Monday, 31 January 2011

1.7 Million Years BC

A week on from Linogate and the world of football is still reeling from the shock that at long last Richard Keys has said something interesting.

Clearly inspired by the work of Steve Coogan, Keys took parody to a new level with his brilliant take on Alan Partridge. All that was missing was the sports blazer as he tried to ingratiate himself with the old pros with his clumsy attempts at lad talk. I now won’t be able to hear the phrase “smash it” without thinking of Jamie Redknapp wriggling uncomfortably in his chair. Tennis commentary will never be the same again.

And as for Andy Gray, never mind the Jurassic banter, what about that reported salary? 1.7 million! As a dish owner I demand a refund. I don’t mind paying for ads with the production values of a Hollywood mini series or subsiding the golf club fees of a generation of grizzled ex players, but to think that all these years Gray has been trousering mega bucks for squiggling on a screen and saying “take a bow son” at the end of every match.

Thank God someone at Sky was thoughtful enough to leave the tape running and to have some more examples of smut handily stored for easy access. Maybe it’s not too much to hope that this could be the start of a general purge of the old guard in punditry. One look at the smug troupe lolling on the sofas on MOTD suggests that their off-air badinage could be similarly damaging in the current climate.

However please draw the line at Motty. I fear there’s things going on inside his head that are best left unexposed.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Fascinating Facts about Darlington

Darlington, as we all know, spent one year out of the Football League with us dead men some 20 years ago. They pretty much pissed all over all us tiny part-timers and disappeared from whence they came.

We signed one of their Championship winning players a year or so later – Paul Emson, who formed part of our “old codgers” forward line which included Keith Walwyn and Ernie Moss and Methuselah. It became evident early on that Darlington’s rapid return to the Football League couldn’t have relied very much on Emson’s contribution, ‘cus he was rubbish!

One time grumpy little Poppies title winner Mark Cooper (remember him?) is their 73rd Manager in the past three seasons. He has been wowing the Darlington faithful this season with his witty banter and the slick one-touch passing game that has always been the hallmark of his teams.

Actor and writer Mark Gatiss (he tends to appear in such nerdy fare as Doctor Who and Sherlock) hails from Darlington. He is most famous for being only the second weirdest looking one from the “League of Gentlemen”.

Darlo’s nickname is the “Quakers”, which refers to an order of religious porridge oats that fled to the US due to persecution in England in the 17th and 18th centuries.

I must remember to check my hard drive....
There is an approximate ratio of 20 empty seats for every supporter at the Reynolds stadium. This is roughly equivalent to the ratio at the last Gary Glitter Christmas tour.

Finally, a couple of facts randomly thrown into the mix with the sole intention of producing half-a-bar for a certain ex-Travel Club luminary.

The first passenger rail service ever, in the WHOLE world, was between Stockton and Darlington in 1825. Oh, yeah, baby!

Stevenson’s Original No.1 Locomotive currently resides at the Darlington Railway Centre and Museum. Keep going, yeah! And you can actually touch the engine itself! I’m there baby!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Fascinating Facts about Crawley - another apology

Apparently there is someone famous from Crawley!  Former WBA and WBC World Middle Weight Champion Alan Minter was born in Crawley (thanks Brian).  To celebrate Alan's winning the title back in the 1980's here's a couple of very 1980's photographs of a young Sharron Davies.

Very flash!

Very Flashdance!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

We Win At Home - Do Not Adjust Your Set

Yesterday was like an unexpected reunion with an old friend. Hello Convincing Home Win, it’s been a long time.

Since the last time we played Eastbourne in fact. We had some fun and found ourselves saying, we must do this more often. And they said, er yes, we'll get back to you on that...

Moderate Amount of Noise also made a long awaited reappearance, thanks to Paul Knowles and his motley crew who managed to generate impressive local media attention for the vocal efforts of 40 or so. Travel Club veterans may have reflected on the days when this sort of thing was taken as read, but times have changed and it needed someone to give things a re-boot.

