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!"