Saturday, 22 December 2012


If nothing else came out of the Trust get together at the Police Club last week we were all given an obvious choice.  Support our club while we have one, or let it fade away.  With Imraan seemingly concentrating solely on keeping Cousins happy, and his own thumbs unbroken, we have a curious situation where the club is being run almost entirely separate from the Club Chairman.

Richie made it clear that the club currently playing out of Steal Park has nothing to do with Imraan, and all the money generated on matchdays from entrance fees, programmes, Klondikes, and even a percentage of the kiosk sales goes towards keeping our club playing.  This is augmented by the sponsorship from Richie's own company.  Along with Ken, The Trust, and various others, Richie is keeping our club's faint pulse still beating.  It is ironic that it has taken for us to teeter on the brink of existence to have finally the unearthed the "Chairman" we've always sought.

As we have finally registered a positive points total on the Southern League table we are all again faced with the decision that has fragmented further our historically splintered support - do we go and watch our football team?

We now seem to have more more factions than fans!  There's the ones who called it a day when we were dragged to Non Park.  The ones we lost when it became clear that not only had we been ripped from Kettering, but we were going to have a season long struggle.  The ones who won't watch their own team play at such a low level.  The ones that refuse to acknowledge the club's existence whilst Imraan's still involved.  The handful that have thrown the Poppies over for the Red Tights.  There's the Poppynetters who spend most of the time looking to get banned, or complaining about cliches (the members of which change almost hourly, depending on who has taken the hump first in any discussion!)  And then there's the angry Poppytalkers who have nothing but negativity and accusations for everyone.  And, of course, the majority of lost fans who have silently slipped away and have probably found other non-Poppy activities to do on their weekends.

One thing is clear.  If the Poppies come to an end there is no chance of a Phoenix club rising from such scattered ashes.  Between us we have the organisational ability of porridge.  We have the get up and go of cold tea.  Say what you like about the Scum and their soulless supporters.  But they stuck together to create a club from the Direones' death.  What have we done in a similar position?  Whilst a handful try to save the club, the majority can only bicker and argue.

Whilst we continue to play, and specifically play away from Non Park, surely we should make one last effort to show that being a Poppies fan is more than just being a self-centred, misery guts, happy to rattle the crushingly heavy chains of our 140 years of history, but flippantly prepared to forgo any chance of a future?

Is it time to try being positive for a change?  While we have the chance.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Golden Gordon Livesey?

If life as a Poppies fan feels like an endless bad dream, it’s shaping up to be perfect material for a classic sporting film story. Consider the ingredients: A team so hopelessly bad that no one watches them any more, an uncaring owner who wants to build houses on the ground, and the club’s days seemingly numbered.

In Hollywood, this tale would be turned into a feelgood movie possibly starring Vince Vaughn as the plucky coach with a heart of gold who somehow turns it around and the team end up winning the pennant while he gets to boff Amy Adams in the final reel.  Here, the screen version already exists, except it stars Michael Palin and will be familiar to anyone who knows the name Barnstoneworth United.

The Ripping Yarns episode Golden Gordon was Palin mining the comedy gold of an atrociously poor non league team that only a complete loser would continue to support. Ha ha! We're laughing already.

Each week, Palin’s character Gordon returns home to his small terraced house after another thumping defeat (“Eight – bloody - one!”) and smashes up furniture. Ho ho, imagine that.  We get back from Gosport and announce the end of the world, again, on Poppynet. With nothing left to cheer about, he lives in the past, testing his son to name the classic winning line up of 1922. We only need to go back as far as 2008/09. Finally, after it has been announced that the club is to fold, he has the idea of reuniting that golden 1922 side for one final game, the team wins, he goes home and – in joy - smashes up his remaining possessions. At the moment we’d settle for reuniting OUR famous 1922 side.

If Palin or indeed anyone else fancies making an updated version, I’m sure Corby Town would be happy to provide location facilities for a modest sum, and there are approximately 250 potential extras for the crowd shots (at the time of writing). As for the returning golden oldies, does anyone have Gordon Livesey’s phone number?

"Seven - bloody - nil!"

Saturday, 15 December 2012


Spending more time in Corby these days than any self-respecting Kettering resident should, something occurred to me last Sunday, which I thought I'd share.  By "self-respecting" I'm obviously ruling out anyone from Kettering who ventures over to Corby on a weekly basis solely to stock up on £3.95 jeans from Primark, which were sewn together by blind leper children in some third world sweat-shop.  Perhaps if they weren't blind lepers they might have done a better job and the clothing might at least last more than a fortnight!

We took a slightly more convoluted route to Steal Park so that 'er indoors could drop off some Christmas cards in Corby.  This meant we drove around unfamiliar areas where it is not unknown for the populace to wear footballing-based leisure clothing extolling the virtues of a couple of clubs from north of the border.  I saw a young lad with a backpack bearing the legend "Rangers".  Poor sod, I thought, recalling their traumatic summer of relegation, when the rest of Scottish football took the long awaited opportunity to give at least one of the Glasgow based behemoths a long overdue kicking.  Suddenly, from being Premier League, and Champions League wanabees the blue half of Glasgow were rubbing shoulders with the footballing superpowers from Elgin, Stirling, Annan (?) and Stirling in the Scottish Third Division.  One of my only memories of this division was noticing once, after a particularly good attendance at Rocky Road, that all of the attendances in that division were less than entered the turnstiles on the Brittania Road terrace!

Then, just as I started to feel sorry for the pipe-playing proddies I remembered where the Poppies were playing, what division they were playing in, and why.  Suddenly I felt more sorry for us than them!

But, thought I, what if you supported both Poppies and Rangers?  Not beyond the realms of possibility for a local footie fan.  What kind of s*it summer did they experience?  Our summer was pretty cruddy, and only just about rescued by the Jubilee and Olympics!  But for a joint Poppies/Rangers fan - jeez! 

Between your two teams you'd seen a drop of no less than FIVE divisions and runs up debts of £135.2 million.  £134 million of which belonged to Rangers and supposedly £1.2 million by us, although this figure probably includes Roll's phantom loans and Imraan's "investment" which he writes off every other month, before reinstating them again when a possible buyer for the club appears!

It's enough to turn you into a Rugby fan! 


Monday, 10 December 2012

It's just another 3 points...

Well what did you expect? We always beat Chesham United. Admittedly not a massive statistical albatross for the boys from deepest Bucks, none of whom had even the slightest knowledge of our pre-season win in 1993 or even the cup clash seven years later – but we remembered and expected nothing less than... well actually, probably another 3 or 4 nil defeat. After all, recent results did not inspire a huge amount of confidence.

So the game began in front of a paltry crowd, probably our smallest for a league match since the telephone was invented.  In a touching pre-match ceremony, returning legend Pat Noubissie took the mantle of ‘Mr Kettering’ from a kid who first donned a Poppies shirt all of a month ago. In his previous spell in red, Pat had never felt so welcome, but then we were never this desperate for a returning old face, especially one with the ability to pick out Andre Boucard with a 4 yard square pass.

Inspired by Pat, the boys took an early lead. At that point I checked my watch, noting it was 4 minutes on the clock, plus 8 months, since I last saw us score a goal. Then something even rarer happened. We scored again. The lad in the no.7 shirt, Michael King I later found out, curled in an absolute beauty from way out. Then Pat went close and others too before Chesham pulled one back. Thus ended a first half which we had actually dominated.

During the interval it seemed a fair bet that the Chesham manager would be reminding his flock in no uncertain terms that they were playing a bunch of pimply youths and if they failed to turn it around they would be walking home.

Maybe he did. Maybe they had their earphones in. Either way, soon it was 3-1 and another goal that suggested that this team could be worth watching and not just out of blind loyalty. The move that led to Nathan Hicks (see, that’s three players I can name now) firing home would have been enough, in days gone by, to send the Brigstock & Thrapston Reds running round Steel Park with their willies hanging out, or perhaps (as it was a decidedly cold afternoon) just sing about it.

The attendance may have been equally tiny but made up for it with raucous cries of ‘Ole!’ and even ‘We want four’, last heard at least three seasons and two home grounds ago. And so after too many beatings to mention, Kettering Town at last registered another league win. In a rather different league than the last time, with only a few bedraggled refugees left to see it, but rather wonderful all the same.

