Monday, 31 August 2009
An honourable mention must go to the referee. His incessant whistling every time two players competed for a ball managed to ruin an otherwise tedious game.
Of more worry is our impotence in front of goal presently. Mind you, this shouldn't be too surprising given Cooper's lack of attacking flair. It's all well and good being ultra-tight at the back, but when you're sole method of attack for much of the game is to punt the ball up to a solo striker and somehow hope, against all odds, that he may conjure a goal, this situation will show no immediate improvement.
Towards the end of the game we had Seddon, Spencer and McPike all on the pitch, which, believe me, sounds a lot more attacking than it actually was. However, with Seddon down the right wing and Spencer wide on the left, they were never going to link up effectively. These players are centre forwards for heavens sake! Give them the ball in front of goal, and let's see what they can do.
The talk pre-season was of a more attractive style of play. Unfortunately this requires more than a few pretty triangles in the middle of the park. Our midfield of Boucard, the disappointing Noubissie and Fowler can pose with the ball all day without ever hurting the opposition.
What price a player like Solkhon in there now?
Saturday, 29 August 2009
I really hope Mark Cooper sits down to watch this film, and soon, because we are getting nowhere fast with the so-called 4,4,3 formation, which, more often than not reverts to a 4,5,1 formation. The hapless Spencer was left on his own so much today one could be forgiven for thinking he had suspected swine flu.
I think it's fair to say that Mark is of the safety first, second and possible even third persuasion. Today against an ineffectual Luton side we bossed the game for extended periods without threatening too much. Just image if we had played a second striker? Some of Spencer's flick-ons might have actually gone to a player wearing a red shirt!
What is it with our Managers? It is either all-out suicidal attack of Morrell or Gary Johnson, or the sometimes grisly stodge of a Cooper or a Morris.
Just for once I'd like our Manager not to be scared to let his players play to their strengths and, when we have the upper hand, attack the opposition, rather than wait in our half for them to come at us again.
A point against Luton isn't to be sniffed at. But, boy, they were there for the taking today!
1 This would be a good day to begin a career as a burglar, provided it was not in Kettering.
2 If the Club are stumping up for the policing costs today, we are going to need a gate of about 15,000 just to break even.
Newland Street at 10.30AM.
Meadow Road at 11.00AM.
Friday, 28 August 2009
Not all of the contents could be described as timeless, in the same way that even Leo Sayer's early albums were not unblemished. But amid the muck was the odd pearl such as the continuation of Patgod's pictorial journey through the life of Ernie Moss across the ages, with the latest episode finding the ancient frontman aboard a pirate ship in the 17th century, and 'A Day In The Life Of Robbie Cooke'. The gag being that he spent all his time arguing. You had to be there.
Elsewhere there was a detailed account of a trip to Yeovil's old ground in which we were evidently frisked on entry and relieved of bottled drinks. Hey - so 2009! But after the euphoria of 88/89, this season felt a bit flat and 5th place nothing to celebrate. The functional Peter Morris style of play wasn't much of a consolation, and so the tone turned a bit critical in places. With hindsight, nothing worse than the average day's output on Poppynet, but skins were obviously thinner in 1990.
At the end of season players awards at the George, Morris stomped over and had a go and before the night was over the fanzine was officially banned. Proposed by Peter Morris and seconded by Robbie Cooke.
And so Patgod joined the ranks of underground publications. Not quite the kind of thing that was likely to get us shot or deported, but with a serious risk of attracting a scowl from PM if eye contact was made.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
“Isms” are a blight of our modern, enlightened society. Football has never been immune from outdated and un-pc views, but generally the situation is improving. Footballing “isms” that continue to persist include racism, sexism, heightism, hairism, weightism, ageism and er, jism.
Racism has pretty much been banished from football grounds, to such an extent that these days black footballers are forced to buy their own bananas, as racist yobs rarely supply them.
Sexism, alas, seems likely to remain part of terrace culture. Certainly as long as the football grounds are awash with fit birds anyway.
Heightism still rears its ugly head, though obviously not too high. Most opposition teams are still blessed with a nasty short-arsed player, making up for a lack of inches with a chip on their shoulder, and a hair-trigger temper.
