Tuesday, 29 December 2009

A Kick Up the Noughties

As the decade that has finally acquired a name - the Noughties - prepares to give way to another ten years with no working title whatsoever (the Teens sounds like an early 60s band with matching suits who managed a solitary hit), it's time to come over all retrospective and look back at what the past decade has meant for KTFC.

New Year's Day 2000, widely held to be the start of the new millennium by all but determined pedants like me, who irritated everyone by insisting the real event was a year later, saw over 2,500 flock to Rockingham Road to see what was undoubtedly a dull match against Nuneaton because they always were. The honour of notching our first goal of the new decade fell to Leroy Chambers, and if you can recall anything about him, well done.

What looked like being just another slow death of a season was unexpectedly rescued by an event almost as rare as a new millennium - a run in the Trophy. It was ironic that we should finally return to Wembley with a distinctly average team, and it is doubtful that the low key occasion itself spawned even a fraction of the generation of Poppies fans who claim Wembley 79 as their first match. However the next day featured the obligatory opentop bus ride around Kettering, one of several during the decade and all rather too long for the thin numbers that lined the route. I recall Sam Banya on the top deck beaming royally like he'd personally won us the cup with a brilliant hat trick. Well in his own way he became a legend, and if only the technology was around then his glaring miss against Rothwell would be a Youtube classic.

Two years later the same bus was on duty again but only to mark our return to the same level after a season in the Southern Prem that was enough to turn your hair grey. Not many teams lose four in a row and still end up champions and even fewer do so after contriving to be beaten by the mighty Newport IOW in the run in. But somehow we pipped Tamworth by a tiny margin thanks to the Folkestone keeper saving a penalty whilst we won at Tiverton, and were still celebrating on their pitch long after the match.

The following season, in the words of Captain Blackadder, began badly, fell away a bit in the middle, and the less said about the end the better. Down we went again, this time to the alien surrounds of the Ryman Premier aka the old Isthmian League. Which meant a succession of home defeats to tiny outfits from Essex before a late rally under Kevin Wilson enabled us to make the cut for the new north and south feeders to the Conference, or as it was now known, the Conference Premier.

Our first season in the Nationwide North was a relative success: top of the table for a while and defeat in the playoffs. At least it felt like we had bottomed out and were looking upwards. Then in October 2005 Peter Mallinger sold the club to Imraan Ladak and immediately we were national news. Not solely for that reason - Imraan had thoughtfully scoured the football world for a suitable person to entrust with team affairs and come up with... Paul Gascoigne (belch). No club in the sixth tier of English football has ever enjoyed a higher profile than we did in those brief 39 days between Gazza meeting the gumbies on Football Focus and being fired after 1-3 vs Barrow.

KW was swiftly reinstated but to no avail and by the end of the campaign IL had fed him to the crocodiles too, and the boys in red were taking on a new look with exotically named recruits that tested Pete Simcoe's matchday announcements to the limit. Half the team had French names and so did the manager - surely this heralded an era of unbroken success? Well - no. What Morell Maison lacked in expertise he didn't quite make up for in quotability. Shortly after we topped the table in March he poked Droylsden in the chest and said "catch us if you can!". Noting we were only a couple of points ahead, they said "ok!" and did. Imraan fired Morell with two games to go, appointed Westley to get us up through the playoffs, he didn't.

But from this low came the new dawn of Mark Cooper. First season: champions by 17 points (that bus again). Second season: FA Cup 4th Round. Third season: second in the league, Cup 2nd Round er zzzzp.

Six weeks later, Cooper off to Peterborough, squad in disarray, chairman again making headlines for all the wrong reasons, dropping down the table, can't buy a goal... Perhaps fitting that at the end of the Noughties, that's what we score.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Could you be Patrick Noubissie?

You are standing on the edge of your own area with the ball at your feet. Do you -

(A) Make sure you clear your lines, whether by a thumping clearance down the pitch or threaded forward ball?
(B) Try a little backheel flick to Boucaud?
(C) Pass square to Boucaud??

You are standing on the halfway line with the ball at your feet. Do you -

(A) Try to pick out a pass to one of our forwards and try to set up an attack?
(B) Try a little backheel flick to Boucaud?

(C) Pass square to Boucaud?

Somehow, and we're not exactly sure how, you are standing within 10 yards of the opposition goal. Do you -

(A) Try to get a shot away and perhaps even score for your club?
(B) Try a little backheel flick to Boucaud?
(C) Pass square to Boucaud?

How did you do?

Mostly (A). We don't really think you've got what it takes to stand around the middle of the park looking for little passes to Andre all day long. Better luck next time.

Mostly (B) or (C). Welcome Patrick! It's good that you've taken the time to fill in our silly little quiz.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Quick update from Exodus!

"Hi Guys. Hope you saw my winning goal at the weekend? Right man in the right place at the right time! Can't remember how many goals baldy-Branston has scored in his mickey-mouse league; can you?" Oh yeah, that's right - a big fat none. Zilch. Nada. Zero. Nil point. F**k-all!

Ha ha.

Stay cool, X

"Back of the Net!" Screams Exodus, as he celebrates with delighted Posh fans, who 5 minutes earlier wanted his lanky arse on the next bus back to Kettering.

Issue 8 - The Next Ten Years of County Football Part Two

Oops! We seem to have left it just over a couple of months since part one of this reprint from Patgod issue 8. Hopefully this is just about long enough to avoid any of the "burst sides" we were worried about!

We don't recall indulging in mind-altering drugs during the production of Issue 8, but having re-read the following article, we wouldn't fancy trying to prove it in court!

1995-1996 Season

Rushden perform the unique feat of winning the First Division thus being the only team to win each division in consecutive years. The FA Cup and League Cup follow and they are only prevented from winning the European Cup Winners Cup when Diego Maradona scored a winner, seemingly off his zimmer. Roger Ashby says, "I'm disappointed for the 60,000 fans we brought from Rushden all the way to the final here in Vladivostok.

Northampton Town chairman comes clean and admits the new ground was really, and I quote, "A little white lie." At an extraordinary club meeting Dick Underwood stepped down and comedian and moments long Cobblers fan Bruce Forsyth was elected to the office of Chairman by a 2/3 majority of supporters and directors. The actual voting was, for - 20, against - 10, unable to sign a cross - 236.

Mr Forsyth's first action was to secure the team's new ground in the car park of the Las Vegas Hilton, where he was spending the season as 5th warm-up act for Keith Harris and Cuddles (Orville having been tempted away by Rod Hull as a replacement for Emu, who'd signed for Arsenal as their new centre forward). The Cobblers make the jet-lag suffered by opposing sides pay as they manage to finish 2 from the bottom.

Corby Town are relegated from the Kettering Sunday League for failing to fulfill over half of their fixtures. Newly appointed supporter-manager Angus McChunder says, "Corby who?"