Fans greet the news calmly

Sunday, 9 December 2012

What a difference four years make

Growing up in Kettering back in the 70's everyone at school seemed to be a Poppies fan.  Not everyone went to all the games, but everyone went to enough to know what was going on.  However, an interest in your local team only got you so far.  There's a big footballing world out there, and, through the power of the Figurine Panini Football Albums and Match of the Day, we felt part of it.  So much so that it was expected that each of us have our "big team" to sit alongside the Poppies in our affections.

Back then I'd like to think that we weren't as obvious as kids nowadays who simply choose whoever has just won the league, or, heaven forbid, a foreign team!  Not for most of us the choice of either whichever Manchester team had just bought the title or Barcelona.  I recall teams such as Coventry, Wolves, Bristol City, Leicester (obviously), and Sunderland having pockets of supporters at our school.  Obviously there were the usual Liverpool/Man Utd suck-ups, but there's always a few who can't do their own thinking!

My own choice was Brian Clough and Peter Taylor's Tricky Trees of Nottingham. They were never a particularly fashionable team, but the fact they'd just won the league certainly didn't hurt!

In keeping with supporting your "big club" the only investment was looking for results and, in my case, the occasional trip up to the City Ground.  These trips have carried on to the present day, but have become more intermittent.  In fact, before watching Forest slithering to a painfully tedious defeat to Hull City last Saturday the last time I'd taken my place amongst the permanently grizzling Nottingham public was four years ago.  As a friend kept me updated with the goals flying in against our teenage mutant hero poppies down at Chippenham I was afforded time to consider the last trip to the City Ground.

A week after Cooper's all-conquering, DRC-funded collection of slumming superstars had bullied our way to the title against the part timers of Conference North, the missus and I took our seats in the Bridgford Stand for the last game of the League One season.  Somehow, under the uninspired and stodgy management of Colin Calderwood Forest took the field that day against our old rivals Yeovil Town knowing a win and a couple of other helpful results could actually see Forest sneak into the second automatic promotion spot.  The season before Forest were within an ace of getting to the Play-Off final when they won away at Yeovil in the first leg.  The return game in Nottingham should have been a formality, but no-one told the cider-drinkers this and they ran out easy winners, scoring 5 times!

As it happened, history didn't repeat itself, and 90 minutes later all the necessary results had gone Forest's way and I found myself celebrating two promotions in a week.  Wow, wouldn't football be enjoyable if it was like this all the time!  The team were cheered back onto the pitch one by one.  Even Calderwood got a cheer, albeit more muted. Ten games into the next season he was history, and one could sense that even as he took the reluctant plaudits, he knew he didn't quite have "IT" and was no doubt mentally getting his CV up to date.

Fast forward to the present day and things are a little different.  OK, Forest are still in the Championship, but less than 18,000 Reds had turned up to watch a painfully boring defeat, whilst down in Chippenham my number one team were three divisions, and a thousand fans lower than they were the last time I'd filed out of the City Ground.  I felt like mentioning this to the Nottingham folk all around me who were acting as though their world had just ended, just because they were now about 6 points off the play-offs!  I believe someone once coined the phrase about football being a funny old game.....

Friday, 7 December 2012

Finally time for a boycott? by Pedro

Pedro has put fingers to keyboard once again.  He obviously recalls that our motto is "We print anything", and is happy to continually nudge that boundary!  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Care?  Let us know.

I know that throughout the Non Park fiasco I have found myself swimming against most of the tide, but that has never stopped me believing that my analysis of the implications for our once great club has been right. We now find ourselves in the role of Southern League whipping boys, with our opponents dreaming of how much benefit they can do to their goal difference when they play us. Meanwhile, we wait for the fantasy “investors”to save us from our predicament Why does Liardick talk about investors when we all know that only a complete buck toothed idiot would invest in a club in our situation! A takeover has marginally more credibility but that seems never to cross our major shareholder’s lips.

We have a group of people who, had they been operating 2000 years ago, would have stopped Christianity before it had even started! (“What, he rose from the dead? That’s nothing, there’s a group over here who are keeping the Poppies alive! Come back when he’s made Torres a top goal scorer again then we’ll follow him!”) They undoubtedly deserve enormous respect and gratitude. The Malcs. Kens, Hoy, Alan, the young players being battered every game. We rightly give them huge thanks for their efforts for keeping our club on life support, although the major shareholder seems to be silent in offering anything. But I have to ask is this really the best thing for our club?

We can all to easily imagine what will happen next season as it will be a near carbon copy of this season (and last, we’re experienced now if nothing else). Relegation is now a certainty, the only question being will we beat the record for earliest ever relegation. It’s likely we’ll have another points deduction as it’s impossible to see Liardick meeting his financial obligations (does he even understand the word?). The money available for wages next season will still make our opponents in the Tin Pot Glue League (or whatever it’s called) seem like Premier League millionaires. Another relegation will be almost inevitable, perhaps meaning that we cross AFC DImones as they get promotion. And what will be our attendances (should I really use a plural)?

If the KTFC body isn’t dead, it is frozen in Liardick’s permafrost.

We all know we can’t go on like this, we just don’t want to accept it. I was at Corshite last week and for a moment, I felt the joy of watching my beloved Poppies again but I watched us getting walloped in another ground. I realised that even this small ground will be too big for us next season; what about the season after next?

Without a fundamental change in our ownership, we are in permanent decline.

It is time for that change. We have to drive Liardick out. The only way is to force the club into full administration where it can be bought back for a £1 (or similar). To those who hitherto had asked how would it be run without some sort of sugar daddy, that question has been resoundingly answered; it’s being run in exactly that way now (and with a drag from our major shareholder if anything).

So I would ask that everyone, from the fans to the Malcs. Kens, Hoy, Alan, the young players, everyone, boycott all games until the major shareholder (and any of his “friends”) no longer have any interest in our club. Ask yourselves, is what you’re doing really serving the longer term interests of our club? I’m sure if you ask yourself that question you’ll know, deep in your heart, that you’re not.
As I said, it’s time for us to do something. A boycott is the only way. It’ll force the major shareholder, it’ll force the Southern League. It’s the only thing they’ll listen to. It won’t work if we don’t do it together, we will have to be united. That means it has to be organised. The only voice that can organise us is the Trust. To the Trust, I implore you do it and save our club.
There really is no alternative, things are that grave!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

"We'll support you evermore!" Yeah, right.

Not so long ago we were delighted that there was still a chance that the Poppies might survive.  A few weeks later and all too many of us are reverting to type and moaning that our team of unpaid teenagers aren't wiping the floor with settled teams of paid adults.  Are we really expecting us to be any more than barely competitive with our bunch of willing kids?

Have we forgotten the condition the club is in?  Absentee owner?  Non Park draped around our neck like a noose?  Almost all our fans melted away to the dubious pleasures of shopping and Sky Sports?  A team run with almost no budget, out of another ground by a bunch of volunteers?  Ringing any bells yet?

Survival in even the short term is a distant prospect.  The pulse of the Poppies can barely be felt.  Every game is an effort to maintain a holding pattern in the hope that something better will happen.  And what are the players and staff hearing from the terraces and online forums?  All too often it's typical Kettering moaning!  And as for those still whining about Imraan, do they really believe he is sitting back and coining it from our 400 gates?  Killing our club off will hurt us more than it will him!

I wouldn't blame anyone making the effort to keep our club going were they to jack it in.  Not only have hundreds of "fans" deserted our club, too many of the few left don't seem to have grasped our horribly reduced circumstances.  IT IS ALL ABOUT SURVIVAL, AND NOTHING ELSE.  Sad to say, but if we don't win a game between now and May, at least the club has lasted until May.

Who knows, we may even survive.  Other clubs in a similar position have not only survived, but re-established themselves.  Now is not the time to wobble.  Stick with it guys, on and off the pitch.  If we don't make it we can at least hold our heads high and say we gave it our best shot.  And if better days return we will be ideally placed to welcome back those supporters who used to sing, "We'll support you evermore", or "You are my Kettering..." which should have been followed with the line, "as long as we win all the time."


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Poppies best ever signing?

Lewis Wilson - any player utilising the surnames
of both of the granddaddies of PATGOD
must surely be a rare footballing talent?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A big "Non" to Non Park.

In the coming week our club officials (yeah, I know, but bear with me) will be trying to locate a suitable football ground for us to borrow to enable us to host Bedworth.  Obviously our new owners will have taken over before this game, (yeah, I know, but again, bear with me) and they may have some say as to where their new team actually play.

It would appear that a continued ground share at Corby, playing on Sundays is on the table, assuming the league allow us to do this, and, I guess, the opposition are happy to play then.  This option would appear to be better than than the reported offers to borrow either Leamington or St Neots, even though it is heartening that two clubs we have no history with us are prepared to make such a generous offer.

