Sunday, 28 April 2013

Decidedly mixed end of term results for Northants football

With Corby Town showing admirable solidarity with their tenants and snatching relegation from a seemingly safe mid-league position, Northants football reaches the end of a turbulent 2012-13 season.

Somehow our landlords managed to secure entry into the AGM Cup, even despite their surprising win at an safely-ensconced-in-the-play-offs Brackley Town.  Another win in any of their remaining games would have secured their survival, but none of their other opponents proved to be so accommodating.... Our groundshare may well have helped both clubs make it to the end of the season - us with somewhere other than Nonce Park to lose our games, and them with an extra weekly windfall.  And yet, somehow they still managed to pip Histon to that final relegation spot.

Especially galling for the  club was the final day gate of over 1800.  OK, it was free entrance.  And OK, most of the once-a-seasoners probably spent all game moaning about the fare served up for them(as is the way with Northants football), but it must have annoyed the powers that be that this many people turn up once the club are doomed.  Still, it must make a nice change to get a good gate for a game where neither Rangers or the Poppies are the opponents.

Woodford United made damn sure they wouldn't line up against the Poppies next season by diligently managing to lose all 42 league games this season.  They almost spoiled a perfect season by going into the 75th minute of their last game leading Godalming Town 1-0.  They soon reverted to type and managed to secure another defeat to see the season out.  84 hardy souls stuck this last game out, and before we find such a paltry crowd laughable, it's worth noting that we've had a number of attendances this season which were less than double this figure.  And if we'd lost every game this season (instead of just seemingly losing every game) could we guarantee we'd attract more through the turnstiles?

Daventry Town finished just outside the play-offs, so, Imraan's continued twatty-ness not withstanding, will be our latest, bitter local rivals.  They will be following on from such former league enemies as Corby, Boston United, Hinckley Town, Stevenage, Scum, and, Heaven help us, Luton Town!  We will no doubt start the pre-season build-up in hostilities with Daventry just as soon as we find out anything about them!  Christ, we don't even know what colours they play in!

Scum Part II have, we think, been promoted into a division uncomfortably close to our own.  Fair do's, they have managed to turn their fortunes around through their own efforts, and ought really be applauded for their resurgence.  And if we weren't such bitter bastards we would no doubt congratulate them too, but for a hundred different reasons that is impossible.  Not least amongst these reasons is the fact that all we can see is the guaranteed loss of 6 points in a couple of years time!

Brackley Town have manged to buy their way into the Conference North play-offs, much as we managed to buy the actual title a few years ago.  One can only fear how far they will fall once the money is withdrawn.

The Cobblers too have ended the season in the play-off places.  Somehow even Boothroyd's Neanderthal footballing-methodology hasn't entirely defeated the enormous investment of the Cardoza clan.  It's doubtful they'll manage to haul themselves out of League Two, as they cannot win outside of Sixfields, but one thing is for certain, there will be no way of turning on Radio Northampton without hearing all about it. 24 hours a day.  Everyday.  Forever.

So there you have it.  Another season done.  Apologies to any team we have omitted, but I'm sick of typing, and you're obviously not that important!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Big Presentation Night Shock

We're surprised no one has yet mentioned the shock event at last weekend's Presentation evening.  No, it wasn't that Henry walked off with a dozen awards, or that Dean Thomas made a speech which was the most blatant job interview pitch outside of an episode of "The Apprentice", or even the fact that KFC and KTFC bigwigs sat in the same room without throwing peanuts at each other.

No, and without wishing to slip into unnecessary hyperbole,  the biggest shock ever in the history of the world was that former Chairman and blind-eye turner to tax demands Cyril Gingell, and rabidly border-line psycho Poppies fan Dave Singh both attended the event and SAT IN THE SAME ROOM!!!

Again, without wishing to overstate things, such an event, given the fact the Dave still regularly blames Cyril for EVERYTHING to have ever happened to the Poppies from the club's formation in 1872, through to Gosport's third goal on Saturday, must surely be the most unexpected get together in history.  Certainly since Adolf Hitler attended a Bar Mitzvah back in the 1930's, or since James Caan invited Imraan to a BBQ last summer, or at least since PATGOD hosted a Brian Talbot appreciation evening when he finally dragged the money-drenched Inbreds out of Non-league at just the 36th time of asking.

News of this seeming detente have spread far and wide and suggestion have been made that other organisations and individuals may seek to bury various hatchets.  Al Quaeda and the U.S. are supposedly having positive talks.  A North Korean Disneyworld is in the works.  Even Arthur Scargill openly wept tears of misery over Margaret Thatcher's coffin.