Kettering Town come 2nd in the GMVC.

1996-1997 Season

Rushden win all the domestic trophies and defeat Inter Milan in the final of the European Cup. Roger Ashby's name is linked with at least 24 teams on the continent, but says, "Where could I go that can be any bigger than Rushden Town?"

Northampton Town are forced to return to England and are forced to share Peterborough Ice Rink with the Peterborough Pirates Ice Hockey Team. A number of the more attractive players win contracts to appear with Mr Forsyth on "Play Your Cards Right". The uglier ones get bit-parts on "you Bet!" The club enjoys one of its best seasons for many years because, " the playing surface was so similar to the one they played on at the County Ground."

Corby Town spend the season playing a series of prestige friendlies against various groups of youths who wander around the Exeter estate in the town. Keith McSkoda, ex-all in wrestler takes over the reins at the club because, "I'm the hardest bastard you'll ever come across, and I've got the only football."

Kettering Town finish 2nd in the GMVC.

1997-1998 Season

Rushden Town's capacity is raised to 125,000 in time to parade the clean sweep of trophies they capture. The club is invited to join a new European Super League. Town Mayor, and recently knighted manager Roger Ashby says, "It just so happens that I was looking for a league to put our 5th team in."

Northampton Town changes hands when Bruce Forsyth loses the club in a side bet with Ronnie Corbett during a pro-am golf tournament in Salt Lake City. As new chairman, Mr Corbett spends several hours introducing himself to the team. He promises a new ground, more players, sponsorship by his jumper manufacturer, and tells them an extremely long version of a joke his producer had told him a few nights previously.

Corby Town, under the leadership of Raith McSkoda begin a campaign at the Wellingborough Indoor Cricket League but bow out after one game. Mr McSkoda says, "It's a friggin' rip off!" In the ensuing scuffle Mr McSkoda partially destroyed the cricket hall and hospitalised 2 dozen police and firemen.

Kettering Town finish 2nd in the GMVC.

1998-1999 Season

Rushden Town supply the entire England football team which wins the World Cup, held for the first time in the Galapagos Islands. In a see-saw final they defeated surprise finalists Luxembourg 23-0. Rushden, England Manager, and recently appointed Papal Legate, Roger Ashby says, "The World Cup is the cake, but the league is our bread and butter."

Northampton Town play their fixtures in the back garden of Ronnie Corbett's house in Hertfordshire, while awaiting completion of their new ground which was being built in the centre of the large roundabout on the A43 on the way to Kettering. Mrs Corbett says, " I don't mind really, except when they tread on the flowerbeds."

Following the sentencing of previous manager Raith McSkoda to 25 years for assault and criminal damage, Neil Edwards returns to take over the club. He says, "We only intend to play in the Kettering and District Cribbage League until the club is back on its feet and able to afford a new football."

The Football League decide to allow the top 2 clubs from the GMVC into the league.

Kettering Town finish 3rd in the GMVC.

1999-2000 Season

Rushden Town again win everything. They even reach the semi-final of the Benson Hedges Cup before losing to Essex. A new T-Shirt is launched bearing the legend, "I SUPPORTED RUSHDEN WHEN THEY WERE IN NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL" Over 170,000 were bought in the first week. Manager, pop star, male model, cabinet minister and chatshow host Roger Ashby says, "Ain't life wonderful?"

Northampton Town move into their new ground but it is closed by the council due to lack of planning permission 6 1/2 minutes into their first game of the season. In an act of desperation Mr Corbett asks the County Cricket Club for their old ground back. The cricket club agrees on the condition that Mr Corbett agrees to make no more episodes of "Sorry!", and stops the BBC from repeating "30-odd years of the Two Ronnies". With this settled they return home and are promptly relegated.

Corby Town purchase a second-hand football and manager Neil Edwards says, "Now watch us go!" Luckily for the club, at that exact same moment the SDP Government, under the leadership of David "You can stuff proportional representation up your arse now we're in power" Owen, it is decided to remove the entire town of Corby back to Scotland allowing even a team as bad as Corby Town to win titles.

As a joke the FA allow the top 21 clubs in the GMVC to enter the Football League.

Kettering Town finish 22nd.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Miserable Scrotes missing the X-Factor

The people of Northamptonshire are amongst the most negative, moaning, doom-mongers imaginable.

The people of Kettering are the most miserably negative group in Northamptonshire.

The Poppies supporting folk of Kettering are the grisliest bile-spreaders within the town.

And elements of the Poppynet community are the blackest-hearted, moan-merchants amongst the Kettering support.

And, in the grand scheme of things, that makes them pretty negative.

Take the reaction to poor X, for example. Sure, he's packed away his largely ineffective long-throw and left us for Peterborough. He took the opportunity to further his footballing career in a far higher division. Ordinarily even the biggest whiners on Poppynet would wish him well, and count him amongst the "Glorious Few" of ex-Poppies that we could be kinda proud of. As opposed to the 99.5% of former players we would be perfectly content to never hear of again.

The odd, and very odd Poppynetter seem to have taken great exception to anyone even daring to mention X on their hallowed electronic pages. This former player appears to have become persona non grata in double quick time, and anyone who reports on his activities at his new club is aggressively rounded-on. Is it just because he is an ex-X, and we shouldn't be wasting keystrokes on anyone who no longer pulls on the red of Kettering? I hope not, as these same people have no problem in talking about our history and the players who have represented us in the past when it suits them. It would seem unfair to deny others the same right, surely? At the bottom of this page is a photograph of the great Roy Clayton. Should this be removed as he no longer holds down an automatic starting place for the Poppies? (but who knows, with our limited striking options nowadays...)

I'd rather think that talk of Big X is exposing a raw nerve amongst certain of our support. Because his departure, and that of Cooper now appears to have become the defining moments of an end of an era? The good days have gone and all that is left is uncertainty and worry? A run of defeats under Lee Harper, the almost incessant rain during his tenure (did it ever rain under Cooper?), and a Chariman who seems intent upon steering the Club onto the rocks have made for particularly interesting times.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Violent Night, Holy Night

With the Premiership Christmas party season in full swing, here's the latest.

Parents of Chelsea players are asked to note the following timetable:

8pm - arrive at party

9pm - get tanked up

10pm - dressing up game

11pm - tequila shots followed by vodka & red bull chasers

12am - meet Santa

1am - film each other having sex

2am - jelly and ice cream

3am - punch photographer and assault taxi driver

Meanwhile Stoke manager Tony Pulis has played down reports of a frenzied bloodbath after he cancelled the players party in favour of extra throw-in practice.

"I'm disappointed with the way this has come out", he said, whilst assisting police with their enquiries into the deaths of six players and a member of the backroom staff.

"I was brought up that what happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room. It's important for my surviving players to have trust that whatever is said and done will remain within those four walls".

"This is player power gone mad".