A worrying development is the prospect that Non Park may feature again in our future.  As far as can be ascertained Ladak is still paying some sort of rent.  The new investors are also reported to be in discussion with Cousins.  This would lead us to suspect that should anything actually happen with  buy-out or additional investment that Non Park would feature.  Obviously this would be good news for Imraan who can foist his crushing lease for the ground onto someone else, and hold on to his knee-caps.  Good news too for Cousins who gets a few more footballing paydays before ploughing the site under bulldozers in a couple of years time and putting up yet another warehouse.  It's possibly good news for any new investors who, electricity supply allowing, will have their shot at making Non Park earn money from it's "wonderful facilities". 

These amazing amenities include such ground-breaking features as -

  • Lots of rooms - some with keys!
  • Some rooms with power supplied to them!
  • Occasional heating!
  • Windows!
  • Wonderful location, just outside a village in rural East Northants (voted the 596th best place to live in England in 1994!)
  • Views of the pitch!
  • Some working toilets!
  • We'll follow Alan Doyle's Poppy Army
    anywhere.  Well, almost anywhere...
  • At least one room with running water (not hot)

But is a possible re-relocation to Non Park any good for the supporters?  Between our first and last games as tenants of the place we have managed to lose at least 1200 supporters.  Of the 300 who made that last game at Bashley I'd wager not that many would be prepared to be forced to return there again.  It's no coincidence that over 50% more people turned up at the next game at Corby.  We never wanted to be at Non Park, and now we've managed to get away from the place the last thing we want is to be dragged back, screaming to that cursed soulless pit.

If any future owner has found themselves accidentally reading this I truly hope they will not be suckered in by the "glamour" of the Irthlingborough folly, and the stories of how the place is basically a cash cow that somehow has been mis-managed by everyone since Mad Max Griggs's days of wild spending.  It's a money pit.  Pure and simple.

We've escaped the bloody place.  Please God the few of us hanging in there with the Poppies aren't forced to choose between our Club and promising never to cross the Nonce Park threshold again.

Old Boys 3 Young Boys 0

After enduring a Poppyless month racked with almost daily dread of checking the latest news, I realised that I missed football more than I realised.  Even a hopelessly uncompetitive bunch of strangers wearing red, getting tonked by village sides – this was still my team, the only one I care about.  So the lure of Arlesey away proved irresistible.  Stick your Soccer Saturday or mooching around the shops, this was the only place to be!  A view shared by 243 others.

On entering Arlesey’s modest but neat new ground, the brilliantly named Armadillo Stadium, it was good to see several familiar Poppies on the pitch. Had any of them been lining up for us, even better, but beggars can’t be choosers.  Nathan Abbey filled his goalmouth  - literally, Sol orchestrated things from left back and Drew Roberts was a reminder of older days.  I swear I even saw Derek Brown on their subs bench – a man who we first saw put boot to ball before mobile phones were invented.  As I say, any one of them would have enhanced our pre-pubescent starting XI, were it not for our rather restrictive salary structure, which effectively rules out anyone with higher expectations than a paper boy.

The Poppies Colts worked hard, albeit it was like watching pinball, and there wasn’t a lot between the sides until Arlesey snuck a goal just before the break. Afterwards it could have been Bashley again. A couple of late Poppies efforts missed by roughly equal amounts of height and width, and Abbey was denied the sorely needed opportunity to burn off some calories. In fact, when you factor in the half time cuppa (two sugars) and slice of Battenburg, he ended the match heavier than when he started it.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Bigger and better FFS!

That curious sound echoing around Kettering this morning was the sound of collective teeth being gnashed as we listened to a sad mare from Corby on the radio casually mention that her club was "bigger and better than Kettering".

As my knee-jerk irritation abated I was forced to admit, she actually had a point.  They play in a higher division than us.  I can only assume their crowds are larger than ours.  They are still in the FA Trophy. They have a ground and we don't.  They have a Chairman who seems to have his head screwed on right.  We have a twelve year old wannabee, sick in bed, playing Championship Manager 2012 and thinking it's real.  Why, they've even got a by-election today.  It's a happening place.

Of course, this conveniently ignores the fact that as a team Corby are no further forward than they were ten, twenty, or thirty years ago.  We may have been the perennial "nearly-men" during our pomp, but Corby have never risen above being background noise in the non-league game.  The only times they see a crowd is when either we or Glasgow Rangers are the opponents (they obviously have a thing for clubs run by twats and fallen on hard times!) 

Were it not for the heroic efforts of their council CTFC would have disappeared many years ago.  By supplying a steady stream of new stadia their council has chosen to keep their club going.  Curiously one doesn't hear of much outcry from other sporting bodies within Corby, which our own council believes would be the case were they to ever lift a finger to assist the Poppies.  Never overestimate the benefit of having a council who see mileage in having a local team bear the name of their town.

Of course Corby Town aren't bigger than the Poppies.  The woman's statement amply proved this.  The bigger team is the more magnanimous team.  The team that comfortably knows it's place in the overall pecking order, regardless of temporary set-backs or temporary surges.  When we allowed Corby to use our ground a few years ago the event barely registered with us.  Our rivalry was in name only despite the desperate continued chip-on-shoulder protestations of Corby supporters and bitter sniping. 

If you're now the "big club", perhaps it is time to act like it.

As for a merger?  We haven't avoided being East Northants FC only to end up as North Northants FC!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Is Keith Cousins the Devil?

They say we know him by many names.  Beelzebub.  The Lord of Misrule.  The Father of Lies.  The Nail.  He may not have the horns of the forked tail, but it looks like we need to add the name of Keith Cousins to the list.  Not, we hasten to add, because he is demonstrably evil, or has spent eternity waging war on man's better nature.  Nor because he enjoys torturing lost souls for eternity in the fiery pit of hell, although we've equally no evidence this isn't the case.

"C'mon Imraan, just sign!"
No, one of the Devil's more under-appreciated talents was in the drawing-up of pretty damn air-tight contracts.  Whether it be Faust, Daniel Webster or Bernie Eccleston (you explain his success?) the Devil has tempted and offered contracts to eternally bind the greedy, morally bankrupt and the breathtakingly gullible.  On the subject of Imraan, one can only guess at the honey-dripping deal Cousins offered to foist Non Park upon us? 

Surely to rent out Non Park for £12,500 per month for 25 years (£.3.5 million), plus all utility bills for the entire site, plus all repair costs, plus maintenance, as well as hosting their f*cking car boot sale for free every Sunday, Devil-Cousins must have offered Imraan something special in return?  You'd have thought a couple of inches on the old todger and the telephone number of the new bird off "Countdown" as a bare minimum?

But no.  It would appear that the only other additional detail in the contract is that it cannot be broken.  Ever.  Even if the Poppies played elsewhere.  Cousins wants his wedge.

Of course, had Imraan performed due diligence on the stadium, showed Cousins's contract to a solicitor, or even casually flicked through the bloody thing himself, we wouldn't be in the position we're in now.  Where can we find a Portia when you need one to wheedle us out of a seemingly unbreakable contract? (you see Pete, I did pay a bit of attention in BJS's class!) 

No, Imraan signed as quickly as he could whip the lid off his pen.  Somehow a man who fancied himself as a Poker player and had two football ground owners outbidding each other in an effort to tempt us, had managed to play his hand so badly that just over a year later our club is relieved to have lost a home game at Corby in front of under 500 people.

So, how do we outwit Cousins if he truly has the Poppies by the nuts?  Easy.  Don't pay him another penny.  Pop the keys to the place back through his letter box and tell him to stick the sh1t-hole up HIS sh1t-hole.  He probably won't like this.  But what can he do?  Force the Poppies to play at Non Park?  Break Imraan's legs?  All he can do is appeal to have the club wound up.  I say let him.  I'd rather the Poppies were forced out of business than give him another penny.  If we go back to Irthlingborough we're dead anyway.  As I see it, Cousins has two choices.  He can either lets us go, or force our closure. 

Either way there's no more Poppies paydays for Satan and Imraan can piss off back to playing on his X-box!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Come on you squatting cockroaches!

Ok, our moderate team lost to a very poor Redditch team, at an out of town ground, in front of less than 500 supporters.

But on the positive side, we had eleven men on the park, managed to fulfil a league fixture, in a ground that wasn't Non F*cking Park, in front of a couple of hundred more fans than our last game.

And the game itself was, well, entertaining!  When was the last time you could say that?

