Friday, 28 May 2010

The Price Is Right

There aren't many occasions when a decision by the club has you pinching yourself in disbelief at how good it is, but today's announcement that ticket prices will be slashed next season is a bold, imaginative step that deserves to succeed.

It's generally accepted that last season's pricing policy was a disaster, with dismal home attendance following dismal home attendance regardless of who the opposition were. To ask punters to pay £16 just to stand, to watch fifth tier football amid decrepit facilities, was commercial suicide even before the team went on a scoreless, losing streak. No wonder RR had all the emotion and noise of a silent protest by the National Confederation of Undertakers.

Such an obvious mistake was clearly not going to be repeated, but no one expected such a radical swing in the other direction. Ten quid to stand or sit, kids allowed in for a quid? At a stroke Imraan has removed the go-to line for every self respecting local pub bore: "I'm not going to pay [insert figure here] to watch that crap". Unless we really are crap!

It will be very interesting to see the effect on attendances. Other clubs have tried something similar and reaped the benefits. Bradford City, for example, regularly pulled in over 11,000 last season despite never threatening to rise above mid table in League Two - the reason: well partly have you ever been to Bradford, but mainly a big cut in admission prices. In a different sport, Glamorgan once cut the cost of membership to a tenner and saw thousands sign up, creating atmosphere where previously there was none and reaping spin-off income from catering etc.

On the other hand, will the price alone lure back the absent hundreds who last season broke the habit of going regularly or semi regularly? Have they simply found something else to do? It may not make much difference to midweek games which clash with armchair attractions, or if the team again struggle to score.

But with just a modicum of entertainment, and more importantly some progress on the stadium issue, next season could be genuinely exciting. For too long now Rockingham Road has lacked its old roar and there's nothing better than when a couple of thousand really get behind the boys when it's getting dark and the floodlights are on. Well done KTFC for having the leap of faith to make that more than a pipe dream.

Pot, Kettle, Black Department

Lee Harper: "He (Ian Roper) looks a bit bulky and you think he might not be the quickest but he's deceptive and he reads the game well."

Friday, 21 May 2010


Paul Terry faces the wrath of fellow players and Diamonds supporters after it has been alleged that he has had sex with someone OUTSIDE of his family.

Disappointed Manager Justin Edinburgh said, "In one fell swoop he has destroyed the excellent spirit in the club, where we all boff our relatives. Everyone knows the score when they join the club. To gain acceptance with the fans you need to get stuck into your nearest and dearest - it's just the way it is!"

The Diamonds' Trust has released the following statement, "Whilst we understand that not everyone has a fanciable relative with whom to enter into sexual congress, we are disappointed that Paul has seen fit to take out his libidinous urges with someone who's not even a cousin, let alone a sibling. It's not as if we are demanding that the players do it with livestock like we do."

Paul yesterday, "Who wants some Terry loving?"

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

We hate Stevenage BOROUGH -

We hate Woking too (they're shit!) etc. etc.

It would appear that Stevenage Chairman Phil Wallace is still a bit merry from the promotion bubbly flowing down Broadhall Way. He has announced that his Club are dropping the word "Borough" from their name in an attempt to disassociate his club with the non-league scene from where they have been absent for all of five minutes.

This would appear to be how tipsy Phil sees things: -

Stevenage FC = Go ahead, thrusting, future Premier League Team
Stevenage Borough FC = Dismal, dreary, one-man-and-his-dog, non-league scum. (although this is pretty accurate, it must be said)

Whilst opening another bottle of champagne with his teeth, Wallace slurred, "We're still the Boro, it's still our nickname, we will always be the Boro. Everything will carry on as we are."

All of which makes us wonder what's the point of changing your name if you don't actually end up changing it? And if you are going to change it, why not make it more accurate, and reflect the nature of Stevenage better? Something like, "Scuzzy, Mockney, Concrete-Shitehole, London Overspill F.C."

If it's not too late Phil, you can use that one with our pleasure.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Sort it Harper!

Whilst the re-signing of several of last season's key players is all well and good, most Poppies fans are asking themselves the same question -

When will Elliott Charles put pen to paper?

What would our attack look like next season without him? Who would warm the bench? Who would run around in circles for no apparent reason? It's not as if he isn't due a goal, or at least a worthwhile attempt on goal any season soon!

Some might hope that Roper, Abbey and Boucard are the "three players" from last season who are mulling contracts, but where would that leave the potential stars of 2011 - Charles, Ebigbo and Thomas...

PATGOD says, "Sort it Harper!"

Guy Branston Time Travel Shocker

One of these photographs is the facial reconstruction of a 14th Century Knight, whose brawny body was discovered a few years ago, buried at Stirling Castle, whilst the other is our old friend Guy Branston, caught between red cards in his recent stint at Burton Albion.