To complete the nostalgic feel, there was a blast from the past as Paul Furlong belied his 42 years by planting a pair of sweet headers in the net. Born in October 1968, in other words when the Beatles still had another couple of albums to go and NASA were still anxiously plotting the first moon shot, PF led the line like a man 10 years younger and warmed the cockles of all those of a similar generation.

We should make the most of Furlong while we can. Not only does he bring a dash of ex Premier League class, he is also probably the last link with the 1980’s still playing at a professional level. In one of his early appearances at RR he faced Ernie Moss, whose playing career began in the 60s. And Ernie began his career in the time of the pharaohs.

Friday, 21 January 2011

And the Sale rolls on.....

"C'mon ladies - last few bargains!", cries Imraan
as a desolate Roper watched on
Serge made a surprise move to Grimsby Town this week, scuppering my selection of him as first goalscorer for us on Tuesday night in the Poppynet Prediction League.  Would have been interesting if he'd moved to Grimsby in time to play for them, and scored THEIR first goal...I might have tried to claim the points for that one.

A 3-year contract seems unusually generous, and at least 2 years and 9 months longer than it should be, but well done to the lad's agent. 

As ever, the player has moved for an "Undisclosed Fee", which, as we all know is football-speak for "Mind you own f**king business, it's going in my back pocket!"

Mind you, getting any sort of fee for Serge is decent business given his variable performances.  However, don't be surprised if the fee is in kind, and our players (whoever they are) are warming up before the game tomorrow in old Grimsby Town FC training tops!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

VE Day - Victory over Eastbourne Day

We have suffered 8 defeats from our last 11 competitive fixtures.

We are 4 points off the relegation zone.

We have lost the services of over half our first team.

Prices at Rockingham Road have just risen by 50%.

Imraan is at his unpredictable "hire 'em, fire-em" worse.

Despite a few encouraging words, there is still no news on the long term future of the ground situation.

We have just two home wins this season. One the nail-biting 2-1 win against Hayes and Yeading over 3 months ago. The other a pre-season triumph over the mighty DRC Locums backroom staff.

Several of our young loanees have yet to experience the full "Rockingham Road Moan". It has been known to reduce seasoned campaigners to quivering wrecks!

We have a home game this Saturday over a team who can draw clear of the relegation zone by beating us.

If the statement "darkest before the dawn" has any truth in it, presently it is pitch black out there! This Saturday against Eastbourne is truly a must-win game. The proverbial "6-pointer".

Our makeshift team of lags and kids may have played OK during the recent run of away defeats, but Saturday's game simply has to end with a home win. Anything else will be a disaster. No pressure then!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Fascinating Facts about Grimsby

Please see the link below.

This is the online version of when a game is called off over Christmas and when you finally play that team in early April, you find the programme is full of Christmas cheer, and a photocopied sheet with the team list on it. 

Just as well we don't have to include a teamsheet as there is barely a couple of starters tonight from just a few weeks ago!

Fascinating Facts about Crawley - an apology

It seems that in our rather pathetic desperation to include a photograph of Sharron Davies in the "Crawley" piece we overlooked the fact that double Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist Daley Thompson also lived in that town for a while. 

We thank our readers who pointed this fact out to us.  We apologise unreservedly for missing out possibly this country's greatest ever all-round athlete in favour of a reasonable swimmer just because she looked better in a shiny leather bikini.

We feel we have let ourselves, our readers, and yes, Britain itself down by our actions.  Just to show that we have no bias in favour of fit ladies, and show how proud we are of our country and her athletes, here's a photograph of Sharron wearing a Union Jack bra.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Where Are They Now? No.3 Kevin Wilson

No job too small!
After numerous sackings from football clubs, culminating in the entire club at Ilkeston sacking itself rather than have him in charge, Kevin has sought alternative employment in the far less turbulent world of domestic heating repairs.

Whilst bleeding a radiator yesterday he told us, "I'm 'appy with me new trade, Mind you, a couple more defeats for the Poppies an' Imraan will be on the phone, seein' as the only managers he has on 'is mobile are meself, Morrell and Gazza.  Morrell wunt be interested as there's no money at the club and Gazza's either in the Priory or Parkhurst!"