The fact that this game happened at all is down to a lot of people putting in work behind the scenes, including Ritchie, the Corby chairman, and maybe even their supporters!  And also, not forgetting, Corby Council, who, in one afternoon have done more for the Poppies than Kettering Council have managed in 140 years.

Poppies live to fight another day.  They are harder
to get rid of than cockroaches!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Pissing on the chips of the programme hoarders!

The news that this coming Saturday a team called Kettering Town FC are due to play a game of football comes as a surprise to the footballing world in general and Poppies fans in particular.  OK, we're borrowing Corby's ground (any chance of getting the seats to spell out "KTFC" as this is something I've become used to?)  OK, we've probably assembled a team of UCL level players who can't get a game at their own clubs.  OK, there's no guarantee that this arrangement at Steal Park will be repeated.  OK, the tiresome "new investor" story is still being pedalled by Ladak.  OK, we still seem to be tied to Scum Park by the most deviously written lease written in the history of the written word.

But still....

This is a game few of us thought we'd ever see.  Beyond the insular world of the Imraan-hating Poppies supporting public it seems that our plight hasn't gone completely unnoticed.  Numerous pundits and websites have highlighted our plight, even if only to hold the Poppies up as an example when clubs over-stretch themselves.  Individuals too have stood up to be counted.  Alan Doyle, seemingly appointed to the post of Manager via text message from a club owner who hasn't seen fit to pay him since the summer is putting eleven bodies together.  Richie Jeune has sorted out this weekend's match and will underwrite the losses accrued.  This is a big gesture for someone with no previous connection to the town or the club.  Beyond shelling out money and getting sacked by Imraan for suggesting the very move Imraan has now asked him to oversee.

Home sweet home.  This week anyway.
We hear that Imraan was too sick to sort this weekend out himself.  Let us be grateful for this mercy as well as for the infection that has laid him low.  Had Imraan personally took control this week we would be scrabbling around on Friday for the hire of the artificial pitch down at the Leisure Village, dragging the local pubs for players and somehow got ourselves stuck with a 1000 year lease of the Olympic stadium.

If nothing else this Saturday will give me a chance to wear my new Poppies shirt, and annoy those people who purchased a dozen copies of the Bashley programme in order to sell them for a fat profit as the Poppies final game.  At three quid a pop for a cover and teamsheet masquerading as a programme, they just might make their money back if they keep in perfect condition for, say, the next 100 years.

I'd like to think that a reasonable turn out will make the effort of getting over to Corby to show that we appreciate the efforts of those involved, and apprecaite that KTFC still exist (whatever a reasonable turn out, and KTFC constitutes these days) but I fear the hundreds that have become disenchanted with KTFC under Ladak may have gone forever. 

The patient's not quite dead yet, even though the doctors are still actively checking to make sure they know which of his pockets has the donor card.

Wanted: someone to end this farce

At Kettering Town we’ve always liked to do things differently. Shirt sponsorship pioneers. Building a stand that ends just past the halfway line. Spotting the management potential of Paul Gascoigne. And now, add to that list, being a club that exists only in name.

If we thought the Bashley game marked some sort of closure we were sadly mistaken. A month later the club drifts on in a peculiar half life and so do we – assuming that if by reading this you still can’t quite let it go.

But for how long? Theoretically there is a game this Saturday against Redditch. No one seriously believes it will happen. We have nowhere to play it, unless Redditch were to offer to host the fixture, and not nearly enough registered players, unless the league sanctions a game of 5 a side.  Though seriously, you wouldn’t put it past them.  They seem to be as reluctant to call time as Imraan is to make a tearful confession that it’s all his fault.  Five postponements and counting – isn’t about time the Pools Panel were called in?

And yet, somehow despite it all we do seem still to possess a first team manager. We know this because once a week, after the latest stay of execution, Alan Doyle delivers another of his dignified interviews along the lines of “no I don’t know what the **** is going on either”.  Fair play to him, he hasn’t given up. Last I saw, he’d put in a seven day approach for a UCL player, who is reluctant to join us.  And not, it goes without saying, because he doesn’t fancy all the extra travelling.

Meanwhile Imraan still talks of his mystery investor, much as Hitler dreamed of ultimate victory as the Russians closed in on the bunker. No one except a few blazers at the Southern League believes there is such a person. Really, Imraan should be told to stop being delusional and stick to his proper job of online gambling.  And even if there is someone stupid enough out there to pump money into arguably a worst business proposition than a Gary Glitter comeback tour, and Alan Doyle can attract people willing to play for nothing and get thumped every week, where will that take us. A homeless band of park pitch footballers, whose sole ambition is to get out of minus points by the end of the season.

It’s not quite the blueprint for glory that was outlined on that fateful night at Wicksteed Park.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The forgotten FA Cup run.

We're taking a quick break from all the present doom and gloom to look back at the first season for a generation that we felt any genuine doom and gloom - the relegation season of 2000-01.  For years before that season we thought we were being put through the mental wringer when we finished out of the Top 5 in the league!  By the start of the current century Peter Morris's grim brand of football was no longer delivering the goods or the 2000 plus crowds.

We eventually slipped out of the league, despite the Herculean efforts of the team once Mallinger had finally shown Morris the door and installed Carl Shutt as our first player/manager for many years.  Morris's last hurrah was a small but eventful FA Cup run to the second round.

 Now, beware, from this stage on in this piece I am having to rely on my own less than perfect memory to fill out the details!  The run began in the fourth qualifying round with a reasonably comfortable 2-0 win away to Chesham United.  The only point of interest I can recall from this game was the temporary participation of Matt Fisher.  One can only assume that he was annoyed to be on the bench, because when he came on he had steam coming out of his ears and within minutes was heading for an early bath.  But don't worry, Matt wasn't done with the season's cup run.

Our "reward" for dispatching mighty Chesham was a home tie with Hull City.  This was not the Hull City of recent years.  The Hull City of Premier League football, 30,000 capacity stadia, and Phil Brown crooning into the microphone like a drunk dad at a kid's party.  No, this was the basement division Hull City of crumbling ground, and long-standing joke of being the largest city in the whole of Europe never to play in a top division.

The game ended 0-0 at Rockingham Road in front of a large 2800+ gate.  I can't remember a single detail of the encounter, but still decided the instant it was over that I simply must make my way up to glamorous Hull for the replay.  Such was the attraction of rushing straight out of work and up the A1 to the back of beyond that the entire PATGOD posse bundled into the editor's car for the trip.  We still managed to get there in time for a couple of pints before entering Boothferry Park and an away end even smaller than the one at Rockingham Road.  Not that this was a problem - tonight was a die-hards only outing!  The fact that we'd just won four games all season had thinned the glory-hunters out of our ranks.  Boothferry Park was a great old ground, with acres of terracing, rusty stands and peeling paint to the fore.  Imagine Rockingham Road if it could hold 20,000!

The game was a tight one and quite exciting.  That man Matt Fisher was much at the centre of the action - this time for the right reason.  Picking up the ball well outside the Hull penalty area he thumped the ball (rather than an opposition player for once) into the home team's net.  What!  The Poppies were winning?  We'd quite forgotten what this feeling was like!  Hull never really threatened and we saw out the game quite comfortably.  Why couldn't we do this in the league?

After the game there was, for me at least, an unsavoury moment.  Occasionally, I suppose like all groups of supporters, some of our number lack class, or at least, good grace.  Whilst the home fans were filing out they generously applauded  both us and our team, only for one of our spuds to rub their noses in losing to a part-time team.  A tacky gesture when the opposition fans were being noble at a time when they probably felt like shit.

With FA Cup progress temporarily disguising the train wreck masquerading as a league season, we drew Championship Bristol City in the second round.  A (numerically) healthy following made the trip down to Ashton Gate far more in hope than expectation.  After a couple of hours drinking in the kind of estates pub that you only feel comfortable in when surrounded by forty or fifty like-minded individuals we rolled into another impressively sized stadium to see what Morris's boys could serve up for us.

I may be entirely wrong about this, and if so, please let me know, but my I seem to recall this game marked Darren Collins's debut for the Poppies?  If so, it was some debut as he crashed a volley into the City net after half an hour to give us a half time lead.  Something we consistently failed to do against teams in our own division!

