Thursday, 29 April 2010

Looking Ahead to the Exciting 2010-11 Poppies Line-Up

With the Poppies squad taking shape for next season we take a quick look at what tactical alternatives our squad will give us next season.

Our squad being, of course, Darren Wrack and Damien Spencer.

Our attacking options include Spencer up front with Wrack playing off him. Or Wrack upfront with Spencer playing off him. Perhaps we will shake things up by playing Wrackie up alongside the Big Fella. Or perhaps Wrackie "sitting in the hole" behind the front one. The possibilities are endless.

If we are called upon to be a little more circumspect there is the option of Wrackie dropping back into midfield, feeding Spencer up front. If the pressure increases, perhaps Spencer can drop into midfield too to help Wrackie out.

If we are well and truly under the cosh one or both of our players could theoretically drop into the back two, with the possibility of breaking forward in numbers on the few occasions the ball doesn't end up in our unguarded net.

There are also enticing Commercial opportunities for the forthcoming season. The Club is keen to run a slightly amended version of the sponsorship where you pay £1 for every goal we score. Next season they would very much like sponsors to pay £1 for each goal we concede.

Both players are available for individual sponsorship of both their home and away kits. The sponsor will get a signed photo of the chosen player, as well as the player's signed shirt at the end of the season. Please bear in mind that we cannot guarantee exactly which shirt Spencer will be signing as he has shown a certain reticence to pull on the Poppies red for several months.

If this continues we may have to look again at our playing formations, which are likely to the centered even more around Darren Wrack!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Officially the Worse Pun in the history of PATGOD

The trip to Salisbury was ecclesiastically satisfying.

The best feature of the City was the Cathedral.

Our best player at the match was Abbey.

I'm here all week.....
Nathan has heard about what passes for humour on PATGOD these days and offers his gloves to anyone who will take them.

Salisbury in Pictures

Butcher Row in the Bustling City Centre. Just to the rear of the thriving market place.

The River Avon lazily ripples through the heart of the City

At 404 feet, Salisbury boasts the tallest Cathedral spire in the country as well as an elegant Nave, and newly consecrated font.

Meanwhile, at the game, the Salisbury keeper watches a tame Poppies effort drift hopelessly wide of the target. Either side of this effort, his team have slammed in a couple of goals to achieve a painfully easy victory over a team that have somehow finished 6th in the table. Ironically this is the exact position in the league that Salisbury would have finished had they not received a 10 point deduction.

"Thank f*ck that's all over" chorus the relieved Kettering supporters.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

How Many More Reasons Do We Need?

Just when you think you cannot possibly hate the Scum any more than you presently do, they always seem to push you that little bit further.

Whether it is beating you at home for the nth time, or that ditsy mare Thompson bleating about their incredible success on such a tiny budget, (I recall her mentioning a playing budget this season of twenty quid?) they continue to annoy.

Now they've pushed any reasonable Englishman over the edge by adopting the Argentinian national playing strip as their new away kit for next season! What is going on in their minds (beyond of course thoughts of incest and bestiality)?

Every time we see them now we will not only be reminded of Talbot, Griggs, stealing our players, thumping us at Rockingham Road, pillaging our livestock, raping our homes, and Duane Darby's shit-ugly face. We will now also be reminded of Diego Maradona and his cheating "hand-of-God" goal which cost us the World Cup as well!

Just how despised does one football club want to be?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Crawley Mangement Team Consider Options

Steve Evans and Paul Raynor are deep in discussion concerning tactics.

Can you guess what those tactics are? Choose one from the following: -

1 How best to con the ref

2 How to encourage their players to act as though they have been shot whenever a defender is near them

3 How to wallop the ball 90 yards down the pitch every time one of their players gets it

4 How to waste time

5 How to scream at the ref to blow the final whistle when you are under pressure

6 How to moan and swear for an entire game

7 How to get seemingly shorter and fatter on every visit to Rockingham Road

This is a trick question of course. They were discussing ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Buoyant Harper's post match comments

Yeah, pleased with the lads obviously. We put into practice the things we'd worked on in training, an' it's always good to get some goals!

J.J. gave us plenty up and down the flanks.

J.D. was solid as ever at the back.