Final result from Liverpool Magistrates Court:
Club DJ 2 black eyes, Steven Gerrard 0.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Update from Exodus

Hi Lads

Things are going OK for me at Peterborough. I haven't managed to get a challenge in yet, but at least my throws are starting to become successful!

Oh, and tell Branston when you see him, that I was the best defender you had, and that he was only there to make up the numbers and f**k-up my throw-ins!

That's why he's in League 2 and I'm in the Championship!

Catch you later.

Big X.

Update from Guy

Hi lads.

I thought I'd take it easy for a few weeks by sitting out a few games. My decision to have a bit of a break just so happened to coincide with a ban for the dozens of yellow cards I've unjustly received this season.

Without me in the team the rest of the lads just about stumbled to a 6-1 win yesterday.

Saw your FA Cup games with Leeds and have got to say that for a little, non-league side, you weren't all that bad. Still not sure of that Roper-fella though, with his ability in the air, solid defending and all-round leadership abilities.

Strangely, I have yet to hear from Mark Cooper since he took over at the Posh. I assume this is because of bad phone reception where I live. Mark was obviously so frantic he rushed out and signed Exodus in the hope that some of the Branston magic had rubbed off on him during our time together.

Anyway, got to go. They tell me I'm due for a spell, "on the bench". No, I've no idea what that means either!

Cheers, Guy XXX

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Oh God Another Telford

So we can now make alternative plans for Trophy Final day next May. Well nothing new there. Only once in the last 30 years has that occasion required Poppies fans to clear their diary. Despite dutiful references to "a cup we can actually win", no one seriously expected us to get very far with a squad suddenly looking very threadbare indeed.

Barrow scored one. They might have had two. So what. Teams with attacking flair would expect to overcome that. Our problem is the lack of options. Plan A looked ok for a while in the first half but once Barrow worked out that we couldn't vary it, it was child's play for them to keep us out after they scored.

It's going to be a tough few weeks until the next opportunity to refresh things in January, but if LH (or whoever) is denied the necessary resources then, it's going to be a tough few months.

Never a Dull Moment Part Three

I think I've heard Imraan on the radio this week more often than Terry Wogan. His latest broadcast was in response to Jim Hakewell's offer of private discussions about a new ground. Worryingly, Imraan still seems reluctant to sit down with the Council officials without the Poppies supporting public being present.

Obviously, this is something the Council won't do, so there is the real danger of a fatal impasse. The recent favourable publicity the Club has enjoyed has brought the Council to the negotiating table. Hakewell sounds increasingly desperate to sit down with Imraan, and now it looks to the casual observer as though the Football Club is the stumbling block to these talks.

Get in there Imraan! As the Club's high profile starts to wain again these offers of talks may well dry up. You don't need us all in there with you to argue our case. However, it might be an idea to have a representative supporter as part of your group to ensure the Council don't try to screw us over. That is always harder to do with an actual voter in the meeting!

There's a time to play hardball, and a time to make peace. For the sake of the Poppies, surely now is the time to make peace?

The Clock is Ticking......

Friday, 11 December 2009

Please God Not Another Telford

Anyone who recalls our previous, paper incarnation will perhaps recall the phrase "Telford Day" which we coined to describe the perfect storm of a large home crowd, a significant match and a thorough gumping by a visiting team with nothing to play for. So called because of a grisly occasion back in April 1991 when Telford (in their previous, United incarnation) rolled up to Rockingham Road, yawned and stuck five past us.

However a very different sort of Telford Day (an AFC Telford day?) unfolded last season when the emotional high of an FA Cup battle against the big boys was very closely followed by the crashing low of going out of the Trophy with barely a whimper .

Tomorrow, worringly, it's all looking too familiar. Throw in the extra ingredients of a manager who's still to confirm whether he can resolve his differences with the chairman, and a bunch of players who are either (a) disenchanted (b) borrowed or (c) probably still knackered from Tuesday, and it doesn't bode too well for a Trophy run extending much beyond 5pm Saturday.

It certainly wouldn't be the first time we've exited two cups in the space of a week. We may even have done three once, if you count the Bob Lord Trophy.

But come on guys let's be positive. We're playing Barrow, so if we get past the first 4 seconds it could be our day. And Jason Lee is still banned from coming within 10 miles of Rockingham Road.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Never a Dull Moment Part Two

Imraan and Deehan

I don't suppose we'll ever really know what happened in those minutes after the game. I'm not sure even those involved can entirely and accurately remember the exact order of events, and what precisely was said.

Having listened to both of Imraan's radio interviews, as well as John Deehan's and Lee Fowler's ones I was struck by how genuine they all sounded. None of them said anything which screamed out, "I am lying, but I hope that no-one notices!" Of course, each of them painted themselves as the injured party, but I reckon each of them is telling the truth as they remember it. Nevertheless it makes our Club look like amateur-hour again.

So, where does all this leave us?

Deehan, if he was ever actually employed by the club has gone. Imraan's talent for self-destructive publicity continues. Hopefully Lee Harper will remain as Manager, if he can reach an understanding with his mercurial Chairman. Also hopefully, Lee Fowler does the decent thing and asks for his contract to be terminated. This would leave him available to another club, and rid us of a player who doesn't want to be here, but is content to continue to collect his wages.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Never a Dull Moment Part One

The Leeds Games

Great effort from everyone involved - The bottom line is that although we lost in the end, Leeds United couldn't defeat us over two 90 minute games. Leeds supporters don't come out of the games well either. Their much trumpeted vocal support, was sporadic at best and strangely seemed to coincide with their goals.

The fact that less than 9000 of them turned up highlights the difference between their supporters' perception of the Club and the truth. Regardless of who they were playing, surely a Leeds fan would come along and support Leeds? Never mind, I'm sure all their legions of stay-at-home diehards will be bombarding their ticket office for the opportunity to watch their team get annihilated by a genuinely big club.

Those last 15 minutes of extra time were just too much for us. I blame myself, and others like me, who were just starting to think about who in our team might be good at penalties...!

In the end, our legs and luck gave out at about the same time, but we exit the FA Cup with our heads held high. At least until the post match post mortem began....

The Bookies consider this the final score, and we're not about to argue!

Ladak: If Only

If only our chairman had acted sooner to avoid the embarrassment we suffered at Elland Road last night.

If only he'd delivered the team talk, advising the players precisely how to negate the threat posed by Leeds, instead of allowing them to defend like a disorganised rabble and ship one goal in 105 minutes.

If only he'd pulled on his boots and lead the attack, instead of allowing our clueless management duo to persevere with the inadequate Elding, who blew 50% of the chances that came his way.

If only he'd had the courage of his convictions and used our substitutes to maximum effect, playing five across the back, six in the middle and three up front.

If only he'd listened to his head and not his heart and ditched that aging crock Harper, who contented himself merely with keeping the score down, rather than doubling as a sweeper and fulfilling a holding midfield role.