Perhaps I am confusing Collins's debut with his former Direones partner Dale Watkins who made a mysterious debut the season before at our match away to Scarborough.  The missus and I had been up on the North Yorkshire coast ahead of the match, and, this being the days before mass Internet usage, and the fact the local newspaper, "The Grumbling Yorkshireman", wasn't as fulsome in its Poppies coverage as it might have been, meant we had no idea Watkins had signed for us.  We spent the vast majority of the game watching this little bald forward who certainly looked like Watkins darting around, making runs that our labouring midfield wouldn't have spotted even if they were issued with binoculars.  Of course the partnership of Direones Watkins and Collins had it's second flowering the following season when we won the Southern League.  Who can forget Dale's shed load of goals, tireless effort and mighty celebrations at Tiverton?  And who can forget Collins berating his strike partner all season for not putting the ball exactly on his foot when he was standing on the edge of the 6-yard box, and yelling out the always confusing instruction to him of "Half and half" every time we had a throw-in?

Of course, as we know, Bristol hit back, but the 1-3 scoreline wasn't too dispiriting, and we could all turn our attention back to the league (oh, goody!)  Morris's last tilt at glory was over, and relegation for the first time in a generation was looming.  A lot has happened since to make that relegation look like more of a holiday than a demotion, but at the time it felt like the end of the world.  Boy, we really had no idea back then, did we?

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Ladak's still got it!

So, the Southern League has declared the Poppies OK to carry on.  The transfer embargo has been lifted and games have been rescheduled to give us the best possible chance of assembling a team.  The club has apparently reached agreements with disgruntled players, and former players.

Of course, there are still a couple of small issues counting against us such as our having no team, ground, funds or supporters, but we're pretty sure such trifling matters can be easily overcome.  How about groundsharing with Corby.  You know, the exact plan that got Ritchie the sack a couple of months ago.

On balance, it has to be said that today's result represents Imraan's finest moment of pure Ladakism.  He turned up at the Southern League meeting with nothing to offer except the obligatory mystery investor and a gripe with DRC Locums.  Armed with this moderate ammunition he appears to have completely won over the Southern League board.  Our complete lack of belief in Imraan's words and actions may colour how we regard him, but we easily forget what a good game he talks. 

It seems he can still charm the birds from the trees.  At least for a while.  In a few weeks when the CVA is still not being paid, we have nowhere to play, nor un-paid players to play even if we had somewhere to play, he may have shot his last bolt!  Let's be honest, Ladak reaches agreements every day with players, suppliers and others.  The problem he has is actually honouring the agreements he reaches.  It will soon be DRC's fault nothing is paid.  Or the pretend sponsors.  Or the "investors" not appearing.

A stay of execution then.  It says a lot for how Imraan has crushed our spirit that this stay has been greeted with a resounding "...meh."  We limp on for a little longer. If nothing else, we've at least given ourselves a couple more shots at a Euro-lottery win!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

So, how has Imraan spent the past week....

A week ago Imraan was given 7-days by the Southern league to answer a list of unspecified questions(but we're pretty sure we could take a reasonable guess at most of them....)  Obviously since then he has striven day and night to ensure the survival of his precious club.

By one of those strange quirks of blogging fate which we seem to encounter suspiciously regularly, we have gained access to Imraan's personal diary, and can share with you his super-human efforts to breathe life back into his beloved Poppies.

24 October.  Met with Southern League.  Not sure how well the meeting went, but am pretty sure that they realised that by the end none of this was my fault.  We'll meet up again in 7-days when they'll no doubt agree with everything I said.  More than likely they'll bollock DRC for me!

25 October.  Called James Caan's mobile phone again and left another insulting message.

26 October.  Pulled an all-nighter.  Ordered in pizza and spent all night trying to thrash out the problems.  Was finally successful just before dawn.  I managed to reach level 4 of the new Resident Evil.  Woo-hoo!

27 October.  Played online poker all day.  Great day!

28 October.  See yesterday.  Also hid below window at one point when I heard a knock at the door, just in case KC or his heavies were there.

29 October.  Sent James Caan an abusive text- wicked!

30 October.  Went trick or treating.  Dressed up as Dracula.  Had a geat time.  Got loads of sweets.  Went to bed with a tummy ache!

31 October.  Woke up with nagging suspicion I had to do something today......  Oh yes, KTFC.  Dashed off a couple of texts to the Trust and Ken Samuels.  I'm sure they'll sort it for me.  Going back to bed as still feel a bit sick from yesterday.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Will no one put us out of our misery?

The Executive of the Southern League have now met with the Club's hierarchy (which all sounds rather grander than we suspect the meeting was...)  And the outcome was - another stay of execution.  As we all continue to find other activities to occupy our Saturdays KTFC continues it's limbo existence for a little longer.

Although, for some unknown reason, PATGOD wasn't invited to yesterday's meeting we believe that based on our knowledge of the participants we can pretty accurately sum the exchanges up.

What Imraan said - "Not my fault.  DRC money forthcoming.  Potential investors.  Not my fault.  We were forced out of Rockingham Road and I had to saddle us with Non Park.  Online Poker.  Sleeping giant.  Did I mention it wasn't my fault?"

What Imraan meant - "Colin Hill's brothers know where I live!"

What the Southern League said - "We have given KTFC 7-days to confirm certain criteria and assure the league as to a number of outstanding questions arising from their continued participation in this competition."

What the Southern League meant - "Great, if you go pop it's gonna make our Micky Mouse league look even shittier than it is!"

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Another Poppyless Saturday

This time there's no game because the team due to kick our arse is still engaged in cup football tomorrow.  Obviously our lack of players, money, electricity, worthwhile chairman, supporters might have counted against us had we had the misfortune to actually be due to play.

How long with this farcical "half-life" be allowed to continue?  How low do things have to get before it is generally acknowledged that the club is dead?  Can anyone even remember the last time we even had a semi-competitive team to support? 

The absolutely best case scenario is that there is in fact someone in the world who manages the impressive trick of (A) being dumber than Ladak, and (B) immensely rich, (C) desperate to take over the Poppies.

But what exactly would that deliver?  Limping along for a few more painful games or even months as permanent whipping boys in a division no one ever dreamt we'd be plunged into.  Paying thousands for a ground we don't want to be in, in a town no-one wants to be in.  Being amongst the last few hundred of people who haven't anything better to do than go through the motions of a protracted demise? 

If the Poppies was a family pet, we'd have done the humane thing ages ago.  As it stands, the memory of the club that was is still sufficiently strong to hope that KTFC doesn't have to suffer much longer.

When the ground and the scoreboard look like this, you've got to wonder what is the point?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Another day in paradise

So, what has Monday brought us?  Reportedly a non-payment of the CVA.  Not that anyone should blame Imraan for this.  He himself would be far too much of a gentleman to point out that the CVA was instigated by Georgy-boy, with Gary Graham as the patsy signatory.  Yes, Imraan would never blame these two gentleman for this latest millstone around our neck.  Partly because he is too polite, but mainly we suspect because even a cursory view of events would trace the NEED for a CVA back to his inept rule and monstrous overspending.

Not sure if there's much of a market for
Peter (Shorty) Short look-a-likes, but Laurie
would clean up!
Other than the club bumbling another step closer to the abyss, what else has this fine autumn day delivered?  Oh yes, Laurie Walker has finally grown a pair and left the club.  That may sound a bit harsh, but I'd like to think if my employer had abused me as badly as he'd been abused I wouldn't have hung around so long.  Don't gripe on twitter, or let your dad moan to Poppynet - move on.  If another club isn't interested, perhaps (I know this sounds insane) get a job outside football!  The rest of us have done it.  I'm glad for his sake that he has finally kicked the club into touch, as he often did with the football!

I suppose by a case of elimination this leaves Phil Ifil as the unchallenged "Mr Kettering!"

Another story going around is that a portable generator has arrived at Non Park.  Not for us mind you.  No, this is to run the rest of the site, because, if you remember, Imraan successfully negotiated for the Poppies to pay the electricity for the entire complex, regardless of whether it was anything to do with us!  Bravo Mr Chairman!  I wouldn't be surprised if the cost for this was tacked onto our debts. 

Not that that will be bothering us soon.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Two Strikes and Out?

To fail to play one match may be seen as unfortunate, but to fail to play two may be seen as carelessness, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde (no less).  So, Imraan's plan to simultaneously hook up the Non Park electrics to a bank of push bikes and willing volunteers, and convince any local under 14 team to change their name to Kettering Town has mysteriously failed.

Now we are faced with our first home Poppies-less Saturday.  The first of many. Boy, is it going to hit us come 3 o'clock!

