Thursday, 30 July 2009


Corby Council have lost their High Court battle to prove that a toxic site they supposedly cleared-up didn’t cause birth defects in children born locally. What did they expect? To quote from Blackadder, “They were as guilty as a puppy sitting next to a pile of poo.” As with most court cases featuring large corporations, they seemed to believe all they had to do was turn up and the courts would find in their favour. "Yes your Honour, all these birth defects where we haphazardly cleared toxic waste, but there's no actual proof we were responsible....if could just have easily been caused by alien abduction or the Bogeyman." Mmm...not much of a defence. Face facts - You did wrong and you were caught.

Corby Council should now do the decent thing and pay compensation to the people whose lives have been blighted due to their negligence. Don’t fanny around with more court cases – put your hands into your deep pockets. The sum of three million pounds compensation has been mentioned. If I’m permitted to plunder Blackadder once more (hopefully without having to pay royalties to Richard Curtis) the line, “pay the fellows, and damn their impudence” springs to mind.

Three million quid is a financial pinprick for cash-rich Corby Council. Just use part of the zillion quid the rest of the country gives to you every year. Failing that, stop building your bloody Cube. Or put Phase 15 of the Willows Shopping Empire back a couple of years. Only build 20000 new houses next year rather than 25000.

Or better still; don’t fork out for yet another football ground for Corby Town’s tiny bunch of hardened drunks and wanabee Rab C Nesbits. That would be sweet. Let ‘em whine about that for a while! And if that happened I predict the famous Mallinger begging bowl would get a speedy airing because he’d be, “in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick-insect got stuck on a stick bun!”

Sod it, see you in court Curtis!

Surely nothing harmful could come from here?

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

I Want it All

Let's get this straight. North Northamptonshire Development Company and Corby Council ask the Government for just over £50 Million to help complete the building of even more houses in the Corby area (which will soon include Kettering if we don't watch out!)

Not only is this money granted, but it is boosted up to £60 Million of our taxes to further feather Corby's nest.

According to the ET website, "Chris Mallender, Corby Council chief executive, said: "It's actually more cash than we bid for and it is half of the whole allocation for the East Midlands, and five per cent of the total for the whole country."


He then rubs it in further for all the other towns in the country who would have quite liked some of this money by adding, "It's wonderful news". Yes, for Corby. For a change.


It really makes you wonder how on earth they never got funding for the infamous Wonder World project all those years ago, because they seem to be able to hoover up all the funding available these days without even trying!


Corby - The rest of the country is really, really sorry the steelworks closed down all those years ago leaving a generation of plastic jocks with nothing to do but cash giros and start fights in Kettering town centre every weekend. Honestly we are.


But, is there any chance we can stop (over) compensating you any decade soon?

Friday, 24 July 2009

An Innocent Man

It would be an interesting exercise to compare the online and newspaper column inches devoted to the breaking of the story of Nick Provenzano’s supposed racist exchange with the entire Lincoln City bench, and it’s resolution a few weeks ago with a Not Guilty verdict. As with all media witch hunts the accusations are splashed over the front pages, whilst the finding of innocence is a dribbled word or two just next to the Greyhound results. It would also be a tediously lengthy, time-consuming exercise, so we won’t bother. This blog isn’t run by Woodward and Bernstein you know!

The majority of the wider public, who caught the beginning of the story but haven’t heard the verdict, may well still associate the words, “Kettering” with “racism”. Unfortunately this sort of accusation tends to stick in the public perception. Years from now when our name is mentioned there will be people scratching their heads and thinking, “Wasn’t there some racist stuff going on there…?”

Never mind that none of the details can be recalled. It doesn’t matter that Nick was found not guilty. It doesn’t even matter if our players wear “let’s kick racism out of football” t-shirts from now till the day they die, there will always be a faded, but distinct stain on the good name of Kettering Town.

Did Peter Jackson really think he saw Nick racially abusing his Assistant Manager? Did Jackson reap the results of winding the occupants of the Main Stand? Was he looking for a way of excusing his team being outplayed by a club he had already repeatedly disparaged? We’ll never know. As soon as you shout “Racist” all the other stuff going on is quickly forgotten.

There are no winners (except our team obviously!) Nick lost his good name for 9-months. The Poppies were tainted by the allegation. Even mouthy, slick-haired Jackson lost out on signing his new contract after the replay because we’d just spanked his boys. PATGOD may well be the only winner, even if this is only because we’ve managed to squeeze the sordid affair into another article-sized article.



“Now nine months of hell are over and I can get back to watching Kettering Town”

Come on Nick, haven’t you suffered enough?

Sunday, 19 July 2009

(We Don't Need) This Fascist Groove Thang!

After the harsh glare of publicity shone on the Poppies due to a couple of incidents of things being thrown from the crowd last season, the club overacted as might be expected.

