Sunday, 29 May 2011

FIFA - you gotta love 'em!

To stop you having to wade through all the nonsense surrounding FIFA and their incredibly bent goings on, we've prepared a short, handy guide to the organisation Football Is Financially Agreeable.  We aim to counter the perception that they act like a bunch of third world tribal warlords, always looking to feather their nests.

Or at least we would have if any of the FIFA committee members would have answered any of our questions.
FIFA - responsible, self-appointed
custodians of the beautiful game.

We asked Sepp Blagger about the 14,567 charges of corruption aimed at members of his Executive Committee.  He offered to answer our questions if we paid $1,000,000 into his private Swiss account, to pay towards some sort of soccer academy he may be setting up for disadvantaged children in some country somewhere.

Undeterred, we tried Ethics spokesman Mohammed Bung Hammam.  He was also happy to answer any question, if we paid $1,000,000 into his private Monaco account, to pay towards some sort of soccer academy he may be setting up for disadvantaged children in some country somewhere.

Finally we tried to speak to West Indian representative Jack Daddy Warbucks about charges of corruption and he asked us which country we represented, and which World Cup we wanted to host.  He then invited us to contribute $1,000,000 to his private Seychelles account, to pay towards some sort of soccer academy he may be setting up for disadvantaged children in some country somewhere.

Annoyed by all this rampant corruption we contacted the FIFA Press Office.  After giving them our credit card details they confirmed that several committee members were under unfounded investigation.  To counter the negative perception of their pointless organisation they were drafting in some more members, who's integrity and honesty are all beyond question - Jeffrey Archer, Joseph Goebbles, Attila the Hun and Jim Hakewell.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Triumph of Mediocrity

Who'd have credited it?  Stevenage will be playing League One football next year.  Isn't that insane?

Black-eyed misery-guts gaffer,  Graeme Westley
takes the plaudits of the Stevenage fans who
booed his return to the club a few years ago.
They will be playing league games against both Sheffield teams next season!  They are also going to be hosting former Premier League Charlton Athletic!  It's been an incredible journey for Stevenage (to coin a phrase from The X-Factor), made all the more remarkable because it has been overseen by one of the most overrated managers in football.  No, not Peter Taylor.  The other one - the dead-eyed Graeme Westley.

During his short, ruinous tenure at Rockingham Road, and over the course of numerous games against Stevenage, Westley's "quality" was always the same.  Grim, negative football, followed up if that fails, with negative, grim football.  Pinch a goal and 10 across the back.  The sort of well-drilled stubborness that the likes of Mark Cooper can only aspire to. 

And Chris Beardsley joins Craig Westcarr in the third tier of football, only a couple of years after both were deemed surplus to Poppies requirements by Cooper. D'oh!

And what odds on Crawley emulating Stevenage's instant progress through League Two next season?  I suppose that will depend on whether their mysterious, foreign backers continue to be interested, or they find some other way to spend their legitimate business profits.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

"Knee-Jerk" Poppynet hits new heights

Marcus Law - Kettering reject! 
Tamworth ffs!
We've all had a good grumble today on Poppynet.  Manager gone.  Club in crisis.  Merger and Non Park waiting in the wings. 

Poppynet has been ablaze for the last 24 hours and unhappily all the usual suspects were present, correct and pushing their agendas....

Some were crowing that they'd told us all along this was going to happen, even though their constant, collective axe-grinding has always been painfully non-specific....other than for the fact they don't like Imraan (now he isn't paying their wages that is).

Others were scrabbling around talking up the instant setting-up of AFC Poppies just because the Manager has left.  Not that they've ever actually done anything themselves in this regard, or indeed particularly support the Poppies, they just like the idea of turning us into a park team....that they probably wouldn't even watch.

Some supposed fans are talking about supporting other teams - the sort of plastic behavior derided when shown by fans of other local clubs.

Some who don't even support us anymore can't resist a quick, "Told you so!"

Some want to hound Imraan out, whilst at the same time wanting him to invest heavily in our club.