More successful has been Ladak's endeavour this week to become a bit of a media whore.  He has been heard and read across a large cross-section of the local and national media.  It has probably reminded him of "the good old days" when his mug was all over the telly and papers, when either red carding the Council or lambasting ITV for not clearing their schedules for our game with Fulham.  Of course, Ladak being Ladak he has used this exposure to deliver a grovelling apology for his handling of the Poppies, and offering an impassioned plea for the wider community to pull together to help the club survive.

I jest of course.

The blame for our demise was, as usual, laid at the door of anyone and everyone else.  Laughably he has nobly, and conveniently labelled himself as "Interim Chairman", and thus painting himself as a concerned citizen, heroically stepping in to try to save the Poppies.  I can never quite tell if he is a pathological liar, or actually believes what he is saying.  Either way, he doesn't come out of this well. 

There's no way you can see us playing again.  Lack of team, electricity, supporters, ground and officials generally counts against a viable football club.  Ladak has had chance after chance of stepping aside to give the Poppies a chance of survival but has always hung on for the outside chance of conning someone even more gullible than himself to give him one last payday.

This mix of stupidity and greed has ultimately cost us our football club.  I'm pretty sure that there is at least one person who doesn't see it this way though.....

Monday, 8 October 2012

Daydream Believer

Well, Imraan has popped his head out of his bunker briefly, switched his mobile phone on again for five minutes to speak to Radio Northampton.  Hats off to DJ Joe Pignatiello, usually an annoying interviewer, for asking some searching questions as to blame, investors, and Non Park.  Joe then manfully undid this good work a few minutes later by completely misreading a couple of texts sent into the station by my better half!

Imraan was his usual evasive, lying self, with one slight difference.  I have never heard him sound so flat or lacking in emotion.  Even though he has single-handedly f**ked our club over my first reaction was to worry as to his state of mind.  I'm not sure if his Milton Keynes Bunker comes equipped with a "suicide-watch" facility, but if so, I would suggest he be compelled to use it.

As to what he said, it is fair to say we've heard it all before.  Blame for our situation is fairly shared between former sponsor, DRC, current sponsor, Richie Jeuene, the "Management Committee" who ran the club on his behalf at the start of the season.  None seemed to come his own way curiously....

Amazingly he believes we will be able to sign some more players - there must be thousands of players out there desperate to not be paid for their services.  Unbelievably he thinks the electricity starved stadium will be able to run from a generator!  All the lights, power sockets, heating, water, floodlights from a little portable generator?  Is he kidding?  And does he expect someone to loan one of these to him, as he wouldn't pay for one!

Oh, and the potential investors!  "Can't talk about them blah blah!" I wonder if any of these are the same investors he spoke about at Wickies?  Usual b*llocks.  He suggested that one of the parties was looking to buy the ground as he didn't want to pay the rent.  Just why exactly would anyone do this?  It doesn't matter who on earth took over, NO ONE WILL TRUST ANYONE OR GO BACK TO NON PARK!  No club can survive there.  How many clubs need to go bust there before the suits learn this?

No one on the radio believed Imraan.  Not Joe.  Not Geoff Doyle who hosted the following programme.  Or Jon Dunham.  Or Graham Carr.

Imraan, no-one believed you on the radio.  And no-one believes you who listened to the radio.  Why do you continue to lie to us?  What's in it for you?  Or do you actually believe what you say?  If so, pal, you've got problems!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Read it and weep

Today 304 people paid their last respects to Kettering Town FC. There was an air of finality about it. When, if ever, in the club’s 140 years of existence have there been fewer than 11 players willing and able to take the field? This alone was a new low – a former giant of the non league game now worse off than your average Sunday league side. The ten that were there deserve no criticism for the eventual scoreline nor did they receive any. Ultimately we all knew it didn’t matter any more, and that included Bashley who barely celebrated as they racked up yet another meaningless goal that will shortly be chalked off. 

That said, in the dying minutes the Kettering players clearly caught the desire of the crowd to celebrate one final goal, and staged a late rally. The groan when we hit the post was as if it had cost us a vital win. As the digital clock (making its own final appearance before the power is cut off) reached 90 minutes I couldn’t help it, I gave in to sentiment and thought of some of the great names in the club’s history. Hapgood, Lawton, Daldy, Gully, Atkinson, Peck, Clayton, Suddards, Ashby, Kellock, Evans, Murphy, Keast, Cooke, Moss, Brown, Price, Norman and so on and so on.  The championships and cup runs and other bits of history unique to the club. And the local people who supported the club through the generations and never in their worst nightmares imagined it would end like this.

If it’s any comfort to know, the few at Nene Park today maintained a spark of passion and humour, and probably for the last time cleared their throats to sing some of the old songs. As the players left the pitch it was very moving...    

Friday, 5 October 2012

You can take the people out of Kettering, but you can't take Kettering out of the people it would appear

Hopes for a civil relationship between the Poppies and their offspring "The Red Kites", (a truly cringe-worthy nickname by the way) are not being helped by the comings and goings on Poppynet over the past twenty four hours.

We KNOW the Poppies are teetering on the brink.  We don't need former supporters reminding us of this every thirty seconds.  Their seeming enjoyment of our club's plight is frankly sickening.  Twelve months ago these same people would have leapt to the defence of their club, now they are gloating over the same club's demise. 

By all accounts this coming Saturday could be our last "home" game (again).  I know we've heard this a number of times before, but the following week sees the very real possibility of the club ending due to a mixture of unpaid utility bills and non payment of the CVA. 

Now is not the time for former supporters to be crowing about their newly formed team.  If they showed even a modicum of class at this point they could well attract dozens if not hundreds of displaced Poppies.  But, by rubbing our faces in our imminent demise is not likely to engender good relations moving forward.

And let us not forget, that for all the positive things associated with KFC and what they have achieved so far, as it stands they have no certain route back into Kettering next season.  They have already shed one Chairman in acrimonious circumstances after barely a handful of games.  And there is no guarantee the club will ever progress beyond being a youth team. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The very definition of "pointless"

Let's get this right....

  • We have a Hillier Senior Cup Game tonight, which is already a fairly good definition of "pointless" in itself. 

  • This game is against, what?  A tiny club from the Peterborough area no one has heard of. 

  • In front of what will be, if lucky, a double figure crowd.

  • What team we may be able to dredge-up will be from amongst those local kids and trainees we can coax out or con on a Tuesday night.

  • Who knows, we may just have 11 shirts to put on the team.

  • If possible I'm sure the club will open one half of one stand to the public.

  • If we win, the chances are we will end up in the next round on the wrong end of a heavy thrashing by the likes of Brackley, Desborough, or God help us, Corby.

  • The team are to be "managed" by a sacked former Chairman and a resigned former Director.

  • Plus there's Champions League football on the television, as well as the Great British Bake-Off (for the missus!)

All in all, a pretty heady mixture to guarantee our most pointless game ever, unless anyone out there can think of a better example?

Sunday, 30 September 2012

What next for the Poppies?

As another team we hadn't heard of until a week ago kick our arse in an almost empty stadium miles from home, one has to wonder where we can possibly go from here?  Well, to save our readers the trouble of wasting their time running through our possible futures, we have wasted OUR time doing it.  Realistically four possible outcomes suggest themselves.

1  The obvious one.  Club ceases to exist.  We drop out of the league.  The few hundred old gits with nothing better to do on Saturday afternoons (myself included), have to make an effort to find something better to do on Saturday afternoons. 

2  One of Imraan's mysterious investors(other than Georgy Porgy) actually exists buys out the club and tries to turn us around.

3  One of us supporters wins the Euro Lottery and chucks a few quid at Ladaak to f*ck off back to Milton Keynes so he can spend his days and nights playing online poker and pretending he's still some kind of big shot when reminiscing with Morrell.  A few more millions would then need to spent prising Rocky Road out of Pickering's claws, and bring the ground, and club back to life.

4  See option 1.  Then, at some point before the start of next season we beg Kettering Football Club to let us join in with them.  KFC would bring the players, effort, ground, sponsorship, support, floodlights, management, kit, organisation, goodwill, and hometown to the party.  We would bring a few hundred moaning gits and the word "Town".  Sounds fair to me.  Plus, given our almost certain relegation and KFC's attempt to join the UCL, we'd be barely a couple of divisions lower than we are now!

However it goes, it's all a far cry from the infamous Wickies meeting when it seemed The Football League was within our grasp with a simple show of hands.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Into the abyss

Can an entire club be charged with bringing the game into disrepute?  Assuming the FA are monitoring events at Nene Park, they might be tempted to lob that one in our direction to crown another week in which the once proud name of Kettering Town Football Club was desecrated.