Auditions for Frankenstein's Monster Part One

Man shouldn't try to play God!

Richard Brodie patiently awaits the special effects man to put the bolts through the neck. Otherwise, he's ready for the cameras!

The ladies of Crawley probably can't believe their luck that they've signed a couple of attractive guys in Dempster and Dance. Hopefully it will take their minds off Brodie's frightening visage.

"NAAAA!" screams the inarticulate Monster!

We trust this won't prevent a superstitious, torch-bearing mob descending upon Broadfield Stadium and burning the place to the ground at some point in the near future.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Fascinating Facts about Crawley

On the "Knowhere Guide" site (where we nick most of the stuff we use), under the section where people are invited to suggest the best things about a town, the following was the first thing said about Crawley: -
Sexist?  Moi?
"best things hmm stay in a big crowed never go to place where a big group of chavs are you either get bottled or raped"  After this, we decide not to look at the "Worst things about Crawley".

Other than a couple of very minor Big Brother contestants, no one of any note has ever emanated from Crawley.  It is rumoured that Sharron (Blind Cobbler's thumbs) Davies lives, or lived in Crawley.  Either way, it's all the excuse I need to include this photograph!

Crawley boss, Steve Evans is a convicted crook.  So there's no need for us to dance around the niceties of the libel laws when we further describe him as -
An ex-con. 
A lawbreaker. 
A criminal. 
And, of course -he's bent. 

He's also a horrible, round, little screaming jock, which, apparently isn't illegal yet.

Crawley Football Club are either: -

(A) On a short, spectacular journey of wild over-spending which will end in their messy demise,
or, according to the worldwide respected Daily Mail, "A tidy testament to frugality and care"

There is a malicious rumour circulating that the above piece was penned by a certain Hans Christian Andersen, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Peter Fear left us for Crawley after promotion from the Southern League, citing our lack of ambition.  He may have had something of a point, as we went straight back down and they were promoted the following year. 

Oh, and Peter Fear sounds like Frank Butcher.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Late fascinating facts about Kiddermister

Apologies for the late arrival of this piece.  We hope its absence didn't have an undue influence on whether you went to the game or not.

Fact One - Kidderminster know where the goal is.

The end.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Richard Butcher RIP

The shocking news of the death of Butch has followed hot on the heels of other tragic local footballing news.  29 is absolutely no age at all. 

During our Southern League Championship season he formed a dream trio in midfield Shaun Murray and Peter Fear.  It was such a good trio that it could carry the likes of Lee Cowling and even Stevie Lenagh for lengthy stretches of the season.  Of course we came up against him a couple of years ago when he played against us for Notts County.  Even during the game you could here Poppies supporters being positive towards him and wishing we could get him back again.

Our condolences go to his family and friends.  Truly, truly terrible news.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Fire Sale, what Fire Sale?

Roll Up, Roll Up, Bargains Galore!

Poppies boss Marcus Law has announced this afternoon that absolutely no more Poppies players will be sold.  Today.  Following the departures of Boucard, Dempster, Taylor, Dance, Abbey, Jack and Jaszczun, and the arrival of a minibus full of players from Barwell, as well as a couple of schoolboys from Milton Keynes, certain sections of the Poppies support have been a little worried about our chances of staying up this year.  Or fielding 11 players.

Marcus commented, " I can categorically state that no players will be sold between now (4.33PM) and 5.00PM today." "Unless of course, Steve Evans calls, in which case I advise all supporters to bring their boots with them on Saturday", he added.

One of our new signings (Towers) seems to have spotted the gulf between the Evo Stick South First Division and the Conference, and skedaddled back to Barwell already.  Despite being a ready made James Dance lookalike replacement, he figured that even with his greater height he still might be out of his depth.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

24 Years of Pain

It’s been a week for ending sporting hoodoos. First our 12 year jinx against the Inbreds then the 24 years since we beat the Convicts in a series down under. As an indicator of how long ago that was, Kettering Town competed on level terms against the likes of Frickley Athletic, and here’s how we lined up in the first game after we last sealed a series victory in Oz:

Harrison, Tillson, Mann, Caverner, Lewis, Wood, Wharton, Richardson, Crawley, Keast, Jeffrey.