We wouldn't be in the mess we are now.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Good old Shorty - flying the flag for PATGOD!

I always smile when Peter Short is wheeled on by Radio Northampton to comment on whatever forthcoming event the Poppies are about to encounter. Not that Shorty doesn't do well - he does. He does far better than most of us would do. He speaks clearly, is amusing and holds up his end of the conversation. And that's not always easy when talking to Joe (Wannabe-Shock-Jock) Pignatiello, whose idea of broadcasting is to immediately take the opposite viewpoint of anyone he talks to. Regardless of the subject. It doesn't matter if the conversation is about a forthcoming nuclear Armageddon, or judging cakes at a WI event, if you have one point of view, you can bet your life he will be in the opposite corner.
Talking on the radio is a different to talking to each other. Firstly, you've got to remember not to swear, not even when mentioning the Direones, and this takes more skill than I could muster. You've also got to remember not to go "um" between every word you speak and not to say, "Y'know?" at the end of every sentence. And as much as you try not to do it, it is almost impossible not to lapse into "football-speak". Suddenly you are asked to express your delight at a big win, and no matter how frantically you scrape the inside of your brain for a clever or amusing response, all your grey matter can conjure up is, "OVER THE MOON", which dribbles embarrassingly out from between your gritted teeth. It's enough to make you feel as sick as a parrot.

Anyway, back to Shorty who must cringe when he is introduced by the DJ as the Kettering's fanzine editor. Thankfully the DJ never follows this up with a potentially tricky question like, "when's the next fanzine due out?" How long is a piece of string?

We at the online version know from painful experience that producing a printed publication from scratch can be hellish.

  • Deadlines.
  • Production of articles.
  • Making the wording fit the pages.
  • Non-existent letters page.
  • News and stories that can be months out of date by the time people see it.
  • Paying the printer.
  • Selling the bloody thing.
  • Explaining what a fanzine actually is, and patiently pointing out for the millionth time that it is NOT the programme.
A long list of painful problems. Why do you think PW and myself stopped doing it years ago? It really is more trouble than it's worth, particularly when there is an online alternative.

Nowadays we are laughing! Deadlines? What deadlines? We can type what we like, when we like. The guy who prints the fanzine will have to fund his next BMW from some other sucker! And we no longer have to carefully edit to ensure the articles fit the available area. We can type as much or as little as we want. We can end a piece when we feel like it. Just like this in fact.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Was it something we said?

Never doubt the power of PATGOD!!!


Half of the strikers on this list from barely a fortnight ago have now been deemed surpus to requirements....


So, has Imraan accepted the Council's offer for private talks? Or is he still holding out for a public debate? I truly hope it is the former. As much as we all like the idea of a big, open, public debate with the club and council on the top table, it would clearly turn into a noisy slanging match. Much better to have the public meeting when the club and council have yanked the irons out of the fire and reached a mutually beneficial settlement. Yes, we'll call one of the stands, the "Hakewell Stand" if that's what it takes. They can call the two terraces the Hitler and Stalin terraces for all I care, and I'd gladly book a table in the Pol Pot Lounge for my pre-match meal if it means we have somewhere to play.

I fervently hope that more is going on behind the scenes than is obvious to the outside observer. At the moment we are a club in limbo. A draw against Leeds, a win away at Luton, and a forthcoming replay at Elland Road, with Manchester United waiting in the wings, and what happens? We lose again at home to a moderate Salisbury, with barely more than a thousand people in the ground. We should be revelling in our unprecedented success! Dave Tailby should be running around 'Arborough with his willy hanging out!

This is something I never understand about the Poppies. A couple of thousand extra people turn up for the Leeds game, and somehow we fail to hang onto any of them the following Saturday. Why is this?

Are we the only team that never seems to build on its hardcore support in any meaningful way? Is it down to the pricing structure? The ticketing arrangements? The complete lack of certainty over our future? Or, more likely, a mixture of all of the above?

Imraan, do us all a favour and talk to the council, and make it soon!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

These Are The Days My Friend

There are times in life when you just have to stop and smell the roses. This is one of those moments. In years to come, whatever the future may hold, we'll look back at 2009 with buckets of nostalgia. Forget 1979 or 1989, there has never been a more emotional time to be a Poppies fan than right now.

In '89 our Cup achievements were overshadowed and those were different days when non-League football had a much lower profile. Now the club has made national headlines in consecutive seasons and - far better - for exploits on the pitch rather than gimmicky recruitments off it. At last we are no longer known only to the casual football fan as that club who Gazza managed. The FA Cup is our path to glory, and dare we imagine the impact if by some magic we win next week's replay? It could literally be the making of Kettering Town.

But whatever the result at Elland Road, this is already the season in which we have beaten Luton, Wrexham, Cambridge United and Hartlepool, drawn with Oxford and of course Leeds. A few names to conjure with in there, never mind what division they currently occupy. We've gone to a string of bigger clubs as underdogs and silenced their crowds, giving the present generation of Poppies fans a bunch of awayday highlights as good as anything in our history. Yes Barnet and Wycombe were fantastic at the time, but I dare say we'd have swapped them for winning at Kenilworth Road.

The fact that this could all prove to be a glorious last hurrah for KTFC as we know it is something best not dwelt upon. If the events of just the past few days have proved anything, it is that this club just won't lie down and where there's life there's hope.

Match Report from Kenilworth Road

David Pleat... Andy Dibble... Kerry Dixon... Nick Owen... Monty Panesar... Lorraine Chase... Esther Rantzen... We have beaten them all... Eric Morecambe, can you hear me Eric Morecambe... Your boys took a hell of a beating!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Sweet man-love at the Poppies No.2

Simon and JD wait patiently for the doors to open for 80's night at the "Electric Cucumber" Nightclub.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Sweet man-love at the Poppies No.1

It's probably just as well they can't produce a kid.....

What Sunday Taught Us

  1. A sizable minority of Leeds fans still think they are the best club in the world ever, and not simply a team doing well in the 3rd Division as was.
  2. A similar minority of Leeds fans believe that bellowing "Leedsleedsleeds" in your face somehow makes them the best supporters the world has ever seen.
  3. Although Lee Harper worries the hell out of us when the ball is down by his ankles, we wouldn't swap him for anyone else - particularly the Leeds keeper.
  4. No Kettering fan will be travelling by train to the replay unless they have a hankering for an 8-hour return trip with delightful 5 hour stopovers in either Sheffield or Derby.
  5. God bless Ian Roper's all-effort displays, but please keep him away from the microphone & camera.
  6. Being a copper at a Poppies FA Cup game must be the second easiest way of earning cash EVER, second only to being a sofa tester, and just ahead of stroking puppies.
  7. The white rose of Yorkshire was superseded, and made redundant in 1485 by the Tudor rose, which is Northamptonshire's emblem.
  8. The thousands of away fans in attendance made less noise than the couple of hundred AFC Wimbledon fans earlier this season.
  9. Nothing quite beats getting wet at an FA Cup game.
  10. Moses needs to sort his f**king head out while he still has a career in football ahead of him.
  11. It is almost impossible to send coherent text messages whilst standing in driving rain.
  12. Lee Harper has been thoroughly reading his guide book to "Manager-Speak".
  13. Leeds fans seem to be labouring under the impression that a tie against Manchester United means a return to the big-time. This might be true if the gap in league places between the Red Devils and Leeds wasn't almost exactly the same as the gap between Leeds and us!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Normal Service Has Been Resumed

After a couple of years of unnecessary success, the Club is pleased to announce that everything will soon be getting back to normal -


Wednesday, 25 November 2009

My Perfect Council

Feargal Sharkey slags off Kettering Council!