Short of mowing a swastika on the pitch and drowning puppies before kick off, Ladak and Rolls couldn’t make a better job of killing this club in the most offensive manner possible if they tried.

Assuming of course they aren’t.

Rolls continues to flagrantly act in a capacity that can only be described as official, despite a complete ban from any association with the club. He is either too stupid to fear the consequences or doesn’t care, because his agenda doesn’t rely upon the club being around very much longer.  Meanwhile Ladak is holed up in his Milton Keynes bunker, out of all telephone contact unless your name is Jon Dunham, lining up another ET “exclusive” interview, unquestioning to the last.

Maybe six or even three months ago, just one of the gross humiliations heaped on the club this week would have had Poppynet seething with protest.  But now the diminishing number of people who still care seem to be numbed to the point of apparent indifference.  And who can blame them. 

Not quite the budgeted 700 at today's fixture

To KFC or not to KFC? That is the question.

"Good luck lads, I'm off this way!"
Sounds like Beck has departed.  Along with Greygoose and various of our players.

We have no Chairman or Secretary.  No Directors.  No staff.  A few players.

What we do have is an owner, desperately making sure he pays the exorbitant rent he "negotiated", in order, so we are led to believe, to save himself from a beating from hired thugs of our landlord.

Oh, and there is a couple of hundred of supporters who haven't quite called it a day yet.  And why are we still turning up?  Loyalty?  Love?  Fear we'll  not be there when the bell finally tolls?  The faint hope that something will turn up? 

Or are we dumbly turning up to Non Park on Saturdays simply because Kettering Football Club play their games on a Thursday?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Getting ready to nail down the coffin?

This season's player exodus is a little different to the ones over the past 3 seasons.  For one it's a few months earlier than normal.  For another, the players can and do just walk away because at this level players can move between clubs all season long.  No pesky transfer windows.  If you don't get paid you can simply stick 2 fingers up to the Chairman, or illegally-working, would-be-Chairman and take your boots elsewhere.

Yet another difference this year is that I have not bothered trying to learn the names of any of our players.  I've developed a bit of a "trenches" mentality, where there's no point learning the names of the newcomers as they won't be around long.  When I was told the names of the players who have walked I'm afraid I drew a blank.  After a bit more discussion we have, as far as I understand it, lost numbers 4,5, and 8 from our non-conquering team. 

Patgod wishes 4,5 and 8 all the best in their future careers.  Thanks for filling the shirts for a few weeks guys!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

"How was the takeover for you?"

"Now that the dust is settling over our exciting new takeover, and the ink drying on the new owner's contract Kettering town Football Club is proud to announce the new multi-millionaire owners as...."

Mmm...I think if we were expecting an announcement on the official site that began with the above sentence it would prove that we were indeed, (a) Painfully naive, (b) New fans, just moved into the area in the past 48 hours, or (c) Imraan Ladak.

It amuses and angers in equal measure that seemingly the only person who is both willing and able to become the new owner at Non Park, and that Imraan will accept, is George Rolls, who co-incidentally is the ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD who isn't actually allowed to take us over!

Certainly Imraan seems to be putting all his "new owner" eggs in George's capacious basket.  The fact that the FA have banned him from having anything to do with football for the next 5 years doesn't seem to have dimmed George's attractiveness as a potential suitor to our teenage owner.

By all accounts George has received another letter from the FA recently reminding him that he is indeed banned from football in any way shape or form, from non-involvement in footballing administration down to complete non-attendance at games.  Perhaps the next time he is swanning around the place, with a wad of Klondike tickets and a smug look on his face we ought to grab a photo and send it across to the FA?

Assuming of course we get the opportunity to attend another game.  And the players haven't caught up with George and tore him limb from limb......

"I have nothing to do with football, and no, 
that is not a football ground behind me."

Monday, 24 September 2012

Our very own omnishambles

A couple of decades ago the club came within a few minutes of being expelled from the Conference for failing to fulfil a fixture after the players discovered that the crooked ex chairman had failed to take out injury insurance for them, choosing instead to siphon funds to his bent gang of “business associates”.

Ah those were the days!

What we wouldn’t give now to be in such a relatively secure position, rather than rock bottom of a division two leagues lower, exiled in Irthlingborough with no hope of returning, support lower than a snake’s arse and players chasing around trying to hunt down the club owner to extract some wages – or fingernails.

The only thing missing from the latest farcical chapter is the sacking of Beck and reappointment of Maison (“everyone deserves a fourth chance”).  Truly it would come as no surprise if by the weekend MM isn’t back in the dugout and meanwhile the last person leaving NP switches off the lights.  

This is beyond satire, beyond belief. Just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. 

Takeover and player meeting going well, by all accounts

"Put your foot down Imraan, the players have tracked us down to my Cambridge home and they don't look happy enough for me to tell them they're not getting paid and that you were lying through your teeth about prospective new owners!"

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Just home from the game with Cambridge City.....

When I bought my Poppies-supporting missus a season ticket back in July for her birthday it was intended as an act of kindness and love.

Then the season started.

A few weeks later and I'm left feeling as though I have perpetrated an act of gross spousal abuse.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Boston United - one last hurrah?

Boston United away always brought out the Poppies faithful.  It often helped that the game took place over the Christmas period, and the opportunity to take a few hours off from eating and drinking, presumably to concentrate purely on the drinking.  It also often helped that we were challenging at the top end of the Conference, merely months away from playing in the Football League....  It became something of an annual Poppies pilgrimage to fill out the Town End at York Road and shout our heroes to another win over our local (!) rivals.  
Away to Boston in 2008 "Cheer up guys,
you're about to win the league!"
Next week's FA Cup game is likely to be a little different.  Our last visit to Boston featured DRC's assembled collection of millionaire all-stars against a Boston team relegated straight our of the Football League into Conference North.  The win at York Road actually won us the league, as our points tally after that game was not exceeded by any of the distant chasing pack.

Now, whilst Boston United have clawed their way back into Conference North we (in case you've not been keeping up) are rock bottom of the Southern League, fearing visits of teams like Frome and Barwell.  Our support has fragmented seemingly beyond all chances of reconciliation.  Where once we took almost four figure numbers to the Boston away game, we will be lucky if this time we take, well, four.

But, why shouldn't we travel in force to this game?  Why shouldn't all those who refuse to go to Non Park make the trip?  All those who won't give Ladak the steam off their piss - give this game a go, as he will make barely anything from this one.  New KFC fans, why not make this your one game showing there's no hard feelings for your parent club?  Those who have completely fallen out of love with the Poppies, why not wallow in the past with this trip down memory lane?

Let us see if we can still pull together just one more time.  Let's show the outside world that there is more to the Poppies than non-payment of bills, squatting at Non Park, the fool Ladak and sub 500 league gates. 

C'mon, Boston away in the Cup.  Who can resist?  Let's give it a go!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Lucky Diamond Bastards!

"Lucky Diamond Bastards".  Never thought I'd type that line.  How can the Inbreds ever be considered "lucky" you might ask?  How can you be lucky to have six fingers, webbed toes or exactly the same number of sisters as aunts?  In many ways these put upon people might be seen to be among the most unlucky of God's creatures.

AFC R&DFC.  Lucky S.O.B.S.
But in at least one way, the supporters of the Direones have been damnably lucky.  They had the enormous good fortune to have their football club wiped out at a stroke.  No lingering.  No limping along.  No dirty outsiders attaching the club to a life-support machine in order to make a quick buck.  The end of R&DFC was quick, clean and permanent.  The wound was cautorised.  The healing could begin quickly.

The consequence of such a quick demise is there for all to see.  Several hundred supporters were all instantly denied their club, and quickly formed their own club.  No time for in-fighting, or angry factions.  No time for the support to ebb away.  Everyone pulling in the same direction.  In a nutshell, no time to happen to them what is presently happening to us.  The Poppies support has always been an infamously "wide church".  When everything in the garden is rosy this breadth of support can be a good thing.  For every fan who trusts the Chairman, there'll be one who wouldn't believe him if he was told that rain is wet.  Every player or Manager will have their pro and con faction.  Some will back the aims of the Trust whilst others will never trust mere supporters wanting to get involved in the running of a football club.  Everything in balance.

The problem we have now is that every faction of Poppies support is pulling in a different direction.  The majority have simply given up on the club whilst we are stuck at Non Park with our Non owner in charge.  Others are attending through some sense of loyalty that even they can't explain.  Christ, we even have a bunch of hardcore Poppies fans running their own club!

