthlingborough folk will require assurances that the troll who lives under the bridge has bought into the new proposal by agreeing not to eat them.

Plus there are concerns that the new site may not have been used for animal sacrifice and other pagan practices.

The quest for a new home apparently ends a long search and is the fulfilment of a dream.  That’s wonderful, even though it has to be said that there are things in my fridge that are older than AFCD.

It’s difficult to play the “years of hard work” card when you have a shorter history than Snapchat.

I’m guessing that when the plans for Cyclops Meadow are made public they’ll be keen to go down the sustainable route when it comes to building materials. Partly because it boosts their attempts to detoxify the Diamonds brand, and partly just aping that Forest Green hippy and his eco stadium made entirely of renewable trees and tofu.  So ok, in that case here's an idea. Recycled plastic.

Helps to save the planet and goes to the very heart of what the club is all about....  

If you build it they will come. So long as this guy plays ball.    

Cup Fever

And we’ll really shake them up
When we win the City Insurance Services Limited Challenge Cup!

This morning there is only one question on the lips of all Poppies fans – namely how many more rounds of this bloody thing can there be?  It only started with 22 clubs so we must at least be in the semis by now. Or the final.  Maybe we’ve already won it.

It’s kind of amusing that in a season when the management team made noises about not letting the FA Cup or Trophy be a distraction from the main business of winning the league, we can’t get ourselves knocked out of the Noddy Cup and look like going all the way!

Looking forward to that open top bus tour already.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

It used to be easy coming from Kettering Part Two

The men of Kettering have never had to measure up to much.  We just had to be brighter than men from Wellingborough, and more English than the men from Corby.  Neither were much of a problem.  We certainly didn't have to worry about other men from Kettering ever achieving anything in life of any consequence, so we never had to push ourselves.

Then the cracks started to appear in our united front of mediocrity. 

Successful Kettering Ginge
There are only twenty men in the country who can lay claim to be Managers at a Premier League Club.  Of those only SIX* are English!  Of those six, one of the buggers just happens to be a Kettering lad!!!  Not only has Sean Dyche overcome the obvious drawbacks of being both ginger and from Kettering, he even went to Henry Gotch FFS!.  This man just keeps overcoming seemingly insurmountable hurdles.  Thanks for making the rest of us look crap Sean.  Thanks a bundle.

If Sean was alone in achieving success despite coming from Kettering all might be OK.  But, no he's not alone anymore is he? 

Successful Kettering Non-Ginge
Kyren Wilson is one of the top snooker players in the world.  That's "The World".  Not just one of the best players at the Windmill or Spot On.  The F**king World!  Not content with chasing the balls around the baize like the rest of us, he actually uses the holes almost constantly.  Bastard.
Successful Kettering Ginge II

So, snooker's out, let's play darts instead.  Whoa...where the hell did Ricky Evans come from?  A professional darts player from Kettering?  How is this possible?  I assumed we only played "Round the Clock" in Kettering.  But, no.  Ricky really exists, looks a bit gingery and wins matches on the telly!  Madness.

It's not funny.  And, coincidentally, nor is James Acaster.  A third bloody ginge from NN16 who is making far too good a career as a stand-up comedian.  Considering his entire act is based on wearing beige and being from Kettering he really is doing far better than he ought! 

Successful Kettering Ginge III
Even though most sane people still cringe through his regular appearances on "Mock the "Week" there's no arguing with his impact.

Hopefully that's all for now, and once these guys fade into the background again we can all safely go back to being anonymous people from an anonymous place again.

*correct at the time of writing....

Friday, 23 November 2018

Another Vicious Rumour!

We, at Patgod Towers are absolutely devastated to hear some people believe we've lost our edge!  They are suggesting middle-age and comfort have in some way doused the fire in our bellies.  Some point to the way we used to challenge the club at every turn and hold the mighty to account, and suggest we are now more interested in being in the sponsors lounge and hob-nobbing with the very people we used to pillory.