Problem - A plastic bottle was thrown on the pitch. Solution – ban all plastic bottles.

Consequently bottles of water were torn from the hands of young and old just in case the urge came upon them to hurl the item at a player. Never mind the proven health benefits of frequent hydration, and never mind if the player deserved it (joke!) A plastic bottle could become a dangerous weapon at a moments notice. As could a mobile phone, coins, a shoe or prosthetic limb.

We all know, and kind of accept, that the few civil liberties we have left to us are handed-in when we enter a football ground. Only at a football game can everyone be judged guilty for simply being there, and punished for the actions of someone else.

Here’s a wacky suggestion. Why not punish those people who actually transgress? I appreciate that this is an idea from left-field, but bear with me!

This way you leave alone the innocent 99.9% of folks to enjoy their football without molestation from the reflective jacket wearing jobsworths. If someone throws something at a player, catch them and ban them. What could be simpler of fairer? Mind you, to be able to do that the stewards and police would actually need to be in the right places around the ground and doing their jobs properly. I guess this makes this idea a non-starter when the stewards are busy watching the game and the police are enjoying their burger and chips.

How long does it take our match-day jailers to realise that a heavy presence at the bottom of the Britannia Road terrace, and between the two sets of supporters would either quell unrest, or put people in the right place should something unsavoury occur? Who knows, but they sure haven’t cottoned on yet. Probably too busy seeking out that dangerous water.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Rip It Up & Start Again

The bizarre series of events associated with Guy’s departure to Burton, and what did and didn’t happen with his contract, confirms two things to me.

Firstly, it proves again that the one off-field position that needs an experienced hand at this level is that of Club Secretary. It serves no purpose going into who did or didn’t do what during the attempted contract changes. Mistakes can happen. Who can honestly say they have never made a foul up at work? An old timer I used to work with had the legend, “Those who never makes mistakes never do any work”, on the wall behind his desk, and the more you think about the words the more their truth becomes apparent.

I hope that when Imraan calms down from posting more inflammatory remarks on the Club website he will consider what is best for the Poppies going forward. As I suggested earlier, the position of Club Sectary is a vital one. An experienced Secretary may not quite be worth their weight in gold, but a good one of these outweighs a dozen moderate commercial managers and about a thousand non-executive directors.

In my own slight brush with working within a football club I worked under an excellent Secretary who basically ran the club from top to bottom, leaving the Manager to concentrate on doing what he did best. Given that the Club was the Cobblers and the Manager was Phil Chard, doing what he did best was invariably losing games and slithering to the bottom of the table! When the Administrators were appointed at the Cobblers they got rid of over a dozen players and several members of staff. The only area they didn’t dream of trying to save money was the position of Secretary. They had a good one, and knew enough about business to know that they should keep him.

Hopefully Imraan will consider the appointment of the next Club Secretary as a matter of great importance, and not merely entrust to a friend from Milton Keynes or an eager supporter. He wouldn’t have got as far in business without being able to learn from mistakes he’s made.

And the second thing this situation highlights? Players are mercenary bastards who only think about stuffing as much money into their pockets as they can get their hands on, right up until the seams on their pockets start to rip. Every one of them should be stoned the moment they as much as look to kiss the badge on their shirts.

But then, we all ready knew that didn’t we?






"Fetch me a sturdy baseball bat!"

Song for Guy

“Stay down you Ponce!”






It would be fair to say that during his year and a half at Rockingham Road Guy Branston has had a big hand in this latter day Poppies Golden Age. After helping steer us to promotion from the BSN he formed part of the trio with Harper and Exodus which boasted the best defensive record in the BSP last season and helped us get to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup for only the second time. You would think this period of success would be very welcome for a player at this stage of his career. And yet….

One never quite shrugged off the feeling that he yearned to be playing in League Two. This may be mainly attributed to the fact that he continually told us so! Getting a lucrative 2-year contract with the Poppies sounded pretty good, (perhaps even more lucrative than we thought) but you always sensed he was looking over the river at the greener pastures of the football league.

Obviously playing against minnows like Luton, Oxford, Mansfield, York and Cambridge can’t compete with the glamour of visits to Barnet, Morecambe, Accrington and Dagenham, but we hoped he would learn to love his new surroundings. You’d have also thought that with Mark Cooper continually being linked with other jobs there might exist the very real possibility of a player manager position at Kettering in due course?

No one in his or her right mind would say that Guy didn’t give his all for Kettering. His enthusiasm was there for all to see. It would also be fair to say that his enthusiasm was also a contributory factor to the more unsavoury incidents during his tenure here. Who can forget the throat high karate kicks or biffing opposition players when they were on the ground? But where did this over-exuberance get him? Other than sitting in the stand?