Painful as it is to admit, I wish we had gone the way of the Direones.  They may have been born as the plaything of a multi-millionaire, but no-one can doubt their future looks more assured than ours.  Lucky Diamond Bastards!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Herewegoagain. Again.

Just a short report  from your correspondent to ask all poppies fans not to turn on each other. It really doesn't matter what you do, attend or boycott or anything else. Unfortunately the club can never succeed at Nonce Park and here's why:

Annual rent at NP £150,000 (this is on the public record in the CVA document)

Games in the season 25 (2 cup games assumed)

Now if you work on an average crowd of 1,000 the rent accounts for £7-20 per ticket, for 750 it's £9-60 and for 500 it's £14-40

So however you look at it, without a wealthy benefactor the game is up at NP whether you boycott or attend!

From Herewegoagain

Thursday, 6 September 2012

In Memoriam at the War Memorial Ground

If last night’s fixture at Stourbridge does prove to be the end of the line, I can say I was there. This doesn’t make me some kind of super fan – I live in Worcestershire and Stourbridge is a detour on my way home from work. It was also the first game I had attended this season, which says a lot about my motivation.  

So I would probably have been there come what may, but there’s no denying that this felt like a final journey, like visiting a dying relative.  There can’t have been more than about a dozen Poppies fans at the game.  None had any reason to open their vocal cords.  The team wore unfamiliar QPR hoops and only the badge on the shirt (which may or may not get washed for future use) identified them as Kettering Town players. But for that they could have been a bunch of decent park footballers.  I only recognised two and didn’t feel that compelled to try to identify the others.  John Beck did his best to gee them up, giving a virtual running commentary on every hoof, flick and tackle, but his insistence on a high tempo 100mph style was way beyond the players’ skill levels on this evidence, and time and again the ball just pinged out of play. It wasn’t pretty, in fact it was almost unwatchable. But it’s unfair to criticise anyone on the playing side when they’re already wondering where the next pay cheque is coming from. Mark Cooper stood watching quietly. Scouting maybe, or just paying his respects?

Faced with this grim spectacle I drifted away into thoughts about all the nights I’ve spent watching KTFC over the years. My first game, aged about 8, sitting in the new main stand at the end of the Atkinson era,  initially quite interested until I grew cold and bored.  The highs – great nights in Cup replays and promotion campaigns – but also the lows and the ordinary in-betweens when we scraped a draw against Welling or Moor Green but you at least knew that there’d be plenty more to follow.  Looking around Stourbridge’s ground – one covered end, one open end with no steps, a tatty pop side and a cricket field facing it, I’d swap Nene Park for it without question, if it were somewhere in Kettering.  But really what I want is Rockingham Road back.  If we have to die, I’d rather it were there.  We were told we had to move to Nene Park because otherwise the club had no future beyond 2013. Now, is there anyone left who believes we’ll see out 2012?

A corner of a foreign field

Sunday, 2 September 2012

What if.....?

A hypothetical suggestion came up during a slow passage of play at the game against Frome yesterday (i.e. the first half).  It was one of those "what if...." questions.

What if the one club director Gary Graham, contacted the League and told them we were changing the location of our home ground?  What if Ritchie reached an agreement with Corby for sharing their ground?  What if the above gentlemen and the Trust convinced the playing management and staff that they stood more chance of getting paid if some of the admittance money we pay actually reached them rather than disappear into the mysterious Non Park black hole?

What if we all turned up at Steal Park for a home game and the team, oppositions and officials all turned up there too?

What if all this happened?

How exactly would Imraan be able to stop any of this?  It's not as if he's a constant presence at his own football club, is he?  George couldn't do anything as he has no official position at the club.  Strictly speaking he has no more say than any of us.  Less in fact, as I daresay none of the supporters  have even been banned from being involved at a football club?

Worse case scenario?  Imraan and George both turn up at a home game, intent on bagging the takings only to rattle around an even-emptier Non Park, worrying how deep Stanwick Lake is, and how quickly Cousin's henchmen can mix concrete.  The Poppies get laughed at by the wider footballing public yet again.

Best case scenario?  Five or ten years from now a team bearing the name Kettering Town FC move into a small, undistinguished little ground on the edge of their town.  The club is run by and for the supporters and pays its bills on time.  Most of the functions at the club are carried out by volunteers from amongst the supporters.  The only rule this little club has is that no one person ever be allowed complete control.  No more "sugar daddies".  No more "investors".  No more lies and phantom shareholders.

What if.....?

Friday, 31 August 2012

The Silence of the Ladak

"Oh, it's all gone quiet over there!"
Unsurprisingly the rapid burst of official statements from our major shareholder has trailed off to nothing.  I fear those expecting yet another crisis meeting, where this week's top table lay out just how much shite we're in, may be disappointed.  Not that we're clear of the brown stuff.  I'm not sure we ever will be.  It's more to do with the fact that even Imraan must know he has absolutely nothing to tell us.  There are only so many times he can be the boy that cried "Prospective investors", and expect to be believed.

Of course, he wasn't always so reticent to let us know how things stood.  Years ago he rolled up to the Tin Hat with a big plan for the lounge to raise tens of thousands per week.  We all laughed in his face, but he was certain it could be done.  Seemingly he believed that after attending a successful race night that raised well over a grand, he couldn't understand why this couldn't be done almost daily! 

On an earlier visit to the Social Club he was offering anyone bets that his recent acquisition, the incredible goal machine otherwise known as Patrick Peter would bag 20 goals in the forthcoming season.  We were so shocked by this statement, having seen PP flit around the pitch to absolutely no effect for a few weeks that very few took him up on the bet.  We may be a bunch of hicks who don't own our own companies, but we flatter ourselves we can spot a shit footballer when we see one.  We have seen enough after all!

He managed to con enough of us that Project Certain Death (a.k.a. Nene Park) would be practically self-financing due to the enormous numbers of sponsors falling over each other to invest in the club. He may not have actually said, "we'll have so much investment that we'll have to beat prospective sponsors off with a stick", but may just have well done.

Now I come to think of it, we had years to realise what an incredibly naive fantasist we were dealing with, but, to our continued shame and regret, we overlooked this whilst DRC cash paid for our success.  Given Ladak's wretched business failures whilst at the Poppies: -

  • Shop in town selling expensive shite, provided you paid cash
  • Burger bar in car park taking business from burger bars in the ground
  • Likewise the plan to have "dolly birds" selling Klondike tickets which lasted all of one game
  • A-line Insurance, where you might get a call back in a fortnight after emailing them
  • Shaolin Chinese Takeaway, situated in an empty football ground outside a tiny village, not offering free delivery as far as Kettering!
  • "Budgeting" with the assumption that a company you no longer own will continue to pay for the world class collection of talentless tubbies you've put on 2-year contracts

One can only assume that making money out of supplying locum doctors is as easy as falling off a log, or surely he'd have f*cked this up as well.

So, don't expect an announcement any time soon that he is happy to stand up and answer slightly sticky questions such as: -

  1. Why exactly is he so desperate to remain at Non Park, as opposed to giving us a fighting chance of survival elsewhere? 
  2. Why allow only George Rolls to put any events on at the club, given he is legally not allowed to put any profits into the club itself. 
  3. Or, who the hell are Ray and Jay?

We understand the answers to the above may well be: -

  1. He is supposed to have signed a contract with Cousins making his personal welfare, and his kneecaps dependent on continued payment of our sky-high rent.  Tip - next time you're offered a contact, do yourself a favour and read the f*cking thing!
  2. He still believes he will be able to sign the club over to honest George, 5-year ban or not.  Perhaps he intends to talk the FA around to his point of view.  Just like he did with Kettering Borough Council and Ben Pickering....
  3. Aren't they the main protagonists of Men in Black? 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Beyond the Fringe

Every year Patgod scans the array of upcoming young comedy talent at the Edinburgh Festival so you don’t have to.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. We find out about up and coming comics the same as everybody – a guest appearance on Have I Got News, a slot on Mock The Week, or the holy grail that leads to a sell-out 98 date tour but simultaneous loss of credibility – top billing on Michael McIntyre.

Except this year even we have heard of James Acaster, who far from playing down his Kettering roots as any sensible person would, has instead made them a core element of his act.  Google him and you’ll see references to his reworking of a “syllabically challenged” KTFC chant.  We’ve been called many things ending in challenged – financially, intellectually, genetically – but syllabically is a new one.  Which chant could he mean? Surely not anything referring to “Ket’rin”.

So here’s to the next big thing, whoever you are.

Already being described as the funniest thing to come out of Geddington since Cyril Gingell’s last tax declaration.