Saturday, 31 March 2012

Blue Square versus Bet Fair

Only at Kettering.....!  A battle between two multi-million pound companies happening over little old us.

The moment it was announced that GR's special guest star sponsors were to be Bet Fair I'd wager most of us didn't give it a second thought.  We chuckled at images of the players wearing retro kit as well as retro facial hair.  We laughed at the promo video, one of the few times this season that events at Non Park amused rather than had us watching from between our fingers.

However, someone at Blue Square certainly didn't find the situation as amusing as the rest of us.  It now appears that they have flexed their sponsorship muscle with the league, and our team won't be permitted to play in our Doogan-era strip.

Hopefully the club have banked any monies from Bet Fair, and they are content with the exposure this campaign has generated.  And of course, Blue Square can stop their hissy-fit.

If Blue Square's reputation was really as important to them as this affair would seem to suggest you've got to ask yourself why they are only stomping down on us.  Why aren't they badgering the BBC for example?  According to the Beeb's website, we are still playing in the Conference!  Fair enough, the BBC probably aren't allowed to mention the sponsors names, but whenever I hear the league called "the Conference", the first thing that comes to mind is "GM Vauxhall", not third rate online betting site.

And, if it's not too late George, and you have the phone numbers of a dozen leggy models (I'm sure your little black book is still sufficient to the task), get them down to Non Park modelling the Bet Fair kits (but not the moustaches) and perhaps being ball-boys for the game.

Friday, 30 March 2012

It always seems to come down to "Paying the Tax Bill"

Just read about George rolls personally paying off the club's tax bill and effectively lifting the immediate threat of us going out of existence.  If this is true, he is to be applauded for this action.  He has no prior connection with our club, and has no cause to care two hoots for us or our future.  If we limp on to be a vaguely competitive team in BSN next season this would be considered a success based on the mess Ladak had left us in.  This position would be down to the efforts of GR, The Trust, and our oppressed hardcore of supporters.


Being a suspicious Poppy, the wheels of my brain whirred upon reading the following on the ET website -

"Businessman George Rolls, who is running the Poppies ahead of a full takeover, has told the Evening Telegraph that a winding-up petition imposed on the club by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has been dismissed after the full amount owed was paid off."

I'm sure that I wasn't alone amongst Poppies fans in have a bit of a "Vietnam flashback" moment, going back 20 years to a similar statement from our then owner Mark English.  We all recall him telling anyone who would believe him that he'd paid off our tax bill, waving his infamous receipt around like a speed-pumped-up Neville Chamberlain, fresh back from Berlin. 

I really, REALLY hope that this is just a case of me being a typically ultra-cynical poppies fan......

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Jocky - A Nation Mourns

So farewell then, Jocky Wilson. Jocky on the Oche they used to say, back in the great days of TV darts, before it went all WWF and disappeared from our terrestrial screens for all but a few days a year.

True legends like Jocky didn’t need a vampire’s cape or a contrived ‘nickname’ to grip the armchair audience. A set of false teeth in his back pocket and a fag wedged in his non throwing hand were all the accessories Jocky needed. That and his “arrers”, as Sid Waddell would say. Sid adored Jocky and was moved by him to utter what is still one of his great lines – “Jocky’s goin’ like a blitzkrieg tonight!!” - as the lovable lump nailed another double 16. The mad passion that led Sid to bracket a fat darts player in an acrylic top and the rampaging Nazi war machine tells you how much fun darts was back then.

It was sport – obviously, because it was on Grandstand - but not as anyone knew it. Jocky was merely one of the less athletic specimens in an era of Fat Bellies and Even Fatter Bellies, none of them looking a good bet to ever qualify for a bus pass. The cameras had to zoom in mighty hard, nearly as much as the “180” money shot, to keep the onstage lagers out of range, and many a game had so much smoke in the air it looked like an early Ultravox video.

I first became a Jocky fan when he made the world final in ’82. To be honest, there was no choice, because his opponent was John Lowe, who always displayed less emotion than a bag of frozen peas. Jocky won and Sid was ecstatic – “They’ll be dancing in the streets of Kirkcaldy tonight!!” He went equally nuts a few years later when Jocky won again, beating Bristow. In between those triumphs Jocky paid a visit to Kettering and I had the honour of shaking his sweaty palm. He had just seen off all comers in an exhibition at the Rising Sun, which I watched whilst trying to make an under-age half last all night.

