Sunday, 22 December 2013

Gee Morrisons! Thanks a bundle!

News that Morrisons will allow limited parking for Boxing Day is warmly greeted on Poppynet

I don't get it?  By my reckoning it is fully 6 miles from the car park at Morrisons to Latimer Park!!!

Why people so happy and grateful for a 12-mile round trip on foot is totally beyond me.  I imagine most of us would rather walk from our homes than drive down town to Morrisons, only to then turn around and walk all the way to Burton Latimer.  Nuts!

Still, it beats chipping in even more to the police's Christmas holiday fund

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Report on meeting of AFCR&D Poppies Transfers & General Player Registration Sub Committee

Friday 20th December

Meeting commenced 7.30PM.  All committee members in attendance.

Minutes of previous meeting, dated Thursday 19th December all re-read and agreed.

Points on tonight's agenda: -

(1) Chimdi Akubuine's proposed move to Nuneaton Town - passed with simple show of hands

(2) Deqwon Ebanks return to Tamworth - passed with simple show of hands

(3) Dubi Ogbonna's offer of Poppies contract.  The Committee voted unanimously to reject Poppies signing this player on a contract.  Letters of complaint to be forwarded to the usual bodies: -

  • The Football Association
  • The Southern League
  • Calor Gas Ltd
  • The  Non League Paper
  • The Northants Telegraph
  • All the people who contributed to the Poppies "Just Giving" site
  • Father Christmas

AFCR&D Forum Sub-committee, Sub-committee to instigate additional threads, complaining bitterly that the Poppies are allowed to employ footballers to the usual forums, and under the usual pseudonyms: -

  • AFC SCUM Forum
  • Nationwide Conference Forum
  • Southern League Forum
  • UCL Forum
  • Farm Animal Fondlers Forum

In addition, a vote was taken to add the following complaints about this player agreeing a contract to both the letters and the forums: -

  • The Poppies shouldn't be allowed to exist
  • The Poppies nicked Nene Park (which we didn't want anyway)
  • The Poppies play in red, which they stole from us
  • The Poppies play in a division above us, which is patently wrong
  • The Poppies haven't really been in existence for 141 years - this is a lie!
  • The Poppies never played League Football
  • The Poppies are using all the money donated to sign players, rather than pay off our former owner.
  • The Diamonds were NOT a rich man's plaything
  • The Diamonds were formed before the Poppies
  • The Diamonds did not fall because the Lord God Griggs stopped funding them
  • The Diamonds did NOT go bust, paying their creditors nothing
  • The Diamonds always wanted to play in the UCL.  In Wellingborough.
  • Touching up relatives and livestock isn't always wrong
  • Having one eye, in the middle of your face is not necessarily a sign of in-breeding

Meeting ended at 3.35AM on Saturday morning.

Next meeting later today at 3.30PM.  The AFCR&D fixture will need to be postponed so that we can sit around for several hours complaining bitterly about KTFC.  A club we've never played.

Item for discussion at next meeting - Poppies signing of Josh Moreman.  Meeting expected to last 5-6 hours.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Downtrodden Down Under

It seems that the England cricket team’s dressing room is not a happy place to be at the moment. There’s a lot of guys hurting in that dressing room, said player after player before, during and after the latest Ashes debacle. So much hurt and pain being felt, it must be terrible. Imagine a field hospital in the Crimean War packed with groaning casualties, but with a plentiful supply of energy drinks.

The Australians have hit England hard and often. It began before the squad even touched down, with merciless sledging by the Qantas cabin crew followed by a dull selection of inflight movies. Not even an 84 page dietary guide prepared by the backroom staff of, coincidentally, 84, was enough to equip the team to prevent phase two, kicking their arses on the field of play.  First the batting then the bowling then the fielding was ruthlessly dismantled.  With the series in the bag, the Aussies are now expected to have a go at the coaching staff, the PR guy, the bloke who puts out the cones and even the bus driver, who by the end of the 5th Test will be so lacking in confidence, he can’t get out of the car park.

It’s all gone hopelessly wrong.  Swann, all round cheeky chappy and already talked of as a future team captain on every sports-based comedy show, found his usually reliable quips smacked into the stands by Australian batsmen who resolutely refused to find them funny.  Meanwhile KP was outsmarted by cunning field placings that placed 3 men in his favourite scoring area for lofted Hollywood shots. But that’s the way KP plays – see ball, hit ball, hit ball down fielder’s throat. How after a mere 100 Tests is he expected to counter such a fiendishly clever strategy, except by maybe hitting the ball somewhere else?

Then there’s the sledging.  Both sides do it, but it always sounds more threatening when delivered in an Australian accent. Somehow you can’t imagine Monty scaring opposition batsmen by threatening to piddle on them from a balcony. The quivering English players copped it from all sides. After Clarke warned Anderson to expect a broken arm if he stuck around, various ex players agreed that he had overstepped the mark. But not crossed the line. Obviously the line is somewhere different to the mark? In fact whilst the mark has been overstepped on other occasions too, so far the line remains uncrossed, even by Warner – who looks and sounds like Shane Warne’s idiot nephew, and seems to be on a mission to provoke the first punch up in Test history.

Where do we go from here?  Is time up for Jimmy and Swanny? Can Cooky and Broady recapture their form? Do we need to find a fresh crop of players with better nicknames?  Is growing a comedy tache the missing ingredient, and if so can we muster enough top lip decoration to be able to compete by the time it all kicks off again on Boxing Day?

 Please make it stop

Monday, 9 December 2013

Dubi Wonderla-and

On current evidence we had better make the most of Dubi while we can. A little over a week ago I’d never heard of him, in a week’s time he might be snapped up by someone in a higher league.  Certainly it seems only a matter of time if he keep racking them up.  What on earth was he doing at St Ives, the dictionary definition of football nowheresville. Was it some kind of community service?  Peter Morris took a chance on notably less talented players at Conference level.  Often.

But apart from this instant scoring sensation what of the Poppies at the moment? As a sporadic viewer lately, I tend to see them every few weeks.  Usually that means spending at least 20 minutes trying to work out who the five new faces are.  The turnaround of players at this level takes some getting used to.  The keeper is never the same, so I don’t bother with him.  Logan is the ginger nut, and Henry is Henry.  I had a handle on Brad as a tubby balding version of a guy who played for us 10 years ago, but then he quit in a strop over something.  Sometimes the substitute turns out to be a name I thought had moved on, only to be told that he did but he changed his mind last night or this morning or just before the team sheet was handed in.  Just as well the website is so out of date – keeping track of all these movements would be a full time job.   

But the main thing is that this player churn is building a stronger team.  The individuals change from week to week, but as a group they are getting better. A number of them now actually look like semi-pro footballers rather than ordinary guys who play a bit in their spare time. And then there’s Ogbonna, who looks like he could shoot us into the playoffs on his own if only we could hang on to him for a while.  Here's an idea. At every home game we have two bucket collections – one for ground improvements, and the other a Dubi retention fund which he can only claim at the end of the season or on reaching 50 goals, whichever comes first.

How a 70s disco icon might have celebrated claiming the match ball at Aylesbury

Sunday, 8 December 2013

How exactly do teams at this level sign players?