He continually went for balls that other defenders were covering. Usually heading them in almost any direction other than the one he intended due to his curious 50p shaped-head. He and Harper got mixed up a few times which led to embarrassing goals. He almost finished Mark Rawle’s career when at one of his pointless forays forward at corners he landed on his ankle, despite Rawle being in a better position to go for goal. Finally of course, his passion led to him missing the game with Fulham.

Hopefully in the months and years to come when he slips into the reserves at Burton he will look back fondly on his successful time at Kettering where he was a big fish in our small pool.

Guy will certainly leave a large (headed) hole to fill, although those proclaiming his departure will herald “the end of days” are perhaps going a little overboard. At the end of the day one always had a sense that Guy’s attention and future lay elsewhere, and that although he played for Kettering, you never really felt he was a Kettering player.

Karma Chameleon

I don’t believe in karma. I don’t give much credence to the idea of fate. I even thought kismet was the frog in the Muppet Show.

Not anymore though. I find myself less likely to scoff at the notion of cosmic balance after the following little tale.

Along with many others I found myself out of pocket after our away game at York was postponed last season due to their annoyingly lengthy interest in the Trophy. Like a fool I booked one of those on-line, special, super-dooper advance train tickets. You know, those tickets they don’t refund if, say, your football game gets rearranged and you hadn’t checked into the possibility that your opponents may be otherwise engaged when you were supposed to visit. It doesn’t help either that your Missus constantly reminds you about the possible fixture clash AFTER you’ve bloody well booked the train tickets!

That was fifty-odd notes I wouldn’t see again. Or so I thought.

A few weeks ago me and the self-same Missus were hob-nobbing at York races, as you do. With my practised eye, knowledge of the turf, familiarity with the minutiae of the Sport of Kings, and ability to stick a needle into a racecard, I managed to pick a few winners.

At the end of day, once I’d mentally deducted the entrance costs, losing bets, daytime drinks & food, and then a meal in York that evening, I found I was fifty-odd notes up on the day!

The universe, or at least my small part of it, had shifted itself back onto an even keel. I’d eventually got to York and my wallet was replenished by pretty much the same amount it had been deprived of earlier.

Ok, it’s not quite a case for Mulder and Scully, but I feel less aggrieved at the rearranged York City game now than I did a few months ago, and even less inclined to dismiss providence out-of-hand!

"Up Yours Patgod!" chortle the intrepid stars of the X-Files.

Friday, 10 July 2009

I Have a Dream

Do Real Madrid EVER sign anyone who didn’t once “dream” of playing for them? From Ronaldo’s permanent half-bar at the thought of finishing a league season trailing behind Barcelona, to latest signing, some Frog called Emphysema, it must be part of their contract to say that they (wet) dreamed from an early age of playing for Real.

Never mind that they aren’t Spanish, and have no ties with Madrid in any way, shape or form – these precious cherubs must have cried themselves to sleep at night, desperate to grow up and one day pull on the famous white Real shirts. Not content with dreaming about being soldiers, or train drivers, or even dreaming about the monster under the bed, these special ones dreamt about signing professional terms, training full-time and making themselves available for selection at a foreign football club where they didn’t even speak the language.

Mind you, none of them were every THAT desperate to play for Real that they turned up on the doorstep of the Bernabéu with their boots knotted around their neck, and volunteered to play for the club for free.

No, with great self-control they waited until their agents had negotiated a big, fat, multi-million Euro contract. Sometimes they demonstrated enormous amounts of patience, waiting for many years (earning fat wages elsewhere) before finally remembering their dream and getting paid even more to play for Real.

"Still kind of hankering to beat their whining faces to a sticky pulp!"

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Money – that’s what I want

If you think about the pricing of football in general, and the Poppies in particular it is shocking how prices have risen over the years. Players’ wages, particularly at the top end are nothing short of obscene. How can anyone justify earning upwards of £100,000 per week for kicking a ball around? Particularly if they are English, and the chances are they can’t even kick it around very well.

When you hear the top players bleating about a miniscule rise in upper rate of Income Tax and how it will impact on their lifestyle it takes enormous effort for the average man in the street not to grab the nearest heavy implement and beat their whining faces to a sticky pulp. Not that most of the top earners will actually pay much in the way of Income tax once their army of Accountants gets to work.

Whenever those at the top of an industry are earning astronomical amounts of money, those further down the pyramid enjoy whetting their beaks too. Suddenly you have very moderate players earning tens of thousands, and Clubs going to the wall in an effort to satisfy the bloated expectations of players and their parasitic agents.

Yet while Chairman chase unrealistic ambitions, egged on by supporters, nothing is likely to change. At least not until Sky go bust anyway.

“Beat their whining faces to a sticky pulp.”