No, we can't tell them apart either!
Our best guess is that in the near future Guy will somehow be transported back through time and end up in 14th Century Scotland. Probably whilst chasing one last full-time contract.....

Monday, 17 May 2010

Northern Exposure

With Oxford’s triumph over York at Wembley all the promotion and relegation issues have been settled in the BSP. I caught the last 10 minutes of the Play-Off match and it was nice to finally see Alfie Potter do something decent, and amusing to hear the commentator excitedly ejaculate on at least two occasions, "THAT’S GASH!”


Next season the BSP will be showing a bit of a Northern bias. Yes, it’s going to be all flat caps, whippets and any other Northern stereotypes we can think of. We’ve lost Stevenage, Oxford, Ebbsfleet, Grays and Forest Green, whilst gaining Darlington, Fleetwood, Southport, and Grimsby. Even the BS South teams in Bath and Newport County feel a long way away, necessitating a trip up the M6.


But it’s not all bad!


I’m pretty sure that Darlington’s ground will be the biggest ground we have ever visited for a league fixture (even if it is likely to be 90% empty).


Although Fleetwood is an absolute dive (think Corby on the coast) it is a short tram ride from the dubious pleasures of Blackpool.


We always win at Southport, so it will be good to see them again.


And Grimsby will be useful if we suddenly find ourselves requiring a large consignment of cod.


Of the more southerly teams to come up, a visit to beautiful Bath is always good for the soul and a visit to Newport is always good to remind you that your own home town is not as bad as it could be!


A final note for the attention of the BSP fixture board, who I expect are long-time PATGOD readers. It would be enormously handy if you could arrange for our trips to Barrow, Fleetwood and Southport to take place over a week, with two Saturday fixtures and Tuesday night one in the middle. Furthermore, if you could start this run of fixtures on the first week of September, it would be greatly appreciated. And, I may as well go the whole hog, if you could let me have the contact details of anyone renting out a reasonably priced lakeside cottage for that week, that would be superb.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Special "K" - 200th Post on PATGOD!

Last season, for the first time since the end of the 98-99 season, Kettering Town were the highest placed team in the English football system whose name began with a "K". Yes, that means that we finally finished above Kidderminster again!

You may not believe that an accident of team name seems like much of an accolade. Ordinarily you would be right. That is, unless, like us, you have just thought up a special new English Premier League made up of the highest placed teams with different first letters!

For the sake of convenience we have restricted ourselves to The Premier League, Championship and Blue Square Leagues when populating this new League. Unfortunately this means there are no "J", "U", "X", or "Z" teams in contention. Mainly because Jarrow, and Uppingham haven't pulled their fingers out and advanced through the leagues, and no-one has seen fit to name a town beginning with "X" or "Z".

This leaves us with a nice, solid looking league of 22 teams. Let's start with "A"

Arsenal - Already looking forward to the Poppies trip to the Emirates with its wonderfully appointed stadium and billiard table pitch. Not looking forward to the cricket score they'll pile up against us though.

Birmingham City - Alex McLeish's team of doughty pro's will provide another stern test for us.

Chelsea - Another trip to London. Hopefully we will get some good cheap fares on the train, as we fear that other than another sound drubbing, this is all we may get!

Derby County - Clough Jnr's under performing team of sheep-shaggers may give us the first glimpse of a possible league point!

Everton - This will be our first opportunity to be scammed by the local scouse teenagers and then bullied some more on the pitch.

Fulham - Quick chance for revenge against the only team to defeat us in the FA Cup over the past 2 seasons.

Gillingham - The blow of relegation to League Two should be somewhat alleviated by their inclusion in this new set-up. Another chance for FA Cup revenge. Looks like a must win game for the Poppies!

Hull City - Another of our FA Cup rivals from recent years. This time they will be the team looking for revenge.

Ipswich Town - "Smiler" Roy Keane will return to Rockingham Road for the first time since he came to see his old mucker Tony McLoughan when he played briefly for us back in the 90's. Boy, did their careers go in different directions!

Kettering Town - Come on you Reds! We feel that we can't afford too many under-par performances this season!

Liverpool - Benitez's collection of third rate Euro-players will desperately be hoping Torres and Gerrard are playing so that the threat of relegation can be lifted.

Manchester United - Another testing away day for the Poppies. Unless they start with Berbatov up front. He would get nowhere against Ropersaurus and JD.

Newcastle United - the league's self-described "best fans in the country" will no doubt be drinking the county's annual supply of Newky Brown during their visit, and taking off their shirts for some unknown reason.

Oldham Athletic - Yet more chance for FA Cup revenge!

Portsmouth - Their participation in this new League may depend on how many zillion quid they owe by the time the time next season starts. If they are ejected, their place will be taken by Plymouth (who beat Peterborough by one place in the League placings - costing us a local derby!)

Queens Park Rangers - We don't know who their Manager will be for the first game against them, but we're pretty sure he won't be there for the return fixture.

