Friday, 29 July 2011

Ebay comes up trumps!

Surely no better use of a spare £23.00 you may have about your person!

Makes you wonder how much they'd be worth if they were any good!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Things that make me laugh - Leicester City fans

Please God!  One XXXXXL shirt needed, stat!
Other than a few years of Premier League survival presided over by the kick and rush tactics of Martin O'Neill and Emile Heskey, Leicester City have never really done much. They've finished as Champions of England, or FA Cup winners exactly the same number of times we have. They like to think of themselves as "sleeping giants", and suffer from "big club" syndrome (see Newcastle United). Of course, the upshot of this delusion is that you never have to actually do anything except bottle the chances when they come along (see Leicester in the 1960's and their FA Cup finals, or again, see Newcastle United)
Their supporters are equally good at being "big-time Charlies" as my Granddad used to say. They rolled up to Rocky Road, all swaggery, pumped-up, and swigging from lager bottles, like big boys. They rapturously applauded the most blinding obvious square ball any player in blue kicked all evening. They cheered when Steve Howard touched the ball (both times), in an all-action display which put me in mind of Adam Cunnington, without the potent goal threat. They made rude gestures to the home fans when they managed to get an equaliser when we were temporarily down to ten men. They made exaggerated "OOO!" sounds anytime a meagre Leicester effort dribbled feebly wide of our goal.

They even tried a few chants for God's sake! Singing at a pre-season friendly has always struck me a bit of a social taboo. Just like french-kissing relatives (sorry to break that news to our new fans from down the A6), or admitting you watch "Big Brother". This didn't stop the Leicester diehards from Kettering and Market Harborough giving it a go until they realised their team couldn't even beat a Poppies team with an untroubled Koo-Boothe at the heart of its defence.

Worrying times for the Foxes!


Back at Imraan's Wicksteed rally I recall a moment when Imraan almost wobbled and lost his audience. Buoyed by the way the meeting was turning heavily in his favour he seemingly over-reached himself for a moment.

He wanted the Poppies to "respect" the former tennants of our new ground. Perhaps name a stand after Dale Roberts (something his own club didn't actually do...) He also floated the idea of a badge change, and the posibility of a name change if an unspecified level of support was not forthcoming from the people of Kettering.

Fortunately for Imraan, any further probing on these points was drowned out by vocal elements of the numpty brigade who were so joyously intent on moving to Non Park with its comfy seats and fine banqueting facilities, they were nursing half-bars all night long.

On Radio Northampton last night Morrell echoed Imraan's earlier statements.

It strikes us that this is a dangerous path to tread at this time. Northampton Town are making a concerted effort to attract former Direones, but aren't offering to change their name of colours. NEITHER SHOULD WE!

By no means all the Poppies fans are sold on the Non Park move. Most are of the, "We'll give it a go for the first few games" opinion. An opinion that could quickly be altered if our team take to the pitch running out of the Duane Darby Stand, to the sounds of "Diamonds are Forever", playing in a red and blue kit, with a picture of a cyclops on the club badge!

Imraan does not want to completely alienate any Direones who are considering attending their old stadium - fair enough. BUT, does he really want to hoover up a few stragglers who only really liked the stadium rather than the team, at the risk of losing his own hardcore support?

By attempting to tread a middle ground he could very well lose Kettering and Direones alike. This is football - there is no middle ground. It's one or the other. Imraan would do well to remember that from time to time.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Naming and Shaming in Corby

Corby Town fans have been busy voting on a name for the latest ground they have been given for free. We have, you won't be surprised to learn, managed to source the results of the vote ahead of the decision being announced.

1st with 28% of the vote - "The We Hate Kettering Town, and have no real feeling for Corby Town beyond Shouting out Sheepshaggers whenever we play them, Stadium"
2nd with 22%of the vote - "The Underage Drinking Stadium."
3rd with 14% of the vote - "The Fenian Stadium"
4th with 12% of the vote - "The Braveheart Re-Writing of History Stadium"
5th with 9% of the vote - "The King Billy of Orange Stadium"
6th with 4% of the vote - "The Pre-teen Mothers Stadium"
7th with 4% of the vote - "The Pyromaniacs Stadium"
8th with 3% of the vote - "The Junkies' Needle Stadium"
9th with 2% of the vote - "The Chip-on-the-shoulder, Plastic Jock Stadium"
10th with 2% of the vote - "The This-will-do-until-someone-pays-for-yet-another-ground-to-be-built-for-us-ungrateful-buggers, Stadium"

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

When is a "K" not a "K?"