Hairism is almost entirely absent these days. Gone are the days of mocking comb-overs at one end of the spectrum and pony-tails at the other. These days most players have sensible short haircuts, except for the odd twat with a couple of buckets of gel on their heads and their hair pointing in all different directions.
Weightism continues unabated. A player seen to be a pound or two over their fighting weight can expect to be taunted mercilessly by our collection of tubbies and butterballs.
Ageism, given my new-found advanced age, the age of players is no longer the burning issue for abuse it once was. Once you could chide experienced old pros, who had dropped into Non-league to eek out a few more pay days from their creaking legs. These days, players over 30 are classed as veterans, and if they are nudging middle thirties we all marvel that the poor old dear can tie the laces on their boots, let alone run around in them!
Jism hasn’t been such a big problem, at least not since we equalised against Fulham last season.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Sunday, 23 August 2009
A trip to Wrexham and an easier 3 points than the scoreline might suggest. We would surely have scored more goals if we hadn’t been so negative when our forwards outnumbered the defenders towards the end of the game and chose to head for the corners rather than shoot at their 4-foot tall replacement goalie. Hopefully one day our Gaffer will realise that we don’t have to fear teams like Wrexham and set our stall out so defensively. We are both in the same division. If they were THAT good they’d still be in the league!
I had also quite forgotten just how bitter and twisted the Taffs could be when things don’t go their way. Every Poppies challenge was greeted with boo’s and demands for the ref to take action. This was particularly in evidence when their goalie injured his elbow by landing heavily after climbing over JP and one of his own defenders. The baying pit ponies to our right screamed for the ref to dismiss JP, as if he had purposefully dislocated the guy’s elbow. The fact that none of the Wrexham players reacted negatively, spoke volumes as to the accidental nature of the collision between all three players. This wasn’t good enough for the purple-faced primates of the Principality. They wanted blood.
After the game, upon exiting the stadium, I was party to a particularly lovely moment when a young, pre-teen Wrexham lad walked past, turned and spat right in front of me. Quite charming. It was such a strange thing to see that it took me a few moments to register exactly what had happened.
Ah, the joys of playing against teams whose fans can’t get over the fact that they aren’t such big boys anymore!
Friday, 21 August 2009
In those days we identified the keen resemblance between eg Gary Setchell and a young Andy Flintoff or Chris Pearson and Minder-era Dennis Waterman (giving someone a slap outside the Winchester for a monkey after giving a bird a right seeing to).
Nowadays of course we've moved on from all that and have outgrown such idle games.
Except you can't help but notice that...
Mark Cooper = early Benny Hill (without glasses and flat cap)
Robbie Cooke = gurning Aussie trundler Peter Siddle
Guy Branston = angular headed cyborg Kryten
Dale Watkins = John Malkovich
Wayne Diuk = Matt Damon's runty brother
Lee Harper = Vince Vaughn's swarthy brother
Gary Johnson = Benny the ball from Top Cat
To be continued...
As this is the Blue Square Premier not the Champions bloody League, it goes without saying that barely five minutes can elapse without someone shinning the ball into touch or skewing a pass into the stand (and that's just us when we're playing well), so the chortling goons have almost unlimited scope to play their latest jingle and boy do they use it.
The only way to stamp this out is for Pigbag to claim royalties. Precisely how this will be enforced by any surviving members of the early 80's one-hit-wonder punk/funk combo is currently uncertain.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
The other night at the Torquay game I heard that there were a couple of scouts from League One and Championship teams!
Who knows, I may be on the way up again!
By the way, just so we’re clear, none of Torquay’s goals were my fault. Between you and me, I don’t think my fellow defenders here are that good.
Cheers for now,
Thank goodness for the keen eyes and sound judgement of referees at this level is not a sentiment you often hear, and certainly not last Saturday after a Wimbledon defender escaped punishment for controlling the ball with his arm in the clear view of numerous impartial witnesses, all of whom were prepared to testify on oath that we wuz robbed.
However the official at Kiddy restored our bruised sense of justice by pointing smartly to the spot when the increasingly promising Danny Thomas was brutally felled just when he was about to fire home or at the very least set up Damian Spencer to fluff another opportunity.