There's lots of ill-informed back and forth in the media about the fact the Poppies are signing players, and wondering why these players should be allowed to be better than the ones we had previously.  The Non League Paper (AKA Never Liked Poppies) has been a platform for disgruntled supporters from clubs that have lost players to us, as well as a swathe of angry people, all, curiously, with NN9 postcodes.

But how exactly do players at this level move between clubs?  Well, basically everyone in the Southern League can move as and when they like, as is shown by this extract from the Southern League Handbook: -

Section 17, sub section 4.1.2.  Paragraph 2: -

"Any club can make a 7-day enquiry, in writing for any player at another club not employed under a permanent contract.

Except when clause 21.4 is enforced."

Clause 21.4: -

"When Kettering Town make a 7-day approach for a player, the following caveats must be observed.  No player to speak to Kettering Town FC until: -

(A) All of the supporters of the target club are canvassed for their opinions. This can be via the club website, or in the matchday programme.

(B) If any of the supporters donated to the Poppies "Just Giving" campaign they are to be contacted by the Poppies Chairman, in writing, 30-days prior to any approach.  They can summon the Poppies Chairman to a meeting at a location and date to be arranged.

(C) The Editorial committee at the Non League Paper must be informed in time for them to produce an anti-Poppies story for their next issue.

(D) The proposed approach for a player must be run past the AFC Rushden & Diamonds standing committee investigating on-going affairs involving Kettering Town FC.

(E) This committee has 60-days to produce it's findings to a quorum collection of associated Diamonds Soviets, ahead of their accumulated recommendations being voted upon at their bi-annual torchlight club rally .  The decisions of "Diamondnacht" to the debated by club members for up to 12-months on their online forum, AKA "What are the Poppies up to?"

(F) The population of Burton Latimer to attend a Council meeting where the proposed move is voted upon by a simple show of hands.  Zippy Zanger to wobble his jowels at this point.

(G)  The local Police can interject at this point, particularly if Christmas is coming up and they fancy a bit of a bung to help their seasonal fun go with a bang.

(H) The 7-day approach can now move to the next stage.  This assumes: -
            (i) All the supporters of the club in question are in agreement with the 7-day approach. 
            (ii) The Non League Paper can wring a couple move pages of Poppies-stirring dirt. 
            (iii) The residents of Burton don't vote the proposed move down.
            (iv) The Diamonds supporters can angrily beat themselves frantically off once more at the fact the Poppies survived when their own club was finished without anyone giving a flying f*ck.
             (v)  The Police have written themselves a hefty cheque on the KTFC chequebook.

Permission may be given at the discretion of the Southern League for KTFC to commence the initial paperwork for the Poppies approach.

(I) Once the requisite paperwork has been completed, then locked in an air-proof, lead-lined vault for 6-months, then removed and checked for any errors, inaccuracies or poor use of grammar, it can be forwarded to the target club for their perusal.

(J)  There now most commence a cooling-off period of no less than 2-years.

(K)  A cockerel must be sacrificed at the Southern League offices.

(L) All the relevant parties to be consulted one final time.  Any of them can black-ball the proposed move at this time.

(M) Assuming all the relevant permissions and forms are successfully lodged with the league, Kettering can make a 7-day approach.

(N) However, Kettering Town FC must under no circumstances offer the player more money than their current club, regardless of his level of earnings.  Or supply them with clean kit.  Or allow them to play if front of a larger crowd than he previously played in front of.

(O) If all is agreed the player may complete their move to Kettering Town FC just as soon as £10,000 bonds are lodged with the original club, the League, AFC R&D Finance Soviet, and the Non League Paper.

(P) The new Poppies player will be available for selection the following season after the receipt of all 5025 pages of the transfer documentation, completed in triplicate and translated into Sanskrit.  And verified by the League's legal team, as and when time allows.  Please allow 5-years for this process.

(Q) The player move can now be commenced, unless Kettering Borough Council want to join in at this juncture and piss all over the proposed deal.

(R)  Or Keith Cousins comes out from under his rock with his hand out again.

(S)  Ditto George Rolls.

(T)  Ditto Imraan Ladak.

(U)  Congratulations Kettering, you have signed your player!  Unless he has retired in the meantime.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Dubi Ogbonna - the gift from St Ives that just keeps giving!

F'kin 'ell S'Ives!!!!!!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A big thank you to St Ives

"C'mon S'Ives!"

Dubi Ogbonna can't stop scoring for the Poppies.  4 in 2 games.

Thanks a lot St. Ives.  Appreciated.

I can't see the their fans taking the news well......

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Another week, another signing!

News of Dubi's move to
the Poppies has been
greeted with typical
restraint in St Ives
Poppies sign striker, from official site

Just what we need!

  • Another reason to annoy the incredibly angry St Ives fans. 
  • Another reason for the obsessed New-Scum supporters to rubbish us.  "How dare Kettering Town sign players, when they went into a CVA?  Unlike us, who went bust, and paid no-one anything, and happily set ourselves up as a new club, beautifully debt free..."

  • Another Poppies player with a name to make my spell checker flip out!

I suspect Ken Samuel has had a hand in this......

Friday, 29 November 2013

It all makes sense now!

With JFK's assassination anniversary in the news, conspiracy theories are very much in vogue.  There are many theories as to how the Poppies ended up where they are now.  I've always assumed it was primarily down to Imraan treating the club like a kid's computer game, but after reading this week's ET I am seeing things in a distinctly different light.....

The interview with Ken Samuel set me thinking.  The public perception of Ken is that he is a dedicated club servant, with "the Poppies" running through his veins like the lettering through a stick of rock.  After reading the interview my opinion had changed.


Think about it.

Imraan's disastrous Gazza period.  Ken was there.
Morrell's inability to get us promoted.  Ken was there.
Imraan and Cooper falling out.  Ken was there.
The Pickering's won't play ball.  Ken was there.
The collapse of the Asda plan.  Ken was there.
Shipping 4 goals in extra time at Elland Road.  Ken was there.
The silly "Rydan" white and red cross away kit.  Ken was there.
Project Non Park.  Ken was there.
The club signing players based on YouTube videos!  Ken was there.
Players not being paid.   Ken was there.
Managers not being paid.  Ken was there.
No drinks in Striker's Bar.  Ken was there.
Relegation from the Conference.  Ken was there.
Relegation from the Southern League Premier division.  Ken was there.
The lack of chips at Latimer Park.  Ken was there.
Parking ticket on my car in Polwell Lane!  Ken was there.
My not winning the Klondike.  Ken was there.

The evidence seems to speak for itself.  It's all Ken's fault!

You utter bastard!!!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Backing our brave boys in blue

PATGOD won't take the easy route and simply jump on the backs of the police after yesterday's parking blitz.  No, not a bit of it.  Instead we have hacked a few computers and present the emails back and forth between various of the fascist bully boys who keep us flattened under the jackboot heel of oppression police who safeguard our society.

Police Commissioner Adam Slime-monds, in an email exchange with Kettering Inspector, Matt Wrong: -

AS:  "Matt, I hope you can explain something to me.  I've been looking over our income streams, and have spotted a bloody great black hole in the funds generated by the Kettering force.  What the f*ck's going on with you and your guys?  You better not be holding out on me!"

