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!