80’s pop-star Feargal (Loving You) Sharkey has weighed into the debate as to which town in the UK is saddled with the most embarrassing Council. Following KBC’s decision to prosecute HMV in Kettering for letting Faryl Smith sing at the branch, Mr (A Good Heart) Sharkey , on Radio Northampton's drivetime show, labelled Kettering Council as “Ludicrous”.

The (You Little Thief) singer went on to bemoan the “Ridiculous Decision” the Council had made. He may have also added, “the stupid feckers!” but this is unconfirmed at this point.

It does make you wonder about KBC. Why do they want to appear as though they hate anything good that comes out of the town? At this point in time Kettering is known to the outside world for three things: -

(A) The Poppies

(B) Faryl Smith

(C) Wicksteed Park

If there is a story in the press over the next week about KBC trying to close Wicksteed Park we will be left with the inescapable conclusion that they are systematically trying to destroy everything positive to do with the town!

Maybe if they manage to abolish all the good things in this town they feel they will be able to bulldoze what remains of the heritage quarter, build shopping centres on every street, and round-up every first-born son to be sold into slavery without stirring up any dissent.

Now that Feargal (Teenage Kicks) Sharkey has thrown his hat into the ring, we contacted other 80’s pop stars to find out their opinion of KBC’s overall performance.

Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow thought that the Council was being short-sighted in not suporting popular local amenities. Marco Pirroni, of Adam and the Ants was worried that KBC was out of step with the wishes of the people it was elected to serve. And Kim Appleby of Mel and Kim fame added that the Kettering Borough Council had pissed her off for the last time and that they should, “Sort themselves the f**k out before I put a cap in their asses!”

Thursday, 19 November 2009

One down, a couple to go....

This didn't seem to bother our Irish friends 23 years ago. They and the other nations which make up these islands thought it was a real gut-buster when England lost out to that stumpy, coke-addled cheat Maradona when he decided to change the rules of football.

It's taken a while for any sort of payback, but now it's happened, I'm not sure I can be arsed to let this bother me today!

Now, if only the Jocks or Taffs ever had an important game they lost to a cheating foreigner, I'm sure we'd all get a kick out of that too.
We should live so long!

Trouble at the Top

(Of the Pitch, that is)


One of the first things that will occupy Lee, Lee, Lee Harper in his new job will be to get the best out of our forward players. Each has their particular talents, but we have yet to hit upon the devastating combination which will have opposition defenders both cowering, and stifling an attack of the shits. Just imagine where we would be in the league if our forwards REALLY hit it off!


Arguably top of the pile presently is Moses Ashikodi. In his favour is his directness and eye for goal. This talent can also be known as greed! But when it is in a striker who hits the net, “Greed”, as Gordon Gekko once said, “Is Good”. What lets him down is his almost pathological inability to play alongside any of our other strikers. Give him the ball in a lone striking position and he’s as good as gold. Try to link him up with anyone and it’s shrugged shoulders and rolling eyes all round, as flicks go to no-one and the strikers spend almost the entire game standing 60 yards apart.


Our other main threat comes from Anthony Elding. He shares Moses’s directness and eye for goal, but the main thing that lets him down is, frankly, he is too good for his teammates. He makes numerous searching, intelligent runs that are almost never spotted by anyone else in a Kettering shirt.


Next in line is our favourite son, and longest serving player (!), Jean Paul Marna. Even though criticism of JP is tantamount to blasphemy at Rockingham Road, even his most ardent fan (Cough – Imraan - Cough) must admit he is bringing very little to the party these days. His lazy, mazy dribbles almost always end with him being dispossessed. He wanders around in a bit of a daze, and seems just a bit to content to be a bench-warmer. Yet, we all still love him, which can’t be said for –


Poor old Damian Spencer, who seems to have slotted into the “handy scapegoat” position gladly vacated by Iyseden Christie. I think much of the ridiculous anger (even for our pop-side) aimed at Spencer is decidedly unfair. For most of his time here he was used as a lone striker, when his obvious talent is to win headers and flick-ons for a second striker. And no-one can argue that he doesn’t win the majority of headers he goes for.


Lastly we have Francis Green, who despite some good games has often looked lightweight when playing down the middle. Seemingly another player to add to our “bit-part-forward-cum-winger-type list. When he first came here he took players on, but these days seems more content to lay the ball off rather than commit the defender.


There’s also Danny Thomas, but his style of play is so similar to Francis’s that it seems unnecessary to rewrite the previous paragraph.


So, there you have it. Plenty of striking talent, which needs shaping into a potent force.


We’ve done our bit - over to you, Lee!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Echoes of Ron

Just a few words by way of post script to the Cooper era at RR.

In an earlier blog, it was noted that coincidences abounded on the trip to Hartlepool. In the days following Hartlepool, as it grew increasingly more likely that MC would soon be gone, I found myself mulling over another coincidence between the Poppies boss who in my eyes he most resembles - Ron Atkinson.

In November 1974, Big Ron's final match in charge before departing for Cambridge United was a Cup victory over League opposition. Would Mark Cooper go out the same way? It transpired not - but he did sign off with a win at Cambridge United!

The Big Ron comparison first struck me in the championship campaign and has grown in my mind ever since. There are echoes in their moderate playing careers before dropping into non-League but plenty of others can rival that. What they have in common at the same age is a presence, a confidence that lifts players and achieves results that others wouldn't, combined with a slightly abrasive edge that some might find cocky.

How many times under Cooper did his teams defy the Poppies stereotype of wilting under pressure and losing the big games? Top of the table by 5 points? Fine we'll make it 10. Crunch match against nearest promotion rivals? Result 5-2. Cup replays against League opposition - played two won two. Older heads can no doubt recall many similar performances in the Atkinson glory days.

Like Ron, Cooper has developed something of a swagger (even if his teams weren't always set up to play that way). He clearly feels he has a big future, and although management is more precarious than it ever was, I wouldn't bet against him matching Big Ron in reaching the top flight. Hopefully without the benefit of a fake tan, bling or regrettable off-mike moments.