MW:  "Keep your knickers on FFS!  It ain't like the old days!  We can't just go around an' squeeze businesses for protection money.  We have to be cuter."

AS:  "So?  Where's my f*cking brass?"

MW:  "We used to have a tasty little scam at Kettering Town Football Club.  We'd give them a bell and say that we had to supply dozens and dozens of officers to cover their games.  The best bit about this shake-down is that they had no choice but to pay us our wedge.  I remember one time we managed to send paddy waggons, motorbikes, helicopters, the works.  An' they were only playing f*cking Alfreton!  We just said we had "intelligence" that there could by a bit of a dust-up, and we could set our own price!  It was sweet."

AS:  "So what happened?  Why ain't the moolah still rolling in?"

MW:  "Bugger me if they didn't get bleedin' relegated so many times we can't possibly justify mass policing, 'cus there aren't any away fans.  It's bloody hard to pretend there is a safety problem if there's no one to protect anyone from!"

AS:  "I don't give a flying f*ck about your problems.  I want my wedge!  You got that?  Now, how are you going to sort this?"

MW:  "Well, we've had reports that some of the Kettering supporters are illegally parking on verges around the ground in Burton.  We haven't done anything about it as they are parking out of the way of the residential area, and not blocking the paths or highway.  We thought it best to let it lie for the time being..."

AS:  "ARE YOU SH*TTING ME!!!  Am I the only one who can smell a "Cash Cow?"  I want your geezers up there today!  Start handing out some fines.  Jeez, do I have to tell you how to do your bleedin' job!

MW:  "It may look like we're being petty and vindictive.  It could turn ugly when the fans see us do this.  I mean, it's not like nicking kids or knocking around drunk girls on a Friday night - these bastard's might kick-up."

AS:  "Then wait until the f*cking game kicks off before you hand out the tickets.  As soon as the ref blows his whistle your cowardly bunch of tarts can crawl out of hiding and start writing tickets.  It ain't Rocket Science!  Just get me my readies, and get them NOW!"

MW:  "Yeah, yeah.  You're the boss.  Almost 6% of the people in the County voted for you, so you must be in charge!"

AS:  "Leave it you slag!"

Work quick!  I can see Penfold coming!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

We've seen off Ladak, now for Rolls

The club have asked us all to dig deep once again and assist the club by clubbing together to cover the £1500 a month payable to our CVA for the next 20 months.  It's becoming clear that supporting the Poppies can be many things, but the main thing seems to be "expensive!"

I feared that compassion fatigue had set in amongst the Poppies brethren, but it would appear my negativity may be premature.  A number of far flung Poppies, who can't necessarily get to games are chipping in.  As ever, The Trust is coming up with ways of raising money, such as events, pledges and launching a half-season Club200 membership, with all takings going straight to covering the CVA.

Many supporters who, until now, have stood back from financially helping the club survive, for whatever reason, have an additional opportunity to dig deep and help the Poppies survive.

Hopefully the club will also take a bit of a lead and spell out better how supporters and businesses can invest in the club via Match / Ball / Player / Programme sponsorship.  The official website still discusses sponsorship options at some place called "Nene Park".  Unless Latimer Park has "Executive Boxes" which I've so far missed!  What does it cost to sponsor a ball at Latimer Park?  What do you get for your money?  How do find out?  Addressing all and any enquiries to Ken Samuel can't be a sustainable business model!

Whilst I appreciate that overhauling the website hasn't been top of anyone's list of "things to do", I can't help but feel the club might be missing out because the website is woefully haphazard.  A well maintained website could be our best, most important marketing tool, but our website is painfully poor. The most bizarre aspect of our curious site is the player stats which tell you all you need to know about Legends like Roy Clayton and James McPike, but bugger all about Henry Eze and Steve Kinniburgh.

The CVA was, as we all know, instigated by one-time, future Poppies murdering, footballing banned, wide-boy, George Rolls.  Not that you'd know it based on the documentation, as George's name doesn't appear anywhere.  It was left to our, then, one Director, Gary Graham to be the solitary signatory, keeping George's pudgy hands well and truly clean. 

Sad to say, but in reality, it could be strongly argued that George's completely unofficial decision to enter us into a CVA was the action that ultimately saved the Poppies.  OK, a lot of people got screwed over financially, and we've suffered 3 relegations, but without this action we would have gone bust and ended our days at Non Park a couple of years ago.

I suppose this makes Rolls a Poppies hero?  Of a sort.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Eh? What?!

"Jon - I'm your man!"
Yeah, I read this story too and thought the same thing.  No, not what happened to Laurie Walker?  No, not are we really so far behind Brackley these days (although the insanity of that is never far from my mind.)  Or when will Turley f*cking retire and become a full-time low-life.

Obviously the real story in the above link is HOW CAN DARREN COLLINS BE ONLY 46?
Seriously.  How is that possible?  I'm absolutely certain that he was older than me when he played for us.  Now he's younger!  When did this happen?  Do footballers age differently to the rest of us?

Actually that last sentence is not as strange as it sounds.  One time Poppies sideways header of the ball, and PATGOD correspondent Guy Branston has seemingly been 31 or 32 since he joined us back in 2007.  Even now his age is given, usually when he is being loaned out or sent off, as 32.  Does he age slower than us mere mortals?  Or, is it the case that players who are 31 have a far better chance of securing a 2-year contract than a 33 year old?  That can be all the difference in the world when squeezing a last professional contract from an all to short career.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The last link with Rockingham Road?

News that Brad Piercewright has probably left us means that none of our remaining players has ever played for us at Rockingham Road.  His arrival this season was a surprise to all.  When we thought about which link with Rocky Road we might carry forward for our return to the Borough most of us thought we might get some of the ground slabs, a bit of cover, or even the non-working clock - not a player from our distant past.

And, as far as I can tell, in Will (he of the powder-puff-penalty taking) we also have the last player in our ranks to have played for us at Nonce Park.  How quickly things turn around eh?

As hard as he tried for us, the image of Brad being roasted time and again in the first month of the season, as defeats piled up meant his time would be up once we acquired better defenders - enter Henry, and exit Brad I'm afraid.  And with him probably the last man to have played at our spiritual home.  Until JP arrives of course.......

Happier days for Brad in Tiverton.  And for us.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Come on you Reds!

With Chris Logan's "will he or won't he" situation still in limbo, we face the prospect today of attending a home game today and come face to face with a pair of home gingers.  Who knows, by the 3pm today the enormously glamorous pull of Desborough Town may prove to be too much of an attraction, and he will be on his way.

But, should he choose to remain with little old us, 1/5th of our outfield players could be Duracell tops, now we have Tommy Hull in our ranks.  And we're not talking strawberry blond here, or a Brett Solkhan, bit of a reddy-shade under certain lighting conditions.  No, we are talking f*cking scarlet!  These guys will get sun burnt from the light from an open fridge!

