Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Where did everyone go?

It must have been disappointing for the officials and staff at Daventry last night when the famous "purple army" turned up in less than military-strength numbers.  Slightly fewer than the ground busting 660 who were packed in just three weeks ago for our visit, made it to Communications Park for the visit of Chalfont St Peters.

Well, 604 less actually....

On the plus side, Daventry's gate of 56 was a larger figure than the 55 Poppies fans who turned up on a single supporter coach for our New Year's Day clash.

Unless you include the coach driver too.

Monday, 26 January 2015

The Season Starts Now. Again. (If You Want It)

17 games to go.  51 points to play for.  A run comparable to the one we enjoyed at this stage last season could see us rack up 100+ points.

7 home games in out next 9 fixtures.  Weather permitting of course.

As the league placings stand we still have the whip hand over the pretenders to our title. 


If we stick together as a club.  From the Chairman, through the Management, and through the volunteers to us great unwashed standing around the pitch, if we stand as one there's absolutely no reason we can't rack up the points necessary to win the league.

If, at least for the next couple of months, we fans can all pull in a single direction to get the Poppies over the finishing line.

If the admittedly small number of petty whiners on our side of the touchline could at least bite their tongues for just a short time and perhaps try to show a slightly sunnier disposition.  Only temporarily of course.  As soon as we win the league they can go back to wanting everyone to be sacked.....

If our team of prime attacking talent can finally click and put more opponents to the sword.

If.  If.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Season Starts Now....

.... or as soon as the Latimer Park quagmire dries out!

The most casual look at the League Table would suggest the Top 5 are looking settled, and it's just a case of where they will finish.  Each of the Top 5 has it's advantages and flaws.  So you don't have to ponder too hard, we've laid it all out here!

Kettering Town

Going for them - Big club, big support, big budget.  A strike force which should be putting most teams to the sword.  Being God's own appointed team.

Going against them - Crushingly enormous expectations and a glue pot pitch.


Going for them - Not expected to win the League.  Not having Kettering fans expectations weighing on them.

Going against them - Not being God's own appointed team.

Bedworth United

Going for them - Not expected to win the League.  Not having Kettering fans expectations weighing on them.

Going against them - Not being God's own appointed team.

Rugby Town

Going for them - Not expected to win the League.  Not having Kettering fans expectations weighing on them.

Going against them - Not being God's own appointed team.

Hanwell Town

Going for them - Not expected to win the League.  Not having Kettering fans expectations on them.

Going against them - Not being God's own appointed team.

So, let's hear no more negativity!  We've got it sewed-up!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

When Worlds Collide

Our household was casually watching bits and pieces of last nights FA Cup match between AFC Wimbledon and Liverpool.  As you do.

The sight of Adebayo Akinfenwa lumbering around the pitch, swatting Premiership footballers aside like lazy November houseflies made for a few amusing moments.  You can't truly appreciate the sheer mass of Akinfenwa without seeing him in full flow.  Radio Northampton used to bang on about him when he used to play for the Cobblers, but through the very-much limited visual medium of radio, "The Beast's" true immensity wasn't entirely apparent.

Whilst we watched him flattening the cream of Liverpool's reserve team the missus mused as to what it would have been like had Akinfenwa ever come up against our old immense stopper Ian Roper.  A truly titanic clash!

Luckily for those of us who, in a completely straight way, like glimpsing big blokes grappling, footage does exist of these two footballers matching up to each other, surprisingly watched by luminaries such as Peter Cushing, Doug McClure and the lovely Caroline Munro.  I guess they must have been in with the "prawn sandwich" brigade?

Roper and Akinfenwa slug it out!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Sorry, Charley

Really, really sorry about yesterday Charley.

Thanks awfully for popping along, and we hope you enjoy wearing the Poppies shirt on your many travels.  Don't think you have to though.....

It's a pity that none of the talent, determination or drive you show in your sport was echoed by our team.  Unlike our under-performing team I doubt very much if you would have only tried when you were playing on a hole where the wind was behind you. 

We are not always that bad, even though increasingly we are playing like a bunch of individuals who have never met each other before.  We usually have a good defence, and a front line that is the envy of teams a division higher.  Admittedly our midfield consists of a couple of stoppers and a couple of players not up to the job, but considering we generally hit the ball over their heads these days this isn't a big a problem as it sounds.

Anyway, Charley, thanks again for giving up one of the few days off you must get each year to waste at Latimer Park, and again, our apologies we couldn't put up more of a fight against a team that could name only three subs, had no physio, and lost their only decent player to us a month ago.