At Last!


I don't care that it was an early round of a meaningless county cup competition.

I don't care that they didn't put out their first team.

I don't care that it was only played at Rockingham Road because they'd neglected to pay their electricity bill.

I don't care that it took extra time.

I don't care that it was cold.

I don't care that this pointless game set me back a tenner.

I don't even care that the social club was closed to me.

We beat the Direones, and I finally got to see it!

(In your misshapen face, fool!)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Further Update from Guy

Hi Lads,

Only time for a quick blog today as I'm expecting a call from Mark Cooper anytime now. Championship football eh? I can't wait! I'll be able to shore up Peterborough's defence in no time. Blue also brings out my eyes!

I've typed up my resignation from Burton - to be honest, they were a pile of shit anyway! And yellow? Who the hell plays in yellow! It just makes you look fat and jaundiced!

Anyway, got to go. I expect my phone to ring any second now.

Any second now.

Just checked, it's still fully charged.


Lee, Lee, Lee Harper

Good luck Lee....

And, "Kettering Reject, Kettering Reject, Hello, Hello!"

Champ in Charge?

With the Rockingham Road hot seat now looking for a fresh posterior fit to rank alongside Mark Cooper's, and Nicky Eaden also on his way to Posh - the question inevitably arises, who will be in temporary charge if the need arises?

In an unexpected move, Champ the Lion has thrown his, er, mane into the ring. "I'm sure it would surprise a few people", he growled, "seeing as I haven't completed all my coaching badges and all that, but I do know the club inside out".

"With my experience of what works best in the area of walking around the pitch waving at little kiddies, I'm confident the team would be in safe hands."

"Providing the role can be combined with my usual pre-match duties - and I don't see why not - I'm ready to give it a go".

And as for whether a successful caretaker stint could open the door for something more permanent, Champ said "That's up to the chairman, all I'm focussed on is getting the lads ready for the next match".

We shall see. Whatever happens, Champ seems to be set to become the first furry, carnivorous, slightly comic creature to manage at a senior level since Altrincham's John King.

Friday, 13 November 2009

And Now The End Is Near

Strange how football works sometimes. A week ago our team was preparing for the Hartlepool game by using Leeds United's training facilities, and a couple of days later we are drawn to play Leeds. On that Saturday a handful of us sat on a train to and from the Hartlepool amongst a sea of blue and white Posh supporter, little knowing that just over a week later they would have prised away our Manager.

It would be fair to say that Mark's appointment by Imraan was greeted with almost universal apathy by us Poppies. "Isn't he the bloke who got Tamworth relegated?" "Wasn't he the little guy who played for Hinckley against us?" Those were two of the more charitable reactions to his appointment. He was hardly the "top" candidate we'd been promised. With the news that this new manager would also have a lower budget than Maison had the previous season, expectations weren't high.

Several months later, Mark's team had pissed the Blue Square North by the small amount of 17 points. Another year on and we were trading blows with Fulham in the 4th round proper of the FA Cup. Even more amazingly, he had managed to coax all-action displays from Andre Boucard! OK, so maybe Mark had something!

Not that Mark's performance in the Poppies hot seat was perfect. Too often he seemed happy to set out his team to stifle the opposition, rather than play them. That said, such games, and the wins they often generated have helped go someway to bolstering his win ratio, as well as his profile. He also managed to sign the odd duff player, and for some reason Jason Lee is the one that springs most readily to mind!

But what is strongly in Mark's favour is that if one of his players wasn't up to it they were out of the team and the club with almost indecent haste. It didn't take him long of looking at the duff keepers at the start of his reign to show them the door and usher Lee Harper in. Compare his record with Maison's nightmarishly misplaced faith in players like Marcel McKee!

So called problem players have also responded to his methods. Moses is the most obvious example, effectively erasing the memory of recently departed fan favourite Gareth Seddon, almost overnight.

What will Mark take to Peterborough (other than Big X!). Certainly a sterner edge defensively. Also a hunger for the fight. He will get the players playing for him and each other. He knows this is a big opportunity, and I'm sure he will do all he can to make a success of it.

Of more interest to everyone here though is what about us? Who next for the Poppies hot seat? Nicky Eaden? Kevin Keegan? I guess we will find out soon enough. But in the meantime, the best of luck Mark, and thanks for your efforts. Not many Managers get to leave Rockingham Road with their reputations intact, let alone greatly enhanced, but you certainly have.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Watching the Detectives

Whilst Imraan, the players, the officials, us fans and of course the police are all licking our lips at the prospect of hosting Leeds United in the next round of the FA Cup, I fear that the police are the ones with potentially the most to gain. How so, you ask?

A little while ago we asked the following questions of Northamptonshire Police -

"Can you confirm the numbers & costs of officers designated during the 2008-2009 season at Northampton Town, Northampton Saints, Rushden & Diamonds and Kettering Town?"

Of course, with the "Freedom of Information Act" in place (at least until after the next election anyway), the police kind of have to respond to such frivolous requests, even if it does take months!
The Saints were thrown in just to see what costs "friendly" rugby incurred for having crowds well in excess of 10,000. It surprised us a little to discover that Northamptonshire Police supplied NO officers to cover a single Saints game. We all know that rugby has this happy-clappy reputation. All chums together. Squeezing balls in the scrum and all that. Thousands of baying beer-monsters, and not a hint of trouble. But still, in a society where a meeting of a few dozen people can be considered a threat to public order and cannot happen without police permission, or paid police involvement, this seems a strange statistic.

But what of the Poppies?

Well, would it surprise you to learn that far more PC's attended our fixtures last season than Cobblers and Diamonds COMBINED?

We also played host to more Police Sergeants than the Cobblers and Diamonds COMBINED!

Or of the 10 Chief Inspectors who attended games in the County last season, fully EIGHT of them made their way to Rockingham Road?

This is even more incredible in light of the fact that ours and Diamonds gates were pretty similar last season, and whilst we were charged in excess of £28,000 for the privilege of watching real coppers (no PCSO's mind) catch up with their text messages and stuff their faces with burgers, the cost to the Diamonds for their policing was a big fat ZERO. Perhaps they have more stewards? Or maybe their chairman is a Freemason? Who knows, but not finding tens of thousands per annum for the police benevolent fund must be helpful when working to a budget!

And how can it possibly be right that the Poppies with average gates last season around the 1700 mark ended up with almost twice as many PC's at our home games than the Cobblers who averaged over 5000 during 2008-2009? And this is in a league that included home games against both Millwall and Leeds!

Why are we getting such a raw deal from the local plod? Do they see Imraan, and his reported wealth as a rich, soft touch? Again, no one but the Police themselves will know for sure. And with Leeds United coming here in a few weeks time it looks like we'll have to pray for a sell-out, massive TV coverage and extra merchandise sales just to keep the Boys in Blue happy, who are, no doubt, reserving the expensive helicopter, horses, dogs, and tear gas as this is being typed.