This situation doesn't sit entirely comfortable with PATGOD.  Many years ago we kind of instigated the chant of "FREAK!" whenever we came up against an opposition orange head.  It was a fun time when we set the agenda for terrace behaviour for an entire generation of Poppies fans.  Every week, another ginger and several bellows of "FREAK!" punctuating the afternoon.  Having handed this exclamation to the supporters it was taken on wholeheartedly, and even evolved over time.  One moderate afternoon suffering through a poor home performance was instantly lifted when an opposing player of slightly Mediterranean appearance found his every touch greeted with a chorus of "GREEK!"

It's just as well we don't have away supporters anymore or these guys could be in for a rough afternoon!


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Did I miss the Poppies "Golden Age?"

It always amuses me when a terrace mouthpiece opines, "This is rubbish football", or "Keep it on the deck".  The latter exclamation always makes me chuckle.  Usually because a few seconds earlier the same person has screamed at our defence, "Clear it!  Clear it! Row Z!"

We know the level of football we are at dictates the quality of player and football on view.  We are one level above the UCL, what do our supporters expect?  Performances that would make the Barcelona team quake in their boots?

The more I think about it, so many Poppies fans mention the threadbare quality of the football these days, that they must have previously experienced a "Golden Age" of Kettering football, and want to see it again.  Very laudable.  The only problem is that I can't remember it.  When was it? When did we have this period of playing perfect, sexy football everyone else seems to hark back to?

Was it during the Lawton or Atkinson eras?  I don't know.  Both were before my time.  And more than likely before your time too, given that Big Ron's successful spell was now 40 years ago!  But did these periods really produce sparkling football, given the heavy balls, heavy pitches, heavy players and heavy sideburns?  Doubtful.

Was it during the Mick Jones era when we were free-scoring but still never actually won anything?  Surely if the football was pure champagne we would have won a few leagues or at least the Trophy against Stafford?

Alan Buckley's reign arrested the 1980's slide towards being perennial relegation zone fodder, and Peter Morris's first stint did much to build on Buckley's work and establish us as a genuine power in the non-league game.  But was the football especially breathtaking?  Not from what I recall, and the host of 1-0 wins would suggest.

Our functional football carried on through the next handful of touchline ranters.  The closest we ever came to being footballing primadonnas came during Morrell's first stint with the club.  However, to put this period in context, we were the only full-time team in a division of third-rate part time and jumped-up park teams.  We played some incredible football at times.  It is doubtful that supporters of Clitheroe ever hear the name Kettering without suppressing a shudder.  That said, even being bank-rolled by DRC to the tune of 100 billion a year, we still didn't win the bloody division!

Mark Cooper's all-destroying team which got us back into the top division was made up of very good players, effectively beating all that was put in front of them, but Cooper being Cooper, would never allow the actual football to ever rise above being strictly functional.

And, given the club's downward trajectory since Cooper left to conquer the footballing world at Peterborough, I can't see how our supposed "Golden Age" has happened since.  So, when exactly did it happen?  I fear the only place it happened is in the minds of some of our more blinkered brethren.  Let's be honest - we turn up and watch our team because it bears the name of the place we come from, not because we are acting as guardians of our reputation as purveyors of magical football.  When one of our players strikes a ball which hits the back of the opposition's net I cheer.  When the game ends and we've done this more than the opposition I cheer again.  The odd bit of skill thrown in there, and a shapely opposition physio or pretty young female ref are all I ask.  That's enough for me.  I'm never going to pretend otherwise.

Monday, 28 October 2013

And you thought Pedro had issues with the Poppies? You should read his thoughts on Formula One!

Does the procession that is Formula 1 point the direction in which football is going, at least at the "top" levels?  Yesterday, somebody won their 756th grand prix in a row giving them their 97th consecutive world championship.  Once upon a time I'd have been interested in it.  I used to manoeuvre my Sundays so that lunch would be just before 1 o'clock so I could a least see the start of a grand prix.  No more.  Yesterday, I didn't even need to manoeuvre anything to watch the start but instead I just read my Sunday paper.  I didn't even find out who'd won the race until the afternoon (although of course I knew who'd win it barring mechanical interventions).  Such was my (lack of) interest.
This is a "sport" with a rich European heritage that used to have multiple grand prix in several European countries.  The racing could be really exciting (some of us are old enough to remember Nigel Mansell's racing) and the title winner uncertain until the last race.  But nowadays it's a "formula" held at plastic circuits in kelptocratic countries watched by one man (no women of course!) and his dog, mainly on satellite TV owned by decrepit disgusting moguls (as the formula itself is).

How soon before football goes the same way?  In many ways it already has.  We know with six sigma certainty who the top 4 of the premiershite will be, and I'm no longer taking bets on Chelski actually winning it and it's only October!  As for the Shampions League, it hardly takes a genius to guess who'll probably be in the final (perm two from Farca, Fail Madrid and Bowow Munich).  And how long before games will be played at plastic grounds in kelptocratic countries watched by one man (no women of course!) and his dog, mainly on satellite TV owned by decrepit disgusting moguls (as FIFA itself is)?  The great luminaries at tee premiershite have already tried the idea!

Maybe football at our level will become more attractive because it is more honest, less predictable, and more genuine?

We can only hope!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Jake Newman - making goalies look good

Jake's view of football - you've got to feel for him!


Friday, 25 October 2013

Can this level of football become any more Mickey Mouse?

Farewell then to Scott Cross, who left Daventry for us for all of a week before returning whence he came.  Patgod would like to place on record our thanks for Scott's efforts, and indeed his goal in last week's defeat to AFC Hayes - the all important consolation strike.  Not many Poppies players end a stint with us with a goal to game ratio of 1:1.  Who knows, during his third stint with us I may even recall him!

It does seem as though the players in this league flit around between teams on an almost hourly basis.    Seen from above this League must look like the world's biggest musical chairs game.  The registration office at Southern League HQ must employ the same number of people as Northants County Council, and that's only to keep track of Poppies player movements.

Apparently, earlier this week it looked like our front line for the Chertsey this weekend was likely to be Lewis Wilson and Scott Cross.  Now, it's looking more like whoever turns up early on the day and /or fits the No.9 and No. 10 shirts best.  And that includes Stewards and bar staff.

If we'd needed to put names on the backs of shirts this season there would have been every possibility that we'd have been well and truly back in debt by the end of this season, if only with our kit supplier.  That said, we're saving a fortune on loyalty bonuses and testimonials!

Scott - giving the Poppies the cold shoulder (groan!)

Monday, 21 October 2013

How did we forget to ask about the Alumasc Parking situation?

A lot of questions were asked at last week's meeting.  Some trivial questions were asked, about such things as Winding-up orders.  Some more important questions were also asked, like when we will have chips available at home games.

But none of us remembered to ask if any headway has been made with borrowing / hiring Alumasc's enormous and empty car park on match days.  It is laudable that the club has plans for building and growing the Poppies, but if we can't get access to this enormous car park on our doorstep any future growth might be hampered.

Item One - Every game sees dozens of cars parked on the grass verges on Polwell Lane, just waiting for an officious plod to come along and indulge in the easiest mass ticketing binge of their lives. 

Item Two - The parking issues for locals who must be sick of us descending on their streets every fortnight.

Item Three - An enormous, 98% empty car park, which backs onto Latimer Park.

Surely there can be a way where Item Three can ease the issues of Item One and Two?  If nothing else, I would imagine that the Police would prefer to see numerous parking problems could be eradicated by using an existing, adjacent facility?