JP rammed home the spot kick in front of the travelling 150 who to my great pride included not one but both of my offspring, swelling both the numbers of the travelling faithful and the takings of the snack hut. Son, aged 11, an old hand at this, had watched the proceedings with studied pessimism. However, daughter, aged 9, took everything in with wide eyed curiosity - as well she might, hearing certain phrases for almost certainly the first time (apart from that time I scraped a pillar in an underground car park).
In contrast to the Wimbledon game, this was a classic smash and grab after we had withstood something of a battering after half time, but for those with long memories it was good to take all the points from what has rarely been a happy hunting ground for us. Sure there was the identical win last season but before that you have to go back a long way - not least because of the time we spent in separate leagues. In the mid to late 90s a trip to Kiddy usually involved pre-match pints in the pub by the old railway station followed by cottage pie and/or soup in the ground, whilst the Poppies slumped to another limp defeat.
You possibly have to go all the way back to 1993 when on a Monday night we went top top top top top of the league with a 2-0 win at Aggborough - an achievement in no way diminished by the fact it was our second game of the season and everyone else had only played one. That was the same season Kiddy dumped us out of the Cup at the start of their run to the 5th Round and ultimately denied us promotion, so they still owe us.
All I can add to this is, well done PW, and, "Hey, You lost your cherry!"
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Whether the Club employees believe it or not, the average supporter, including those on Poppynet and here at PATGOD do not enjoy berating their efforts. I can’t believe anyone gets a thrill from pointing out perceived problems and shortcomings associated with our Club.
The situation regarding matchday tickets seems to have spiralled unnecessarily into a bit of a slanging match between supporters and officials. But before the Club prepares another broadside to the fans I trust they’ll bear in mind these few words.
Every Kettering supporter wants to see the team do well, in a stadium we can be proud of, stewarded in a sensible manner and administered in a confident way by the staff. We are desperate for this and most of us will do anything we can to help this situation come about. We will pay the expensive entrance fees, buy the Klondike tickets, buy the replica shirts, have a couple of pints in the Tin Hat, and if budget allows, we may even indulge in the odd burger or two. We’ll do these things happily to help maintain and improve our football club.
When we moan about such things as the ticketing situation it is not merely to enjoy a good grizzle (honestly!) although being from Kettering, we obviously are partial to one of them every so often.
We are worried about how the ticketing situation will affect our club. We worry that the old, infirm and non-domicile supporter will be heavily inconvenienced or miss out entirely on supporting the team. We are concerned that the “floating fans” will not see the Poppies as being their team of choice should they deign to put in an appearance. We’d like nothing more than to see our ground full of our supporters, roaring the Poppies to success. We tasted it last year, and are eager for more.
The atmosphere against Fulham, particularly during the second half when we kept them pinned in their half and missed chances to punish our Premiership opponents, was as good as I can recall at Rockingham Road. All three home sides of the ground cheering at once! Brilliant. The Club made a fortune and we all enjoyed the day. Everyone is a winner. We want more of this sort of game and less of the outnumbered-in-our-own-ground type games such as Cambridge last season. At the moment we seem to be heading more and more in this direction.
To help with this, supporters wouldn’t be worth their salt if they didn’t suggest alternative arrangements surely? Such as, would it be possible to set-up an online booking facility for supporters? And perhaps retain one pay turnstile?
This wouldn’t be an issue if it were effectively policed? Perhaps we could continue to use the one on Cowper Street, which used to remain open to half time? These are just ideas to hopefully help stop our home support dwindling further.
We desperately want the team and club to succeed, and our, at times, over-zealous pursuit of these aims can often come across as negativity, being critical or just plain pig-ignorant. We only ask that you understand why. We all want success for the Poppies, and you guys are sometimes in the firing line simply because you are the only people that can deliver it!
We greatly appreciate your efforts thus far, and you need only show us clear leadership, and we will follow.
Monday, 17 August 2009
There is no need for angry words, accusations and flying crockery. And there is certainly no need to cut the crotches out of my trousers.
At this point will someone please take away my f*cking shovel?
However, with such a clear grasp of the footballing problems at hand, the lady who made this statement rose in my estimation to a point where she may well be my NEXT significant other.
Mmm....I have the nagging feeling that I haven't handled this clarification and apology as well as I'd hoped to.
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Solution - Hike the prices and make every game all ticket, necessitating at least another extra journey to see the team play.