The fact that two of that team are no longer alive adds to the sense of another era.
It’s actually a rather better line up than the result (0-2 v Wealdstone) suggests.

However little did we know it then but it would be nearly a quarter of a century before a Poppies team would trot out safe in the knowledge that the koala fondlers had been humbled in their own back yard. In the intervening years, we won two league titles, got to the Cup fourth round twice and went back to Wembley. Plus kept Gazza out of the courts for 39 days. England’s achievements pale by comparison as we shall see:

1990/91 – Poppies see in the New Year 10 points clear at the top of the table. Meanwhile England are surrendering despite David Gower’s heroic efforts to decapitate the Aussies in a low flying Tiger Moth.

1994/95 – Six foot two eyes of blue Carl Alford bestrides the Conference scoring charts as KTFC home in on 6th place. Meanwhile Mike Atherton declares with Hick on 98 and the resulting sulk sets a new Test record.

1998/99 – Morris’s boys beat Hereford to cement their place at the top. Meanwhile England again lose the Ashes in 11 days, which is less time than it takes to grow a slightly fuzzy, unconvincing moustache.

2002/03 – In sympathy with his cricketing counterpart, Carl Shutt allows the opposition to bat first and set a decent target. You know, 50 points or so. Meanwhile Nasser Hussain puts them in at Brisbane and before you know it another series has gone.

2006/07 – It’s neck and neck at the top of the Conf North as Morrell Maison’s entertainers battle with the mighty Droylsden. Meanwhile Fat Freddie Flintoff’s XI never recover from Harmison’s first ball going for six wides and lose 6-0. Even though it’s a five match series.

Peter Mallinger 2

PATGOD would like to add its voice to the tributes being paid to Peter Mallinger, who died on Friday. After the turbulence of the Mark English period he came in and for over a decade he proved to be a steady hand on the tiller. Once the Club's future post-English had been secured in Court by the Poppies Supporters Trust and the appointed Administrators, Mallinger became the new owner and delivered Conference level football for several seasons. Even when we were relegated he backed Carl Shutt to enable us to bounce straight back.

He was an "old school" Chairman who backed his Manager, was always working hard behind the scenes, on hand for the media and effectively smooched with the sponsors. On a one-to-one basis with the average supporter he was charming and every inch the benign club Chairman.

He was less comfortable when dealing with supporters en-masse, and famously tarred Poppynet users as the "Lowest of the Low" (not a bad assessment in many cases!!!) I honestly believe this slight schism was caused more by his generational unfamiliarity with message boards, and the spectrum of opinions that can arise from a group of people who all believe roughly the same thing.

To prove he was nothing if not a glutton for punishment, he took over at Corby after he sold the Poppies to Imraan. It must have been a pleasant change for him to finally deal with a council who understood the value of a vibrant football team to the community. It is a shame he never lived to see the new football ground he had tried to have built for almost 20 years, finally open.

Peter Mallinger

It's the fate of almost all club chairmen, like almost all managers, to eventually incur unpopularity and by the end of his time at Rockingham Road Peter Mallinger was no exception. However, the depth of feeling which has been stirred by his death is proof that on a personal level he was a good man with his heart in the right place. He put a lot into Kettering Town and can be forgiven for some errors of judgement along the way.

I can’t claim any close association with PM but in his early days at the club – back when I often made a night of it in the bar after games – we chatted a few times and he was open and friendly – even in response to my clumsy attempts at probing questions. He even managed to be quite amiable on the occasion I was summoned – headmaster style – to his presence after an article that caused a bit of a reaction. True he banned Patgod a couple of times, but with a resigned shrug, as if to say “you know I have to do this don’t you?”