Obviously, with the club saved, our club officials have nothing much to do (!)  Presumably this will be the next cause to take up!  C'mon Ritchie, get it sorted!

No room at the inn for Poppies fans

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Back where we belong?

Pecking orders change over time, as we are painfully aware!  Once upon a time we were so intent on attempting to overhaul the oft-teetering Cobblers that we gave little thought to the other County non-league clubs who trailed meekly in our wake.  Happy days.

Nowadays we are a little further down the pecking order (if you hadn't noticed!)  Brackley, Corby, and Daventry are all closer to the still-faltering Northampton Town than us, and even the AFC Inbreds MK II are breathing down our necks. 

And yet, thanks to being back in the Borough we are at least starting to attract our motley collection of moaners, gripers and whingers back to home games.  So, although we trail behind many of the County's finest clubs in a footballing sense, we are once more the best supported Northants team outside of the league.  We have even overhauled the mighty Inbreds even though it is commonly accepted that they are the best and biggest thing to happen in the history of football.

A quick dip into Kings Lynn's fabulously interesting website shows us as being the 42nd best supported team in Non League, above  numerous Conference North and South teams.  14 Conference North teams are currently attracting less paying customers than our mis-firing Poppies, whilst only 4 Conference South teams are currently packing more in than we are getting at Latimer Park.  Only one team in Calor Premier can boast bigger gates, and poor old Hyde in Conference Premier must be looking at our 600+ gates enviously.

The Turnstile League

Back in Northants, the mighty Brackley may be beating everyone out of sight, but still can't encourage many people to go and watch them.  In fact they can't even hold onto the few fans they have as their home gates have slipped this season to just 300.  Unsurprisingly our former landlords at Corby are seeing plummeting gates.  And without a game against either Brackley or us to look forward to, it's unlikely the plastic jocks will be flooding back to Steal Park anytime soon.  AFC Inbreds are attracting a hefty 500+ to the Dog and Duck.  Probably equivalent to the rest of their division put together!  But still less the 7-800 we were told they were attracting last year when we were struggling to break the magic 150 during midweek winter games in Corby.

Who knows, if we actually start winning games any time soon we might need to break open the 4th side of Latimer Park!

Northants football - packing them in!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Bugger Orf, Brazil!

This makes fascinating, and humbling reading. 

Poppies - Just Giving Campaign

Hearing from Ritchie last night how indebted the Club are to the 30+ grand raised by the Just Giving site and the Trust's continuing efforts, makes you realise just how close we have come to going out of business forever.

After the remaining monies "owed" to Keith C*ntsins are paid over tomorrow (Wednesday) there's no one out there making it their job in life to destroy us.  With the exception of a few inbred spuds down the A6 of course....

Seeing how many individuals, a lot with no connection to the Poppies pledged their money to keep us alive is one of the few heartening developments in the modern game, where the Internet and people who care about grassroots football came together.  There's no way to properly thank everyone who helped us survive.  So we won't even bother to try!

Instead we'll take this opportunity to say, "Thanks for nothing, South America!"  Looking at the map of the world, we see funds coming from a few barely acknowledged footballing hotspots such as Vietnam, Canada and Thailand.  But the Poppies received an obvious, "F*ck you" from the hosts of next year's World Cup!    That said, we got sod all from the next two countries lined up to host the game we Brits invented, Russia and Qatar!

So, PATGOD will happily lead the Poppies-supporting world in calling for a boycott of Argentinian beef, Colombian narcotics, Brazilian muff-cuts, Russian vodka, and Qatari.....whatever Qatari produce!

Qatar - would have loved to help out,
but are a bit short till payday

Saturday, 12 October 2013

All a bit boring now

With the imminent threat of extinction at least temporarily lifted, life in Poppy-land is threatening to become a little staid.  So, until such time the club can shoot it itself in the foot again, we thought we'd dust off an old fanzine stand-by - the groan-inducing, supposed, look-a-likes.  Who better than our current touchline ranter?

Midge Ure, contemplating murder after
"Vienna" stalls at Number 2
in the charts for 4 weeks behind
Joe Dolce.

Dean Thomas, lining up a 70 yard
punt at Shoey's net.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Poppies at the Gates of a New Dawn?

Assuming the funds required by C*ntsins are in place, and are paid in the next 28-days we are going to finally pull ourselves clear of our previous nightmare existence.

No more Ladak
No more Non Park
No more Morrell
No more A6
No more Rolls
No more scumbag landlords
No more dodgy property owners
No more poxy electronic scoreboards
No more cold chips
No more paying three quid simply to park and shell out another 18 quid to watch your team not try
No more waiting for DRC to find their chequebook
No more f*cking Kimberley Suite
No more Strikers Bar with no bastard drinks

141 years and counting.  Put that in your pipes and smoke it all your Direone and Jock whingers who were hoping for us to fold.  The Direones didn't even last 20 years, and the irrelevant plastic jocks would have folded years ago if their council didn't build them a new ground every decade.

Mid-afternoon yesterday the news came through that we had been reprieved at the High Court and that the Poppies could finally peep out from under the cloud of the constant horror show that supporting the Poppies has been over the past couple of years.

We may well be at a mortifying low level of football, but we are still playing football!  We have honest people running the club, people who are fans of the club.  We can now start again and build properly for the future, building a sustainable club, and avoiding the boom/bust mentality of the Ladak days.  At least that's the theory.  I'm sure that by the weekend some of our more vocal complainers will be demanding managerial changes galore and hosts of expensive players to be signed.

And tonight we have managed to overcome the mighty Romulus (yes, a real team) and head into the FA Trophy first round proper, only 6, 7 or possibly 8 straight wins from Wembley!  Halcyon days!

It almost makes you glad to be a Poppies fan.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Rounding the final bend

By this time tomorrow we will either be drowning our sorrows at the final end of the Poppies, or celebrating our survival in the only way we know how - by demanding Thomas's sacking / more terracing / better players / moaning about admittance prices etc.  Statistically speaking, the club has never been closer to ceasing to exist as it does tonight.  At every other "final" court case we have at least walked unaided into the dock to hear the verdict.  This time, the death sentence has already been passed, and we are entirely dependent on an outsider deciding whether he can be bothered to commute our walk to the gallows to life at Latimer Park (or at least 5 years).

We all wish Ritchie and his, hopefully, crack unit of expert litigators all the best for tomorrow.  We can but hope that at least one amongst the team arguing on our behalf is a descendant of the famous barrister, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Massingberd-Massingberd, VC, DFC and bar, who, if Edmund Blackadder is to be believed, really is the best legal mind to have in your corner when it comes to the crunch.

We can all think of a thousand good reasons why the Poppies should be allowed to continue.  We could list dozens of golden memories here.  Numerous examples when the town was brought together by 11 blokes in red, kicking a football around a muddy field.  But, at the end of the day, they all count for nought in the face of the courts, a judge, and a businessman, who for reasons best known to himself, seems intent on finishing us and getting no money, rather than working with us and taking home the thick end of 70K.