Never mind that this will deter floating supporters and drive them into Peter Mallinger's waiting arms.
Also never mind that it penalises our numerous supporters who live away from Kettering, and don't fancy relying on the snail-mail for their tickets.
Never mind too that the Club Shop in town has closed and the ticket kiosk at the ground isn't completed.
And now, for the Luton game you can only gain entrance if you are a Season ticket holder or Club Member! The tickets aren't going on general sale AT ALL. Do the authorities honestly believe that Luton fans without tickets will travel up here and buy them for the home end? Please! Given the increasingly sparse nature of the home support, they would stand out a mile with their haunted, "We used to be in Division One" look in their eyes.
It's all well and good making games all ticket when you are likely to be over-subscribed, but when less than a thousand home fans are in the ground you've got to ask yourself are you doing something wrong, surely?
Are the Club deliberately trying to make it less attractive AND less easy to get into Rockingham Road, because some of the stuff going on here beggars belief. All we want to do is turn up on a Saturday and watch our home town play non-league football. Is that too much to ask?
Saturday's Ref against Wimbledon was almost the opposite. He let the game flow and was reluctant to go for his card. In fact, for 80 odd minutes he was pretty good, which says a lot when he has given a penalty against your team.
And then the handball. He had a good view of the prolonged piece of juggling. He considered for a moment, and then deemed the action of the 'Dons defender to be within the rules and waved play-on. The grateful 'Dons player continued to get the ball under control with his arm for what seemed like another half an hour, much to the chagrin of the baying Cowper Street end.
So another Ref leaves the pitch with a security escort and runs the gauntlet of the Main Stand moaners. Ah well, he almost made it through 90 minutes!
Mind you, we'd have needed a penalty to get back into this game. Considering we had the vast amount of possession against a very poorly organised Wimbledon, we faffed far too much, in an almost Morrell-style fashion. Enough of the fancy flicks! "Hit the f*cker", as the lady close to me opined during one tense moment of play, and who could argue?
The Wimbledon defender finally subdues the bouncing ball
Friday, 14 August 2009
Many moons ago, in its previous paper incarnation Patgod tackled head-on the malicious lie that Kettering was a town where nothing had ever happened and no one famous was born. Over the course of a couple of issues we assembled a mighty selection of fabulous facts and famous faces associated with our fair town. Obviously none of these events or personages come immediately to mind now, but take it from us, they were both famous and fabulous! At least nothing DID come to mind. Now it has! Quite recently the fastest man in history, Usain Bolt was routinely winning a 100 metres despite the fact that he elected to hop on one foot just to give the other competitors a chance. Whoops, settle down there everyone! Obviously we are not about to drop the bombshell that Usain himself was from Kettering, although that story would go some way to finally put this God-forsaken blog on the map. No, during his post victory warm down (just as the other runners had reached the 50 metre mark) one of the commentators (possibly Sally Gunnell, or someone good) happened to mention that Usain’s old school was “The William Knibb Memorial High School”. William Knibb! Kettering’s own William Knibb! One of town's favourite sons. OK, as with anyone vaguely famous from Kettering he hot-footed it away from here as soon as he could, but still, he was born HERE, and despite the enormous weight of worthy deeds he performed in later life, he couldn't erase that embarrassing fact. Knibb’s work in Jamaica in helping to bring an end to slavery has never been forgotten there obviously. And to be fair, for a change, his work is recognised in the town of his birth. A freed slave adorns our town’s crest. One of the council wards in this town is named after him. And there is the William Knibb Centre of course. Mind you, as far as we can tell, the W.K. Centre seems to cater solely for our local thick shits and slappers, giving them somewhere to hang around with cans of cider, swap bodily fluids, and give each other homemade tattoos with bottles of ink and bits of broken glass. Mm…Maybe we haven’t served his memory as well as we could have…? For more information about our foremost former Cytriginian have a gander at this – I'm sure though that Wikipedia could find a better picture to use though as the one they use makes it look as though he's been "goosed!"
Obviously none of these events or personages come immediately to mind now, but take it from us, they were both famous and fabulous!