So changeable.  So schizophrenic. So very Poppies!  Probably not a bad idea to give the forum a miss for a day or two until it all calms down a bit.

What now Mr Ladak?

You have floated talk of merger, moving and lost us the services of one of the brightest young managers at this level.  Not bad for a week's work!

To say your credibility with the supporters is waning would be a gross understatement.  Do yourself a favour and talk to us.  Come clean about your intentions.  Who knows, you may even keep most of us if you clear up the following five topics -

1  There will be no merger.
2  We will not be moving to Nonce Park.
3  You will start taking the Trust and their suggestions seriously, and not just use them as a piggy bank.
4  Spell out the issues with remaining at Rockingham Road.  If indeed the Pickerings are being unfair, let us know.  Give us some details.  Public opinion would swing back behind you if this was the case.
5  If you are going to remain at the Poppies in a full time capacity, could you please start acting in a professional, measured manner and not give way to your boom and bust inclinations quite so often.  We have just about had enough of them.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

End of season ups and downs (part five)

AFC Wimbledon managed to achieve promotion and consign Luton to another year of non-league anonymity yesterday.  Good news for them, but bad for the uppity Lutonians who instead of lining up against Bradford City next year will be entertaining Braintree.  They also will have to take on us non-league nobodies without a fat wedge of parachute cash from the Football League. Ah, bless.

We've no special regard for Wimbledon at PATGOD - during their trips to Rockingham Road they came across as a whining, cheating bunch of moaners (as do most of the most successful teams it seems - see Stevenage Crawley & Oxford).  What is positive about their success however is that they are a fans run football club.  So much for those who say that no club can survive without some sort of rich benefactor / shady foreigner / crook, or combination of all three, in charge)

With the promotion of Telford into the top flight this is even more power to the elbow of supporter run clubs. 

"Who will pay the shortfall without a sugar-daddy?", cry the unbelievers.

Well, usually the "shortfall" comes about from Chairmen chasing unsustainable goals.

"Other clubs can do it because they are bigger than us!", gnash the unbelievers.

Telford were never a big club until they became a supporter-owned affair.  Gates of a thousand generally led to the bunting being unfurled.  As for AFC Wimbledon, surely we are in a better shape than a club that didn't even exist 10 years ago?

"Without a ground, what's the point?", squeal the unbelievers.

A community owned club could approach the council, the Pickering family, and numerous other organisations from an entirely different position to a privately owned club.

Given the choice, if we were to crash and burn, I would rather us go out as a supporter-run club playing honestly under no illusions as to our place in the pecking order, than go out on our knees, begging for money to keep untrustworthy Directors in power like our friends down the road.  Wouldn't you?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Local Political News Round-Up

It's all go with our locally elected politicians this week!

Seb Coe - about as popular in Corby as a
completely inflammable building
Seb Coe snubs Corby!

Council leaders in Corby have reacted angrily to news that the Olympic torch will not remain there for an overnight stop or even visit their town.  A spokesman said, "We believe the Olympic committee has made an monumental blunder.  Don't they know we've just built a little football ground?  Haven't they seen our Primark?  Have they forgot about the steelworks which closed down, blah blah blah."

Hope slings hook!

Meanwhile, former MP Phil Hope has announced he does not want to be considered for the Corby seat at the next election.  He said, "You elected some chic-lit writing air-head who can't even point out Corby on a map!  Tough!  You're stuck with her!"  "Mind you, I would..." he added.

Hakewell changes tune!

"Et, tu Roberts?"

Meanwhile, meanwhile over in Kettering, council leader Jim Hakewell has been ousted by fellow Tories shortly after leading them to victory at the election.  The Braybrooke based Kettering councillor said, "Funny thing is, the second I was knifed in the back by my colleagues, and was no longer leader, I thought to myself, wouldn't it be good to help the Poppies sort out a new football ground!" 

New Council leader Russell Roberts adds, "Curiously, I was all in favour of working with Kettering Town, but now I am in a position to do something about their plight, all I really want to do is f*ck up the town centre and tell the Poppies to go to hell!"