Hope to see you all on the other side tomorrow when we can get back to simply moaning about how rubbish we are!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Bitter Taste of Being Financially Prudent

Lewis Wilson's move to some team called "Shitehawk" has confirmed a few of things to me.  Firstly, it perhaps explains Wilson's thumping return to form last Saturday.  The opportunity to play for team no one has ever heard of before doesn't come along every day.

Also confirmed is our greatly reduced circumstances, where it is dangerous to have anyone play for us who puts in an even slightly above average performance as they can be snatched away by any of the thousands of teams which are now above us in the non-league pecking order, with the offer of a half season contract and a packet of pork scratchings. (see Nathan Fox and his snatch back by the plastic jocks).

These greatly reduced circumstances that mean that only one of our players is / was on more than a month's contract can be positive when it means that mouthy, Twitterphile, non-footballers like Dave Deeney can be jettisoned at a moment's notice.  It seems less of a good idea when we lose good players to clubs that may have a made-up name, but can actually pay them.

This is what happens when you try to stay within a playing budget you have set yourselves.  We all applaud such sentiment, but, boy, does it sting when it slaps you in the face.

That said, there's no need to lose sleep over Lewis's departure.  As has been seen with both him (joining us 3 times in under a year) and Henry's return, players seem to do the rounds at this level and can reappear at a moment's notice.  I'm still waiting for Joel Gyasi to roll up to Latimer Park soon, but can happily do without another Deeney stint!

"Pick that f*cker out!"  Lewis almost certainly doesn't say.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Good day at the office for a change

Yeah, yeah, another win.  Henry dominantly back at the heart of our defence.  Wilson looking sharp again.  Another good crowd.  Blah, blah.

All well and good.

More importantly, yours truly finally felt the benefit of the good grace of some higher being, and won the Club 200 draw at half time!  Finally, after decades of shelling out for Club 200, 500 Club (when we were bigger!) and Klondikes, my  number managed to match the number!

The official position is that I don't care about winning, as the money spent is all going to the club anyway.  Buying raffle tickets at pretty much every home game I have attended since the late 1970's, and the Trust's various draws for the past 10+ years is just part and parcel of supporting the Poppies.

All b*llocks of course!  The amount of money I'd thrown at this ungrateful club has driven me to be a sad, bitter, twisted figure for much of my adult life.  Nothing is more certain to cause me to rant about life's inequities more than trying to mentally tally how many tickets I'd bought, and how much money spent over the decades without even getting close to actually winning something.  This was brought forcefully home to me last season, when I still couldn't get close to winning the Klondike at Steal Park even when, on some of those frozen, grimly-spartan Wednesday nights, I must have bought most of the bloody tickets!

More annoying than the Klondike was the Club 200, a patently evil entity, which I have diligently entered every season since it's inception.  Statistically, without even trying, I should have won it two or three times by now.  Everyone seems to have won the bloody thing.  Some twice.  Some twice in successive games...... Poor old JC, whilst, I think, congratulating me yesterday on my good fortune, told me he had never won it either, despite entering every year.  Well, tough-titty JC, because I have!  And that goes double tough-titty to anyone else who hasn't won either!

The club shouldn't worry too much about this win turning my head.  I'm pretty sure they are going to get most, if not all of it back off me!

Now I've joined life's winners I resolve that the cynicism and misery of my former days are behind me, and that each new day will be treated as a blessing to look forward to.  At least until the Appeal on the 7th October.  Shit!  I could be the last ever Club 200 winner! 

That's certainly darkened my mood again.

"£63 you say?  I'm gonna
spend, spend, spend!"

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Poppies time on death row continues to bore

With the date of October 7th jotted in everyone's diary as the day that a Judge either overturns our winding-up order, or the Poppies cease to be, there is little to do now other than catch a few football matches and bide our time.

The calm which has descended over Poppydom masks the passion and anticipation we all feel for the club and the hoped for survival.  We know that this is the last chance, and also the last hurdle to clear in extricating ourselves from Ladaak's reign.  Success means we can truly start again with a clean slate.  Failure?  Well, we can all go and find something else to moan about on Saturdays.

From the outside our calm must look a little bewildering.  Things are very quiet for a good reason.  We've been here too many times to waste our time gnashing our teeth and beating our breasts. 

It really does feel that for the past 12 months almost every game we have attended has been dubbed, "possibly the Poppies last ever game".  You can't play and support under this sort of constant pressure without becoming just a little blasé about the goings on at Kettering Town FC.

For now I'll welcome Northwood to Latimer Park, wonder why Alumasc won't let us use their empty carpark, hope a house falls on Keith Cousins, and hope to finally see us win a game!

Poppies fans "Laughing in the face of fear, and
tweaking the nose of terror"

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Twenty Thousand Reasons

Well, with a couple of curious amounts appearing on our "Just Giving" page, including one which prompts the disquieting image of club enforcer Ken Samuel "leaning on" Sid Chapman for a donation, the £20,000 figure we have been asked to raise has now been pledged.

Personally I didn't think we had a chance of raising this sum.  Historically, far too many Poppies fans have given the impression that as long as they paid the entrance fee to have a good moan at the team, someone else would always be there to sort out problems and make up shortfalls and basically ensure the club continued. 

Given that supporting the Poppies over the past few years has become less a case of our team entertaining us than them waging a war of attrition against us, perhaps we have whittled our support down to a stubborn hardcore of nutters?  A small, hardened group of people so dedicated to their club that they will put up with almost anything as long as it bears a Poppies logo.  No level of football is too low.  No football ground is too basic.  No Mickey Mouse opposition (who still beat us) with barely triple-figure attendances, is too disheartening.  Perhaps we have reached the perfect supporter profile where the few left are entirely, 100% dedicated to their club, no matter what?

Now we few, helped by people from all levels of football, have raised the £20,000 asked of us.  Will it help?  God knows.  The club has been wound up.  An additional £50,000 is required.  There is no certainty the Appeal will be successful.  The Judge could have a row with his Missus on the morning of our appeal and confirm the winding up petition out of spite.

We can only hope for the best and that any or all of the following occur -

  • Ritchie and C*ntsins come to an agreement, and this time C*ntsins doesn't renege again.
  • C*ntsins accepts an enormous cheque, or falls off a cliff.  Either works.
  • The wife of the Judge at our Appeal decides to pleasure her hubby excessively on the day we're in court.
  • Our 20K somehow helps to finally secure the future of the Poppies.

Hang on, does that mean I actually have to pay that money I've pledged?  Bugger!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Ta La Me Ducks?

And so to Latimer Park yesterday for the latest instalment of Possibly The Last Game Ever, cameras and gallows humour at the ready. That’s not to underplay the seriousness of the present situation – we have flirted with disaster many a time over the years, but being officially wound up by the court is a first even for our poor beleaguered Poppies.

But if many in the crowd were fearing that maybe this really was it, they disguised it well, with raucous support and no apparent intention to give up the struggle just yet.

Aylesbury arrived in charitable mood and allowed us a two goal head start, presumably instead of a Just Giving contribution. However, unused to such generosity we gradually let things slip, as the Ducks waddled back into the game and we went from Lame to Sitting en route to Dead.  An old wartime bomber flew overhead – knowing our luck, it had us in its sights (you wouldn’t put it past Cousins). The lads behind the goal broke into a Dambusters chorus.  Facing yet another defeat, DT drew upon all his management expertise and identified a possible solution – bring on our one quality striker!  Left field I think you’ll agree, but sometimes you have to think outside the box.

