Sunday, 28 August 2011

Thanks Morrell!

Our underwhelming start to the season has led to PATGOD removing the previous header photograph with a beaming Manager, just in case Imraan acts quickly and renders it terribly out of date.



Thursday, 25 August 2011

The More Things Change.....Part Three

In retrospect, Jon Challinor's departure to York was always on the cards: -

No place at KTFC for honest pro's when
you can fill a team with prancing show ponies
  • JC gave far too close to 100% every game for Morrell's liking
  • He had the temerity to not be signed by Morrell himself
  • He played with passion
  • He was annoyed when we lost
  • There was more to his game than simply being able to juggle a ball during warm-up

Morrell's right to allow him to be snatched away.  Who needs a player like that?  Not us, obviously!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The More Things Change.....Part Two

Well, the tag of "Fortress Non Park" didn't last long did it?

We shouldn't be too surprised though. Now we've all got the "new ground/new players/cheap season tickets" blindness out of our system we're back to concentrating on the players and management.  Unluckily for them.

"Did we bring the P45's with us
from Rockingham Road?"
A curious truism about the past is that one generally recalls the good times ahead of the bad times.  We all applied this when we heard that Morrell had been reappointed as Manager.  We glossed over his ridiculous optimism, big talk, tactical naivety and unsavory off-field activities, in favour of remembering the occasionally sublime passing football of his first stint, culminating in the 10-1 spanking of Clitheroe. 

Now Morrell is back, and in the (relative) big time.  This isn't like his first spell in charge.  He's no longer in charge of the biggest club in the division, or the only manager with a full-time squad.  Other teams have good players and good coaches.  It's all well and good having lofty footballing ambitions, but this has to be allied to team effort and a rigorous work ethic.  Again, qualities Morrell's team was not exactly known for during his first spell.

One thing that certainly hasn't changed is that his Chairman demands success, and as much as he craves flowing, stiffie-inducing football, he wants to win more.  Big spending and big defeats will not sit well with Imraan.  Something Morell knows better than most.

Friday, 19 August 2011

The More Things Change.....

New ground, new players, new manager, new fans, new kit, new optimism.

Same old Radio Northampton!

If we thought that by installing ourselves in shiny legoland we'd acquire a one way ticket to being bestest friends with our local BBC radio station, we need to think again!  First away game.  Tuesday evening kick-off.  Likely to be of interest to the majority of Poppies fans.  The opposition were not so long ago in the Championship, so, should have at least rudimentary broadcasting facilities for RN to use?  Did any of this result in online radio coverage by our local, public funded broadcaster?  Did it b*ll*cks!

We're sure that RN will have a good excuse for the lack of coverage again of the Poppies, but will anyone believe them anymore? 

"It always seemed that Radio Northampton
favoured covering the Diamonds
over the Poppies"

At the end of last season PATGOD had a healthy exchange of emails with Geoff Doyle of Radio Northampton on the subject of their coverage of the Poppies and the Scum (RIP).  He tallied up that we were covered, as main commentary, during the 2010-11 season no less than 34 times (5 on the radio, 22 by RN online, and 9 online by another BBC radio station).  This compared to the Scum's 37 appearance (7/22/8).

Now, Geoff seems like a decent sort of bloke, so we have to take his word on this, even though it sounded like an awfully large number of games for us to be on the air.  He suggested that it may have seemed we got less coverage because a lot of the Poppies games they covered were at Rocky Road, and obviously we wouldn't have been tuning as as we were already there.  This could also be true.

But the perception still remains that they would rather broadcast dead air (which happens quite frequently with their infamously outdated equipment) rather than give us any decent coverage.  During our inaugural game at Non Park, as we were running late they could have covered the last, pulsating 15 minutes of our game, but apparently chose not to.  I've heard that they instead either covered badminton, or possibly the Badminton horse trials!  Both, of course ideally suited to radio!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Petty, Pointless and Purile Poppification of Non Park Part Two

Why use the professionally constructed pricing board at Non Park when the ubiquitous, Rocky Road photocopied sheet will suffice?

The Petty, Pointless and Purile Poppification of Non Park Part One

The carpet in the Strikers Bar with it's diamonds motif

And how it would look after several hours on hands and knees
with a black marker pen - Hey presto - poppies!

It'll do I suppose...

Well what a strange experience yesterday was. So many things that individually were pretty unusual, but put together... actually felt perfectly reasonable, post our summer transformation.

Arriving at the ground an hour early... to join a queue for season tickets... home fans sitting at picnic tables... programmes sold out... kick off delayed due to crowd congestion...

Wow, strange enough already.

Then walking into the ground at last, for the first time not as (it's ok to admit now) envious visitors but still slightly disbelieving tenants. Like getting the keys to the house of someone you always disliked, partly because they didn’t deserve to live somewhere that good whilst our gaff had an outside lavatory and rising damp.

After Rockingham Road and its crude facilities, suddenly we had what most football spectators have come to expect as standard. Soap dispensers and hand dryers in the bogs? You'll be telling us next that the toilets flush. I was straining to identify some of our new players when it was pointed out to me that I needn’t bother, their names were flashing up on the scoreboard. The last time KTFC had a scoreboard, it was a junior cricket affair consisting of a row of numbers in front of the stand, giving the half time scores.