There would have been no club for PM to buy had it not been kept alive by the Trust, but only latterly in his reign did he permit an element of supporter representation at board level. If that was a disappointment, it is a better record than his successor. However, like Imraan, there is no denying the personal financial investment which Peter Mallinger put into the club until he – like Ladak – decided that enough was enough, frustrated by the club’s inability to sustain itself in a decaying ground with limited resources. It’s all of 13 years since PM went public on the lack of support from the local council and look where we are today. Compare that with a club like Burton Albion, then at a crappy old ground in the Northern Premier, now established in League Two in a shiny new stadium.

With Mallinger’s backing we very nearly achieved one of those goals in his first full season. It remains the only time in our history when we kicked off our final game, potentially just 90 minutes from the Football League. Providing Kidderminster lost and we won 7-0. Look away now if you don’t want to know the result.

The only thing that stopped us going up that season was a goalscorer. Not a 20 goal a season man, 10 would have done. The signing of Carl Alford was intended to put that right, but no two seasons are ever alike and we were not to threaten promotion again for another 5 years, when a surprise challenge was ultimately undone (again) by the lack of a quality cutting edge.

Alford was the final throw before the money started to run out, and Alford became the symbol of how times had changed when he was flogged to Diamonds in 1996. Maybe it was the best offer PM had and he couldn’t afford to be choosy, but there were times when he seemed to be out of tune with the sentiments of supporters. Remember the nonsense about changing our nickname to the Lions?

In terms of the most important decision of all – choice of manager – Peter Mallinger’s record was patchy. He inherited Graham Carr, took a punt on Gary Johnson which proved to be inspired rather too late, went for the cheap in-house option in Steve Berry then let him go after he’d engineered a miracle escape from the drop, brought back Morris for a three card trick of 2nd place, Wembley and relegation, again went for the in-house option in Carl Shutt who he backed to get us back up then fired for being unable to keep us there with half a squad, then appeared to lose the plot completely afterwards.

It would be fair to say that by the latter years of his time at Rockingham Road, PM’s energy was waning and he was looking for a way out. He’d taken KTFC as far as he could and wanted to find a successor who could offer a better future. Few would argue that he made a good choice, and it’s a pity that for whatever reason PM had taken his allegiance elsewhere when the Poppies were again up there in lights.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

13 years, 8 months and 25 days of pain.

Shortly after the Direones trimmed us by the small margin of 5-1 on their first league visit to fortress Rockingham Road back in 1997 I have been planning my revenge. One act of rebellion I have always promised myself was to urinate from the roof of the DeBanker stand onto the pitch. Once I thought I'd do it when they got relegated out of the League. Bottled it then. I then promised myself I'd be getting out my ladder (no, not a euphemism) when we won again against them. I wisely decided it was far too cold for such an act on Monday. So it looks like I'll have to save my impromptu pitch spraying for when they go bust.....

Unlike it seems the whole of the Poppies support, I didn't see our first win over the Scum back in 1999. I was elsewhere in the County, no doubt excelling with bat or ball in the upper reaches of the Northants County Cricket League. Or carrying the drinks. Or even, making the drinks - can't really remember.

Needless to say, that game was the only League encounter I have EVER missed against the Inbreds. And as the years and defeats tumbled by, I had seriously considered not attending the Direones games JUST IN CASE IT WAS MY FAULT WE COULDN'T WIN.

So, when making the short trip to Non Park this week to cheer on a seriously weakened Poppies side I can't say I was too confident. But, as we all know, it is always darkest before the dawn and a couple of hours later I was being led, numb, away from the ground, scarcely able to believe I had just witnessed a particular bunch of men scoring less goals than another bunch of men. Lets not leave it so long in future!

Before I left for a tour of Rushden with my arse hanging from the car window, I remained proessional enough to grab a few quick interviews with some of the people involved.

Iyeseden Christie - "What do you mean I used to be shite you f**ker?" Get away from me you asshole!"

Justin Edinburgh - "I can't believe I've led a Diamonds team to defeat against Kettering. Even Talbot didn't manage that and he's a talentless, brain-dead numptie. That's my career f**ked."

Roger Ashby - "What's the fuss? I always win here..."