This photo posted on Poppynet by Timbo of our potential new home unleashed a wave of conflicting emotions in me.

Firstly, and rather shamefully, I had a brief frisson of pleasure at seeing seats arranged in a "K" for Kettering. Why this has never been done at Rockingham Road in the forty years we have had our mighty main stand must forever remain a mystery. I guess it might have cost a few pennies, so, obviously sank to the bottom of the list of priorities, behind refurbishing the boardroom, creating the Sid Chapman Terrace hoarding, and paying Lee Fowler to sit on his fat arse and bad-mouth the club.

My second thought was, "Why is the "K" in blue?" This was immediately answered by my third observation. This was no "K" at all, but rather the "R" of Rushden with the top loop of the "R" being replaced with red seats, or worse still, digitally!

Have a close look. I guess this will be confirmed when we see what they do with the "D" on the next block of seats. What with the outside of the ground still looking as though the Direones are about to return for pre-season training, I can't escape typing "I have a bad feeling about this", to quote various characters from the Star Wars films (the real ones, not the newer shite).

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Unthinkable Draws Ever Nearer

With our removal to Non Park less than a month away there are still a couple of niggling issues outstanding (among dozens of other little and large niggles of course...)

Anyone who has driven past Non Park can't have failed to notice the old Diamonds livery and wording still plastered all over the stadium. I'm not sure if Imraan considers this important, but I fear he may well be underestimating feeling in the Poppies camp if he expects us to turn up there to be greeted with such emblems still in place. Our large number of waverers won't need much to sway them against the move, and this may be enough.

Something else Imraan should address as a matter of urgency is the promise he made on the official site a few weeks ago: -

"The board has also agreed that supporters voted in favour of the move to Nene Park on the basis that the name Kettering Town FC would remain unchanged and so are planning to amend our articles to ensure this is the case. It has been proposed that the name can never change unless 90% of our supporters vote otherwise, regardless of ownership of the club."

If nothing else, this action will help settle the nerves of many of us who fear a name change and loss of identity could befall us. I truly hope Imraan understands the enormous leap of faith we are taking here, and that we NEED these assurances and changes to Non Park.

This could be a move unprecedented in senior football in this country. Lots of clubs move to new grounds, but has any club taken over a ground, outside their own location, which used to belong to their fiercest rivals? I can't think of a comperable example.

It may never feel like home, but he must ensure that any and all reminders of the Scum are removed before we are expected to blindly troop down the A6.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Readers Digest Touring Guide to 2011-12 (Apr-May)

Sat 9 April 2012

The delightful, and close, university city of Cambridge awaits the visiting Poppy. Full of imposing and beautiful buildings and the restful river Cam.

However, expect to be pestered by unseemly begging from students who are having to pay tens of thousands of pounds for the privilege of an Oxbridge education, preparing them for nothing more useful in future life other than appearing on amusing BBC 2 panel shows.

Sat 14 April 2012

We pay a visit to our old friends at Kidderminster.

Assuming they still produce their delightful soup, the temperature of mid April would in all probability be too high to imbibe. May be an idea to pop over to West Midlands afari Park instead?

Sat 28 April 2012

Long final trip of the season to Darlington to see if Mark Cooper's rigid mixture of defensive dominance, mixed up with a long ball over the top has either bored the Quakers into the play-offs or the relegation zone.

Early May 2012

Away trip to Wembley for Morrell's Merry Men.....

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Things we learned from the Notts County friendly

Judging by the state of the terraces and the surrounding areas Imraan did not expect to have to host any games at Rockingham Road again - the place was filthy and overgrown.

I must learn not to nervously hold my breath every time Moses chases for a ball.

Adam Cunnington's desperation for the phone to ring from Tamworth was palpable.

I must really get to the ground earlier if I want any clue as to the names of the players I am supporting.

Nathan Koo Boothe still cannot play football. The first 10 seconds of the game amply confirmed this. As far as I can see, there are only three possible reasons he has washed up here again: -

  1. He is related to Morrell

  2. He looks a bit like Big X, but minus the passing ability, the heading ability presence, heart, throw and positional play

  3. As a (hideously unfunny) joke

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Readers Digest Touring Guide to 2011-12 (Feb-Mar)

Sat 4 February 2012

This is the thanks we get for dancing on the grave of the Direones, and helping to keep Southport in the Premier? A February trip to Southport! Even in the summer Southport is ravaged by a sharp chill blowing in off the Irish Sea. Christ alone knows how cold it would be in February!

Sat 18 February 2012

Why couldn't the trip to Barrow be combined with the trip to Southport to at least get them both out of the way?

