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.....?