Monday, 27 December 2010

Memories of another deep freeze

News of yet another postponement means that the year will end with the Poppies last kicking a ball in league action on the 21st of November. Imraan must be regretting not shipping the rest of the squad out on loan until January while he had the chance.

Not the least curious thing about this lengthy hibernation for our Poppies stars is how on earth the club hasn’t gone bust by now. Usually by this time of year our cashflow is so precarious, the loss of just a couple of home fixtures sees our begging bowl status officially upgraded to red.

I’m also worried about Roper. Six weeks of inactivity coinciding with the festive season might be more than even his formidable dietary regime can withstand.

With the ground frozen so hard even the Easter fixtures are in doubt, this is all very reminiscent of what was previously the worst freeze I can remember, December ’81 (a milder version of 1963, for people who still have all their own teeth).

In 1981 the Poppies last saw league action on December 5 when Northwich were the visitors. However, unlike this year that was it in all competitions until the New Year. Our Cup 2nd round tie against Blackpool was postponed so many times, it was actually played on 3rd round day. Rockingham Road next hosted any kind of fixture on Jan 23 against Barrow, by which time the begging bowls were well and truly out, as anyone who remembers those times will recall.

It was a grim winter on and off the pitch. And to make matters worse, there was no Facebook in those days. However did we cope?

But there’s no denying we are in the middle of something quite unusual. However all is not lost. In terms of entertainment value, this year’s blank still beats last Christmas, when my abiding memory of the Boxing Day game against Tamworth is that I could have watched The Great Escape for the 42nd time instead.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Patgod Issue 11 – March 1991

By March 1991 it was starting to dawn on even the most optimistic Poppies fan that our once seemingly unassailable league position was becoming seriously "sailable". From a double-digit point lead at Christmas (the actual size of our lead at the top of the table differs widely depending on how alcohol-fuelled the re-telling of the story is) the pack had reeled us in.

At a time when Barnet boosted their run-in win signings like Paul Furlong (whatever happened to him?), we were coaxing Ernie Moss back out of retirement to lead us to the title with promises of Ovaltine and Werthers Originals....

Even though the general tone of Issue 11 was a bit miffed at the way the season was heading, the brown stuff really hit the fan with Issue 12 when we were all so pissed off that even the fanzine crew fell out.

Here are some other bits and pieces from issue 11 - enjoy!

John Cecil gets hot under the collar about the cold.

Winter? WINTER !!!!!

Call this Winter?

Back in the days (well, 1963) we had winter.

Did I take time off school? Did I buggery.

Did I wear long trousers to school? Did I buggery.

My recolection of that winter at Number 69 Pytchley Road still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

Don't talk to me about chilblains. I had them before I went to bed despite three pairs of socks on during the daytime (four at night). A Vest, two pairs of pyjamas and a jumper had to be donned to crawl between my sheets, 15 blankets and whatever else could be piled on top so that you could barely squeeze your five stone frame through.

Ice formed INSIDE the windows and a trip along the landing to the toilet was not unlike Scott leaving the comfort of camp to find the South Pole.

(And to think, an inside Loo had only just become "all the rage".)

The hot water bottle(s) - dependant upon my older sister being out or not - bought little comfort as they were too hot to put my feet on initially and irritated the chilblains anyway.

Central heating? PAH!

Up at half six and it was a mad dash to get the chair next to the oven to put the feet into (I kid you not). Breakfast of Scotch Porridge Oats and then the dreaded order "John, go and get dressed for school!"

Undressed for school more like. Off would come the sets of pyjamas and on would go the Gery shorts, white shirt and grey jumper of Highfield Road Primary School. (Plus with it being 4 months into a school year I had already kicked the toes out of my shoes).

I would trudge to the bottom of the street to be greeted by Mr. Wooley and his Lolipop stick dressed in his ten layers of clothes and six scarves and have the cheek to declare "A little bit nippy this morning, laddy".

Inside the school made little difference as after morning assembly we would accompany our collective chapped knees and go and sit under Bondi Bunder who would, safe and sound in his bloody warm corridor announce "Dosn't the snow look lovely out there?"

So.............Next time you are peering out at the snow, unable to go to school because the temperature has dropped below 10 degrees, and you have to spend the day in your centrally heated bedroom playing on your PS7 or whatever its called these days (with the option of switching your electric blanket on for a thirty minute siesta if the excitement gets too much) spare a thought for us oldies who really do remember what winter was like.

Oh, and we played a bit of football too.


Saturday, 18 December 2010

A Matter of Life and Death

It goes without saying that the death of Dale Roberts is a genuinely tragic event. For anyone to choose to take their own life when young and with so much to live for is incredibly sad, and poor Dale’s family, friends and clubmates must be devastated.

There has been much outpouring of sympathy on Poppynet and no doubt all sincere and heartfelt. But at times like this it’s hard not to reach for the clich├ęs and the inevitable phrase that kept cropping up was “it puts (insert word here) into perspective”. Yes it does that all right. But when did things get so skewed that it takes a player, who happened to play for Diamonds, to actually die for such things to be said?

I’m old enough to remember when the Poppies crowd was noisy and passionate yet the game was not the be all and end all. Opposition players were given friendly stick and would sometimes respond with a smile or a comment that earned a laugh. This isn’t a slice of a bygone black & white era, I’m talking about the 1980s. Yes we sang that we hated Worcester City, we hated Yeovil too (and Barnet) but the thing is, we didn’t really hate them , it was tongue in cheek.

Somewhere along the line the tone changed from humour to abuse, just gutter stuff that even now some defend as “banter”. Perspective went out the window and every opposition player within range – and particularly the lone target between the sticks – is routinely insulted like he’s a threat to society. Dale Roberts no doubt copped an earful at the Cowper Street end just a few weeks ago, perhaps from some of the same people who now go on line to praise him.

The proposed flag tribute at Nene Park is a fine idea and it would be better still if somehow, having regained a little perspective, we could hold on to it for a while.

