Monday, 28 February 2011

Fascinating Facts about Tamworth

Everything to do with Tamworth seems to be connected with "pigs!"

Sir Robert Peel was the MP for Tamworth during the mid 19th Century.  As the originator of the Metropolitan Police Force, obviously his "pig" credentials are there for all to see!

In fact Sir Robert has the distinction of a double-pig-wammy!  He also helped to create the breed of "Tamworth Pig" made famous when a couple of them escaped the abattoir a decade or more ago, much to the media's delight.  It must have been a slow news week.

Tamworth is also the home of Reliant, the manufacturers of the three-wheeled car, much favoured by dodgy London geezers trying to flog suspect Russian satellite dishes.  These delightful plastic vehicles, which shouldn't be driven when it's windy, or over a pothole more than 2 inches deep are affectionately known in some quarters as "plastic pigs".

The football club also made a "pig's-ear" of trying to achieve promotion to the Conference back in 2002 when they somehow cocked-up their last half dozen games and allowed some other shower beat them to promotion.

So, how come Tamworth acquired the nickname of the Lambs?

That'll do Tamworth, that'll do.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

500? 400 of them must still be in the Beeswing!

Police Intelligence -
the perfect definition of an oxymoron.

Memo from Newport Police to Kettering Police dated Friday 25 February 2011:-

"500+ angry taffs swarming up the motorway from Newport isn't it.  Lock up your livestock.  Divide the ground up to keep a 50 metre exclusion zone around the violent, drug-crazed reprobates from the Principality.  We suggest deployment of dogs, horses and armed response units, plus road blocks every three hundred metres. Break out the riot gear, boyos, you're in for a rough ride against the Newport hordes."

Friday, 25 February 2011

"F**kin' Hell"

You may have heard the above exclamation during the half-time interval of last week's footballing lesson at the hands of Gateshead.  That felt weird to type - "footballing lesson", and "Gateshead" in the same sentence!  Anyway, this cry of indignant pain was nothing to do with Gateshead's double whammy just before the break, or even fearfully anticipating more of the same during the second half.

No, this heartfelt swearing was tore from my lungs because for seemingly the millionth time I had managed to not win the Club 200 half-time draw, and, for about the ten thousandth time, the winning number was one away from my own number.

I know just how you feel.  Except, I'm not French,
so I guess I should count my blessings.
Keep a listen out at home to Newport tomorrow to the Club 200 draw.  You can safely wager the souls of your immediate family that "93" won't be the number drawn out, but get pretty good odds on either "92", or, as on Tuesday, "94" being announced.

In the seven (?) or so years of this Trust-run draw I have scrupulously entered every season without winning.  I have also never won the Klondike, or any of the earlier manifestations of the half time raffle.  Bearing in mind I have been going up to Rockingham Road for the thick end of 35 years, this is an awfully long dry spell.  A fallow home period thrown into sharp relief by the fact that I have won at least three half-time draws, and possibly more, on opposition grounds.  I don't attend anything like every away game.  And I rarely buy half-time tickets at away games.  And yet, I still have several wins under my belt from these trips, and diddly-squat from the 600 plus games I have attended at home.

That said, what I won from these away draws weren't exactly life-changing.  My win at Adams Park game me the enviable choice of a replica Wycombe Wanderer's shirt (!) or a box of crappy biscuits (which I am convinced were just sitting in the office there....)  Whoopy-f**king doop!

A win at Basingstoke in the Trophy or Cup back in the late 80's (for me, not the team) accrued for me the princely sum of £15.00!  Even with inflation, that wasn't an amount sufficient to get me telling my boss to stuff his job on Monday morning.

My favourite half-time draw win, of the ones I remember, came during our Blue Square North play-off win at Droyleden.  Not that I won a great deal (tight northern bastards!), but I was given a thorough behind-the-scenes tour of the club.  I showed my winning number to the steward and was ushered into a dark drinking pit in one corner of the ground.  Once someone in there had confirmed I had the winning ticket I was shown through to the Secretary's office.  he wasn't there, so I asked someone wearing a Droylesden club tie (plus other clothes, I hasten to add) where he might be, and was thumbed into the direction of the changing rooms.  Ten minutes later I'm standing by the players tunnel, giving our guys encouragement as they came out of the dressing room and ran past me, in the bowels of the Droylesden main stand. 

The game had resumed for a few minutes before a bored looking chap came over and counted out a few grubby notes into my hand with a look of utter disdain on his face.  It was almost as if they rather hoped that no-one claimed the raffle prize.  Fat chance given my lack of luck on my own patch!

I then had to follow the players down the tunnel, past the home dugout and clambered back into the away end.  I'd like to say that I gave Pace a verbal-volley when passing him, but obviously I bottled it....)

Nevertheless I will be digging deep again on Saturday, aiming to win the 50/50 Klondike draw, which suspiciously always seems to pay out exactly £200.00....but I warn you now to get ready for another abusive volley of foul language!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Looks like Harper was right after all.....