At least nothing DID come to mind. Now it has! Quite recently the fastest man in history, Usain Bolt was routinely winning a 100 metres despite the fact that he elected to hop on one foot just to give the other competitors a chance. Whoops, settle down there everyone! Obviously we are not about to drop the bombshell that Usain himself was from Kettering, although that story would go some way to finally put this God-forsaken blog on the map. No, during his post victory warm down (just as the other runners had reached the 50 metre mark) one of the commentators (possibly Sally Gunnell, or someone good) happened to mention that Usain’s old school was “The William Knibb Memorial High School”.
William Knibb! Kettering’s own William Knibb! One of town's favourite sons. OK, as with anyone vaguely famous from Kettering he hot-footed it away from here as soon as he could, but still, he was born HERE, and despite the enormous weight of worthy deeds he performed in later life, he couldn't erase that embarrassing fact.
Knibb’s work in Jamaica in helping to bring an end to slavery has never been forgotten there obviously. And to be fair, for a change, his work is recognised in the town of his birth. A freed slave adorns our town’s crest. One of the council wards in this town is named after him. And there is the William Knibb Centre of course.
Mind you, as far as we can tell, the W.K. Centre seems to cater solely for our local thick shits and slappers, giving them somewhere to hang around with cans of cider, swap bodily fluids, and give each other homemade tattoos with bottles of ink and bits of broken glass.
Mm…Maybe we haven’t served his memory as well as we could have…?
For more information about our foremost former Cytriginian have a gander at this –
I'm sure though that Wikipedia could find a better picture to use though as the one they use makes it look as though he's been "goosed!"
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
But, seriously Dave, enough with the tattoos!
Whenever he is wearing short-sleeved football shirts he always looks as though he has dipped his arms in Ribena overnight - they are hideous! Either wear long-sleeves or see a surgeon quick and see if they can restore some pink to those limbs!
Saturday, 8 August 2009
Can this be why whenever it looks as though there might be more than a couple of thousand people at Rockingham Road they act as though the end of social order might be imminent? Riot vans, horses, helicopters. No expense is spared (and then passed on) when it comes to quashing the civil liberties of a few hundred football supporters.
The all-ticketing nonsense we are being plagued by can squarely be laid at the door of Mr Plod. Just because the team we are playing used to play in the Football League doesn’t necessarily mean that every man, woman, child and pet in Kettering will be systematically raped and pillaged come 3.00PM on a Saturday.
What utter breakdown in law and order could be caused by a pensioner paying his money to gain access to the home end of the ground just before kick-off? How would society’s fabric be torn if a bona-fide Club Member showed his card at the ticket office at 2.30PM and bought a ticket?
Have our police got so little to do that they can spare so many of their number to jackboot their way around Rockingham Road? It makes you wonder how Northamptonshire Police would handle the situation if there were a genuinely large club in the County. Imagine for a moment if there was a club of, say, Leicester’s size within their territory….There would be no way to safely police games of that size without resorting to dawn raids, strip searches, waterboarding and organised death squads surely?
It’s not even as if the police are any use at our football games anyway. Where are they when the game is over and the supporters they have separated for 90 minutes are suddenly thrown together? The answer is of course, nowhere. Probably off counting their overtime pay and congratulating themselves on the fact the game between Kettering and Eastbourne hadn’t descended into a bloodbath.
"That's good work boys."
Thursday, 6 August 2009
In keeping with the “Classic-Patgod” habit of ignoring football as much as possible we take a moment away from the hissing cauldron of fevered expectation at the start of the new season to cast an eye further afield within our fair Borough.
Anyone passing the almost permanent worksite on Sheep Street will hardly fail to notice that the new-look market place is nearing completion. Lots of steps, slopes and er, flat bits, with a weird transparent roof in one corner. I’ve got to admit; the whole thing is less disagreeable than I thought it would be.
Of interest to Poppies fans is the mention of the Club’s founding within the “Kettering Timeline” which is a section of specially carved stone slabs making up part of the new surface of the market area. It’s a nice touch, but as I looked over this slab and the rest of the market place only one thought kept intruding into my thoughts –
“How quickly will our shit-thick, retarded youths take to f*ck this place up?”
Have you reached that age too? When your cool, right-on, leftie outlook suddenly takes a giant lurch to the right? One day you’re campaigning for a free South Africa, and the next day you find yourself nodding along to David Cameron or instinctively believing what you read in the Daily Mail. The fact you are actually reading the Daily Mail is a bad enough sign in itself, letting alone agreeing with it.