Suddenly things started to happen. First a missed penalty, then a messy equaliser from the inspired substitution, then an equally messy winner.  Messy but miraculous in the circumstances.  It was as if someone up there (and I don’t mean the bomber pilot) decided that after two years of unrelenting punishment, we deserved just a little bit of joy.  Everyone in the 749 crowd apart from a few visiting Ducks left happy. Even their chubby keeper didn't look too sorry, but maybe that was the thought of an imminent giant packet of pork scratchings.     

If this was the last hurrah, it was at least a proper hurrah, not another 7-0 thrashing with ten men.  Hope the Sky cameraman captured it all for posterity.  Here’s my contribution.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Football backing the Poppies

The number of news stories, across the television stations and the Internet has shown that many people beyond we Poppies fans want to see our club survive this latest attack by bloated businessmen to screw more cash out of us. 
This man wants to kill our club. 
We say, pay him, then f*ck him!
Some because they can't get their heads around why a club over 140 years old can be allowed to end.  Some because they hate the way money in football is held in so few hands.  I assume some back us because they hate Keith C*ntsins as much as we do?

If you haven't yet donated to the "Save Kettering Town" appeal on Just Giving, now is your chance.  It could be your last chance....

Other sites that have caught wind of what is happening to us have been quick to jump to our defence and help promote a united front against C*ntsins.

With all these people, and many others supporting or at least bringing attention to our cause, it really is the time to stand up for the final time and fight to save our club.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Just what can £70K buy you nowadays anyway?

It's looking like it's time to dig deep again in order to make a very rich man just a little bit richer.

But what could we buy with any funds raised?

100 Million = pay off C*ntsins and buy Gareth Bale.

100K = pay of the C*ntsins, and have 30K left over to perhaps put some more hard standing around the perimeter at Latimer Park.

70K = pay off the C*ntsins and gob in his face when we hand over the wedge.

58K = pay off the figure C*ntsins originally pulled out of the air for us to pay for a ground we couldn't actually use.

50K = pay off the figure agreed between C*ntsins and Ritchie, before C*ntsins remembered what a c*nt he was and upped the amount.

£300 quid = pay a very uncouth Eastern-European, underworld type to arrange for a regrettable but especially messy accident to befall a certain local businessman of moderate repute.

PATGOD would be happy to start the collection ball rolling with an initial payment of, say, £300....

Monday, 2 September 2013

The End (Again?)


But how ironic that this news comes out on the day Gareth Bale signed for Real Madrid for 85 million quid, and he gets to trouser £300,000 per week.

Roughly speaking, the money Bale will earn between 3PM and 3.20PM during his first game would get us debt free and able to start again on an even keel.

F*cking madness.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Show Some Disrespect!

Disrespect. It’s the hottest new word in the sporting dictionary. Everywhere you look, people are taking offence at some perceived breach of etiquette, like we have suddenly been transported back to the days of a gentlemanly code of conduct.   As if modern sport wasn’t pompous enough, the outbreak of the D word has ratcheted it up another level.

Everton accuse Manchester Utd of showing “disrespect” in their offer for Fellaini and Baines (translation: stick another £10m on it and they’re yours). Pardew slams Wenger for making a  “disrespectful ” bid for Cabaye on the day of a game (translation:  call me in the morning).  Rodgers says Suarez shows a “disrespectful” lack of loyalty (translation: let’s see if the scumbag has a sliver of conscience left). Already 606 callers are bandying it around too, or at least the needy ones who try to talk like pundits.

Meanwhile at the Oval, Michael Vaughan accuses England’s players of showing “disrespect” by taking a pee on the pitch after the game (no word yet from the groundsman on that, but he is understood to agree). Stuart Broad hits back by saying those comments are “disrespectful”.  Vaughan faints at this outrageous slur.  This is all part of the disturbing wider trend of sportspeople taking themselves way too seriously, talking as if the responsibility for national security rests on their shoulders, rather than grown men kicking or hitting balls. Guys!  Get over yourselves, or go off a fight a duel or something to satisfy your honour.  

Arsene and Alan meet to settle their differences. 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Pets Corner

The line between real life and spoof news grows ever more blurry. On the eve of Celtic’s return fixture against Shakhtar Karagandy, it was reported that the visitors had been refused permission to make an animal sacrifice before the game.  Apparently this is a regular part of their pre-match preparations back home (somewhere in between a bit of light limbering up, and the final few words from the coach) and had obviously helped them to a 2-0 advantage in the first leg.

I defy you to read that and not instantly picture Borat high fiving his team mates whilst wearing the mankini away strip.  And now struggle to get the image out of your mind.

Perhaps having googled ‘Glasgow football’ it was assumed that a blood soaked ritual would be well received, but they reckoned without the firm hand of UEFA. In an official statement, they said:

“Animal sacrifice is not a part of the beautiful game.”

Phew! Thanks for the clarification.  Although in certain parts of East Northants, they still beg to differ.      

A relieved goat yesterday

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Premiership Transfer Window Frenzy Hits New Heights!!!

Just over a three weeks ago we exclusively reported these earth-shattering footballing stories!

  • Gareth Bale may or may not move to Real Madrid
  • Wayne Rooney may or may not move to Chelsea
  • Luis Suarez may or may not move to Arsenal
  • Cesc Fabregas may or may not move to Manchester United
  • Any number of other exotically named footballers may or may not move between clubs across Europe

  • A week later we followed this up with the following, amazing developments!
  • Gareth Bale may or may not move to Real Madrid.
  • Wayne Rooney may or may not move to Chelsea.
  • Luis Suarez may or may not move to Arsenal.
  • Cesc Fabregas may or may not move to Manchester United
  • Any number of other exotically named footballers may or may not move between clubs across Europe

  • And now, with the transfer window inexorably closing, hold onto your hats for the latest mind-boggling update!

  • Gareth Bale may or may not move to Real Madrid.
  • Wayne Rooney may or may not move to Chelsea.
  • Luis Suarez may or may not move to Arsenal.
  • Cesc Fabregas may or may not move to Manchester United
  • Any number of other exotically named footballers may or may not move between clubs across Europe

  • I hope you can stand the excitement, because I know I can't!

    "C'mon Bale, piss or get off the pot!"

    Sunday, 25 August 2013

    Desperately trying to see "The Big Picture"

    I will never be able to fully express my thanks to the people who have kept the club alive.

    I can put up with our reduced circumstances.

    As much as I hate seeing us struggling I know there is a bigger picture.

    I can just about withstand seeing my team get regularly beaten by clubs who shouldn't even feature on the Poppies radar.

    I can even, with gritted teeth, put up with being surrounded by fellow whinging supporters.

    I can put up with a lot.  But I'm not sure I can swallow being asked, as we were over the tannoy yesterday, to "Continue supporting the Poppies", by Dave Dunham of all people.