No need to worry as the game will almost certainly be postponed at least a couple of times.

Sat 25 February 2012

Deepest Essex next for the trip to Braintree. It sounds like one of those nightmarish sorts of places from the Ryman Season, and that is reason enough to avoid! That and it is the birthplace of that uber-nancy fruit, Louie Spence, possibly the gayest man alive.

Sat 10 March 2012

Spring is starting to awake, but you'd be hard pressed to spot it as we visit Hayes & Yeading. they may be playing at Hayes. Or Yeading. Or indeed Woking.

What kind of Micky Mouse club doesn't even know where they will be playing their home games! Er.....

Sat 24 March 2012

And the glamorous trips continue thick and fast as we pack up to head to Ebbsfleet. Or Gravesend & Northfleet. Or whatever they decide to call themselves.

What kind of Micky Mouse club doesn't even know what their name is going to be this time next year! Er......

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Do you need any more evidence that Morrell is back?

Kettering Town (4 4 2) v Rugby

12 Audi Haxia
2 Curtis Weston
3 Stephan Massomo
4 Mark Pryor (c)
5 Fabio Buffano
6 Roan Hendricson
7 Allou
8 Brandon Wong
9 Leon Simpson
10 Saul Atubo
11 Tom Ahmed

15 S Pierick
14 Bon Islam
18 Andre Miltgy
27 Jean-Paul Marna
30 Antony Corre

It seems that Morrell still has his membership paid up with

Brett and Ropes never really stood a chance......

The Readers Digest Touring Guide to 2011-12 (December - Jan)

Sat 3 December 2011

Ah, a wondrous Winter journey to magical York!

A Christmas market nestling under the beautiful Minster. Angelic choirs, sweetly proclaiming the coming of our Lord. A light dusting of snow lazily coating the historic buildings in the Shambles. Andre Boucard turning in tight little circles on the halfway line before being dispossessed.

The magic of the pre-Christmas period.

Mon 26 December 2011

We're not saying that Luton on a slushy Boxing day is in anyway a less attractive proposition than Christmas in York.... but let's face it, it is!

Too full of badly cooked turkey and cheap plonk, scrambling through the distinctly non-Christian environs around Kenilworth Road, to squeeze into a seat patently not fit for purpose and watch our team, recently shorn of all its best players by a bored Chairman, filleted by a Luton Town who are rapidly becoming used to being non-league. Delightful.

Sat 7 January 2012

It might be too icy to travel the few miles from Telford to delightful Ironbridge Gorge, so we might well have to restrict ourselves to the enjoyment to be had at the New Bucks Head. No doubt the locals will still be venting murderous fury upon us (no, I can't remember why and when this first occurred either).

For some reason we seemed to have incurred the ire of all their new, thousands of fans. They never used to be so angry at the Old Bucks Head when their sleepy seven hundred used to stand quietly around whilst we game their team their annual slapping.

Sat 21 January 2012

It is time to visit the Cathedral, city walls, medieval arcades and Roman ruins of beautiful Chester.

And then, if we have to, drive on to Wrexham for another afternoon of vitriol in the valleys.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Readers Digest Touring Guide to 2011-12 (October - November)

Sat 8 October 2011

A trip to little Alfreton awaits.  After losing Histon at the end of last terms this is just what we need!  Another glorified village team to kick our arses, and then brag about how tiny the place is!

Alfreton is famous for its mining tradition (now ceased), and Thornton's Chocolates....oh dear.

Sat 15 October 2011

Forest Green - The team the Conference cannot seem to shake off welcomes the travelling Poppies to the West Country.  A warm welcome and a choice of vegetarian fayre await us.  The Poppies chubbies had best stock up before reaching the ground.

Tues 18 October 2011.

Finally the fixture computer does something right and gives us Newport away on a Tuesday night!  One doesn't need much excuse to avoid South Wales, but a Tuesday night kick-off fits the bill nicely.

Sat 19 November 2011

The grisly midland carbuncle to Tamworth will be wearing its finery for our arrival.  Hopefully by this stage of the season Marcus Law is still at the club to hear our resounding muted applause for his efforts at Rockingham Road.

Tues 29 November 2011

Another blank Tuesday?  Let's look at the evidence.