Second Round, Here We Come!

No need for 95th minutes goals today!

And then the draw for the Second Round...

"Which way to the bank...?" Leeds United at home has to be the plum draw of the round. I just really, really hope the local police don't see it as an opportunity to pay off their mortgages.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Taking the Piss

I'm sure our beloved Councillors will be able to explain away how they are attempting the very actions Imraan was vilified for suggesting.

Interesting that, like the rest of us, the local traders cannot see the point of another supermarket in the town centre.

Mind you, a nice big shopping centre in the middle of our rapidly shrinking heritage quarter, and the council can finally congratulate themselves on finally destroying the entire town centre. Bravo.

"Trust me, I'm a politician"

Easy Peasy (kind of)

With the away FA Cup tie at Hartlepool almost upon us, I thought I'd look at our record over the last 20 or so years when playing away to League teams. Initially, I got unnecessarily excited when I made a list of the "Giants" we had sent tumbling out of the Cup on their own patches. At first I thought our record read, Played 7, Won 4, Drawn 1 and Lost 2. Brilliant! We've got to fancy our chances with this record! Better pop straight round to Ladbrokes.

However, after sharing my findings it was pointed out that I'd somehow omitted the defeats at Gillingham and Blackburn. Bugger!

The now complete and accurate list of our FA Cup away-days against League Clubs in recent memory (until I remember another one) is as follows: -

Halifax Town. Won 3-2. Great night, great trip (except for the coach catching fire) Robbie Cooke and Russell Lewis shot us to heaven (well, more exactly, Charlton).

Charlton Athletic. Lost 2-1. The largest Poppies migration which didn't involve twin towers descended on South London. Cooke scored the goal which put us within touching distance or glory.

Maidstone United. Won 2-1. Revenge in some small measure for them beating us to promotion to the league a couple of years earlier. Not sure if we'd got better in the meantime, but they sure as hell were worse! Phil Brown and Darren Oxbrow scored for us. However, only one of them was a Kettering player at that time!

Blackburn Rovers. Lost 4-1. Rovers were about to go on a Millionaire-backed ride that would result in a Premier League title. They took a short break from their inexorable rise to give us a bit of a spank. Brownie scored our goal, which looks better every time you see it, and it looked pretty good at the time.

Gillingham. Lost 3-2. Most annoying of Cup defeats at League grounds because we deserved so much more. Brownie again, and Swamp-Monster Richard Hill did the business for us, but a referee who couldn't spot a foul on a goalie from all of three feet away consigned us to defeat. We were in the midst of one of our periodic downturns, and Graham Carr was picking up players from everywhere to fulfill fixtures. This defeat still rankles.

Ah ha!! Bet you thought I'd forgotten Wrexham. Drew 1-1. Cannot recall for the life of me who scored. Hopefully someone will be able to dredge that one up!

Hull City. Won 1-0. In their pre-Premier League whipping-boy period, Hull were a struggling basement team waiting to be turned over by a sub-standard Poppies team. Matt Fisher's thumping effort turned out to be Peter Morris's last hurrah.

Bristol City. Lost 3-1. Darren Collins gave us a surprising half time lead at Ashton Gate, but eventually we were swept away. Probably the only game where he sweated for us, and didn't spend all his time moaning at Dale Watkins.

Lincoln City. Won 2-1. Almost up to date now. Craig Westcarr scored our first, and then recent pop-side scapegoat Lyseden Christie silenced his boo-boys for fully two minutes by heading our late winner. A sweet victory over their lying, whining, loudmouth manager, who's name now escapes me.

Notts County. Drew 1-1. This was a game against the 2008-9 Notts County vintage prior to Sven, flying visits from Sol Campbell, and shady foreign millionaires. Brett Solkhon put us 1-0 up, and of course, we won the replay after they drew level. We went on to go on and sell out Rockingham Road against the mighty Eastwood Town. Fully 4000 more people turned up for this game than would have been there had it been the third round of the Trophy rather than the Cup!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Derek Waugh RIP

Sad news today that former Ace-Poppies reporter Derek Waugh has died.


Sunday, 1 November 2009

Don't all reply at once!

It has now been two weeks since we emailed our local elected officials to ask about their position with regard to the survival of the Poppies. The usual suspects, Hakewell and Hollobone trotted out the usual lengthy platitudes, full of political double-speak, and not even approaching answering the questions asked. If you've written to either gentleman you've no doubt received the exact same reply. We're equally sure they have it saved as a document to send via email upon request - regardless of the questions they are asked.

Of the other 30-odd councillors only two have seen fit to reply. Both positively. As for the rest - so much for democracy and local accountability. So much for the common decency of a response, even if it's, "F*ck you and your football club!" They've all been sent a little reminder as to what the general consensus is about politicians, and the fact that they are helping to foster this opinion.

The important points the Council are somehow not hearing, also the ET with it's coverage, are simply: -

The Poppies want NO COUNCIL MONEY.
The Poppies want NO COUNCIL LAND.
The Poppies seek only a favourable response to building an out of town shopping, football and community area. Such developments, although they may be frowned upon, are NOT ILLEGAL. It doesn't affect any of your precious "town plans" that are usually set in stone until the Council decide to bend or break them.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. SO WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

It seems that we are going around in circles. The Club and Asda (as was) won't put a planning application in without hearing positive noises from the Council, whilst the Council won't officially comment until the application goes in.

Of course, unofficially the Council may try to screw us over for new offices and a pool, but obviously that doesn't count. It's just politicians trying to f*ck us over once again. Just our luck to have the only Council in the country who don't understand the asset to a town a successful football club can be.


Well, the second email stirred up the proverbial hornets nest. Replies came thick and fast - mostly taking exception to our somewhat disgruntled tone at being ignored previously. Some showed support, but were fearful of stepping out of the line so well defined by the Council Leader. Others limply played "follow the leader" and said that the reply from Cllr Hakewell was also their reply. No doubt this is much better than thinking for themselves....

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Where Are Yer?

We football supporters have some strange notions about geography. Given that a travelling football fan sees more of the country than most people, you’d think that we would have a better idea of where places are than the average Joe. However, the evidence suggests otherwise.

We pretty much know that London is south of here and the North Pole is to the, well, north, but after that the details can get a bit patchy…..

A case in point occurred at Redditch, when some of our Chavs accused their Chavs of being northern, and if I recollect, scum. Northern? You’d be forgiven for thinking so after we travelled on the Northbound A14 and M6, but no, Redditch is actually to the SOUTH of Kettering. So, Redditch go from being Dirty Northern Bastards, to Soft Southern Jessies in the blink of an eye. They didn’t like being called “Brummies” either. “We’re not piggin’ Brummies, we’re Redditch” one Brummie piped, in a broad Brummie accent.