    Saturday, 24 August 2013

    First Impressions of Latimer Park

    I would guess that for most of the 789 in attendance, Tuesday night was their first peek at the facilities at our new home. Curiosity perhaps mingled with apprehension – just how basic would it be? I admit to being unsure how I would feel about the experience, but I began to warm to the place immediately. 

    Approaching the ground, there was for the first time since Rockingham Road a sense that we were back in familiar surroundings – semi home territory at least, and people were approaching on foot rather than car being the only option. A queue snaked to the turnstile block, adjacent to a clubhouse that looked inviting, and inside there was something of a reunion atmosphere as the Poppy fraternity gathered in greater numbers than expected.

    Along what I guess we’ll call the Pop Side, the little stands add character and the temporary one at the end provided a reasonable view, with space to replace it with a larger one if there is sufficient demand.  With the tents in between, the waft of cooking and spectators clutching pints it felt a bit like watching a festival cricket match – no bad thing.  Obviously a warm summer evening is a far cry from a wet night in November but it was possible to imagine how the facilities could be improved before the weather turns – a bit more cover, and maybe a walkway behind the stands before the grass gets churned up by more pairs of feet than LP is used to.

    In the longer term, I wonder if anything can be usefully cannibalised from Rockingham Road, before the wrecking ball moves in. Could there be a viable covered end from the materials that make up the ‘Mark English Stand’?  Are the Cowper Street slabs reusable, or the tea huts? It would be nice if some part of RR could be transplanted – even if it is just the clock!

    After the experience of the last two years, playing at grounds that though well appointed and modern never felt remotely ‘ours’, this ramshackle arena, backing onto houses not industrial units or fields, is closer in spirit to scruffy old Rockingham Road.  A few hundred spectators lining the pitch on three sides will feel like a crowd, rather than being exposed in the wide open spaces of Nene Park or Corby. This is our home for the foreseeable, and it’s ok, it’s intimate and relatively accessible. Most importantly, it’s a place to regroup and see where the future takes us.           

    Friday, 23 August 2013

    Poppies fans get jitters shock!

    Well, two games, two defeats and it's already clear we need to be a bit cannier to get anywhere in this division.  We need the elusive formula of experienced heads and willing young legs that the better clubs at Southern League level seem to find.  And, judging by some of the reactions of our jittery supporters since Tuesday night, we need to find this formula quickly!

    Never a group to over-react (!) we have had to put up with the usual Poppies supporter freak-out to a reverse.  The usual phrases have been heard, and read on our various forums - "Worse game ever", "Worse team ever".  "Going down again".  "Embarrassment", Humiliated", "Disgrace."  Those last three all featured in one particularly spiky post on Poppynet by one of our more schizophrenic supporters, and he wasn't even at the game!

    I recall reading similar comments when we were pissing Conference North, reaching the fourth round of the FA Cup, and finishing in the top 6 of Conference National.  We had a fully professional squad, the majority of which are currently earning their corn quite comfortably in the Football League.  We wallowed in the success only funded by access to Imraan's bottomless company credit card, and still often squealed like flapping nancies whenever non-entities like Luton Town or Cambridge United managed to deny us 3-points!

    Thankfully, calmer heads are starting to prevail.  It's a bad start to the season, but, as far as I can remember, no-one has ever gone down after two games.  Yes, we weren't very good and were beaten by a team who played an effective system.  Yes, our team is not as good as ones we can all remember.  None of us want to be in this league, or at Latimer Park particularly.

    But this is the team we've got, and this is the league we're playing at.  And playing at Latimer is by far a better prospect than Nonce or Steal Parks.  Rome wasn't built in a day, but somehow, because we're Kettering Town Football Club, all too often we expect things to come to us quickly or easily.  Well, clearly they won't.  Just because the club still exists we aren't guaranteed to win every game and every league.  We're at rock bottom and any climb back up the divisions is going to take time and yes, we may even have the odd defeat mixed in there. 

    And I appreciate that may come as a shock to some people.

    Tuesday, 20 August 2013

    Nervous? You bet!

    I'm feeling nervous before tonight's game for the first time in years.  The past couple of seasons have been more a case of managing our decline and merely fulfilling fixtures.  Results have often been secondary to getting (up to) 11 fit men on the field of play.

    Now we've reached a level where we should start fighting back.  We've got a settled ownership and management structure in place.  We're back in the Borough.  If we haven't yet hit rock bottom, I'm not sure I can get my head around what that state might be!  The fightback has to start here.

    But what if it doesn't.  What if we're still not good enough?  Will the few stay-awayers who dip their toe back into Poppyland tonight find the shock of not being good anymore too distressing?  Do we have a good enough team to compete, even at this level?  Will we all manage to get parked at the ground?  Will we be looking at attendances of 150 as we suffered last year during those bitter Corby evenings?

    At this stage of the season there shouldn't be many "must win" games, but I fear this will be one of them.  We may only get a single chance to convince enough of our former and floating fans to give the Poppies a go again.  And that chance is tonight.

    Is it too much of a stretch to say this is our most important game since being ousted from Rockingham Road?

    Sunday, 18 August 2013

    Willey the Conqueror

    Anyone with even a passing interest in Northamptonshire’s county cricket team woke up this morning feeling unusually happy. Over 20 years without a major trophy ended yesterday at T20 Finals Day as the boys in maroon went ballistic in Birmingham.   As the commentators never stopped reminding us, Northants were outsiders, they had no big names, they’d barely won a game in this competition in the previous two seasons – and to be fair they did have a point. Northants have been rubbish at limited over cricket for so long it just seemed the natural order of things, like the nights drawing in and leaves falling from the trees. But some canny recruitment and the emergence of a major local talent have changed all that.

    For how long – who knows? This IS Northamptonshire after all. But it was great viewing, enriched by the Sky boys choking on their predictions. Nasser Hussain was in the saddle as the semi final started to come to the boil.  Every Essex dot ball or diving stop was greeted with glee and you sensed he was just a key wicket away from running on to the pitch to join in the celebrations.  “Northants need a big over!!” he declared. Northants came up with about three in a row, scattering the spectators whose fancy dress costumes didn’t render them immobile. Essex then conceded 8 off a single ball and the bowler looked like he was about to weep. “The wheels have come off!!” was the final contribution from Nass before being led away.     

    That was good but the final was even better and surely the highlight was the contest between David Willey and Jade Dernbach, which Willey won about 36-0.  For the uninitiated, Jade is actually a boy and as if to prove it is lavishly inked in warrior style tattoos. He gave Willey some lip each time another awry offering was smashed for six, when a period of silent reflection might have been more appropriate. Perhaps he was saying, huh, at least it didn’t go for 8. Up in the commentary box, they struggled to find positives to describe Dernbach’s spell of 4-0-55-0, though good old Athers had a go, praising the “good comeback” as the decidedly ex international ended with a delivery that (a) hit the cut strip and (b) didn’t go to the ropes.

    In contrast Willey’s career prospects look a lot rosier after he followed his turbo innings with a hat trick to finish the game. If he played for Surrey he’d already be an international (exhibit A: Dernbach) and the worry now has to be that they or someone equally wealthy will tempt him away. Winning £200k yesterday might help Northants to compete for his services. And maybe ensure that this trophy isn’t a glorious fluke and we don’t have to wait another 20 years.