Latest Club News

It’s been another exciting week at Kettering Town and here’s just a few of the highlights.

With Christmas almost upon us, the Poppies have yet to drop a point in the League since mid November!

Hopes of an FA Trophy run all the way through to the 2nd Round Proper were dashed when the Poppies met their match in mighty Chasetown (pop 3,581) - but not before taking the tie to extra time in a replay! Well done boys we’re proud of you!

Marcus Law has strengthened his squad with another quality acquisition from the Evo Stik League First Division South!

Business is booming in the Poppies club shop, as fans snap up festive bargains like the current squad’s actual kit for a fiver each and the club shop itself for £10!

Former legend Roger Ashby has rejoined the club! For those fans too young to remember , Roger holds the Poppies appearances record and kept close links with the club by pinching all our best players when in charge down the road!

Happy days at Rockingham Road!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Fascinating Facts About Chasetown

Believe us we tried. We trawled trough dusty ledgers in public libraries. We put a team of researchers on the job. Hell we even googled it. Eventually we had to admit defeat. There are no fascinating facts about Chasetown.

The most we have been able to discover is that Chasetown (a place no one's heard of) is an area in the town of Burntwood (come again?) which partly lies in the parish of Hammerwich (where??).

And we thought parts of Northamptonshire were obscure.

But before we dismiss Chasetown as Nowheresville UK, it's worth noting that it boasts the first church in the country to have electric lights.


Thursday, 9 December 2010

1137 for 6 dec

Should your spirits need lifting at this latest darkest hour for KTFC, breaking news from Australia.

After their spanking in the 2nd Test, Shane Warne is rumoured to be on the brink of a dramatic comeback. The selectors are looking for a nurse with access to free cheeseburgers to clinch the deal. If that fails they will turn to their reserve option, Richie Benaud - on current evidence the 2nd rated Aussie spinner.

The 2nd rated Western Samoan spinner would have fared better than the brilliant new Simpsons character Xavier D'oh!erty (face like Cletus, strike rate like Mr Burns) who fed England countless runs in the first two Tests.

When Cook and KP weren't smacking him around they were feasting on the seamers, who try as they might looked about as nasty as Christopher Biggins. Even the sledging was weak. Whereas McGrath could reduce a pom to bedwetting with a well aimed jibe, Johnson's best shot appeared to be "you... you... IN FORM BATSMAN you!"

Steve Waugh with his slitty eyes could carry off the gunslinger thing. This lot look like the schmucks who get dunked in the horse trough in the comedy saloon brawl.

But to their credit the selectors are refusing to panic.

Australian XII for the 3rd Test:

Shane Watson
Mad Max
Ricky Ponting (c)
Dame Edna Everage
Clive James
Don Bradman (deceased)
Kylie Minogue
Crocodile Dundee
Dannii Minogue (wk)
Red Back Spider

Gazza reaches lowest ebb

Not only did Gazza only just miss out on going to prison today on drink driving charges, but NONE of the online reports mention his legendary stint at the Poppies.  Gazza'a star must have well and truly waned when he is no longer considered worthy enough to be mentioned in the same breath as the Poppies!

Not quite as sober as a Judge

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

When Football Came To Kettering

Destined for numerous stockings come the 25th
As we all wait for news of when football will leave Kettering along comes Mel Hopkins and Bob Brown's well timed new book about the origins of football within the town. 

As most people associated with the Poppies know, Mel has been working on a history of the Poppies from about twenty years before the Club was formed!  We reported on Mel's efforts during the original PATGOD run a couple of decades ago.  Thankfully it would appear that Bob Brown has put a rocket up his arse* and the results of their joint labour is now available to buy at various locations around town and hopefully beyond.

Covering the first 28 years of the Club's existence, and about as many different playing fields, the guys recount the backdrop to the confused formation of the Kettering Football Club.  In those long-ago days there was almost as many different versions of football as there were teams, and the schism between rugby and football had yet to fully happen.  Everything was in such flux that teams and probably rules were likely to change at least twice during the half-time oranges!

The book is a phenomenal achievement, marrying mind-boggling levels of research, an easy reading style and lots of photographs of men with big moustaches.  And it's about OUR CLUB!  It is one of those books that you always see people writing about other clubs and you always wished someone would do it about the Poppies.  Well, now they have!  No self-respecting Poppies fan can afford to be without this book.  Rush out and get it NOW! 

* this is purely guesswork on our part.  If could just as likely be the case that Mel was just about to go to the printers when Bob turned up!  Yeah, right!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Tick Tock...

And so we all continue to wait for the announcement. You know, the big one. “All rumours will be laid to rest before Christmas”. What, all of them? The parentage of Prince Harry? The sexuality of Sol Campbell? The real reason Abramovich is so rich despite resembling an albino chimp with a double digit IQ?

Opinion is divided as to whether what we’re about to hear will be good news or bad. Optimists speculate that a deal has been done to extend the lease or buy the ground. Everyone else fears the worst.

Well you can’t blame us. It’s hard to escape the feeling that something unpleasant is brewing. Little clues here and there, like the new boss seeking to lower expectations, wages being slashed, players being offloaded and backroom staff departing.

Chancellor Ladak has conducted his own Emergency Spending Review and at this rate we’ll soon be kicking off at 2pm to save electricity.

Of course we’ve been here before in more ways than one. Mid season budget cuts are nothing new at KTFC. No season under Peter Mallinger was complete without an early winter spending cull. It became as reliable an annual tradition as the switching on of the Christmas lights – or switching off in our case.

And Ladak also likes to trail his big announcements in advance. This time last year it was “six weeks to save the club”. Never did hear how that ended. Still, at least it wasn’t “14 hours to save the earth”.

It’s not impossible that there is an element of egotism in this. If we really are up shit creek, why not just say so. Give it to us straight doc – how long have we got? Unless there is something going on which can’t be made public now but will be soon. The rumours which will be laid to rest. In no particular order:

Groundshare at Corby.
Merger with Corby.
Groundshare at Diamonds.
Merger with Diamonds.