I can’t exactly pinpoint when I became a boring middle-aged, right-wing reactionary, but these days I find it takes an enormous effort of will power not to twat those gurgling, guffawing, thick-voiced, teen scuzz-buckets every time I see one. Every time I pass one of those braying, hoodie-wearing gumbies at the very least I feel the need to mock them, and on my black-dog days, I want to stomp on their stupid pimply faces until I develop a serious Achilles injury.
Is it just me, or are young people really annoying?
Hanging around in chuckling herds, moaning about having “nothing to do”, and acting as though they are the only generation to have discovered alcohol. Of course they have nothing to do. Occupying yourself takes a modicum of intellect. Nothing to do? These ungrateful, dull-eyed cabbages don’t know they’re born! When I was their age I didn’t have a million different computer game systems, mobile phones, facebook, twitter, all weather football pitches, athletics facilities, 10-screen cinemas, skate-parks, and the dozens of other facilities laid on to keep these dribbly dullards entertained.
All my generation had was Wicksteed Park up the age of 13 and masturbation thereafter, but we all grew up OK. And had curiously firm handshakes.
Instead of occupying themselves with one of the numerous entertainment avenues open to them, the flower of our youth prefer binge-drinking, teen pregnancy, knife crime and thieving. It doesn’t bode well for our species, does it?
Mind you, if one of them finds themselves unable to resist nicking the Kettering Town slab from the Kettering Timeline on the market place, I’m sure I could take it off their hands for a couple of cans of Stella.
"Huh, huh, huh, wicked!"
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
New season starts at Forest Green on Saturday, as if you didn’t know!
How are we shaping up for this new season? As ever, on the pitch nothing is guaranteed until games are being played for real, and neither team has a 20-goal head start! New players we have seen such as Jennings, Green and Spencer certainly don’t look out of place, and Fowler looks quality. The rest of the lads from last season are still good enough. All in all we look quite tidy.
Off the field things look slightly less rosy. Still no full-time Club Secretary, but plenty of Directors. The “all-ticket” mess is still ongoing. Are all our home games all-ticket? Will anyone be allowed to pay on the gate? Are we going to turn away all the old duffers who don’t know the games are all-ticket? Will the new kiosk for the sale of tickets at the ground ever be built? All these questions remain unanswered.
If the all-ticket policy is to continue the club needs a facility for online purchase of tickets, and an outlet for purchasing on the day. Not everyone plans in advance to watch the Poppies, and not everyone lives five minutes from the ground either. I fear attendances will take a sharp dip in the opening weeks of the season.
Why is it that more obstacles are being put in the way of supporting the Poppies, when a mixture of lethargy and pessimism will do an effective enough job anyway? When some fans finds it an effort to make it up to the Poppies to see the game, how will they be convinced to make the journey twice?
Perhaps a handy way around these problems would be for fans to pay money at the turnstile as they enter the ground. No, really. Wacky I know, but it could just work! Like it’s worked for the last 137 years without much of a problem.
Sunday, 2 August 2009
After Darlington left Rockingham Road with three easy points following the proverbial “men against boys” victory the writing was on the wall for our title aspirations. The writing said, “You ain’t good enough”.
Back then the Conference was still mostly made up of the teams we knew and hated for many seasons, interspersed with the annual “Guest Star” from the Football League. Generally they slummed it for a season and went back to where they came from. Being full-time in an otherwise part-time league always proved to be a handy advantage (see also the Poppies circa 2007-2008).
The Division is a lot different today – you can barely turn around for knocking into former lower league, and not so lower league has-beens. Our season in the Ryman league seemed like a detour to the farthest reaches of Hell, even though it was only a division below the highest level we’ve ever played at. One can only image what it must be like for fans of Luton, Oxford and Wimbledon to have gone from playing the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United not so long ago, to digging out the road map and looking for Eastbourne, Hayes & Yeading and, let’s be honest, little old us! Doesn’t bear thinking about.
Saturday, 1 August 2009
The ongoing saga of Morrell Maison’s post Poppies career has been a quiet affair only briefly enlivened by football club take-overs, beating up players, touchline bans and ousting by supporter organisations.
And yet when he was here he seemed such a likeable chap, had time for everyone, and a ready smile.