And it must have been round about then that Jocky appeared on Top of the Pops. Sadly, not to perform his single “Jocky on the Oche”, which sold about 12 copies, but because his image flashed up behind Dexy’s Midnight Runners as they belted out Jackie Wilson Said. An easy mistake to make.

So RIP Jocky. You’ve shuffled off to that great Lakeside Tavern in the sky.

(Not the best of grouping, but it was his birthday.)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Comeback of all comebacks!

Laurie has posted this scary photograph of himself, and what eerily looks like Derek Doogan in the one-off retro kit for the Stockport game.  Laurie himself has gone from looking like Shorty's younger brother to looking like Dennis Waterman circa The Sweeney, albeit, Dennis Waterman standing on a chair!

"Get yer trousers on son, you're NICKED!"

The original photograph can be found, and shuddered at, here -

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Youth or euthanasia?

When George Rolls left his seat in the South Stand and began strolling towards the home end yesterday, I was briefly thrilled by the thought that he was about to mingle with the ordinary terrace fan. After all, this is traditionally what new chairman do, in the first flush of ownership, during those precious first three weeks before their popularity dips. (Only joking George – in your case I’m sure it will be at least a month.)

Instead he kept walking purposefully past, and at least seemed uninterested in whether anyone noticed him – which is a small tick in the credit column. Perhaps he was wandering over to check how the game looked from the empty bank of sponsors boxes. It can’t have been worse than any other angle. So accustomed are we now to effectively conceding the game in the first ten minutes, it has ceased to have any capacity to shock. Once Alfreton had hit us with a couple of early jabs, the fight was over and they were content to bob around the ring, conserving energy for tougher contests ahead. And there’s another 8 instalments of this to come? Time to meet the new sponsor:

If it's possible to have such a thing as a good relegation, 2001 was it. Under Shutt we very nearly pulled off the great escape, winning 4 out of our last 5 and somehow walking away from the last game with renewed hope. This time, however, is shaping up to be a bad relegation, like 2003. The footballing equivalent of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. A demotion so ragged that we hit the division below like a box of crockery dropped from a height. Or perhaps the division below the one below.

Ever the realist, I am approaching our imminent descent with a bit of a plan. First I focus on Blue Square North. I look at the ex-League clubs we might well encounter there – Chester, Halifax, Darlington. Not too shabby. Plus there’s Nuneaton, Alty, Corby and all the plastic Jock baiting that awaits. And the Conf North wasn’t so bad when you think about it. I hold that thought and then try thinking about the Southern Premier. Here it gets a bit more difficult. Well there’s Redditch. And, er, Bedford. Leamington, they get a few. Weymouth in August? Frome’s meant to be nice. Brackley – technically a local derby, assuming they aren’t by then a level above us (sob).

Maybe it's time we accepted our situation and shipped out all the disinterested / useless loan players, instead giving a bunch of under 18s a few games to show what they can do. They can hardly be any worse and if any earn a contract, it will be the sort we can afford!

But, hey, there’s still 24 points to play for! Or if we can just keep ourselves ahead of Bath, all we need is three other clubs to fold, resign or be kicked out at the end of the season and we live to fight another day. If our name was Forest Green, ya wouldn’t bet against it.

Report to the Central Police Intelligence Unit from Northamptonshire Police

Thank you for your recent intelligence updates for the Kettering Town game against Lincoln City, and yesterday's fixture with Alfreton.  You will be pleased to know that our concerted efforts led to a 100% success rate on both days.  Based on your intelligence we instigated the following precautions: -

  • Saturation policing at the football ground
  • Police presence at Rockingham Road too, just in case
  • Holding in custody of anyone we saw wearing red clothing
  • Dawn swoops and arrests across the entire East Midlands of anyone who has ever seen a football game
  • Execution of all male infants born in Nazareth

Thanks to these sensible actions we managed to maintain acceptable order in the face of overwhelming provocation.  If you have any further intelligence please feel free to forward it on to us.  Sometime coming up to the end of April when we're looking to book our Summer holidays would be useful.

During the Lincoln game we  valiantly ensured
that no violence erupted near refreshment bar

For the Alfreton game we directed the masses
of away fans to a dedicated carpark, soon
overflowing with unruly miscreants

We managed to successfully contain the vast swathes
of Alfreton hordes, utilising only several snatch vans,
SWAT teams, dogs, horses, and hundreds of officers

Our intrepid motorcycle officers posed greatly assisted with the
maintaining of order.  Some even stayed awake for
their entire shift

Friday, 16 March 2012


I have a confession to make and hope once I have made it, at least some will understand if not forgive.