Groundsharing would appear to be a plan with little future because Conference rules prohibit member clubs from sharing a ground outside their borough.

Peter Mallinger of course proposed a Corby merger over a decade ago, so we can guess where he stands on the issue. The recent Diamonds takeover might have ended any interest there in a merger, but who knows.

If it’s to be a merger with Corby or Diamonds or Rothwell bloody Corinthinians, it will amount to the same thing – the end of Kettering Town – one of the oldest football clubs in the country (and therefore the world) after nearly 140 years.

A merged club playing in Kettering would be hard enough to contemplate. A merged club playing somewhere else would just be utterly alien. It would mean nothing to the likes of us but maybe that’s not important any more.

Football clubs are just business commodities for the modern breed of owner. The owner of a business doesn’t care where the customers come from. Move the business to another place, get new customers. Doesn't matter if they’re different customers so long as there’s more of them. It worked for MK Dons and if your mind operates that way there is a certain logic.

Mallinger has switched his loyalty from Newcastle to Kettering to Corby, and once compared the football spectator’s choice as being similar to deciding to shop at Tesco rather than Sainsburys. Ladak bought us having considered numerous alternatives and it’s unlikely he feels any particular affinity for the town of Kettering – why would he, he’s never lived there. Plenty of people who do couldn’t give a toss about the place.

So whatever the news we’re about to hear, I’m not pinning my hopes on anything too sentimental entering the equation. It would just be nice to know so if necessary we can get on with ordering the flowers and sorting out the headstone.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Who wants to host the World Cup anyway?

Who wants hoards of fat Germans with drooping moustaches wandering around our streets, breaking wind and being all smug?  We can do without stuck-up Frenchies over here affecting an air of superiority because they like eating parts of animals the rest of the world steer clear of.  And, spare us the coach loads of obnoxious Yanks shouting "U.S.A." and using the word soccer.

Give the World Cup to the shittiest places in the world FOREVER, and have done with it! We've already made a start....

2018 Mafia controlled Russia
2022 Al Quaeda controlled Qatar

and then....

2026 Communist controlled North Korea
2030 Back in time to Nazi Germany
2034 Mordor
2038 The post apocalyptic remnants of Irthlingborough, in a joint bid with the "city" or Corby (always makes me chuckle!)

Never a Dull Moment

It's that time of year again.  Gates not up to 3000.  No money coming in from an FA Cup run.  Time running out on the ground.  Players and staff leaving.

Time to do the introductions once more.

Shit, this is fan.  Fan, this is shit.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Fascinating Facts about Grimsby

Grimsby this morning
This is going to be a short one as the chances of us playing there tonight would appear to be slim to none!

Grimsby should be called Cleethorpes as that is where their ground is situated.  By the same token Corby should be called Drunken, Druggie FC, and the Direones should be called the Direones.

The town smells of cod.  Just imagine if the warm, sweet, all-encompassing weetabix waft we get from Burton was stinking fish... Eeeuw!

The most famous celebrity from Grimsby is the actress Julie Peasgood. No, me neither.  Just about puts Grimsby on a par with Kettering when it comes to producing glamorous celebrities!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Where Are They Now? No.2 Mark Cooper.

All homes sold, providing they benefit from
solid construction, with none of that arty-farty flair stuff
Cooper's quality as a Manager was based upon making his teams difficult to beat.  He made sure the entire team defended the goal when the opposition had the ball. 

Which, to be honest, was quite often as Mark's standing instruction was to get rid of it as quick as possible.

Nevertheless, when it came to protecting what you had, and being "as safe as houseses", Mark was your man. 

It can come as no surprise then to see that although he has left football behind, he hasn't had to change his outlook as an estate agent, where his no nonsense, safety-first approach will continue to bear fruit.  

Saturday, 27 November 2010

We're all soft as s*ite! OFFICIAL

Today's game with Gateshead has been called off.  Just because the ground is a bit hard.  And there's a bit of snow on the ground.  Ah, diddums!  When did we become so soft?  When did we stop simply clearing snow from the lines around the pitch, grab an orange ball and get on with it?  And when did it become acceptable for players to wear vest, gloves and now those bloody silly neck warmers just because the temperature has dropped a smidgen?

When did men stop being men?

Jonny Graham crashes the equaliser into the roof of the net!
It certainly wasn't like this back in 1992 when on a bitter Friday night in January the Poppies lined up against Colchester United in a top of the table clash.  Cold?  It was the sort of night where even Polar Bears wouldn't have ventured out.  And yet over four thousand of us slipped and slithered our way to the game, only to see us go 2-0 down before little Jonny Graham struck twice late on to get us a point.  And I don't remember a pair of gloves in sight.  Except for the two pairs of gloves, dozen layers of clothes, hat, and thick woolie socks I was wearing of course!

Surely the only reason the game went ahead was because it was being televised by some micky mouse oufit called Sportscast (?).  They had secured the rights to televise Conference games to the uninterested patrons of the few public houses in the country who had the "foresight" to believe that a bit of third rate kick and rush would gather in the punters....Needless to say the company offering this service lasted not much longer than the cold snap. 

Should the game have gone ahead?  No, of course not!  But one can picture the Sportscast hierarchy badgering the beleaguered officials into letting the game go ahead, allied no doubt, by a Poppies Chairman, weighed down by the enormous gate takings, that he would have returned over his own dead body!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Bye bye Andre

Andre Boucaud links up with Jordan Hadfield
I thought Andre's departure would leave me affected more than it actually has.  Instead of being angry or happy all I want to do is shrug my shoulders in an all too Gallic way. 

York City may have acquired a star.  Or not.  It depends on which of the three Andre Boucauds turns out for them.  Will it be the devil-may-care rampaging midfielder of Maison's days?  Perhaps he will be Cooper's hard running, tough tackling lynch pin?  Or, unluckily for York, he maybe the current holding player who cannot pass forward, keeps getting dispossessed when attempting his 976th drag back of the game, and can only kick the ball straight when it is to Noubissie?

