Saturday, 28 June 2014

Back Home

It’s been a strange World Cup as an England supporter. Seven months of preparation but knocked out in six days and our boys were back home in their gated mansions in time to watch the final group matches the same as us. Even to see themselves in TV ads grinning, winking, doing ball tricks and celebrating. All very inappropriate, like Suarez being the new face of Colgate.

Was it really just a fortnight ago that the plane touched down in Rio carrying our finest 23 and a whole host of dieticians, doctors, coaches, press officers, PR, HR and even a team shrink whose job it was to release their inner chimp. Or suppress it. Or something.  Just about the only thing the plane wasn’t carrying was the weight of a nation’s expectations.  World Cup fever wasn't a lot lower the last time we failed to qualify, which was just as well really.

Everyone said what a tough draw we had, but this wasn’t the Italy of old. Their top player is 35, chugs around in neutral gear and looks like a hairdresser.  Meanwhile Uruguay’s main talent had an untested dodgy knee. Effectively our task was to do two things:
1.       Stop Pirlo  
2.       Stop Suarez

Having failed to achieve the first objective, everything rested on dealing with the threat of the Hannibal Lecter of the Panini sticker album.  Was Suarez fully recovered?  Ace pundit Robbie Savage knew how to find out.  “If I was playing I would SMASH Suarez in the first 5 minutes.… fairly, of course”.  Of course.  Maybe that was the problem – England were too nice. Fresh from headbutting the dressing room wall, Terry Butcher would have sorted him out. Or needed another bandage.  
The other problem was we lacked a top class finisher. Sturridge might be one day, Rooney isn’t.  His one goal was a tap in.  Even the gerbil who donated its fur for his new thatch would have scored that.  The group was there for the taking if we had a choice of strikers like the previous generation – Shearer, Owen, Sheringham, Wright, Fowler. Even Andy Cole. Ok maybe not Cole.

But at least unlike the two most recent World Cups, England spared us being eliminated on penalties or thrashed, and at times played a little bit of football. Not much to ask perhaps, but better than South Africa when we stunk the place out so badly, FIFA had to open the windows.  And there was no scapegoat this time. You couldn’t pick on old Roy, he did his best, and it almost seems cruel to point out that Gerrard has lately given more assists to the opposition than his team mates.  

Free from any anxiety about whether England can scrape through as far as a regulation quarter final exit, we can sit back and enjoy the rest of the tournament.  Meanwhile, as the national teams of England, Spain, Italy and Portugal suddenly have gaps in their diaries, how about a mini knockout to decide the best group stage loser? A bit like the Europa League. Sky would snap it up. Or Channel 5.    

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

It's a bummer being English!

With the England football team about to play an infamous dead rubber at the World Cup, going out at this stage is so embarrassing - it's like being Scotland.  Or what Scotland used to be like when they were good enough to actually qualify for anything...

And with England's cricketers chasing an impossible 350+ with only 5 wickets remaining against bloody Sri Lanka, it is a tough time to follow any of our nation's main sports.

At this point most sports fans look to the efforts of England's egg-chasers for comfort.  No joy there either after they have just been whitewashed by the All Blacks.

There's never an Olympics around when you need one, is there?

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

F*cking Non F*cking Park!

Three years since THAT Wicksteed Park meeting. Three years since the majority of Poppies fans were mugged, and steamrolled into jumping into the Direones still-warm grave.  Three years for most of us continue to ask ourselves, "Could we have done more to keep the club at Rocky Road?"

Of course, the entire meeting was set-up in such a way that there could only be one decision.  Imraan played the crowd like a virtuoso.  Basically we couldn't afford to keep paying Pickering for a crumbling hole, and why should we when a gleaming super-stadium lay unused just a few miles away.  Imraan couldn't give any actual costs of moving to Non Park, beyond a few, vague suggestions of a host of investors and sponsors, absolutely gagging to throw money at a Kettering Town Football Club who were playing in a piss-hole village..  As we were increasingly starting to notice with Imraan, the nitty-gritty detail wasn't really his bag......

It was obvious that discussions for us to move out of Rockingham Road were advanced.  I imagine he already had Morrell in place too at this early stage.  In fact, in his one misstep, he clumsily tiptoed around answering a direct question about the new Manager.  An "offer" thrown out to the room by Imraan to basically chip-in and keep us in Kettering was carelessly worded and deliberately vague.  Beyond needing fully half the people in the room to sign up that minute to an unspecified and uncosted offer of funds to the club.  Knowing that no-one trusted the Chairman with our money meant this was always a non-starter.