We look forward to welcoming you again hopefully at some time in the future.  Mind you, we're still waiting for Faryl Smith's return after we managed to rudely cut-off her singing before a FA Cup game a few years ago....So, given our crappy treatment of our local young lady celebrities, we won't hold our breathe.

"Once again, Charley, we're really sorry about the rubbish
we made you watch yesterday.  However, the stupid
actions of your uncle Tommy didn't bloody well help matters!"

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Daventry Tannoy Announcer Bemoans Yet Another Poppies Defeat

"Cannot win games, must exterminate Kolo's legs!"

660 crowd at Communications Park.  Our website suggests an estimated 440 Poppies in the crowd.  All well and good, but it does pose the question, where were the 220 Daventry fans.  Did you see 220?  Or 200.  Or even 100?  How about 20?

I saw one guy wearing a purple and white scarf.  And another one who suggested the assault on Kolo right at the end was entirely justified.

So, that makes at least 2.  Can anyone else add to this number?

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Ghosts of Christmas past

There’s something particularly vivid about football at Christmas. The dark sky, the expectant crowd in unusually jolly mood, the relief at escaping domestic house arrest with annoying relatives.  The waft of pipe smoke and new aftershave.  Greeting old friends who are making their annual appearance – and secretly muttering where were you at [insert name here] on a Tuesday night. You get the picture.

On the eve of another festive season, here’s a personal selection box of Poppies Yuletide highlights. To keep it positive I have edited out years where Boxing Day was ruined or at the very least soiled by limp defeats in front of an embarrassingly large crowd or – even worse perhaps – postponements and being forced to stay indoors, eat more nuts and watch Zulu Dawn for the 200th time.  

1. 1985 – Boston part 1. The first half of the 80s were not the easiest time to be a Poppies fan, especially someone like me who joined the party after the Wembley’79 lights had gone out. Every season was a struggle on and off the pitch, but under Dave Needham things picked up a little. Christmas meant Boston home and away, because we counted as their local team. At least that made some sense: later years saw us paired with ghastly places like Hednesford after Boston carelessly got themselves relegated. Anyway, we lost on Boxing Day at York St but took memorable revenge as Ian Crawley smashed a hat trick in front of about 2,000 at RR – our biggest league crowd for several years. After half a decade of thin pickings this seemed to promise better days ahead. Which in a sense they were. Later the same season we edged to within one win of a return to Wembley. Unfortunately in the way were Runcorn, who as usual made themselves about as popular as Ebola at a sandwich factory.

2. His name was Ernie… By Christmas 1990, all was well in the world. At the top of the Conference we sat – noisy, brash and convinced that this was our year. Boston were still the opposition, but their role now was just to provide an excellent stadium in which we could celebrate another victory. The previous year it was sealed by Robbie Cooke, now it was Ernie Moss in his comeback appearance at the age of 61, or thereabouts. By this stage in his long career he was almost completely immobile, but acted as a kind of free kick magnet. If Ernie toppled over, referees instinctively gave a foul out of (a) respect and (b) concern for his welfare. Late in the game in front of a packed away end, he bundled one in off his colostomy bag and everyone went mental. Not since VE Day had Ernie known such scenes.     

3. 1998. Another title challenge, another near miss... but this was a bonus that no one expected having started the year in the bottom three. As Christmas approached, we were again top of the Conference albeit with the benefit of having played more games. So the mood was - enjoy it while it lasted. And we did, starting with a trip to Hereford United (RIP) where Hudson and Fisher saw us to an untroubled win.  Then on Boxing Day it was home to Hednesford (yes, see above). With an unexpected title challenge in their nostrils, over 2,600 converged on Rockingham Road where a Paul Raynor strike in the second half was decisive.  Rayner's was one of those brief spells that leave a lasting impression. He made a big impact on that team in a few short months. He might be a Poppies hero to this day, had he not reinvented himself as a Steve Evans Mini Me through numerous obnoxious touchline rants in Crawley colours.

4. 2007 – the 12 points of Christmas that took us from promotion hopefuls to probable champions. First in the firing line were Leigh followed by a narrow win at Solihull then another at Tamworth, where Westcarr ran half the pitch before finishing sweetly to seal the points. And still Pedro said he was useless. Back home again on New Year’s Day, the rampant Reds hit Solihull for six and suddenly we had opened up a big lead which never slipped. Soon we bid farewell to the tatty old Conference North, prepared to reclaim our rightful place among the non League elite – and beyond that who knows? Some thought we might even be playing at a completely different level within a few years. They were right.
So, a few memories there to savour over the sherry and mince pies. Happy Xmas all.