I just hope we bank the fee in January before he realises how far York is from London!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Where Are They Now?

Any football manager losing their job is sad. Actually, scratch that. Justin Edinburgh getting the boot for leading the Scum to relegation - that I could live with!

The Poppies hot seat has seen more than it's share of bosses getting the boot. And where on earth do you go when you are deemed surplus to requirements by us? Well, it would appear that most of our managerial cast-offs employ their talents away from football - and who can blame them?

No.1 - Lee Harper

At Lee's chippie thankfully only the fish gets battered!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Fascinating Facts About Wimbledon

Wimbledon cliche No.1
 Home of the most prestigious tennis event in the world, and yet access to the site is worse than trying to get in and out of Redditch’s car park! Every year the nation dares to hope that for once Johnny Foreigner is going to be knocked off his winner’s perch by a local lad, and every year we are disappointed.

Our desperation for a British winner at Wimbledon has become so acute that we are all, reluctantly, clasping a whiny, nasty little Jock to our collective bosom in the hope that he win it for Blighty! He will then be hailed as a true British Champion, as opposed to the miserable Scottish loser he invariably reverts to before the fortnight is over.

Wimbledon was the home base for the infamous “Crazy Gang” in the 1980’s and 1990’s. This motley collection of cloggers spent several seasons hoofing the ball, and opponents around in the Premier League. They were the footballing equivalent of the rough boy from the council estate let loose with the frail young boys of the lower third from the posh private school.

Foremost among their ranks was Vinnie Jones, who made his name by fondling future Poppies boss Paul Gascoigne. Perhaps it was this incident that turned young Gazza toward the comfort of the bottle?

Vinnie has somehow carved a career for himself as an international footballer with Wales (!) and an action movie tough guy. The Welsh bit is something of a stretch as he is about as Welsh as Tom Jones’s latest hairpiece. Happily the acting part is more natural, given that he usually plays borderline psychotics.

Wimbledon cliche No.2
Oliver Reed, the drinking man’s Hellraiser is a famous son of the Borough of Wimbledon, as is the weedy-shandy-drinking-wanabee Martin Clunes.

We are constantly reminded that the character of Brian Lane in BBC’s “New Tricks” is a tedious AFC Dons fan even though he, and Alun Armstrong, the actor who plays him, couldn’t be more northern if he had a flat cap surgically grafted to his head and ate nothing but black pudding.

The most famous residents of Wimbledon are of course the loveable do-gooders, the Wombles. Back in the early 1970’s they were decades ahead of their time with the recycle and reuse message. However, their green credentials were tarnished by the amount of oil used to provide the plastic used in the manufacture of the millions of novelty records they produced. Consequently their carbon footprint is roughly the same size as the one caused by the Gulf war.

Kate Humble also comes from Wimbledon. Even if she didn’t, I think I’d still try to use this photograph…..

I'm going to kick myself for not coming up with a caption which somehow
includes Kate and her ornothological career!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

1981 and all that

Someone once said history always repeats itself, the second time as farce.
History seems to be repeating itself big time at the moment.
Country in the grip of a recession. Tory government. Riots. A royal wedding. An Ashes series we might just win. For anyone of a certain age, we’re talking 1981. Should you be in any doubt, switch on the telly on a Saturday night and there’ll still be a big chinned, low rent version of Sammy Davis Jr grinning back at you beneath his wig.
As for the farce bit...
Country heading for the most severe austerity measures since post-war rationing and somehow those behind the plan have dictated the agenda that they had no choice, even though they did and this actually suits their purposes.
Riots but in a very modern, polite sense, where students come back later to scrub off the graffiti and organise a facebook campaign to name and shame those responsible.
Another bloody royal wedding and after 24 hours already I’m sick of it, yet in this hi-tech multi media age there will be no escape, and those who refuse to enjoy it will be forced into exile.
An Ashes series we might win but compressed into about a fortnight which means that the team that recovers best in the 4 hour gap between the 2nd and 3rd Tests will have the advantage.
And Brucie is still reading the autocue like it’s an innovation he first encountered yesterday and delivering gags that in normal circumstances ought to see him arrested.
So what does all this have to do with our beloved KTFC?
Echoes there too.
The team’s fortunes have dipped after a successful manager left to join a League club.
Off the pitch there’s a general feeling of impending doom.
No one beyond a dedicated 1,000 appears to give a monkey’s.
And on a bad day you can still hear Buck's Fizz before a match.

This town... coming like a ghost town.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Home and Away II

A few more excuses came to mind at the game yesterday -

The dug outs have been changed around (Sorry Lee, but that was one excuse too far)

The ref's always favour the ex-league clubs (Yeah, they do.  Bastards!)

The ref's always favour the smaller, part-time clubs (Yeah, they do. Bastards!)

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Home and Away

We all know that our home form over the past couple of years has been appalling, but do we all know just how appalling?  The slide had well and truly begun under Cooper, when a wedge of home draws and good away wins helped mask the lack of home wins.  This continued and became more acute under Harper's tenure, and became more noticeable as the away wins started to dry up.

This season we are rock bottom of the home form league table, with only Hayes & Yeading put to the sword at Rocky Road.  And this is in the sense that "put to the sword" means we clung on desperately for the last 30 minutes, not daring to venture further forward than the edge of our penalty box.

Our away form puts is the 3rd best in the league, with us gaining just 3 points less on our travels than the Crawley millionaires.

Why is there this enormous gulf between home and away form?  Well, wonder no more!

Printed below is PATGOD's handy guide to all the excuses we have heard and/or used over the past couple of years.  Please feel free to dip into them come 4.45PM today after the Cambridge game.

The players are scared of the fans (possibly true given the number of uglies we attract)

The players are scared of being booed if they shoot and miss (it would be nice if they at least put this theory to the test now and again)

The supporters nervousness affects the players (Nervous!  Of course we're bloody nervous!  We don't win at home!  I'm amazed we don't all just chain-smoke through the entire game!)