Reading - A team that knew they were buggered when we easily put them to the sword in a pre-season friendly last Summer. A repeat victory would be VERY helpful for the Poppies chances of League survival.

Stoke City - Surely we will be able to repel Delap's long throw-ins after the time we spent ensuring that none of Big X's throw-ins led to goals?

Tottenham Hotspur - It will be interesting to see just how freakily-tall Crouch is in person. We fear that our Chairman may not be entirely on our side for these fixtures.

Vauxhall Motors - VM will be surprised to be elevated to this new league after suffering relegation from the Conference North last term. Poppies really, REALLY must make the most of the two games against VM.

Wolverhampton Wanderers - Mick McCarthy's no-nonsense jobbing-pro's will prove to be another stern team of dour Midland grinders. Bit like us except they might actually score some goals.

Yeovil Town - Former non-league rivals will make a nostalgic trip back to Rockingham Road for the first time in many years. Yep, hasn't changed!

There you have it. A tough league certainly, but we all thought that at the start of last season didn't we, and we did OK.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Gallant County Heroes Fall At Last Fence..... how the ET will now doubt title their 28-page, "Diamonds almost make it" special pull-out in tomorrow's edition.

The rest of us will be letting off the party poppers, and celebrating the fact that Justin Edinburgh's gallant (and underpaid) team of freak-huggers have f*cked up! Thank God. Could you imagine that collection of monsters and "Deliverance" clones shuffling down Wembley Way? I mean, the Play-off Final would be on the telly! Is this really how we want the outside world to view the people of Northamptonshire? Sure, such a sight would just about be acceptable if this was a post Armageddon nuclear wasteland populated by mutants and spas-monkeys, but that apocalyptic horror has yet to befall us (unless the world ends today, and boy, would that be embarrassing for me after writing this!)

If nothing else, their remaining down here with us dead men gives me yet another opportunity to see my team beat them in a League game for the first time ever. Won't hold my breathe though, given our record.

Putting aside for one moment all the obvious rivalry stuff, there was a down side to Diamonds failing to get through to the Play-Off Final. I laughed so hard I slipped off my settee and banged my bum on the floor. But don't worry - it didn't hurt so much that I stopped laughing!

Ah Bless. Never mind DeBanker. Let us turn that frown upside-down!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Fulham: Our Part In Their Glory

In ten days time, Fulham's likely starting XI in the Europa League final will include up to 10 of the players we faced last January. Meanwhile, the Atletico Madrid side will be singularly lacking in any experience of the away dressing room at Rockingham Road, and it's no secret that Roy Hodgson is looking to capitalise on that.

"When it comes to keeping your shape and discipline in the most testing and unfamiliar of conditions, that game at Kettering taught us a great deal" said the Fulham boss. "Shakhtar Donetsk thought they could unsettle us with cramped changing facilities and unintelligible tannoy announcements, but we remembered how we coped with the lads having to wait their turn to have a scrub after not understanding a word of the local lingo, and took strength from that".

"And when we were under the cosh against Juve after the first leg, I reminded the players that they had no one who passed the ball as well as the boy Boucard, or could bombard us with huge throw ins."

"Finally, the 19 hour bus trip to Hamburg was nothing compared to negotiating the one way system in Kettering town centre having left the A14 a junction early thanks to a dozy coach driver".

"So providing the referee in the final does us a few favours like at Kettering, I strongly fancy our chances".

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Bones to be sacrificed to save Poppies?

It looks more and more likely, if the ever-reliable world of Internet rumours is to be believed that the Poppies long-term survival may be linked to the demise of Rothwell Town FC.

The latest theory runs thus: -

Imraan buys Rothwell Town FC ground.
Imraan swaps Cecil Street for Rockingham Road with Pickering.
Houses built on Cecil Street.
Poppies saved.

As much as any Kettering fan is desperate for the Poppies to survive, it would be disquieting that the Bones would presumably vanish after this happens. More likely than not, Rothwell will be invited to ground share with us, but you wonder how long they would survive as a tenant club? However, it has been interesting to read comments emanating from people close to the RTFC about whether they actually want a continuing football club.

Admittedly second-hand coverage of their recent AGM, where the attendees cared more about their presumably subsidised drinking facilities than the football club, and not everyone recognised the Club's Manager do not paint an especially positive picture of a Club moving heaven and earth to survive.

Add to this their former Chairman Neil Griffin's assertion that recently only 15 local people paid to see the Bones play and you wonder how the footballing side of the club can survive. We freak out when less than 1000 people turn up at Rockingham Road! When you have more people on the playing side than on the supporting side, even the most optimistic Rowellian must be asking themselves, "What is the point?"

As ever, the close season at the Poppies can be more entertaining than the football season!

Rothwell Social Club Members debate the issues in a sober and refined manner.