"Nuts, oh Hazelnuts"
Cast your mind back to the start of the season.  Former boss Lee Harper was stockpiling central defenders in much the way a squirrel gathers nuts to keep him alive through the winter.  I seem to recall that we were all a bit wary of the way Lee was using his "contract-bazooka" to fire out 2-year deals at every central defender he had ever played with.

But it looks as though Lee wasn't saddling us with too many big-lads after all.  Not when you consider yesterday's capitulation at Altrincham of all places.  As it now stands, we are a Sol Davis muscle-tweak away from fielding an entire midfield line-up across our defensive line.

A defensive back four of Pat, McKoy,Brett and Marcus isn't quite the grouping I expected to see us through to a comfortable mid-table finish, but, upon reflection, I guess I'd rather this than recalling Westwood and Koo-Boothe!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Fascinating Facts about Altrincham

Unbelievably, one of the small Von Trapp girls in everyone's second favourite Nazi-themed musical*, "The Sound of Music", was born in Altrincham!  The actress in question was Angela Cartwright, who must have been dubbed, because at no point can I recall hearing any of the annoying Hun children exclaiming, "Alright our kid, mad fer it, You-nay-ted!"
"Don't be stupid - Be a smartie,
come and join the Nazi party!"

During the 1980's it was debatable as to whether Altrincham FC, Runcorn FC, or the Falklands War was responsible for the greater number of injuries necessitating emergency treatment.

Francis - officially pretty,
pert and petite

The only other thespian of the note from Altrincham was the woman who played the perpetually scowling mother of pretty, pert, petite, Penny from "Just Good Friends".

Altrincham is named-checked in the song "Manchester", by The Beautiful South, nailing any lingering suggestion that Altrincham is a charming Cheshire market town, and confirming it as a very small part of that snarling, gun-totting, perpetually rain-drenched, sprawling, shite-hole.

In 1984 the United Nations declared that John King was a clear and present danger to the continued survival of the human race.
* after "The Producers" of course.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Peterborough United - always ready to help.

The news has reached us that the club has taken a couple of Posh lads on loan to cover the numerous other loan players we have at Rockingham Road.  Records show that, with these two loanees, Peterborough can now boast of having at least one player on loan at every club in English professional and semi-professional football. 

This envious record seems to have come about through Posh hoovering up almost any player within a hundred mile radius who shows even a glimmer of footballing ability (and Lee Tomlin), and immediately putting them on contracts for life.  Rene Howe, for example, is now in his fourth season at London Road, and has never even seen the place!  However, he has been loaned out to 27 clubs during his Peterborough career. 

In many ways, playing for Peterborough is akin to being a mobster.  Once you sign up, you are never really allowed to leave.  Lil Fuccillo and Robbie Cooke still have squad numbers just in case Posh have a run of injuries, or the 500 players ahead of them are all struck down with the plague.

Lil and Robbie are ready to heed the call

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Pete Simcoe - Take a Bow!

After seemingly decades spent flipping discs / inserting cassettes / slotting CDs / tapping the i-pod, and tripping over foreign-sounding names on the teamsheet, tannoy announcer Pete Simcoe is finally stepping out of the shadows.  As half-time mike holders come and go, Pete has always remained up in the stand, reading out the scores and reminding us all of our next opportunity to come and be disappointed at Rockingham Road.

More recently he has taken over the mantle of half-time microphone jockey.  These days it is his responsibility to deflate my expectations by drawing out someone else's raffle ticket and 200 Club number!

My only worry is that all this new found responsibility is causing Pete some concentration problems. For example, giving us a half-time score from Non Park which suggests the Scum are winning, when they are actually a goal down is not really good form!  Of course, he did manage to pull the situation around just in time and cheer us up.  The tease.

But, no matter what he does between now and the end of the season, he will be forgiven, thanks to his announcement towards the end of the Barrow game when, during a break in play, he announced that a pair of glasses in their Specsavers case had been handed in.  Given the referee had been a typical Conference stinker who whistled every time opposing players shared the same postal district, or whenever a tumbling player shouted "AAYA!" or even if he just felt he hadn't whistled enough in the preceding 30 seconds, this was too good a gift!

I think just about everybody in the crowd finished off the gag Pete had inadvertently set-up for us!  Brilliant moment.  Keep it up Pete!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


The above question was posed by John Cecil on Poppynet recently, and it's a good question.  If Imraan stepped aside and handed the club to it's supporters, would you be prepared to stand up and be counted?  Hearteningly the majority thus far who have replied have indicated that they would.

As ever though with Kettering fans, those answering the question asked by JC are dwarfed by the number of people who don't commit themselves to an answer.  Of the (as of typing) 400 plus views the topic has received, only 59 have made even the tiny effort to tick a box!  Even given the general malaise of the apathetic Kettering public, how much effort does it take to click a mouse button! 

Even though we all cry out for democracy, sustainability and accountability in our everyday lives, when it comes to football we all feel just that little bit happier being under the rule of a benign dictator, don't we?  However, for every Imraan out there willing to dip into his pocket, there's a Mark English waiting in the wings to dip into yours!