The opposition players raise their game because they are playing at Rocky Road (that's right, a player who performs every other week in front of several thousand fans, or at shiny new stadiums is going to play out of his skin at our rusty ground in front of a thousand grizzlers)

The supporters don't support they team like they used to (we all like to think that in the past every man, woman and child at the ground screamed themselves hoarse for 90 minutes in support of the team.  In reality it has always been left to the drunken fringe to try to lift the quiet gloom - it's just that we have less of them these days)

The uncertain future of the Club hangs around the payers necks (I doubt that our precarious future is keeping many of the players awake at night.  In an industry where players can be employed or a monthly, weekly or even match-by-match basis it is unlikely that any of them will be worried by what might happen to the Poppies in a couple of years time)

The state of the pitch doesn't suit our style of play (but seemingly suits everyone else's!)

Pete Simcoe's plays shit music (True, but does that necessarily make the team play shit too?)

We are too friendly to the opposition (Try telling Rene Howe that!)

The players are bottlers (All of them?  All the time?  What about away from home?)

The ground is under a Gypsy / Egyptian / Druid curse (Well, we did once kill the copper-stealing Pharaoh who hailed from Glastonbury, but that was years ago!)

Sunday, 7 November 2010

God Bless the 4.38PM goal rush!

At about twenty to five on Saturday it looked as though the Scum and the Plastic Jocks were both heading for big FA Cup headlines of the sort we have got used to over the past couple of seasons.  Not that we are at all jealous.  Heavens, no. (bastards!)

Corby were about to dump out Luton in front of hundreds of home fans who had never seen their heroes play anyone except the Poppies before.  The Direones were hanging onto a creditable draw against League One (still seems strange to type that) Yeovil Town.

By twenty to five the Scum were slithering to defeat in front of a worryingly minuscule gate of under 1700, and the Jocks had let in an equaliser.  All's better with the world again.  The county rings with cheers - Luton fans at the Triangle, Yeovil fans at Legoland, Kettering fans just happy that other local clubs were not winning, and of course Peter Mallinger dreaming of a big pay day from Corby's replay at Kenilworth Road.  Who knows, if they make a few quid out of the return game, Mallinger might be able to leave his begging bowl at home for a few more months, and keep the sob stories off the back page of the ET a little longer.

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Cube is Here!

The news of the opening of Corby's new "Cube" has excited everyone.  Even in old, unloved Kettering we are happy to press our faces to the shiny windows of Corby's brilliance and enjoy a quick bask.  How does Corby Council manage to pull off such coups for their people, when all our councillors can manage is a glorified skatepark and a big steel block which will obscure our view of the Parish church?

We happened upon the attached document, tracing the development of the Corby Cube from the initial, detailed design drawing through to the funding and completion.  It is truly a remarkable series of events showing what can be achieved with a diligent council, firm national leadership, and a "can-do" attitude.

Of perhaps even more interest than this document is the following timetable of events at the new cube.  These are heady days indeed and Corby's excitement is surely shared with the whole country!

Tuesday 2nd November 9.00AM - the Cube opens for business. 

Tuesday 2nd November 9.05AM.  A perfectly reasonable fight ensues at the Cube entrance between Celtic and Rangers fans, arguing over a battle fought by people in a different county half a millennium ago.....AND over whether the Cube should be painted green and white, or blue....

Tuesday 2nd November 9.15AM.  The local populace have cottoned onto the fact that the library and municipal offices within the Cube don't sell Lottery scratchcards, Irn Bru or cheap, chav-clothing.

Tuesday 2nd November 9.20AM.  The Cube is abandoned.

Tuesday 2nd November 9.25AM.  The first window is smashed.

Tuesday 2nd November 9.35AM.  The building is set alight by a local punch-drunk druggie.

Tuesday 2nd November 10.35AM.  The firebrigade have 20 units on site.

Tuesday 2nd November 2.30PM.  The worst of the fire has been put out and the fire brigade are allowing people back into their houses.

Tuesday 2nd November 2.35PM.  Corby Council call the National Government for more money to build something else.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Fascinating Facts about Newport - addition

When we tried to illustrate the subject of the Manic Street Preachers all we could
find was this photograph. 

Admittedly, the preacher in question doesn't appear too manic, and he's not actually on the street....Still, we're pretty sure he's a preacher, or at least looks like one.

Fascinating Facts about Newport

With a population in excess of 140,000 the district of Newport is larger than the Boroughs of Kettering and Corby combined!  Not that we’re suggesting the Kettering and Corby should be combined……

The most infamous event in the history of Newport was their football team going belly-up in 1989 and costing mighty Poppies the chance of getting into the Football League.  That and the fact the Maidstone, who were full of bristling attacking intent, as opposed to our Peter Morris led team of grinders, were a much better team than us I suppose!

Famous people from Newport include Desmond “Pay attention Bond” Llewellyn, the miserable sod who used to give 007 all his effective tools for killing people, and snazzy cars which he always managed to wreck.

Gareth David-Lloyd was in the BBC series Torchwood, where, part way through the run his character suddenly decided to be gay!  Overnight he went from having a semi-cyber buxom hottie, to fancying Captain Jack’s brown starfish! 

Given that the programme was produced by famously "theatrical" producer Russell T Davies, one can only assume this sort of abrupt sexuality change was seen as a “perfectly normal”, everyday occurrence in Daviesland. 

And let’s face it, we all know absolutely tons of people who suddenly decide to play for the other team, don’t we? 

Another notable son of Newport is misery-guts lead singer / guitarist of po-faced Manic Street Preachers fame - James Dean Bradfield.  It is rumoured he smiled once, but it didn't agree with him or his strongly held views.