Marcus Law - "We tried to instill confidence in the - (phone rings) sorry, hold on a moment. Hello, thanks for calling back. I was just checking to see if I'd left anyone at Barwell who I could tempt over here for bugger all money, and playing in front of the biggest set of moaners on the planet? No, bugger. I'm gonna have to pick Westwood again."


This ticket needs to be seriously laminated, and quick!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Fascinating Facts about Rushden Anne Diamond

In the dark about both where
the shampoo was kept, and just
how bent Mark English was.
Most of what you need to know about our county cousins can be gleaned from the pages of old PATGODS. This honest repository of totally true facts tells us that: -

  • All inhabitants of Irthlingborough have 6 fingers on each hand which more often than not are also webbed.
  • Rushden men fancy their relatives, even though they are almost certain to be very ugly.
  • Cyclopes run wild at Nonce Park.
  • Trolls live under the bridge between Rushden and Irthlingborough.
  • Max Griggs was an evil tyrant who paid his workers in Diamonds tickets rather than money.
  • The Scum could field 11 scarecrows, but as long as they were wearing Direones colours (whatever they were that particular week), they would still beat any team of Poppies greats drawn from any period of our history.
  • Brian Talbot had bird shit in his hair for three straight years.
  • You sexy thing
  • In 1983 Anne Diamond joined with Nick Owen and current Luton Town Chairman Roland Rat to front the successful re-launch of ITV's breakfast programme, TV-AM.
  • Duane Darby is the ugliest man to ever draw breath.
  • At one point in the late 1990's the squad accounted for half the drug trafficking of the East Midlands.
  • The day they were relegated from the league I laughed so hard I gave myself lockjaw.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

300th Post - At last Imraan's Statement.....

...and it's pretty much as you were.

We aren't going to groundshare, or thank God, merge with the Scum or the Sweaty Socks. The fact that merger with the Scum was even considered tells us all we need to know about how little Imraan still understands about rivalry even after all his time here. It is a failing shared by a large number of Premier League supporters. Their league is the only important league in the world. By extension, their rivalries are the only real ones. I'm sure his attitude would be somewhat different if the talk was of Arsenal and Tottenham sharing a ground, or merging. I would also wager the strength of feeling between us and the Scum is stronger than the "more important" North London spat.

Although there is no definite news on the ground situation there appears to be some positive noises. We'll have to keep watching to see if any of these plans or phantom investors materialise.

Imraan's handling of the budget, the amended contracts, and staff turnover annoyingly shows up once again his rank amateurism when running the Club. Given the presumably good business sense he reserves for his day job, it's always struck me as odd how sloppily he runs the Poppies. Staff and players come and go, entry prices fluctuate, and an ever greater burden for keeping the Club afloat falls on volunteers and the Trust.

He hardly looks like the personifiction of evil,
but this man may have done more to kill
the Poppies than anyone else in the
last 139 years.
More interestingly, Imraan finally named and shamed Kettering Borough Council Chief Executive Dave Cook as the man who supposedly cost us a new ground in conjunction with Asda. It is difficult not to get angry the more one looks at this shameful episode. For a new ground and community sporting facility to be built on the edge of town all the Council had to do was nod. No money was asked for. No land. Nothing. Can you imagine any other council other than Kettering not jumping at this opportunity? Even leaving aside Imraan's unproven accusation that Cook not only knocked back this opportunity but tried to hijack it for the Council's own ends, we are still left with a shockingly bad decision by this, no doubt handsomely paid, unelected individual.

Cook supposedly turned down the Asda plan in order to protect the town centre. Bravo! All that happened was that Asda bought up Co-Op and still opened a non-town centre supermarket, and the town gained nothing by it. It's a pity that the Chief Executive wasn't so fussed about the town centre whilst it was divided up between phone shops, charity shops and kebab houses.

It would seem that we are to remain full-time until at least the end of the season. Whether Barwell's finest training a couple more times a week will be enough to keep us in this division remains to be seen. I guess Marcus will be earning his money between now and May.

Oh, and a Happy New Year to all!