However, ever an organisation to plow it's own furrow, Kettering Borough Council have held firm to their previously held position and re-iterated that as far as they are concerned, the Poppies can "go f*ck themselves!"

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Last word on the last chance!

They say that if you're gonna steal, steal from the best.  So, with apologies to the Bard -

"......From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that shouts support for the Poppies with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in Kettering now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That supported with us upon Gosport Borough pay-what-you-like day!"

Red Army!  Red Army!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Last chance to see....

Tomorrow's home game with...whoever, sees the Poppies completing their home programme for 2012-13.  It may have been one of least successful seasons imaginable at a depressingly low level of the footballing pyramid, but, the very fact that we will be taking to the pitch tomorrow represents nothing less than a superb effort from all who have remained involved and loyal to the Poppies.  After filing out against Bashley at Non Park last year, few would have given this game a chance in hell of ever being played.

And yet here we still are.  Sure, Imraan and the Non Park lease are still there in the background, and we can never truly be free and move on as a club until both are part of our history.  And sure, playing at Corby isn't ideal (but far better than certain other home grounds we've played at this year, which will remain nameless).  And it's always depressing to attend Poppies games where the crowds are so small.

Extract from last week's

But where there's life, there's hope.  At this point in a blog I'd usually rail against our stay-away "fans" who have any number of excuses for not supporting their team.  The usual suspects of course being Imraan / Non Park / leaving Rockingham Road / not being "valued".  Few of our ex-fans cite the fact that they only watched us because we played in a bigger league against bigger clubs, mainly I suppose because such an admission suggests they were more interested in who we played against rather than their own team.....

But this time I won't criticise our former fans (even though it always sparks a lively debate).  To be honest I get bored hearing the "victim mentality" of some of the people who don't come to games anymore. 

What I will say that if any supporter who hasn't reconnected with the Poppies is thinking about attending tomorrow I'd say go for it.  Don't continue to deny yourself the chance to cheer or even jeer your team - no matter what league they are in THIS IS STILL YOUR TEAM!  Please take this chance to at least thank Richie for basically saving YOUR club, in order for it to have the chance to fight another day.  A chance also to thank the Trust and other volunteers who have given time, money and effort to keep the Poppies pulse still going.  Surely worth taking a couple of hours out of your life?

And if after all this you still can't bring yourself to take in at least this one game, then fine, you've obviously happy with making the break from KTFC.  But please, no more bleating about losing your club.  It's still there.  It still needs you.  You are the one to have walked away this time. 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Stuff we didn't know until today

  • Bideford players moan more than any other team in history.

  • Will Muzvimbiri may be one the least effective strikers the club has ever had, but among the top three right backs in the history of the game!

  • If the 2012-13 season consisted of just December and April we'd piss this poxy league!

  • The card-totting referee (22 players - 22 yellow cards) was so depressingly officious that he will no doubt be promoted to at least Conference National level.  If he's not lynched first.

  • The only thing the ref did right was to not ask for the floodlights to be switched on.

  • With 2 defeats in a 2 days Bideford are unlikely to repeat this weekend's endeavour.  By contrast, Kettering Town have appealed to the league to play twice EVERY weekend.

  • Somehow Jason Turner is still with us.  I couldn't have been more surprised if Johnny Graham started the game.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Thatcher - A Nation Moans

In the immediate aftermath of a certain old lady’s death this week, there were calls for football to pay tribute. There have also been calls for a national day of mourning, renaming Port Stanley in her honour and erecting a statue in Trafalgar Square – probably all from exactly the same people. Cameron recalled Parliament out of pure hero worship. The Daily Mail, always a Thatcher fanzine, went off the scale and produced acres of adulatory froth so toxic it will need to be buried in secure underground bunkers.

Perhaps there was a time when football might have dutifully bent the knee but, gratifyingly and unusually, it has kept a sense of perspective. Thatcher had no appreciation of football.  As the favoured game of the nation’s industrial heartlands, it was right up there with secondary picketing in her affections.  In the mid 80s, fresh from crushing the miners her unblinking Sauron eye shone next on football supporters – another enemy within.  Egged on by fellow guardians of civil liberty like Ken Bates and the disgusting Luton MP David Evans, she planned to impose ID cards on fans.  And if that didn’t work, make them wear little symbols on their clothes and live together in designated areas. 

And, even worse, there was this:

Thankfully we have come a long way since then. Football fans are now no longer routinely vilified as they were in the 1980s, when we were regarded as some sort of moronic tribe. And the authorities sensibly have realised the likely reaction if clubs around the country were asked to observe a minute’s silence. It might pass off reasonably peacefully at, say, Crawley, but South Yorkshire or Liverpool? Memories still run deep, quite remarkably deep when you consider the 1980s are a generation ago and countries at war have reconciled quicker than that. 