This couldn't be further from the truth!  We're still vital.  We're still setting the agenda.  We're still cutting edge and relevant.  We'll never back down from challenging those in power and holding them to a higher standard.

That said, we've sure had some pretty skies and sunsets at recent games, haven't we?

Ahh, Needham Market!
Ooh, Stamford!

And, not forgetting....

Ooh, Rocky Road.  Sniff.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

A Vicious Rumour

Well are sure it is nothing more than
a baseless falsehood, but we've heard that
this object may be of use again very shortly.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Cash in the Attic

The accepted wisdom in our division is that the Poppies are wildly over-spending to try to win the league.  Those "in the know" know that our promotion push is costing the lofty, and conveniently neat total of £10,000 per week.  And that was before Dan Holman signed for us, so God alone knows what our rivals consider our weekly budget now?  £20,000?  £50,000?

Money and non-league football have always been uneasy bedfellows.  We know this more than most.  Imraan's attempt at buying footballing immortality went far beyond the income the Poppies could have possibly generated.  His Poppies adventure that saw us briefly at the top of the Conference before plummeting three divisions in a little over 12 months won't soon be forgotten.  This is the main reason I don't believe we will ever go down the road of utter unsustainability again.  A number of the fans who fought tooth and nail behind the scenes to rescue us from our Non Park / Steal Park Season of Hell are now in positions of authority within the Club, and on the Management Board.  There's simply no way they would allow us to slither down that same path.

Money does remain a thorny issue though.  Several years ago, when the club set-up an online fund to raise 20K towards getting us out of the Non Park lease, which was about to throttle the life out of us, the total was quickly secured by fans of the Poppies as well as other clubs.  Even though the majority was raised from amongst our own ranks, every Kettering fan will always be grateful for the contributions from supporters of other clubs.  We survived.  We rebuilt.  We settled at Latimer Park.  We started to fight back.  A heart-warming story you'd think?  Except for a handful of opposition supporters, who, seemingly believed that because they chipped a few quid towards our survival that the Poppies would never sign another good player, or ever dare to try to win promotion!  Presumably we should have just been grateful for ever and looked forward to annual visits to North Greenford United for the remainder of time?

What funds non-league clubs generate usually go towards the playing staff.  They have to.  An army of volunteers help fill most of the other roles around the club.  Do some of our rivals imagine the Poppies are any different in this respect?  There also seems to be some kind of "Badge of Honour" in being seen to have a small playing budget, but this is usually by clubs that have very few fans - Mmmm, I think I've solved that one.....!

Our loudest finance detractors really should know better though.  The hollow piousness of the AFC Scum-lite fans simply takes my breathe away.  As we all know, they've re-formed as some sort of people's utopia of footballing democracy.  And like any reformed addict, the are ball-breakingly zealous when it comes to pontificating on other club's assumed budgetary shortcomings!

AFC Scum-lite spend so much time voting on the colour of their underwear, and polishing their pennies that they have conveniently forgotten the pivotal role their former incarnation played in destroying the ethos of the non-league game.  Non-league had jogged happily along for more than a century, paying part-time wages, sticking a few extra quid in the socks of the start players, having moderate floodlights and drinking bovril.

And then Uncle Max had a dream, and (for a while) the bank balance to back it.  Just how a village team built a multi-million pound stadium, bought players for six figure sums, and had a full-time squad at this level are minor historical details that Direones supporters fans rapidly gloss over as they lecture the rest of football about the merits of their all-inclusive, East-Northants Soccer Soviet.

Their hypocrisy is truly breathtaking.  Let's be in no doubt, by setting themselves up as AFC Rushden & Diamonds they are honouring their former incarnation, who did so much harm to the "part-time" game.  For them to re-use the most despised moniker in football, while lecturing everyone about their financial prudence, serves nothing other than to grind the gears of every other non-league fan.