On the subject of grizzled, over-rated musicians, it is widely believed that Grunge-meister Kurt Cobain proposed marriage to the rough hell-cat Courtney Love at a bar called TJ's in Newport.  It may have been better in the long run for the angst-ridden mumbler if she had turned him down.....

But then again, would dreary, shuffling 14-year olds have Kurt's face on their T-shirts if he'd lived long enough to perform Disney duets with Elton John and become the public face of Oil of Olay and the N.R.A?

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Magnificent Seven

Following on from the last piece which painfully highlighted our abject history of failure against the Scum, we thought we'd wallow in our ineptitude a little longer.

Our return of a whopping seven goals (or a handful if your are a reader from Irthlingborough) has thrown up seven goalscoring Poppies heroes - our Magnificent Seven.

"Poncho" Pearson, "Snake-eyes" Norman, "Blondie" Vowden,  "Mad" McNamara,
"Colonel" Codnor, "Six-shooter" Seddon, and "Grandpappy" Furlong

Chris Pearson had the dubious honour of scoring our solitary replay to The Scum's five on their first visit to Rockingham Road.  Can't remember the goal as such (but am prepared to guess Chris didn't score from a one-on-one position!)  The only thing I can remember hitting the back of the net with any force was their goalie at one point!

Poppies went goal crazy at Non Park at the end of the 1998-99 season when both Vowden and McNamara scored to give us our solitary victory and claim runners-up spot in the League.  Of course, this was back in the days when you might just as well have finished one place above the relegation zone as finish 2nd!

A Craig Norman penalty gave us our next goal later in 1999. Not surprising a defender got the goal really given the fact that we were relying on forwards of the quality of Sam Banya.

Robert Codner scored our next goal the following season during another semi-profitable trip to Legoland.  A bit of a mystery man was Codner.  He seemed to flit in and out of the side and indeed, our club for most of a season in between micro-stints elsewhere.  Journeyman or not, at least he stuck one in against the Inbreds.

There then followed a long gap where the Direones had to settle for bumping along, playing the likes of QPR, Bristol City and Blackpool, whilst we hosted such glamourous outfits as Braintree Town, Billericay, Heybridge Swifts and the famous Ford United.  I heard it reported on good authority that upon disembarking their minibus the Ford United players stood in the shadow of our main stand saying words to the effect of, "What the hell is a club this size doing in this league?"  They then found out by spanking us 3-0 on our patch and followed this up with a 2-0 on their park pitch a few months later.

After several barren years the newly resurgent Poppies and the "too shit for the Football League" Diamonds were thrown together again.  Almost instantly Gareth Seddon had the temerity to put us 1-0 up at Rocky road before they inevitably equalised.

And that was it goal wise until Paul Furlong's iron-girded neck muscles gave us all pointless hope in last weekend's Cup game.

Seven goals.  Averaged out at less that half a goal per game.  Probably a good point to stop beating ourselves up, at least until early January.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Curse of the Living In-Bred

I suppose by this late juncture we are all prepared to accept the fact that we are cursed to have the worst record any club could wish to have against a hated rival.  As a collective bunch we must have killed a shit load of black cats, broke thousands of mirrors and more than likely were responsible for death of the Messiah.

It stinks, but what can you do?

A more thorough look over our record against the Scum throws up some truly appalling statistics.  Leaving aside pointless County Cup games against them, our proud record stands thus: -

Played                    16
Won                        1
Drawn                     5
Lost                         10
Goals For                7
Goals Against        27

That is the sort of record that we would expect to see against a Championship team, not one on a par with us.  On the positive (!) side, after 4 games we'd lost them all and conceded 11 goals into the bargain, so you could say that our record is getting better......

And who could forget the magical 1998-99 season where we took 4 POINTS OFF THEM IN A SINGLE SEASON!  You don't hear Scum fans crowing about THAT season do you! HA!

Now, where did I leave that family-sized tub of paracetamols?

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Did someone mention the FA Cup?

So, we have our 'nth opportunity to finally put one over on the Scum on our own patch in a worthwhile competition.  Am I the only person who secretly wishes the game was to be played at Non Park rather than "Fortress Rocky Road?"  As we all know, proper wins over the massed army of darkness are as rare as a child being born in Irthlingborough with 10 (unwebbed) fingers and toes, but on our patch the tally still stands at zero.

De Banker is up for the Big One
 Our solitary win over the bestial bull-buggerers came back in 1999.  This means, that unless we win this FA Cup tie we are looking at a run of failure stretching into a THIRD DECADE!  A truly mind-boggling statistic - particularly considering they have yet to exist for three decades!

This win is commemorated in a large photograph in the Social Club, where the winning Poppies team (some of whom are to this day, still alive) are thanking the collection of ugly squits we call fans for their support. 

We've all looked over the photograph many times over the years, trying to spot ourselves and loved ones. 

Trying to remember old whats-his-name at the back. 

Trying to figure out how soon after this photo was taken that Paddy Swift fell off the advertising hoardings. 

Marvelling at how thin Jon Dunham looks! 

Trying, during the bitterly cold Ryman Season, to remember when we were actually a team that could win games. 

And trying to convince anyone that I am just out of shot, and not off playing cricket somewhere.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Marcus Law: messiah status temporarily downgraded

Before today my last game at RR was Wrexham and of course much has happened in the meantime. Harper sacked, Maison back in charge for all of 7 days during which we scored 5 and conceded 6, Westwood sent off at least twice (I lost count), new Poppies boss we'd never heard of from a club we'd never heard of in a league we'd never heard of, three straight wins lifting us to midtable, and of course those Chilean miners rescued.

So I was keen to see what difference this new guy had made to the Poppies already. It wouldn't be hard. Three home wins in the last year has made Rockingham Road a buffet bar for visiting teams. But within 4 minutes things were looking good. We'd actually scored a goal - already an above par experience for the home faithful. For the rest of the first half we dominated with nimble passing and created enough chances to clinch the points.