Ridiculously long away trip?  I think Fleetwood counts!
Chance of winning?  What comes after "none?"
Likelihood of taking 2-days off work to go there?  Can think of better uses for the time.
Chance of getting a thumping?  Fair to good.
Chances of seeing Blackpool Illuminations?  Seen 'em before.  No great shakes!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Readers Digest Touring Guide to 2011-12 (August - September)

"Always open on the most
discerning laps"

Tues 16 August 2011

Whilst Stockport is no-one's idea of an ideal touring destination, unless you have a craving for crack cocaine, or to be a victim of gun crime, it is at least a new ground for the travelling Poppy.  Or, it would have been had the fixture not been scheduled for a Tuesday night!

Sat 20 August 2011

Ah, a trip to the fine urban sprawl of Gateshead, to sit in a cavernously empty athletics stadium 2.3 miles from the actual pitch.  Not sure a 30 second squint at the "Angel of the North" is worth the effort involved!

Sat 27 August 2011

Also, not sure it is really worth the effort to make the small trip from Mansfield to Sherwood Forest - legendary home of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.  Not if Sherwood Forest is anything like the less-than bounteous Rockingham Forest which is advertised on the way into Kettering!  A couple of oaks and a bored looking willow don't really conjure up dreams of derring-do against Alan Rickman, do they?

Sat 10 September 2011

The fine Cathedral city of Lincoln beckons like a shining jewel in the low Lincolnshire landscape.  A wondrous medieval edifice, surrounded by multitudinous period features, buildings and other environs.  Well worth a visit.  Unless of course you are heading on holiday to Cornwall the same day.  As I am.  Bugger.

Tues 20 September 2011

Another Tuesday night visit to Grimsby.  Ah, Mr Fixture Secretary, you are spoiling us!

Sat 24 September 2011

The attractive spa city of Bath opens its arms in welcome to the adventurous Poppy.
The less attractive denizens of Twerton also open their arms to our intrepid visitors.  Unfortunately in the hands attached to those arms are various missiles designed to rain down upon our heads.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Damned if you do....

So, after all, the Trust will not be setting up a break away, AFC, or Phoenix football club. Despite the vote to do so at the recent EGM, the Trust board have decided not to create a brand new team.

And to be honest, I don’t blame them for a second.

Did the people who voted for the Trust to create a new club give any thought whatsoever as to just how this would happen? New clubs aren’t set up every day, or decade come to that, and if you took a moment to consider what would be entailed, this is no surprise. Registering with the FA and the Northants FA. Setting up a company to oversee the club. Convincing enough people to buy into the prospect of setting up a team in opposition to the Poppies. Employing people to organise the new club. Funding the off-field staff. Finding the players and agreeing contracts. Convincing a League that the club is a genuine outfit, with the backing and substance to be a credit to their organisation, and not just a bunch of angry fans. Convincing local companies to give us credit, even though professionally run clubs are defaulting every day.

Oh, and finding somewhere to actually play football! Which, when you think about it, is the problem that has got us here in the first place.

I don’t doubt the passion on display at the EGM with regard to going it alone, and keeping football in the Borough. Unfortunately a room of disgruntled supporters and a possible pitch in Burton Latimer do not a football club make.

As Poppies fans we are far too used to other people sorting things out for us. We like turning up for a bit of a moan on a Saturday, providing of course, everything has been laid on for us.

We expect the Chairman to fund our unrealistic ambitions. We expect people to be employed to serve our food and drinks, sell us our Klondikes, and clear our litter after us. We demand that our players play like a more skillful version of Brazil, under the expert guidance of our management team. And all for a very reasonable price!

I doubt the desire is there for those people demanding a new club to take on any of these tasks themselves. This is no criticism, I know I wouldn’t. But do they really expect the Trust to drop everything and do this?  Just in the hope that supporters who were shouting the odds a few months earlier turn up and watch this new team rather than continue to watch the Poppies, or drift away to the Walkers Stadium, Sixfields or Tesco?

This is a difficult enough time for the Supporters Trust. Amongst their main remits is supporting both Kettering Town FC, and football IN Kettering. Your guess is as good as mine as to how those two directives can both be accommodated currently!

It is tragic that a number of dedicated supporters on the Trust board are likely to be stepping down from their positions as a result of the ongoing situation and proposed relocation. Most of these people do untold amounts of unpaid work behind the scenes on match days and at other times. They have managed to raise thousands of pounds to fund various improvements at the club – everything from plugging funding holes to paying for new goalposts. Running the Tin Hat Social Club entirely separately from the football club, through to sponsoring the youth teams.

If they now choose not to now take on the onerous task of setting up of a brand new club, then fair enough. If the will is there amongst those arguing for a Phoenix club at the EGM then it may still happen. Unfortunately it will take an amount of selfless dedication and hard work that are in incredibly small supply these days.