Sunday, 20 April 2014

On The Up

It’s the time of year when we mark the occasion of the resurrection of Jesus (the pre James Jepson version) by showering children with overpriced chocolate eggs containing tiny packets of sweets, and if that doesn’t satisfy the little buggers, buying them a park wristband and hoping they’ll run off their sugar rush.  Or just run off.

Easter is also traditionally the time when football seasons reach make or break. Every manager with a microphone under their nose will say that at this time of year, it’s all about getting the three points. As opposed to those other times of the year, when they cheerfully admit that winning is secondary to putting on a jolly good show for the supporters.

I’m not sure if Dean Thomas is a particularly religious man. Those standing within earshot of the dugout might doubt it. However our little resurrection story (note the link!) is bubbling up nicely as the campaign turns the final bend.  Not many months ago, the continued existence of KTFC seemed about as likely as Rutland being rocked by a double earth tremor.  Yet even as the crockery rattles in Oakham, here we are in a flat out sprint for promotion.  It has been quite a resurgence.  Even the continuing critics of DT, who pipe up again whenever he delays a substitution or we’re not 3-0 up by half time, would have to grudgingly admit that a run of played 30, lost 2 is far better than anyone had a right to expect.

Whatever happens in the remaining fixtures, this season has been a real tonic. Watching Kettering has become enjoyable again. Not just the relative success, but the general standard of the play and the entertainment. Obviously a big part of that is Henry, who by now surely deserves his own spin off series. How the old pop side at Rocky Road would have taken to him, as he blasted clearances into Northfield Avenue and headed the ball over the Rock N Bowl. Players like Moreman too. Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised to find someone like him at this level. In our Conference days, many a time we took a punt on a player from way down the feeder leagues (Morris assembled whole teams), and I suspect Moreman wouldn’t have looked too out of place.  I also think we coughed up transfer fees for strikers more dubious than Dubi.  Any doubting that should consult back issues of Patgod circa 1994-96 for hilarious accounts of Carl Alford’s various floundering strike partners.     

The other really encouraging thing about this season has been the consistent support. Even midweek games have attracted a regular 400-500, not bad at a ground with restricted parking, very basic facilities, unknown opposition and nil travelling support.  Midweek Conference fixtures on Champions League nights struggled to attract many more, plus whatever the opposition brought with them.  As thoughts turn to next season, that kind of support and the gradual return of more old faces is adding to a feeling of momentum going our way at last.

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