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

End of Season ups and downs (part four)

Well, after all the north and south play-off shenanigans we now know who will be joining us in the Prem next season (assuming we are are still here of course).

Our old friends from Telford have finally made it all the way back up to the summit of the non-league game.  There are many positives about them taking their place in the top flight.  For one, it is a genuine old rivalry renewed.  As much as we try to work ourselves up about playing Histon or Tamworth, it's good to be able to lock horns with a team that we have known and tussled with for decades.

And don't forget, the away trip to Telford puts the travelling Poppy within easy reach of the world famous Ironbridge gorge, or the delightfully preserved town of Shrewsbury.

Telford's ground itself is one of the best in non-league and well worth a visit if you have never been.

Telford is also a completely fan owned and run football club.  In these dark days of rich men treating football clubs like pawns in a larger game of chess, it is good to see a club being successfully run by its fans, and for its fans.  And if they can do it, why not us?  Sure, the naysayers say, they can do it because their fan base is larger than ours.  Well, it is now.  It never used to be.  Just over ten years ago they could barely muster a thousand fans for the Trophy semi final at the Bucks Head.  The fact that they have managed to attract more supporters since is to be applauded and hopefully copied should we ever be in the same situation.
Party time in Ebbsfleet. 

As far as I can see, the only downside is that they may attract another "lunatic fringe" who set about the Shire and smash it up again.  On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure that this is a bad thing either.....

Joining them will be Ebbsfleet and er....they are from Kent.  Or Essex.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

"P*ssing in the wind", I believe, the correct fiscal term to describe the Direones fans efforts to raise a quarter of million quid in a fortnight.  Whatever you think of the club - soulless abomination, or Max's folly, it is a little disquieting watching their supporters scurry around like ants who are just about to have boiling water poured over them.  Who knows, this could be us in an all too short period.

As much as one would like to feel for them, at the end of the day this is Rushden & Diamonds we are talking about, and any Poppies fan who can remember their formation and early to middle years have waited long enough to see this pretend football club fall.

Harsh?  Perhaps.  But let's look at the case for the prosecution.

Max Grigg's expensive hobby was never a viable enterprise.  He bent the financial structure of non-league out of shape by throwing stupid amounts of money at his plaything.  Non league football had bumbled happily along for a century or more as a semi-professional entity.  Suddenly big transfer fees, salaries and full time status became the norm, even at the more homely corners of the non league game.  Twenty years down the line we're all paying for this seismic change.

Max's open chequebook may have often featured "Kettering Town FC" in the "Payable to" section, but the effect of this was to greatly diminish our club.  Roger Ashby's scouting network, and after him, Brain Talbot, rarely extended further than NN16, and we were soon shorn of our better players, and Gary Setchell.

And mention of Brain Talbot brings us to another reason to despise the Non Park experiment.  This man had, whether by design or by stupidity, unleashed Mark English upon us.  No sooner had we saved ourselves from his one man mission to destroy us, than his partner in crime Talbot was installed at the super club built next door.  I used to describe the situation to outsiders as being akin to having Manchester United transplanted into your street, and then they use your garden as their car park!  Rarely does fate piss so heavily on one group of people in such a short space of time! 

Talbot was always a confusing mixture of the ignorant and the arrogant - who can forget his boast during the days of the bottomless pit of Doc Marten money when he claimed they had one of the lowest budgets in the league, and that the Poppies were paying out far more?  If memory serves, he then lit a fat Havana cigar with a burning twenty pound note.

Their coaches were mailshotting kids at Kettering schools.  Their club was draining our players, and targetting our supporters.  If they had had their way our club would have ceased to exist, and our grateful fans would have all meekly filed over to Irthlingborough.  You saw people brazenly walking around Kettering in Direones shirts FFS!  Oh, and the fact that they invariably beat us didn't help.  And those first two home meetings still feature heavily in the collective nightmares of Kettering supporters.