And then there was the contributions from the floor.  To my everlasting regret I never spoke up.  I imagine many others felt the same as me.  Wished we'd spoken up, no matter how pointless it would have been, nor how quick we would have been shouted down.  Let Imraan know what he was doing was wrong, wrong, wrong!

Instead we bit our tongues as various characters stood up and backed the move.  I don't know their names.  Didn't then and don't now.  I just know them by the nicknames I've given them.  Amongst others there was "Old Git",  "Nervous Girl", and "Mouthy F*ckwit".  The "Old Git" blathered on about supporting the club for 60 years and supporting them wherever they played.  To give him his due, I do still see him at games.  I always curse his contribution on the night.  "Nervous Girl" made it as far as Non Park, which was f*cking big of her as she basically begged for us to go there as it would pretty much guarantee us League Football (It did, Southern League football!)  Haven't seen her at Latimer Park though.

As for "Mouthy F*ckwit" I don't think I'd ever seen him at a Poppies game before or since.  Not even at Non Park, where he angrily decided we must go.  He spent most of the evening shouting at anyone who dared even question why the sudden urgency to decamp to Freak-land.  I mean, it's not as if there was a big queue of clubs desperate to relocate to Inbred Central.

I have occasionally seen "Mouthy F*ckwit"around town, scurrying about in his Liverpool shirt, no doubt looking to catch his heroes on Sky TV at a pub in town.  I doubt this clown even knows the Poppies still exist, and couldn't care less.

The Wicksteed Park meeting ended in the infamous "vote", where we are supposed to have given Imraan his mandate.  I say "supposed" as many of us had left before the end of the rally, er, meeting.

As PATGOD reported at the time -

A sad day all round.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

C'mon England

By popular consensus, we need to keep James Jepson
quiet tonight to have any chance.

Monday, 9 June 2014

D-Day plus 1

Unsurprisingly the team of Baillie & Machin have been appointed as joint Managers for the coming season.  In an attempt to offer the usual PATGOD balance, we suggest the pro's and cons of this appointment.


Not exactly a "glamorous" appointment
Neither man has ever spent time as a "real" No.1.
Baillie often has a face liked a slapped arse!


They know the players
They knows the expectations of the board and the fans
It will annoy some of our more bolshy fans, for whom no Manager will ever be good enough

The new management team will have their work cut out to convince everyone that they are the best choice to get us promoted.  But even the most ardent naysayer can be won around by the team hitting the ground running come the start of the season and racking up some wins.  Well, except Pedro perhaps.......

Sunday, 8 June 2014

D-day (Part 2)

So, Monday is decision day for the Poppies, with Ritchie due to name our new manager.

I get a sense, reading the views of the various online supporter forums that no matter what our Chairman does, he will incur the ire of a sizeable chunk of our small, but noisy online community.  The main reason being that every supporter knows best how the club should be organised and managed.  We're all experts.  And, we're all always right!

If Ritchie goes the Baillie route he will be rounded upon for a lack of inventiveness, by fans demanding some sort of "name".  Baillie's contribution to last season will be conveniently forgotten.  Some will even bemoan him as a footballing person, or person full-stop.

What about Jon Brady?  The stories of the seeming disintegration of Brackley, or should that be, the disintegration of the funding of Brackley,  have led to reports that he will be unveiled as our new boss tomorrow.  Some fans are already pointing to the fact that, even though heavily bankrolled, Jon couldn't get Brackley promoted, so, what makes anyone think he could do it for us?

How about Marcus Law?  Another name, thrown liberally around.  A percentage of fans wouldn't welcome back a manager who did only "OK" for us, despite padding the team out with a host of football league starlets.  Aston Villa might well loan a future player to a Conference National team, bit it would be doubtful if they would be inclined to lend out a precious asset to a team playing vigorous kick and rush in the Southern League Central Division!

Who else has been mentioned?  Some bloke from Slough.  Simply because he comes from Kettering?  If that's enough to get you considered for the Latimer Park Hot Seat, then why not throw Sean Dyche into the mix?  Goodbye Manchester United, hello North Greenford United?

Brad Piercewright, despite no actual experience, has also been mentioned in dispatches.

And what of Dean Thomas himself.  Who knows?  He may have sorted his job issues and be unveiled as our new, existing boss!

My worry is that too many of us still believe we are a big enough draw to attract a manager with any sort of "wow" factor.  Let's wake up and smell the Calor gas.  At this level our manager will need to have an outside income from a "proper" job, be able to get his squad to and from games, sign players for nothing, try to arrange training sessions around the county, as well as coaxing classy one-touch football from moderate players and win every week by 3 clear goals in order to keep us even slightly happy.

Over to you, Mr Chairman!

  What kind of idiot would like to ply
his trade in front of US every week?