Ever the dreamer, I looked forward to maybe a comfortable 2 or 3-0 to push us into the top ten and enhance the feeling that we were on the up. Instead we lacked impetus after the break and the sending off actually galvanised Kiddy into playing with more spirit. I still liked the ploy of keeping three men forward when we were defending corners - all the better to spring counter attacks. The only thing missing was the execution.

Kiddy deserved their equaliser and if we were them we'd be proud of the draw against the odds. From our perspective it was another unsuccessful show at home but today at least there were flashes of attacking threat. Sadly the best opportunity fell to Makofo, sorry Serge M as his shirt says (how many other Serges do we have?). In the last seconds a far post header went too high. But, overall, compared to the meagre fare at RR of late this was mildly encouraging. Not necessarily high praise, but beat the inbreds next Saturday and Marcus Law will already have achieved more than several of his predecessors.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Sad Sc-Fi Freaks take over at Kidderminster!

Just take a look at the current Kiddy club logo and compare to the emblem used to identify the Romulan Empire by the makers of Star Trek.  Now, you tell me if someone at Aggbrough doesn't own a Star Trek DVD box set, a pair of pointy ears, and attends nerdy conventions whilst dressing up as James Tiberius Kirk!  The sad, Sci-Fi watching, "Live long and prospering" bastards!
That said, it's just struck me that I can't give a satisfactory answer as to how I know all this stuff.......oops!

Obvious gag alert!

One of these emblems represents all that is untrustworthy, divisive between different peoples and a danger to galactic peace, whilst the other, of course, is the Romulan logo!

Ho, ho!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Does Marcus have the "X-Factor"?

What differentiates the successful managers from the Peter Taylors of this world? Can it be a case of pure ability? Are the better managers absolute masters of tactics? Or does the difference between the Coopers and Harpers come down to the ability to wring an extra 5% effort from the players?

There's probably no easy answer, but whatever "it" is, at this early juncture Marcus Law appears to have it. Yesterday's victory against our usual whipping boys at Southport as far easier than the score suggests. Had we kept 11 players on the pitch we would have won at a canter. Which brings us neatly to: -

Heroes of the Southport game.

Kelvin Jack - possibly the best catcher of a football I've seen in a Poppies shirt - nothing settles the back four better than knowing the 'keeper can come and claim the ball. This despite playing most of the game in pain after being in the middle of a Southport sandwich.

Patrick Noubissie - waste of space in midfield, but excellent at right back.

Villains of the Southport game.

I suppose Westwood must come into this category. For an hour he was having comfortably his best game in a Poppies shirt sitting in front of the back four. Then he received a straight red for a "whole-hearted" challenge. I don't know, but these days I have an almost "Wengeresque" ability to not see important flash points during the game. I recall the challenge, but, like the Southport players and supporters in their stand, thought nothing much of it until the red card was brandished. Westwood does himself no favours by rampaging around the pitch like Gary Wackett from Mike Bassett - England Manager, but is his reputation preceding him as far as the officials are concerned?
Davis is escorted from the ground by the police for his own protection
Brick Shithouse Southport defender Earl Davies also did himself few favours in the eyes of the travelling supporters for his involvement with Jack's injury. How much he was to blame is debatable, but he made a good target for our terrace hardmen. Not that they would have made such a fuss if he had actually taken up one of the initiations offered by our angry fans - he was a big bugger, and would, in all probability, been able to smack seven bells out of everyone in our end of the ground had he a mind to do it.

Thankfully, after seemingly years of profanity-littered vitriol masquerading as terrace wit, someone rolled back the years and come up with a gem aimed at Davis. When he was at the centre of attention right in front of the away fans, someone (I wish it was me!) let fly with, "Bring on the wall!" Excellent. Now tell me that isn't better than just calling opposition players, "F**king C**ts" all game long.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Fascinating Facts about Southport

We love going to Southport.  The seaside.  The golden beach, The refined resort.  The guaranteed 3-points.  In fact, the Poppies have won on their last 112 visits to Southport.  More or less.

Housewives favourite, Red Rum did much of his training on Southport beach.  Donkeys always look somewhat crestfallen, and I'm sure the ones on Southport beach are no different.  I imagine Red Rum's furiously sexy striding through the waves did nothing for their pronounced inferiority complex.

PATGOD - No cliche is too hoary!
Effortlessly horny actress Miranda Richardson, dodgy gender-bender pop star Marc Almond and 70's "Confessions" actor Robin Askwith all hail from Southport.

Incredibly, back in 1971 Southport actually voted to be part of Merseyside!  A decision bitterly regretted by the populace ever since, except for the manager of the local JJB, who enjoyed a surge in shell suit sales.

Even more calamitous for Southport was their expulsion from the Football League just seven years later despite the fact they never finished bottom of the League.  Admittedly for the previous three seasons they'd finished one from bottom each year, but still, NEVER bottom!

As a member of the, "Uh, what do you  mean, they used to be in the Football League?" society, they take their place alongside such clubs illustrious clubs who couldn't cut the mustard as, Glossop North-End, Workington, Gainsborough Trinity, and some shower by the name of Rushden Anne Diamonds.

Mind you, it does seem that everyone other than us and Broughton Old Boys has been in the League at one time or another, doesn't it...?

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Golf = sport = ???

Quit blubbing you pussy!
The pandemonium and scenes of wild celebration which greeted Europe's narrow triumph over America in the Ryder Cup have now thankfully abated enough for us to be able to add our congratulations.  Yes, we applaud the fact that a bunch of narcissistic multi-millionaires from Europe managed to take slightly less shots during a glorified pastime than a bunch of narcissistic multi-millionaires from America. 

Come to think of it, those scenes of wild celebration didn't exactly spill further out than the final green and Colin Montgomery getting cheerfully gang-raped by his team.  I don't remember seeing much in the way of wild festival scenes across the length and breadth of Europe on the television - do you?  There wasn't even reports of a drunken reveller kicking-in the glass of the telephone box outside of O'Malleys - always my benchmark for a REAL celebration.