J.P. popped up in the box and gave us a good outlet.

J-Dancer covered every blade of grass, which was important as J-Had is out injured.

J.K. Rowling served up the magic in the middle of the park.

J.F.K. led the line well and kept his head for a change.

J-Lo offered good support at the rear.

J.L.S. put themselves around well.
J.P.R. put in some hard tackling.

J. Edgar Hoover put in a good shift on the far right wing, and was very adaptable.

Jay Kay gave us options out wide.

J.R. Ewing bullied the middle of the park well.

Even J.R. Hartley showed that even though his legs might be a bit slow these days, the first yard is in the head.

I couldn't be more J-ubilant.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Update from Guy

Time for me to grab my bucket and spade - HERE COME THE HOLIDAYS!

I'm signing off now lads. It's been a thrill (for you) to have contributed to PATGOD.

I'm certain my brilliant defending, dangerous attacking play, and occasional midfield tenacity will stand me in good stead for getting a professional contract somewhere next season. That's despite getting 23 red cards during the season, although, obviously NONE of them were my fault.

At least....I hope so......

Friday, 16 April 2010

Never Can Say Goodbye

The news that Imraan has paid his outstanding fine(s), leaving him free to resume his Chairman duties allied to reports that Mark Cooper is a seemingly permanent fixture at home games, suggests that even when people have a legitimate excuse to get away from Rockingham Road, something always seems to draw them back.

This news has obviously stoked the rumour-mongers into a frenzy. Some are predicting a return to the "glory days", whilst others are talking about a Father & Son Cooper Empire, which may or may not be based at Cecil Street. Others are awaiting the sparks to fly when Imraan and Mark lock horns once again, because, supposedly, they don't get on.

I could never quite believe the "not getting on" situation. Imraan had a Manager who won games and titles. Mark had a Chairman who backed him very well at this level. Admittedly, Imraan probably wanted to see better football being played, whilst Mark probably wanted even more money to spend, but they both did pretty well out of the situation surely?

Presumably at this juncture, Lee Harper must feel like a man crawling along on his belly in the Sahara, with the only shade provided by the circling vultures. His crime, as it appears to a mere supporter, is to try to get his teams to play better quality football with worse quality players.

Not for the first time, it will be interesting to see how things play out behind the scenes at Rockingham Road.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Punk? What the f*ck was that?

The death of Malcolm McLaren has led to the media falling over themselves to praise him for changing music, if not society, forever. Given the way the media always overstates, and gushes over the supposed importance of Punk, folk under the age of 35 would be forgiven for thinking that everybody in the mid/late 1970's walked around with spiky hair, leather trousers, a safety pin through their nose, gobbing at passers-by.

Our swooning social commentators usually ignore the fact that McLaren was simply trying drum up interest in order to shift some shoddy clothes that his missus was "designing".

Outside of image-obsessed London, Punk was viewed as something-weird-you-saw-on-the-telly. Like Bagpuss, It's a Knock-Out, or one of those serious plays with lots of nudity. At my school we had just one person who believed himself to be "punk", but this extended only as far as wearing a safety pin on their school blazer!

In Kettering we were still content to be listening to crooners, prog-rock and disco. We wore our flares wide and our sideburns wider. Ask anyone around then who was the more relevant group of people I'm pretty sure you would get the answer of "Kellock, Clayton and Phipps", ahead of "McLaren, Rotten and Vicious".

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Player of the Season. Mmm let's think about that one....

Ah, blossom on trees. Warmer evenings. Woeful Poppies performances. Slips of paper handed out at the turnstiles. All are heralds that another season is drawing to a close. But, who to vote for as player of the season?

You can't really pick someone who joined the Club part way through the season. This knocks out Dance, Abbey, Hadfield etc etc.

You can't really pick someone who has disappeared for parts of the season. So, out goes the likes of Spencer, JP, Harper, Jennings, Taylor, Thomas etc etc.

You can't really pick someone who no longer plays for us. This means nil points for the likes of Ashikodi, Elding, Green, Fowler etc etc.

You can't really pick someone who has only been on loan with us. Bang goes Heslop, Partridge, Davis etc etc.

Bascially this leaves us with Boucard, Noubissie, Dempster and Roper.