In recent weeks and months there has been much talk of a reborn Kettering 1872 FC, run by the fans for the fans, playing once again within the boundaries of Kettering, offering a fresh start free of the issues that have afflicted us for so long.

It’s a tempting vision, often referred to by its advocates as a pheonix club.

Here’s the confession.

Whenever I see that, all the arguments for and against instantly rank second to a single thought -

It’s a PHOENIX club, can’t you lot bloody spell?

I realise this makes me a bad person...

Into the Valley of Death rode the 2500

The imminent take-over by Rolls and, er...Royce was the subject of another Fans Forum this week. By the end of the meeting three things were clear.

One, as a club, we are about as far in the brown stuff that you can actually be and still have your nostrils clear.

Two, The new owners had numerous ideas and suggestions as to how to generate off-field funds in future. Assuming of course, there is a future.

Three, the new owners have little or no grasp of the Poppies supporting Kettering public if they believe that two and a half thousand people will turn up to watch us scrap with Alfreton!

It's all well and good hoping the supporters will rally around and bring all their friends with them but unlikely. (If we had so many good friends we wouldn't have grown into Poppies fans anyway....) Our situation isn't helped by the amount of infighting going on at Kettering at the moment. Our motley collection of axe-grinders, stay-awayers, 1872 wannabees, keyboard warriors, glass-half-emptyers, and pontificating bloggers aren't likely to pull together any time soon! Why should non-fans make an effort when our actual supporters can't be arsed?

It's also all well and good bringing up the example of Darlington who had a couple of back-to-back bumper gates when they looked like going bust, but it's not exactly comparable with our situation.

Darlington are an ex-Football League club who, historically, have been used to getting larger gates. There's also the fact the games in question were against League leaders Fleetwood, and a reasonably local derby against York City. GR also didn't go on to mention that now the immediate issues at Darlington have abated their last home gate was under 1400 for the visit of Luton.... It's laudable getting 6000 through the turnstile one week, but losing three quarters of these new fans for the next home game is careless at best!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The End of the Phoney War?

With yesterday's defeat at Hayes & Yeading making the avoidance of relegation an ever distant hope, perhaps it is now time to concentrate solely on the club's survival.  A good and positive meeting this coming Wednesday could be the springboard to a better 2012-2013 season.  As it stands, no-one has any idea what division or even league we will, hopefully, be plying our trade in next season.  Perhaps when we have a better idea of GR's plans we will be in a better position as supporters to see how we can help our club.

One thing has been made clear in GR's media communications - he is not going to be funding the club from his own pocket.  However, he IS looking to try to make the off-field facilities at Non Park generate the income we are constantly being told they should.  We trust he will have a better plan and success than IL, who just assumed things would somehow happen and magically create additional the vast sums required to fund his and MM's Football League bound "dream team".

We fear that many supporters still haven't quite grasped the depth of the financial plight caused by IL's brain-dead tenure.  And, assuming this grisly tale of rank financial mismanagement is fully laid out before us next week, we hope that the enormity of the task in front of us does not deter our contracting group of die-hards.  If we are to emerge from the other side of this dark passage it is going to need all of us, and hopefully more, setting aside past differences or other petty issues and finally pull in a single direction.

Just remember, the Poppies is the only thing standing between us all being dragged around Tesco's on a Saturday afternoon by our better halves.  Now, if that isn't reason enough to muck-in and do all we can to save the club, nothing is!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A Fresh Start and an Old Problem

Like, hopefully the rest of the Poppies public, the inbox at PATGOD towers hummed with an email from the Trust concerning the Rolls takeover, Board representation, and the need to raise quick funds to prevent our Club being wound up on the 2nd of April.

Particularly the Trust are targeting the home games with Afreton and Telford (assuming we can actually attend that one presumably...) and floating the old "Bring a friend" line. 

"But, PATGOD, please tell us what we can do", you ask.  Well, how about.....

George Rolls

Needs to play a blinder at next Wednesday's meeting.  He  needs to make it clear it that he isn't simply going to write a blank cheque with "KTFC" in the payee section.  The problem we have with people who takeover at the Poppies is that all to often we think, "Well, that's sorted then, there's no reason why we should do our bit anymore", and walk away washing our hands of the situation as we go.