And then the worse happened.  Max finally spent so much money that even Talbot's lack of management skills couldn't keep them from winning the league.  It didn't help that we were hitting a low point and were about to disappear out of the other end of the division into the pits of hell.  Or the Ryman League as it's sponsors would prefer us to refer to it.  Whilst we had several years of losing to park sides ahead of us, they were about to take their place amongst the elite.

At this point, the thousands of instant Direones couldn't contain themselves.  Them up and us down.  They couldn't have been happier if incest was decriminalised.  They were off on a great adventure, and they could safely forget all about the little Poppies.  Who knows, we might meet one day in the FA Cup!  Their arrogance has not been forgotten.  They did not believe the axiom, "What goes around..." could possibly apply to them.....

Remember to keep Britain tidy -
plastic rubbish goes in here!

And then, one day it happened - proof that if you wish hard enough for a thing to happen, then, just occasionally you are rewarded.  On a cold February morning Max's head accountant slapped a large open ledger in front of his boss and pointed out that his hobby was just about to bankrupt him.  Even Max didn't fancy a future that includeded him eating baked beans from a tin, whilst sitting in his pants in a council house just to keep Talbot in gainful employment. 

The rest is beautiful history.  The funds were withdrawn and the club went into freefall.  They were no longer held up as an inspirational success story.  They were now seen for what they were.  A money pit built in a f*cking village!  The players, management and supporters disappeared as quickly as the money did. 

And now, just as the Diamonds project is reaching its natural end, their few remaining supporters are looking for help to the wider footballing world in order to prevent the inevitable.  Don't expect much in the way of sympathy from this corner of Northamptonshire.  Do us a favour and shrivel up and die, and kindly do it quietly please.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Imraan's Dangerous Game

Nothing stirs the Poppies public more than talk of "mergers" with other clubs. Mallenger raised the subject once, with Corby as our proposed partner, and was hit by an unanimously negative answer, and Rocky Road was hit by half a dozen spray can messages.

Now the talk of merger is again mooted, with the Scum no less. Well, the Scum's ground anyway, as they have no players, few supporters, debts up to their necks and a white elephant of a stadium.

I have theory.  Imraan knows we will never support a merged club, so why suggest this?  We all know Imraan is a poker player, and bluffing is a big part of that game.  How about this as a theory -

  1. Imraan dealing with intransigent Pickering family?
  2. Imraan threatens to move club to Non Park?
  3. Pickering family suddenly faced with no more money from the "Golden Goose", become more amenable?
  4. Imraan secures improved deal on ground lease?

A classic Poker stance maybe?  The Pickering family might play ball   I can't believe that they will be able to sell the ground for housing straight away.  That pesky worldwide recession has put paid to the instant house building spurts of the recent past.  Do they really want to wait 10 years for a return?

I find myself aclmost hoping this is Imraan's intention, because the alternative is too awful to contemplate.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Good old Corby - still raking it in!

Council leaders in Corby have announced themselves as being, "content" that £6,000,000 earmarked for the Isham bypass has been snatched from this project to help fund road works in Corby.  Most councillors were amazed to hear that such a large sum of money had actually been allocated to public works that were clearly not going to benefit Corby.

One Corby councillor added, "I've never even been to Isham, and wouldn't want to.  In fact, I have no idea where it is, and to be honest, I don't care if everyone in the place is run over on their roads."
Corby's fiscal policies
remain on a sensible,
sustainable footing

A resident of Isham said, "It's a bit of a blow considering the twenty years of constant campaigning we have done to be in a position to have a bypass around our village.  But then again, as long as it's going to Corby, we can't really complain.  Perhaps they'll use the money wisely and build their football team a third ground to play on."

"It will almost be worth the dozens more traffic accidents and fatalities we will have to endure in the years to come." he added.

Whilst announcing this latest windfall, Corby Council also decreed that it had awarded itself the contract to dash their hands down the back of everyones sofas, looking for spare change, access to the gold teeth of the recently deceased, and worldwide "first dibbs" on any recovered Nazi loot.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Super-Injunctions reach Non-League!