As good a player as Boucard is, I'm still waiting, after 3 seasons, for him to actually hurt the opposition, whilst Noubissie just annoys me for more reasons than I can go into here.

This leaves it down to a straight fight between Dempster and Roper.

With apologies to JD, who has had another sterling season, playing with some awful dross in front of him, we can see no other result but a Player of the Season win for Ropes. He may be one of the least-likely looking footballers ever to grace Rockingham Road, but he is almost never beaten, and popped up with the odd, important goal. You can't ask for much more from a centre half.

Congrats Ropes!

A Season of Three Thirds

Whilst fighting my way out through the crowds after we'd been held to a draw by 10-man Histon, two things struck me. Firstly, the season cannot end soon enough, and secondly, I'd decided this season had fallen into three rather neat chunks.

Allow me to explain....

Poppies No.1 Line-Up (The "Facebook" XI)

New season, new faces. Francis Green and Damian Spencer to be knocking them in from Lee Fowler's telling through balls. Football League HERE WE COME!

Soon numerous players are griping on their social networking sites about everything under the Sun, except, strangely, their own moderate performances.

Poppies No.2 Line-Up (The "Mercenary" XI)

Moses Ashikodi, Anthony Elding and Simon Heslop provide the quality the Facebook Team lacked. Football League, and FA Cup Final HERE WE COME!

Big players on big money playing the big games. Unfortunately in front of smaller and smaller crowds.....

Poppies No.3 Line-Up (The "Bring Your Boots" XI)

No money, no crowds, no wins. Bargain basement trawling has "unearthed" the likes of Elliott Charles, James Dance and Pascal Egigbo.

Plenty of graft but zero guile. Cricket season HERE WE COME!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Thick of It

Our footballing rivalry with Rushden & Diamonds may remain dismayingly one sided, with still just a solitary win to our credit, and even their usually moribund followers finally generating more than 20 decibels last Tuesday (I still couldn't quite make out the words when the third goal went in, but it sounded like "Let's all play the banjo").

However, casting the net a little wider, the Poppies fan can continue to claim an advantage. It has already been noted that we retain the edge in the 'metric number of fingers and toes' stakes, and that's before we start comparing IQs. Yes if it came to a head to head in a game of Trivial Pursuit, our money would be on the Kettering Town manager every time. Even Kevin Wilson. Put simply, all Diamonds managers are thick.

This is now so ingrained it must be part of the job description. After Garry Hill, who gave a passable impression of a shuffling extra from Dawn of the Dead - and that was before he tried to speak, we now have Justin Edinburgh, whose dull ramblings enliven many a Radio Northampton broadcast. "Justin you must be happy with the win today?" "yeh well as I say we set our stall out zzzz".

This can be traced back all the way to the founder of the dynasty of denseness, Emperor Brian the First - a creature of such primitive intellect, he reputedly could only master simple hand tools, and lacked any sense of space or time. Talbot once asked the Nene Park groundsman, who had just mowed the pitch in stripes, how he managed to get the grass to grow in different directions, and had a national radio presenter in stitches as he struggled with the devilish poser "Why are the team nicknamed the Diamonds?" Maybe BT just assumed there was this place called Rushdenundiamonds.

This was thickness so absolute that 'talbot' should really be designated as a scientific measure of stupidity. An internationally recognised unit, with an xray of the interior of his skull locked away in a secure vault. Let's start the campaign now - tell your friends, drop it into conversation - hell even make a wikipedia entry - and wait to see how long before it becomes part of the language.

"Are you saying your client is of limited mental capacity?"
"Yes your honour, he's nearly a full talbot"

But underneath that sturdy veneer of inarticulacy, Edinburgh - unlike his predecessors - is regrettably showing a certain amount of managerial nous, so he may be destined for better things. In which case the Diamonds board would be well advised to line up a replacement. Judging by his performances on the Final Score sofa, Les Ferdinand seems just the man. He talks like a Nene Park natural, plus he is rumoured to live in Thrapston, so is already accustomed to life in a nondescript genetic backwater.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Back to Blue Square One?