A club owned by the supporters would give us fans a real say in how the club was to be run.  It would be a club run by fans, for fans.  Those who are usually opposed to the idea of a supporter run football club generally cite either the inability to inject funds into the club or the lack of experience in running an organisation as large and complex as a football club.  Or an equally valid fact that 10 years ago a Trust committee member was served in front of them at the bar!

With regard to the issue of financing the operation of a football club how much would we actually lose by not having an owner inject his own funds?  We would still generate income from gate receipts.  We would still be selling sponsorship, corporate packages, alcohol, replica shirts, other clothing, klondike tickets, programmes, and half-time bovril.  Yes, we might miss out on the sudden injection of cash for a flashy loan signing, but is this such a bad thing in the long run?  The odd eye-catching "sugar-daddy" splurge may give the club a temporary boost, but more often than not this ends up fueling unrealistic supporter expectations.  We might also revert to a part-time playing status, but, let's be honest, how can we presently justify being full time on gates of a thousandish?

Being a community-owned club would also open other funding options through the FA and other supporter organisations.  The council and landlord have both indicated more of a willingness to help out were the club not owned by an individual.  Other clubs similarly run have also seen an upturn in the local business community willing to pitch in.

As to the question of how could mere supporters actually run a football club, just look around.  Who is effectively running the club on a day-to-day basis now?  Between the Trust committee and other supporters who give their time and effort, we account for the vast majority of the club's activities.  That pre-match pint was served to you in a Social Club wholly run by the Trust.  The Trust run numerous events from the Social Club.  They have funded or contributed to almost every improvement at the ground in recent years from work on the pitch, the floodlights, disabled access and paying for replacing the goalposts.  Do you think the club runs the successful Youth and Community programme?  Guess again, the Trust run it.

The Trust also organised the recent memorabilia exhibition at Kettering library.  Poppies fans have written a book about the early history of the club.  The guy who sold you your ticket and scarf in the club shop is a supporter.  As are the klondike and programme seller you just handed cash over to. 

Clubs like Exeter, Wimbledon, Telford, FC United are all wholly run by their supporters.  Do these club's, or the other 20 or so run by supporters, have fans that are in some way better than ours?

For all Imraan's positive influence at Rockingham Road, even his strongest supporter will concede that he runs the club in a frankly amateur, haphazard way.  Without the time and effort of numerous "ordinary" fans like you and me, the club would grind to a halt tomorrow.  Or do you think Imraan does it all during his fleeting visits, or that it is all done by whichever member of his DRC staff has been handed the task of overseeing the club from his office in Milton Keynes?

Running a football club boils down to having the right, small staff, augmented by a large number of willing volunteers dealing with the off-field matters, and employing the right people to take care of the on-field matters.  We are not dealing with splitting the atom or operating on someone's grey matter here!

Or perhaps we believe that shelling out 15 quid once a fortnight and shouting a bit of encouragement should be the pinnacle of supporter involvement?  Providing of course that other people do the rest of the work to keep the club going.....

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Where Are They Now? No.4 Morrel Maison

Morrell has turned his back on the petty ugliness of professional football, and embraced the more refined field of interior design. 

He has lent his name and incomparable knowledge and experience of the finer things in life to a range of home furnishings available through some of the better high street stores.

In practice, his products are flashy, expensive, but generally fall short of the quality expected and in the end they leave you disappointed.

So, no change there....

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Crawley Aftermath

Steve Evans takes his table-topping team back to Sussex,
content with a point from their visit to Rockingham Road.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Build-up to Crawley - Good luck to everyone tonight

We've been pulling Steve Evans' leg over the last few days, but it's all been in jest.  He has had a rough run in the press over the last few years.  What with the illegal acts and criminal convictions.  And the fact that he comes across as an obnoxious loud-mouth whinger.  And the constant berating the officials until they give him every decision.  And encouraging his team to cheat all over the pitch.

Nevertheless, he is a big character in the game, which is lacking larger than life figures these days.  We look forward to seeing him at Rockingham Road tonight.  And look forward to winding the bastard up until he bursts!

The Burger Bar is on DEF CON 1

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Build-up to Crawley. The Corruption of Paul Raynor

"You must release your hatred! 
Only your fury will allow you to join me on the Darkside!"

"The Force of Bellyaching is strong with this one!"

"I am your Father!"

"We will rule the galaxy as father and son....
oi!  Lino!  Are you f**king blind?!"

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Build-up to Crawley. Steve Evans - A Career in Pictures

School days were the best days of Steve's life,
although Maths wasn't his best subject!

A charitable Steve Evans augments Ken Charlery's meagre wage 

"Mr Evans, we have a few questions for you about the money
found in your players' boots..."

"Oh shite...."

"Mr Evans, is it true that you have only avoided prison because your
Brief claimed you were frit of being bummed?"

(This is the only known photograph of Steve Evans
with his mouth closed)

Back on top again, Steve celebrates with Matt Tubbs.
"£5000.00 a week, brilliant!"beams Tubbs.
"Sshhhh!" hisses Tubby