We certainly don't envy his task of introducing himself as the boss man, and tell us at the same time that we need to dig even deeper to pay off Ladak's debts.

That said we need to hear exactly what his intentions are, and what will be his financial and other input.

The Club

Hopefully in the time between now and the game the Club will blitz any emailing lists it still has from the Fulham FA Cup membership con, and fully engage with the wider Kettering public via The ET and Radio Northampton. 

Try their damnedest to fill the empty Air Wair stand.  Contact every school in the north of the County.  Spread about the free kids tickets.  Get that empty stand filled and then try to sell them all the merchandise we can throw at them!

Contact the other local clubs.  If their games don't clash, throw open an invitation to their supporters to come and help to try and save the Poppies.  You'd think Brackley would ship over a few bodies!  (Joke).

Invite all those clubs who stand to lose points and goal difference if our results are expunged to stage a collection on our behalf.  Luton should raise us tens of thousands on their own!

Us lot

Beyond convincing a friend to come along, how about these suggestions -

Email everyone in your Email Inbox.  Text everyone on your telephone.  Tell them how important these games are.  Let's see if we can't shake loose a few of the once a year brigade.  They need to know the Poppies are for life, not just for a big FA Cup game or Wembley appearance every twenty years!

If you still haven't joined the Trust for the love of God do so!  The bigger the Trust the more money they can raise and the more effective voice the fans can have in the future.

Speak to your bosses at work.  Could they do the "Poppies Pledge".  How about sponsoring the game, or a table in the sponsor's lounge, or even the matchball.  Hell, if it wasn't likely to be prohibitively expensive, why not sponsor our bookings!

Get to the games.  Put money in the buckets.  Buy a T-shirt.  I know it's a pretty shitty time and money is short, but let's not forget the good times the Poppies have given us over the years.  This could be our last, best chance of seeing better days in the future.

As the saying goes, use it or lose it.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Latest from Optimism Central

With all the focus in recent times on off the field matters ranging from missing frost sheets up to imminent extinction, it’s been easy to regard the football itself as pretty inconsequential. It certainly felt that way at the last midweek home match, when a subdued Dale Roberts Terrace barely raised a heckle as Forest Green coasted to an easy win. Faced with such ineptness against average opposition, the old Rockingham Road crowd, however small, would have demanded blood. Had we really gone past the point where such things made any difference? Perhaps. Were the rousing back to back victories against Gateshead and Lincoln just a final reminder of better days? Probably. Is this depressing you even more? Definitely!

In purely mathematical terms, our league position is far from hopeless – but, really, we know it is. To somehow beat the drop, assuming there aren’t more points deductions to come, we need to win at least half our remaining games and other things to go our way. Yet there are probably only five teams left we could hope to get anything against – so we need to beat all of Hayes, Alfreton, Telford and Stockport (?) and then cap it all by winning at Darlo on the last day. Quite an accumulator – the odds would be interesting.

Of course we might also pick up valuable wins at Southport, Cambridge and Kidderminster to throw the relegation dogfight wide open. If that happens, I confidently predict that DRC Locums will also agree an out of court settlement that includes interest on the monies owed and an extra 100K for the distress and inconvenience. With the cheque presented in person by a smiling James Caan.

Plus, for old times sake, the surviving members of the Brigstock & Thrapston Reds will run around Kiddy with their willies hanging out.

However, we are due another half a dozen red cards (maybe even a couple of them legitimate), another dozen goals gifted by dozy defending at set pieces and more underfilled brown envelopes to negotiate without our remaining players deciding enough is enough and going off to do something which pays better – like handing out flyers or flipping burgers.

So we’re going down folks. Make the most of our last few weeks at this level. Attendances above three figures. Away grounds with atmosphere and proper facilities. Our results on the telly (if you can bear to look). If the future is Blue Square North or South, it’s better than no future at all and we’ll just have to accept our situation and try to make the best of it.

As to exactly how we do that, you don't read this blog for answers surely?

About to write us a big cheque, if results go our way...

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Always two sides to any argument

Colin Reynolds, or Vespacol to most of us felt sufficiently moved by my piece about "Stay-away" fans he felt moved to contact the blog.  As ever, we're happy to receive and publish opinions other than our own.  Obviously there's a better chance of you getting a piece online if it entirely agrees with us, but never let it be said that PATGOD isn't a broad church! 