There followed a 45 minute period of calm, in which pre-season optimism appeared to last as long as the balloons swirling at the opposite end. Ingrained pessimism flickered back into life. Then it was back to the barmy present with the guy on the pitch casually introducing our new signing from Real Madrid, with no more of a flourish than if we’d picked him up from Peterborough on a free.

Hey, he seemed to be saying, you think he's good, just wait till our continental scouting network is fully operational.

Then more novelty with instead of the regulation limp home defeat of recent times, a terrific second half, turning 0-1 into what could easily have been 5-2. This was the kind of rollercoaster football only rarely seen since Morell’s first spell in charge, and for all his dubious charge sheet and nutty rhetoric it’s likely to pull in more punters than Cooper tactics, providing they accept the wheels will occasionally come off.

So the acoustics of the New Tin Hat were given a decent test and didn’t disappoint. Whatever the lingering fears about leaving Kettering, and there are a few, at long last we have a proper home end, with a roof, a good view and decent capacity. Better than we ever had at RR. Attacking the old Tin Hat, with a couple of hundred crammed into that little shed, was sometimes worth a goal. If we don’t make at least as good use of the new version it will be a terrible waste.

At some point, of course, the bubble will burst. Until then, these are peculiar and quite exciting days.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

JP christens Non Park with brace!

Did either goal even reach the back of the net?  Still, who cares!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Not Long Now

In a few hours we should be getting a few answers to the questions that have piled-up during the close season.

  • Will there be a "season ticket" fiasco requiring a delayed kick-off, or at the very least a lot of angry Poppies?

  • Just how weird will it feel to be stepping into dead mens' shoes?

  • Will Newport muster the expected 30,000 supporters?

  • Will any of us accidentally queue up at the away end?

  • How long will Morrell's painful optimism last?

  • Will we ever shake off the feeling that what our club has done is just plain wrong?

  • Will the stewards eject Imraan for smoking?

  • Will any of the players who have joined us from other clubs' treatment rooms actually take to the pitch at any time?

  • Will it give us half a bar to have an electronic scoreboard?

  • Will we pause to ponder at any time whether the fate of the previous tenants is awaiting us in thr near future?

It already feels like we've been on a rollercoaster ride, and the season hasn't even begun.  Nervousness is vying with excitement tonight.  Good luck everybody.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Recycled Plastics Here

With the new campaign only a few days away, this most eventful of close seasons is almost at an end and finally it will be the real thing again – except that first optimistic pot shot will bounce into the path of traffic on the A6, rather than disturbing the poplars behind the Tin Hat goal.


Sorry, just a bit of a nostalgic flashback there.

Much that just two months ago seemed unthinkable is now old news. Last week I wandered into Nene Park to buy a season ticket. On a scale of probability, that would once have ranked a close second to getting explicit texts from Scarlett Johannson. Whilst there I chatted about our new signing from Real Madrid. This week, Chelsea pay £10 million for Koo Booth.

So if surreal is the new normal (Surreal Madrid?) is it not time to let bygones be bygones and extend an amnesty to any former plastics reading this who may be worried about whether they will be welcome.

Why not. We’re a forgiving bunch. Just look at how many of your former players have been welcomed into the Rockingham Road fold. Pretty much all of them in fact.
We grew to like Dale Watkins. We loved Richard Butcher. Johnny D became a hero. We admire Marcus Kelly. Darren Collins... Anyway.

There are a few things you might initially find unfamiliar. Possibly not just the away end of the ground will be making a noise. Radio Northampton aren’t providing commentary every week. Not all of the people in neighbouring seats are linked to you by unusual blood group or birthmark.

However stick with it and in time you’ll gain sufficient confidence to offer your first tentative heckle when the Poppies aren’t 2-0 up after 15 minutes. From there it’s a short hop to blending right in by picking on a particular player and cheering when he is taken off, or groaning in dismay at the replacement.

The fact is, neither of us has much choice. We need more bums on seats to compensate for those who can’t or won’t travel. And what else does Rushden have to offer in terms of live entertainment, now that the stocks are in disrepair.


This Saturday could be very interesting at the Non Park offices.  Who knows, we may even have a second member of staff on duty!

"Yes, I have reserved my season ticket!  And some oik in the
car park has just fleeced me for three quid!"

Sunday, 7 August 2011

We Hate [insert name here]

Amid all the hullabaloo of events this summer, something very important has been overlooked:

With Rushden & Diamonds no more, who exactly are we supposed to detest?

We need a substitute local rival and the lines are now open.

The nominations are:

Corby Town – gain points for having intensely dislikable fans, who persist in regarding themselves as the modern heirs to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s invading army on their occasional trips south, despite having also failed to trouble us in a serious competitive fixture since about 1745. Lose points because, such games apart, they call 250 a crowd and to give them rival status would likely prompt Corby Council to build them yet another new ground.

AFC Inbreds – nil points. Difficult, even for us, to extract much satisfaction from the struggles of an under 18s village side who are not due to kick a ball in anger for another 12 months.