Teams like Telford, Chester and Hereford have not responded well to our assertion, when visiting their grounds, that their proximity to the Principality means that they are Welsh (and they know they are).

The anger shown by Telford and Hereford at our geographical faux pas is perhaps understandable. Hereford is a mighty 17 miles from Taffyland, whilst Telford is a whopping 26 miles from being in sheep-worrying country. Chester, on the other hand, can’t really hit back at claims of closet leek-waving tendencies given the fact that half of their ground is actually in Wales!

What constitutes a Cockney is also open to some debate. The accepted wisdom is that you need to be born within the sound of Bow Bells to claim the dubious honour of dressing in a pearly suit, eating jellied eels and knowing the Kray family personally. This distinction has proved far too narrow for we Poppies fans who have in the past accused everyone from Stevenage down to Maidstone of being Cockneys.

But even then, we don’t have the record for rank geographical ignorance. During Darlington’s brief stay in non-league, one of their charming followers called my better half a “Cockney Slag” as she was selling programmes at Rocky Road. Either this person possessed an extraordinary ability to somehow divine that her maternal grandmother hailed from London, or, more likely, assumed as they’d sat on a coach headed south for 4 hours that they must surely be in London! Oh, and the slag bit was wrong too, I hasten to add!

Even within London, regionalism runs rife! I remember watching Arsenal play West Ham once on the TV, and the Gooners were calling the Hammers, “Cockney W*nkers”. My first instinct was to say, “you’re all Londoners, surely, you’re ALL Cockney W*nkers!”

Here's a helpful map of the UK purely for illustrative purposes. The appearance of the fair Becky Mantin is purely coincidental.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Getting the ball rolling

We recommend anyone who is concerned with our Council's attitude to Kettering Town Football Club to follow the link below and register their support.


The dates for proposed riots on the new Market Place, burning in effigy of council officals and the (further) ransacking of the town centre are TBC.

The "Google" Test of Support

As our councillors continue to blather and ring their hands over the Poppies, and squeal about treating all the local sporting clubs exactly the same we thought we'd try to gauge the interest our small football club generates online.

By typing the word "Kettering" into the Google search engine, we were amazed to find that little old Poppies generated the most results with 381,000. The Council received a creditable 364,000 results, and the Hospital rounded out the top three with 326,000.

Curiously, none of the hundreds of sporting organisations within the Borough showed up at all in this not particularly scientific test. This is not to suggest in any way other sporting bodies within the area aren't important, but shows simply the level of interest the Poppies generates at a national and international level.

For better or worse, "Kettering" to the outside world, beyond planning guidelines, and "local plans" IS the Poppies. Not the Council. Not the Newland Centre. Not the Market Place. Not the Lighthouse Theatre. And certainly not the Lahnstein twinning association! Our councillors would do well to remember that when presiding over our fate.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Guy "Blogston" Strikes Back!

Hello again everyone.

You'll be pleased to hear that I'm still doing really well and just about holding Burton's defence together single-handedly. Yesterday's five goals had nothing to do with me. I was nowhere near the ball on any occasion.

Looked out for you guys in the Cup draw, but you unluckily missed out on seeing how brilliant I'm playing at the moment. Of course, you could pop up to Burton rather than go all the way up to Hartlepool, assuming you beat Red Itch. Just a thought.

Catch you later.


Marketplace Revisited

I don't care what anyone says, I think the new look market place is OK. It looks good and you can kind of see what they were aiming for, right down to the bit on the Kettering timeline where they've conveniently left room for the demise of the Poppies. Plus, given the fact that the three and a half stalls which make up Kettering market are NEVER going to move back there, something had to be done with the area. By the way, I always laugh when the morning travel reports on Radio Northampton make a point of informing their listeners that they should look out for increased traffic on market days in Kettering! I'm not sure a fruit & veg stall, a bloke selling his collection of old CD's and a guy flogging fish out of the back of his van should really disrupt our over-burdened road network too much!

As we foresaw in an earlier blog, the area seems to have developed into a mecca for our dumb-ass, halfwit youths to do those tossy skateboard jumps, which by all laws of physics, should shatter their legs every time, and ride tiny little bikes with no brakes. What is it with these chavvy dickheads and their tiny little bikes? You must have seen them. Generally they are full grown men on piddly, single gear BMX type bikes, with their saddles about an inch above the back wheel, with their only method of braking to shove a foot on the rear wheel! When they pedal hard, reaching speeds of almost walking pace, their knees are bobbing furiously either side of their stupid heads!

Curiously, none of the Council's "artist's impressions" of how the market place would look featured the town's gaggle of half-brained, inbred scum draped over it, looking like they need culling. No, the initial drawings tended to feature perfect looking families enjoying the fountains, horse-drawn carriages and leafy trees. And not the collection of low-browed scuzz, who's only interest to society is to throw a spanner in the works of the theory of evolution.

But, as we are dealing with Kettering Borough Council, which is second to none when it comes to addressing the concerns of its residents (sarcasm), action has been swift and decisive. This sign has now gone up on the market square. Who knows, if the mongrels could actually read after attending school for 10 years, it might have some effect, but I doubt it. We shall see.

Redditch FA Cup Match Report

Friday, 23 October 2009

Memorable Things about Redditch

You say the word "Redditch" to me and three things spring instantly to mind.

The first is the guy they had in goal until the last year or so. Kinda little. Kinda looked like an accountant or middle management type. Always had a smile on his face, and constantly chatted to the crowd behind him. Despite the fact that he usually let in 3-4 goals per game he always seemed very happy to be playing. Almost as if he'd turned up to go over the club's books and ended up playing for them. The way I imagine it is that just as he was adding up the sponsorship receipts (all £3.20 of it), the players shouted up to the office that they needed a second goalie to help out with a training game. He put down his calculator and said that he'd played a bit back at college. The players convinced him to give it a go, so he fished his golf boots out of the back of his Mondeo and went between the sticks. Next thing, it's several years later and he's still playing for them, which didn't say much about the previous goalie.... Here's little Richard having yet another swing-and-a-miss.

The second image that springs to mind was the pissed-up gumbie who threatened about 30 Poppies fans for celebrating a goal. He just walked up to the little stand we were sat on and basically threatened us all. I say "walked." He had been liberally swigging from what seemed to be a large clay cider pot through most of the game, pausing only now and again to swear and gesture at the away supporters. In fact, when he'd had just about enough of us and came over to give us a barely affordable piece of his mind, he left his drink container with the steward he had been standing next to for the entire game. The obliging steward, who could teach our stewards a thing or two about customer care, dutifully guarded the bottle until its erratic owner came back. Marvellous entertainment.

The third thing that comes to mind is that great big black defender they used to have. What was his name? Exodus Mombassa or something. Bloody good player with an enormous throw-in. I often thought, if he could be on the end of his own throws, Redditch might be a decent team!

I wonder what happened to him?