"I know I keep harping on about it BUT if Ladak had said at Wicksteeds , Pickering does not want us on his land at Rocky Road in 2 years time, then I would be there at Non Park.

But he didn’t did he ? We were offered another 7 years with a possible 10 more on top of that if we got promoted , making a total with the 2 years left a potential 19 years , by Ben Pickering.

I would be about 64 years old by then (!)
, we could still be there and anything could have happened in that like new chairman new investors etc.

So it’s a no brainer for me, but the upshot from that night at Wicksteeds was that we lost our club.  Why we did we go there if we didn’t have to?  And leave our spiritual home in Kettering?  And to a ground we’ve hated for 20 years, which is even out of our borough !!! FFS!!!

My morals are high, and Rockingham Road is my church.

But saying we are not supporters is harsh as I’ve just spent nearly my last pounds purchasing a new Kettering t-shirt.  Not everything in life is black and white.

To me it’s just Ladaks Legoland FC at non park.  But I will keep fighting.

Rockingham Road is OUR ground.  Our cantilever stand still looks impressive to the eye and certainly more impressive than legolands stands.  They just all join up and look like a prison!  Our floodlights with the big “K” look like real floodlight at a real ground , far more impressive that non parks sticks, and can been seen for miles around the town.

When you come back to Kettering on the train from Leicester way, the first thing you see is our fantastic ground it looks like it is saying 'Welcome to Kettering .'

Our cosy warm bar , was much more friendly and relaxing than the strikers (yes, I’ve been in there one away game !!!)

And last but not least the fantastic games played on home soil, with hero's made over the years wearing the red shirt of Kettering in Kettering.

Very sad Colin

Statto Alert!

If you have never seen the Kings Lynn website it is certainly worth a visit for all budding Paul Cookes.

They have within their site a large results and attendance database.  These things are generally never less than fascinating. For example, for those Poppies fans hankering for a new club in the UCL did you know that bottom placed Division One Rothwell get bigger gates than table topping Huntingdon Town?  That said, Rowell attract 71 diehards per game as opposed to Huntingdon's 69 hardy souls?  Something to look forward to in our future?

A more pertinent page on their website can be found here: -

Despite our worse season for many years we are still enjoy the 13th best attendances in the BSP, and the 16th highest figures outside of the football league.  OK, that may not be especially impressive.  However, if you look at the 15 clubs above us in the attendance league fully 11 of them are former Football League Clubs.  Of the other 4 there is an offshoot of Manchester United, Telford, who are basking in their promotion back to the top flight, and Woking and Fleetwood, who are both enjoying phenomenal seasons.

As far as I can tell, none of the teams above us are playing several miles out of town, saddled with a huge facility, with a fractured support, an absentee owner, bills coming out of their ears, and a playing squad of 7 1/2.

In fact, our average gate has risen slightly over last season, so, let's not beat ourselves up too much at our perceived lack of numbers, eh?

Friday, 2 March 2012

With friends like these......

I'm afraid I have a very simple, black and white attitude to supporting your football club.  If you attend the games you are a supporter, if you don't you're not.  Sure, you may have an interest in the results, and would rather the team win, but if you don't attend the games how can you be actively be said to be a "supporter?"  In what way can looking up the score on Teletext be seen as supporting your team?
"I'm sure Yaxley is around here somewhere...."
If you don't see the games how can you pass judgement on the events?  Or have a worthwhile opinion on anything to do with the club?

Worse still, in our current life-or-death situation, choosing not to watch your team play football, or help to ensure their continued survival, may push us over the brink.  Choosing to abandon your club in its hour of need in favour of not attending games, or, God help us, watching another team, is frankly beyond my understanding.

The need to not be seen as supporting Ladak has become poison in the blood of far too many Poppies fans.  How are they going to feel when Ladak departs, but our club doesn't survive?  Will they be devastated?  Will they regret not doing more?  Or will they wrap themselves up in a cloak of self-satisfaction that they didn't prop up Ladak's regime?  True, the club may have ceased, but they kept themselves pure.

If so, hopefully this will keep them warm when they are reduced to continuing to watch fifth rate football on bobbly pitches in our potential post-Poppies future.  Because, let's face it, unless you have a vested interest in one of the teams, low-level football is never likely to provide a sparkling afternoon's entertainment.