So best that the public tributes are left for those who want to - fine characters like Archer, Clarkson and Tebbit - and the rest of us can get on with managing our grief in our own way. Personally at times like this I like to cheer myself up by watching old movies, like say The Wizard of Oz.   

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Better floodlights in better days
What do we have to look forward to this evening?

Another defeat - probably
A sub 150 gate - possibly
My not winning the Klondike or Club 200 draw - VERY probable

The referee, unlike the one on Saturday, making a correct call in relation to switching on the floodlights - certainly!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Best of the Worst

As it's getting to the time of the season when we're asked to vote for our player of the season, we thought we'd try to assemble a "best-of" team from the hundreds of players to pull on a Poppies shirt this most painful of seasons.  Perhaps this team still wouldn't have been good enough to keep us up, but they might at least made a better fist of it had they represented us all season.

Goalkeeper - Michael Quirke.  Has looks solid.  He looks reliable.  He looks 12.

Nlate might have been in contention had he not left us part way through the Weymouth game.  Walker always looked too nervous and timid to have a chance.  As for Gathercole, for deserting us in our greatest hour of need, and letting us play with 10-men, he can f*ck right off!

Left Back - Nathan Fox.  Has tried his damnedest and had some good performances.  He also looks 12 years old.  13 tops!

Right Back - Joel Gyasi.  Classy and skillful.  And snatched by Bedford.  Boy are we now shit or what?  Could have been picked as defender, midfield or forward.

Centre Back - Henry Eze.  No brainer.  Every performance is Good, Bad AND Ugly!  More MOM awards than any other defender who has played in a Poppies defence to have shipped an average of 12 goals per game.

Centre Back - Ed Palmer.  We forget now how solidly we defended earlier in the season.  I distantly recall Ed doing well, but mainly remember him for his pile-driver against Cambridge City.  One of only about four highlights of a season and a half at Non Park.

Also in contention in defence was Dan Crowie has been solid, and unlucky to miss out, unlike Maddox who watched Hemel Hempstead score for fun at their place and Phil Ifil who, seemingly, went from England Under 20's to not being good enough for a shit Southern League Poppies team in the same length of time it took me to write this tortuously convoluted and ridiculously long sentence.

Midfield - Nathan Hicks.  Has come more into his own as the season goes on.  He is the perfect barometer of our performances.  Whenever he plays well in a game we usually win it.  Which isn't to suggest however that he's only played well 5 times...

Midfield - Ben Ford.  Has done well enough.  Not quite shown us all the "Conference" quality that made Nuneaton shell out on him.  More like the reason they then loaned him to us for the majority of the season!

Midfield - Chris Logan.  Hardest working FREAK we've had for a while!

Bubbling under - not much really.  We have had a succession of strange names coming on as substitutes to fill a shirt and have the ball bobble off their shins.  Pat Noubissie gets an honourable mention despite looking slightly less fit than me. 

Striker - Lewis Wilson.  Top striker.  Gave us the decent month of December 2012, which we'll probably be still clinging to as a Poppies high water mark for a while yet.

Striker - Jamie Griffiths.  Unlucky not to score more this season.  Good in the air and gives it his all.  As supporters we've never really asked for more.

Striker - Warren Byerley.  Never got out of 1st gear for us, but at least knew where the goal was.  Also knew where the grass was greener....Possibly the last player to ever (theoretically) earn three figures per week out of the Poppies?

Other hotshots - Other than the always amusing Will and Soloman, who can huff & puff with the best of them, no one else has shown a great deal for us in a striking capacity.  Aman Verma has looked either a class act, or totally disinterested (much like last season in fact).  Amazingly, no matter the level we play at, Jason Turner always seems to be at least 3 divisions out of his depth!

Substitutes - Well, if we have name 5 (which has been a novelty for most recent Poppies bosses) we'd probably plump for Crowie, Michael King, Will, Soloman, and Verma.

Overall Player of the Season - Henry Eze.  One of few players here this season you dare not take your eyes off.  Particularly if you are the goalie behind him!  Also scored our goal of the season with his amazing bicycle kick against the Poppies Whipping Boys A.K.A. Hitchin Town FC.

Get him on a contract with 10 others, and who knows, we may have a reasonable season next year?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Where do Hitchin go from here?

Henry - apart from a bicycle kick goal
and a stout defence, what else did he do
for the Poppies against Hitchin?
Our thoughts are with the players, staff and supporters of Hitchin in their desperate plight.  Having managed to lose both league games to the 2012-13 Poppies surely it is difficult to see how the club can carry on.  Perhaps a minute silence for, or a bucket collection for Hitchin isn't out of the question?

Barwell must be cacking themselves.....