In terms of genuine sporting achievement, or even genuine sports, golf rates right up there with angling, masturbation, or tallying up the number of grouse that are shot on the "Glorious Twelfth".  And let's face it, what authentic world-class sporting event would take place in Newport?

Monday, 4 October 2010

Fascinating Facts About York

Apparently York is NOT good enough to be named twice. 
No, the other one....
The inhabitants must be as soft as shite - the city has been overrun or at least, greatly influenced by the Romans, the Angles, the Danes, the Normans, the Dutch, the Cavaliers, the Roundheads, the Tudors, the Protestants, the Catholics, the Jews, Northeast Railways and bloody Rowntrees Confectionery too. And come 5th October 2010 you can add the Poppies to that list!

Infamous sexual predator, and singularly unfunny "comedian" Frankie Howerd is a famous son of York. Ooer missus indeed. However, we have no record of whether his hair was also from York.

Two other famous thespians from York are Mark Addy and Judi Dench. One of them is not embarrassed to actually sound like they might hail from Yorkshire, whilst the other gets talk all plummy and la-di-dah whilst ordering James Bond to kill various enemies of the state.

There is also a Richard III museum which is a bit of a cheek as saucy Dick hails from Northamptonshire. who can forget his famous speech, delivered in a full County accent, "An 'orse, an 'orse, me kingdum fer an'orse, me ol' beauty..." We don't have enough famous sons to be able to share the buggers around, even those who history frowns upon.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

34? Boy he's had a tough life....

....but it's about to get a lot tougher now that he's agreed to manage the Poppies!  The photo of Marcus Law that WAS on the official site, but has since been replaced, certainly didn't do him any favours.  In the photograph he looks more like a slightly wizened lecturer in modern history at a non-descript midland polytechnic than the young, thrusting manager taken on to revitalise our season.

And this is BEFORE the pop side get hold of him!

That said, in the managerial looks stakes at Rockingham Road, Marcus isn't up against much.  We've never really gone for the "Phwoar!" factor with our bosses, have we?  Most have hovered between being just about presentable to "don't fancy yours much".

A quick straw poll of a couple of female Poppies fans has led to the following top three managerial Page Seven fellas: -

1 Carl Shutt - with boyish looks and his Heathcliffe accent.
2 Morrell Maison - 'cause black don't crack
3 Steve Berry - because we were running out of candidates!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Problem with Radio Northampton part 17

Patgod has had ongoing issues with the uneven overage that Radio Northampton gives to the Poppies and the Scum. How many times has coverage been from Nene Park, or wherever the Direones happen to be? How many times have RN made an last minute excuse for not covering a Poppies game, and the coverage suddenly swapped to the Nonce Park Freakshow?

We were so sick of the obvious bias that we wrote to Geoff Doyle, the Sports Editor at RN asking why Radio Northampton all to often became Radio Direones. Part of his reply read thusly,

"To clarify, the general BBC policy is to provide Online commentary of the home Conference match which is what most (but not all) local BBC stations try to do so that the opposition BBC station don't have to send a reporter if they don't want, to save costs."

Why then do we often get two stations covering the Scum games, including the faithful RN? And why, more shockingly, in light of Geoff's comments, was the local radio car sent all the way down to Eastbourne tonight to cover the Inbred's game? The very idea of covering the Poppies at Gateshead on the opening day of the season was completely dismissed, but the budget, will and sat-nav are all present and correct when it comes to a trip to the coast to follow Justin's army of freaks?

Why don't RN just come clean and admit that the Scum give them half a bar? Perhaps covering them gives them the warm glow they used to get they had TWO League teams to cover (like a big-boy's radio station?) Perhaps RN thought they were somehow "big time" when Max had paid millions in order to get that glorified f*cking village into the Football League?

Perhaps their dislike for Imraan is having an effect? Perhaps the lack of modern amenities such as running water and glass in the windows in the press box at Rocky Road depresses them? Hopefully their former Poppies reporters open on-air warfare with Imraan hasn't entirely coloured their opinion of our football club.

Whatever the reason I really wish the people at RN would just come out and announce, loud and proud, that they all want to be Justin Edinburgh's love slaves, and get on with it!

Perhaps JP has the right idea...

Option One - Get back to the club mid July.  Sweat your b*llocks off running round and

"Oui, oui, oui....!"

 around Wickies Park.  Run through training routines every day in the blazing sun.  Miss out on the family holiday and get earache from 'er indoors.  Try to shift a bit of "summer love handle" in order to avoid a club fine.  Play several pre-season games where you bust a gut against players you can't get near in front of a couple of hundred whining bastards who bask in the sun complaining about your lack of effort.  Get constantly slagged off by the manager, ch
airman and the chubby online community.  Then you don't get into the starting XI anyway.

Option Two - Get married.  Have a l-o-n-g honeymoon.  Boff like a bunny.  Finally turn up for work a month late and score goals for fun.

I know which sounds best to me....!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Big Sam, Big Joke

Whilst the identity of our next manager remains uncertain, one thing is for sure. It will NOT be Sam Allardyce. That is because Sam has already nailed his colours to the mast by making it clear that his future lies at one of the continent's top clubs.

"I am not suited to Bolton or Blackburn", he explained. "I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid".

"I would win the double or the league every time".

On hearing this news, Mourinho no doubt fingered his collar nervously and checked the termination clause in his contract.

After all, who can ignore the CV of a man cruelly overlooked whenever the England job falls vacant?

Having established Bolton as a top flight club by liberal use of sports science and flying elbows, he enjoyed an era of unparalled success at Newcastle that lasted all the way to the end of the pre-season friendlies, before he was the unfortunate victim of boardroom politics and an inability to win football matches.

It takes more than that to dent the confidence of a man who signs his autographs as "Big Sam" (why not - he created the name himself). Sam must wake up every morning and wonder how long the world can ignore his greatness. In fact "Sam the Great" has an even better ring to it.

Psychologists call this a delusional fantasy, we say that's just Sam being Sam.