Rothwell Town – see comments re Corby, but minus 200 fans and the permanent chip on both shoulders. Irrelevant.

Cambridge United – nearest geographically in our division but not enough recent history between us to create more than pretend enmity. Give it another 10 years and who knows. There are more reasons to dislike Histon – actually a lot more come to think of it.

Rushden & Higham United – would be serious contenders if, say, a local footwear tycoon were to waste millions on attempting to lift a nondescript backwater East Northants club from the lower reaches of part time football into the Football League. A ridiculous concept. Otherwise, completely off the radar. Even with the temptingly rude potential of the nickname ‘The Lankies’.

Wellingborough Town – if ever things reach the point where this is a serious proposition, god help us.

Sporting Gijon – a surprise nomination and unlikely to catch on, but we just love the name (go on, say it – HEE-HON).

Northampton Town – the bookies favourites. Until the rise of R&D, the focus of glee whenever struggling, which was quite often. Could have developed into the genuine article but for a couple of league placings in the early 90s. Since the introduction of two relegation slots, on borrowed time and pencilled in for derby fixtures the season after next.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Welcome to Irthlingborough

Now that we are giving up the lazy backwater of Kettering for the bright lights of Irthlingborough PATGOD presents a guide to our new home.

The entire population of the town would fit almost exactly into Non Park, and, if Imraan gets his way, soon will!

98 years after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, the film "The Battle of Waterloo" was filmed in Irthlingborough.  A further 98 years later another army of occupation, the Poppies army, will be descending upon the town. 

Despite reports to the contrary, NO WITCHES have been burned in Irthlingborough in the past twelve months.  These days ASBO's are the usual punishment handed out for the utilisation of ungodly powers.

However, the TROLLS who live under the bridge separating Irthlingborough from Rushden, DO EXIST.  They may or may not be former Direones fans who have never quite slunk all the way back to Rushden, but one of them does answer to the name "DeBanker", and another grunts in response to "Pigman".

Mensch - at least a couple of advantages over Hollobone
We can't very well appeal to our own lily-livered local councillors in Kettering anymore (not that they were any f**king use anyway).  However, the local councillors covering Non Park, and awaiting our moans and groans, are fascist bully boy party Tory Marika Hillson, and spendthrift commie party Labour's Bob Nightingale.

We've also lost pointless, borderline-racist Tory backbencher Hollobone, in favour of pointless, borderline-racist backbencher, with norks, Mensch/Bagshawe.  Curiously she will be compelled to represent the interests of both Corby Town AND the Poppies in the future, or at least until the next General Election.  Wonder who will get the  most support?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Calm Down Everyone!

The Season Can't Come Soon Enough!

Poppies fans are starting to whip themselves into a Non-Park-loving, piss-the-league frenzy of screaming optimism.  Again.  Don't we do this every season?  A group of untested players in a ground a comparably sized club couldn't afford to run, and we've all suddenly gone from dreading the move to thinking we're gonna win the league!  We've gone from worrying about name changes due to an empty stadium to worrying that we can't all reserve the exact seat we want in the stands.  We've gone from being uncomfortable with the idea of taking over the Direones ground to driving over to Non Park in the middle of the working day to hoover up season tickets!

The Sun is out, Morell's players are stroking the ball around, and Imraan is splashing the cash once again.  Life is great!  Providing, of course, we choose not to recall what has happened the last two seasons as the Winter draws in and Imraan gets bored with us again.  When the funding is cut and the December sleet is coming down, will we all be so happily bouncing over to Irthlingborough to watch our new team of loanees and youth players?

As a club we are so utterly dependant on Imraan that we can all but hope that he doesn't become too distracted with his forthcoming business venture, and continues to fund our unrealistic ambitions.

And why can't the season come soon enough?  A few home reverses usually puts a stop to premature positivity syndrome, and lets us get back to moaning like genuine Poppies fans!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Imraan assembles affordable squad for forthcoming season!

With the signings of the Ifil brothers, Verma, Sangare, Meechan and Bridges, it is clear that Imraan has "rediscovered" his start-of-the-season love for the Poppies.  Now add to this the seemingly-mind boggling signing of Real Madrid youngster Jaime Navarro, supposedly ripped from the grasp of Premier League Bolton Wanderers, and you are left wondering just how much shit we'll be in when the funding is withdrawn! Blue Square bet offer odds for early December, whilst William Hill suggests late November.

The following is Jaime's write-up on the Real Madrid website, helpfully (!) translated via Google Translate: -

Jaime - my missus welcomes
you to the Poppies!

"It is a solid central defense back on the job and provided a good shift in length. It is versatile and goes well above thanks to its large size. Charge almost always make the job less bright, the more you play better opponents call it. A very correct player in all actions that are requested." 

Well, that's clear then!

From -

"Navarro's agent Jonathan Hope said: "I am delighted to have agreed terms with Kettering Town. Imraan Ladak has big plans and put an offer on the table that was too good to turn down."

Sorry Jonathan, but I'm not sure that negotiating a player's move from Real Madrid to the Poppies should feature too highly on your CV.....