Except that is for the two occasions I happened to catch his attention. He didn’t come across as such a nice guy then, I can tell you!
The first occasion was at a reserve team game at Rockingham Road. You remember reserve team games? They tended to be held on a Wednesday night when the main stand was opened up to a combination of old foggies, people desperate to wring the last penny of worth from their season tickets and sad bastards with absolutely nothing else going on in their lives. Er.. and me of course.
Anyway, the game was in full flow, and although he wasn’t directly in control of team affairs Morrell strolled around the technical area with a cup of tea in hand, offering the odd word of instruction. Suddenly there was a comically poor decision given against one of our players. It was such a laughable bad decision I let out a surprised and inadvertent snort or derisive laughter. It appears I was the only person in the small crowd to find this passage of play so funny, and I let this noise escape me at the exact moment the ground fell into almost perfect silence. My exclamation carried across the ground quite audibly.
Certainly I seemed to find this incident funnier than Morrell did. I don’t know whether he thought I was laughing at his player, or didn’t like the sound of a fat bloke chortling loudly, but he gave me a stare of pure venom. It was a real Samuel L Jackson, bad-mother-f**ker look. I spent the rest of the game trying to avoid eye contact with our Manager and, more importantly, desperately trying to not find anything else on the pitch amusing – not as easy as it sound given that Darren Caskey was playing.
I put this down as a one-off until an away game at Worksop. This was the game where Anthony Elding received his 15th Poppies red card in only his 12th game for us and we slithered to a defeat, which pretty much ruled us out of play-off contention.
The team had indulged in a post match, halfway line huddle during which some of our supporters let them know how disappointed they were at the abject lack of effort, skill, and passion on display with various pithy phrases. As we continued to morosely file out of the ground, a curious feature of Worksop’s ground became worryingly apparent. In leaving the pitch the players walked straight across our path and into the dressing room. This served to quieten the mutterings amongst our brave terrace warriors. The players were mostly big buggers, and even if they couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo there was no guarantee they couldn’t hit a double chin with their fists.
At this point one of our more forthright fans known only as Rover couldn’t resist making a final critique of the day’s events. Unfortunately for me, Rover, at barely 5 and half foot tall, was to my rear. Consequently when Morrell’s head snapped in the direction of this latest comment he locked eyes directly onto mine. “Thanks Rover!” Instantly Morrell started answering back and heading in my direction, I guess not to thank me for making the effort to get to Worksop that day. Thankfully Nathan Koo Boothe, in almost certainly his only decent challenge in a Poppies shirt, held back his irate boss and the players smuggled the snarling Morrell down the tunnel.
Twice I had come into the Manager’s line of vision and both times saw his ugly side. I wouldn’t have minded so much if I had given him cause on either occasion, but I was an innocent bystander both times. Given the way some fans shriek at our Managers week in week out to no effect I don’t know whether I should be disheartened or proud of my record!
Difficult to believe now, and even more difficult to explain to someone too young to remember, but there was a time when Wycombe Wanderers were mere upstarts, intent on emulating Kettering Town. For a couple of seasons we grappled at the top end of the Conference, and then the balance of power shifted forever. No one knows for certain how or why Wycombe overhauled us.
Admittedly Wycombe’s Board of Directors appointed the success-hungry Martin O’Neill as Manager, invested in their team, moved to a brand new ground, attracted thousands of new fans and went all out for success. At the same time our Board of Directors were ignoring Tax Bills, negotiating a crippling rent for our ground, investing in board room refurbishments and giving laughing-boy Morris the budget to rush out and sign players of the stature of Neil Horwood.
No, how Wycombe surpassed us must remain one of those unsolvable mysteries, like the Pyramids, or Atlantis, or why were there no cats or dogs in the local area when Tony Ansell did our catering.
The world celebrated with the newly liberated Mandela by allowing his country to host pretty much every world-sporting event in the next few years. Never mind that other countries had waited longer or were more deserving. All that was forgotten in the rush to give South Africa more and more events at which their status as top of the world murder league could be further enhanced by whacking a few sports-tourists unlucky enough to have wandered 5 yards from their Hotels.
This Patgod cover managed to be only the 21,954th publication to feature Nelson on their cover following his release – still the fastest reaction time a football fanzine had managed at that date.