Due to the last minute implementation of a so called "Super Injunction" the following article has been slightly amended.  We do not respond well to these kinds of bully boy tactics, but in the interest of not going to prison for the rest of our lives, we have decided to tow-the-line this time.



It's good to see that these injunctions aren't merely the preserve of moderately perverted actors, naughty two-timing footballers and aggressive ego-centric celebrities!

Monday, 9 May 2011

The end of season ups and downs (part three)

Next season's opponents are becoming clearer daily.  Thanks to a monumental effort over the last couple of months of the season, Lincoln managed to pip Barnet to that last relegation spot into Blue Square.  Congrats to them.

The play-offs for North and South are down to two from this final four: -

Guiseley         145 miles from the Holy City.  Known for being difficult to spell, and being the birthplace of Matthew (hand up Sooty's arse) Corbett.


Telford           85 miles from the Holy City.  Known for Ironbridge gorge and the enormous chips on their supporters' shoulders.

And from the Beautiful South: -

Farnborough    100 miles from the Holy City.  Known for an airshow we won't see, and for not being Woking!


Ebbsfleet           110 miles from the Holy City.  Known for changing name back and forth, and having a lovely view of the squallor of the Thames Estuary.

Is it too late to ask any of the relegated teams if they want to come back?

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Marna tied to lifetime contract by Ladak

Cooper: "Get out of my sight Marna!"
Marna: "Whatever....tedious leetle man."

Imraan Ladak is celebrating tonight as he has finally secured the services of his favourite human being until 2061.  It is not known for certain what JP will be doing as part of his contract once he can no longer play football, but it is believed that as long as he can juggle the ball a bit he is likely to continue to thrill his employer.

He may well augment his ball juggling with a little light gardening at Imraan's house, and perhaps walk his employer's dog now and again.  More than likely he will live out the remainder of his life in one of Imraan's spare rooms.

JP said tonight, "I am 'appy to play ze football for ze Poppies.  Zut alors!" 

Imraan added, "I love JP, and if it was humanly possible, I would gladly have his babies."

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The end of season ups and downs (part two)

Obviously it isn't down to us to determine who takes the calamitous drop out of the Football League, but it would be nice, given that the lovely city of Salisbury was cruelly taken away from us by the evil BSP committee, to have a ready-made replacement in the fair cathedral city of Lincoln.

Come on Barnet,

The inner-city ghetto of Barnet probably has numerous charms (although in several visits I failed to spot any, other than a passable Rock & Chips at a nearby eatery), but I doubt that their collection of junkie-strewn estates and rampant knife-crime competes with Lincoln's charming medieval areas, wonderful castle, delightful riverside walks and splendid shopping boutiques on Steep Hill and Bailgate.

Monday, 2 May 2011

The end of season ups and downs (part one)

Of course all promotions and relegation issues are never concluded until the league AGM,or the KFGU as the rest of us know it (Keep Forest Green Up).  Much behind the scenes shenanigans will occur between now and the kick off of the 2011-12 season.  But, as the leagues currently stand, next season is already looking a bit grim. 

"Oh, I do like to be
beside the seaside!"

This has nothing to do with football, rather having some nice places to visit when attending Poppies away games!  We lose trips to the seaside at Eastbourne and Southport, as well as the six points each of these resorts usually gave us.  We may even lose Fleetwood to promotion (it is a mad, mad world).

Although Crawley's removal is a cause for rejoicing, Histon's relegation loses us a nice short trip.

Of the teams coming down, Stockport can't be high on anyone's "must see" list.  Chances are we'll be seeing Barnet yet again - not the most sparkling of away trips.

As for the teams coming up, Alfreton and Braintree don't exactly have you reaching for the "Readers Digest Guide to Great Britain", do they?  Behind them, the likes of Woking, Ebbsfleet, Eastwood and Guisley aren't exactly setting my pulse racing either.