Almost exactly two years ago today, we mobbed the players on the pitch and celebrated promotion back to the Conference Premier. Every time I switch on my phone, a picture of those flag waving scenes greets me, with Vince conducting the crowd from a perch above the tunnel which he presumably books for such occasions, and Imraan looking enigmatic like a good poker player should.

As we near the end of our second season back in the league we were so desperate to rejoin, it's time to take stock and ask whether life in the fifth tier is all it was cracked up to be.

In those heady days as we closed in on the Conference North title, we looked ahead to a fixture list peppered with ex League names, some of them quite substantial, and could be excused for thinking that bumper crowds would flock to Rockingham Road as we competed on level terms with the likes of Oxford and now Luton - clubs that many remembered in the old First Division.

Plus the away trips would be massively better than outnumbering the home crowd at places like Vauxhall Motors, and in a virtually full time league, the standard of football would be undoubtedly higher.

So what have we seen? Some great away trips to be sure - twice drawing at the Kassam Stadium (surely easily the biggest stadium we have ever visited for a league fixture?), twice winning at Cambridge United and taking all three points at Kenilworth Road - where teams like Liverpool once came to grief on the plastic pitch.

But after an encouraging start, home attendances seemed to peak at around 1,500 excluding away fans, and this season have dipped alarmingly. So much for the theory that casual supporters would be drawn by the calibre of the opposition - the recent Saturday fixtures against York and Mansfield attracted a three figure turnout from the great Kettering public.

Ok we all know there are certain reasons for that - an idiotic pricing policy which puts some home games on a par with matches in League One, dismal home form and a general dearth of entertainment in a long string of low scoring draws or defeats. Why cough up £16 to see another makeshift combination struggle to test the keeper even once?

But even games where the prices have been more realistic haven't bucked the trend significantly. A large slice of our support has simply stopped coming. They've broken the habit and won't easily be tempted back. Merely competing at a higher level than two years ago is not an attraction in itself - in fact before this season has finally expired we are in danger of recording some truly Rymanesque attendances.

And as for the football - well maybe it's just me, thoroughly fed up with watching a team who never score when I watch them (last goal I saw at the Cowper Street end - Francis Green in late September, when I really should have been back at school), but the stuff on offer certainly this season has been no better than the Conf North. Is there a single quality side in this division? If so where have they been hiding?

Being full time may make the players that little bit fitter but it doesn't seem to make them any better. What do they do in training all week - run laps around the pitch? We still can't muster a decent free kick routine or do anything at corners other than aim for John Dempster at the far post.

So the novelty has well and truly worn off, and at a time when we should have been looking to kick on after consolidating our status, the likely prospect is a truly difficult season to come. If that is the case, let us please at least peg the prices at a sensible level - say £12 to stand, £14 to sit - and if necessary risk shipping a few more goals in order to have a better chance of scoring a few. Watching the Diamonds game the other night was a case in point - both their first two goals could have been scored by any one of several players who had surged into the box, whereas whenever we whipped in a decent cross there was no one gambling to get on the end of it.

But Lee's heart seems to be in the right place, and if he is given a proper opportunity maybe he can deliver a team that will at least entertain for as long as we remain in this league. We can but hope, otherwise Rockingham Road will be a lonely place to be.

It's a few days later and the hurt is subsiding...

As much as God obviously hates the Poppies by never letting us beat the Scum, at least we can take heart from the fact that he doesn't exactly love them much either.

Hands (and feet) up if you love Diamonds!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

A Step Forward?

The online community and the ET is awash with rumours about a potential take-over of the Poppies by a number of people previously associated with the Club.

If the stories are to believed, former Club Chairmen Cyril Gingell and Peter Mallinger have been in contact with Imraan for the past several weeks.

Rumoured to also be part of the consortium is the apparently reformed Mark English, fresh from a stint of humanitarian work in Haiti, and his former side-kick Brian Talbot, who is being lined up as Manager.

Peter Mallinger, who has spent this week off-loading Corby's assets in anticipation of the take-over has said, "To be honest, I'm glad to be shot of Corby, and will never complain about the level of support at Rockingham Road again." "Kettering has always been my spiritual home and I can't wait to get back there!", he added.

The ET reports that a press conference is expected at 11.00AM on April 1st in the Tin hat Lounge.