ABC (Easy as One Two Three)

Well, we now have the prices we will need to pay to watch the Poppies in the forthcoming season. Things have sure changed from the days when you could buy a packet of Capston Full Strength on the way to the Working Men’s Club for a dozen pints of Old Peculiar before taking your place on the Rockingham Road terraces, and then taking a bint up west for drinks and a fish supper and still have change from ten bob.

The latest idea we seem to have borrowed from higher standards of football (alas not yet one-touch football played on the floor) is the banding of games into different categories with different prices.

This follows on from our farcical “premium game” scam where the prices you paid on entering a ground would differ on a match-to-match basis. You were often faced with the bizarre situation of hiked prices to face the likes of the mighty Hinckley United. Invariably there are good reasons for this, such as the need to pay off Branston’s latest fine, or to bung the Cops their protection money, but invariably it led to problems at the turnstiles with amounts different to the given prices on the turnstiles being demanded, which never seems quite fair or indeed legal.

Now we have hit upon the A, B and C level fixtures where we pay a bigger wedge for the supposed glamour games and less for the piss-poor opposition.

Leaving aside the difficulty of gauging the desirable from the dross, where each of us would probably pick a different set of games to fit into each category, we do seem to have a rather top-heavy looking number of “A” games. It will cost an adult at least £16.00 to stand on a broken terrace near a closed food bar to watch us play teams that are no longer good enough to be in the League. Putting aside the obvious running costs of the Club, which to the amazement of club officials, are not the immediate concern of the supporters, that is a lot of money to watch non-league football isn’t it? It almost makes you fearful of us gaining promotion.

And remember, the Poppies have to compete with a myriad of other leisure options these days: -

  • For the same price as a single adult getting into Rockingham Road for one of these fixtures 2 people can go to the Odeon cinema to watch a movie, although this doesn’t include popcorn.

  • You could buy an adults or kids wristband for unlimited rides all day long at Wickies and still have money for ice creams.

  • You could spend a refreshing evening at a local hostelry.

  • Make 16 individual purchases from Poundland.

  • An afternoon 10-pin bowling across the car park.

  • Rent a DVD of dubious content, a box of tissues AND an Indian take-away.

  • You could just about stretch to hiring a taxi to drive you around for almost a quarter of a mile.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Communication (Lets Me Down)

Regular visitors to “Poppynet” will have noticed with amusement recent altercations between Imraan and various members. Most of this recent fracas stems from the club’s very late issuing of prices for the forthcoming season. Quite reasonably, many people were worried about the delay, and the effect it might have on quickly scraping together the necessary funds to purchase a season ticket with only a few weeks notice.

Whilst it is understandable the club took its time in order to get it’s pricing structure right, the reasoning for the delay wasn’t communicated all that well. Matters were not helped by one or two more forthright Chatterboxers giving it both barrels, and then the Club Chairman sniping back in return.

Those who remember previous Kettering Chairman will applaud Imraan’s willingness to engage with supporters. Most of our ex-Chairmen considered the supporters as a necessary evil at best, and dog shit on the bottom of their shoe at worse. Some believed “real supporters” were only those who agreed with everything they said and did, no matter how immoral or illegal. Certain other ex-Chairmen only acknowledged you only if you were a match sponsor or lent the club large sums of money which were confusingly reported as being “gifts”.

What Imraan should consider is that although certain Chatterboxers make a lot of noise they actually represent a tiny minority of Poppies support. Out of the 1200 registered users only 70 have posted 250 times or more since the start of 2008. Whenever there seems to be a large groundswell of agitation with a particular issue you are invariably talking about a handful of people – and this is where club officials should show a bit of awareness before jumping in with both feet.

When you are dealing with Poppies supporters you are dealing with passionate fans. This is a football town – pure and simple. This isn’t a rugby town that just happens to have a football team, like Northampton. This isn’t a town where we support one of two teams that play some 300 miles to the North as they do in Corby. We are not a bunch of tame Bedfordshire overspill who have somehow washed up in Irthlingborough. When you are involved with Kettering Town Football Club you are dealing with an organisation that people from Kettering care deeply about. We don’t always love what’s going on at the Poppies, and if we don’t love what’s going on, it is a safe bet to assume we hate it! It may not be a healthy attitude, but it is certainly a passionate one.

The club needs to communicate with all the fans, and not let a tiny, vocal number have an inordinate affect on club strategy. Is the database formed by the creation last season of the Membership Scheme being used? Are the club emailing or mailshotting these members with news and details of prices etc? I’m sure the Club knows that they need to reach the 99% of established and potential supporters who don’t spend every waking hour looking to argue online from the safety of their bedrooms.

Someone hunched over a PC with no life and too much time on their hands is not necessarily the best person to dictate the policy of a football club. And, yes, the irony of that statement is not lost on me….