Sunday, 19 April 2015

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Title won.  All challengers dispatched.
One last game at Chalfont to go, where
the most sober players will
no doubt form our starting eleven. 

Now, all we need to find out is whether
we are welcome in Burton Latimer, or
whether they are happy for both us
and BPWFC to quietly disappear.

Is Latimer Park to truly become our home,
or are to remain forever "cuckoos?"

Saturday, 18 April 2015

We are the Champions (again!)

It is accepted and common knowledge that we rarely win things.  When the Direones were winning everything in sight, including Eurovision during one curious season, they constantly reminded us of our comparative lack of success.  They mocked us for not being able to match their success even though we spent almost a penny for every pound Max threw at his insane hobby.

It could have been different.  If we were more successful in finally getting over the finishing line we might have turned one of our dozen second place Conference finishes into a title, and perhaps League Football.  Or made one of our trips home from Wembley more enjoyable.  Or bearable.

But, is the commonly held belief that we rarely win our leagues actually true?  Sure, starting to support the Poppies in the mid 70's, post Big Ron, it sure felt as though we never won anything, but when one looks over the entirely of our existence our record looks a bit brighter.

We've been going now for 143 years (in case you'd forgotten).  If you miss off seven or eight years for World Wars this makes somewhere in the region of 135 competitive seasons.  If each division we've played in has at least 20 teams in it, and you simply divide the years by the numbers of teams in the league, purely by averaging out, we should have won something just under seven titles in our existence.

We have topped our leagues fully 13 times, including this season's success.  That's double what we should have averaged!  Hey, does this mean we're successful?  Wow!

That needs a lot of Brasso!

In just the last dozen years we have won our leagues three times.  The end-of-season heart attack that was Tiverton.  The bullying of the Conference North.  And this season's canter.  All different types of title wins, but all enjoyable in their way.

Today is a day to enjoy and celebrate with our team.  We've won the league.  Despite the efforts of a few professional malcontents in our ranks to poo-poo the club's efforts, the vast majority of the rest of us will be looking forward today to thank the guys for their efforts and cheer them lifting the trophy.

Now, let's get Latimer Park sorted and all look forward to the summer and next season!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Two Faces of Doctor Jeykll

Couple of games to go.  

It'd be nice to see out the season with a couple more wins. 
Especially against Bedworth as we definitely owe them one.

Now it's a case of Ritchie and the Board thrashing out some sort of deal with the
"powers that be"  to make sure we can remain at Latimer Park next season.

Mind you, it must be difficult dealing with people, who, like Dr Jekyll
here, don't restrict themselves to just the single face.....

Friday, 10 April 2015

Wow! Better book early for this one!

We've seen some "nothing" fixtures over the years, but do any of them even come close to approaching the complete pointlessunecessaryness of a trip to South Wales for the Southern League "Championship Match?

FFS! You've got to be kidding me!

Such is the unattractiveness of this game that, if you were confident of winning the play-off, you'd probably throw the title, just to side-step it.

I'm faced with two options on Saturday 2nd May.

Cheering my Poppies heros to a pulsating Championship Match victory with our English-loving friends from the sunny Valleys.


Sitting in the drizzle and cold at Stanwick Lakes, too close to Non Park with the Missus watching an outdoor, nighttime showing of the gayest, noisiest, longest, campest, lady-fest movie of all time - Moulin Rouge.

No contest - see you at Stanwick!

Nicole Kidman looking pretty tip-top in Moulin Rouge,
before succumbing to consumption, and still,
frankly, looking hot, but a bit more
sweaty and blood-spittled.... 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Godfather Part Three

Three games left.  Championship in the bag.

Suddenly ground issues raise their head once more.

One can almost hear Ritchie crying,

"Just when I thought I was out...
they pull me back in."

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Have championship trophy, will travel

Well how was Monday night for you?  Lucky us to have one whole evening to enjoy the glow of being champions before reality came crashing in again. Maybe we missed a trick by not annexing Rugby's ground and declaring it a KTFC possession, while we had the boots on the ground to do it. *

The ground thing just won’t go away. Just about every problem we’ve had in the past 30 years can be traced back to one thing: we don’t own the place where we play. It puts us at the mercy of the land owners or – apparently in this case – the leaseholder. What’s the difference?  Either way, our lemon gets squeezed.  

What I love about these wrangles is there is always somebody who claims to be “a friend” of the offending lemon squeezer, and obligingly makes their case for them. I suppose it makes a change from “sources close to…”  Apparently we were stupid for not resolving the lease issue (i.e. paying over the odds to stay at a UCL facility) rather than pushing for promotion, like we splurged huge amounts of money in assembling a team featuring Tommy Hull.

I don’t particularly like the thought of returning to Corby for an indefinite period. Nor do I like the thought of being held to ransom by a tinpot chancer. Given the choice – if it is the only choice – I’d take Corby, even though it would feel like a backward move. However perhaps there is a wider game being played here. Rockingham Road has unexpectedly re-entered the equation.  Whatever was in those sealed bids evidently wasn't enough. Were they all unrealistic, or does somebody need to adjust their expectations.  The council could still play a part by indicating a preference for how the site is used: a few more cereal box starter homes, or a regenerated community stadium? If in doubt about which is the right answer, contact me for an unbiased opinion. 
Whatever path we take I hope people have seen enough of the present club regime to back their judgement and trust their motives. The last thing we need is more tedious factionalism.  United we stand, divided we fall (other cliches are available).   

* NB need to check whether this is still allowed under international law.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Four games to go.  12 points ahead.

A goal difference a full 20 better than anyone else

Even bumbling, mumbling Hugh Grant couldn't
 bugger this one up!

As Hugh would probably say,
"Golly, g.g.gosh,see you all at R.R.R.ugby"

On The Brink

So four games left, a bulging goal difference and just one more point needed! You’d have to say it’s now ours to lose.

Kettering folk being the wonderful, generous spirited people they are, the sealing of the title, whenever it is, won’t pass without some sniping from the wings about how we are such a big club at this level and the team won it despite bad management. Firstly, can we bury the big club thing? We’re not a Chester or a Wimbledon, forced to work our way back up with inbuilt advantages like a good stadium and resurgent support.  We average 600 not 3,000, are still paying off creditors and play on a cabbage patch at a ground which hardly inspires opponents to treat it as their cup final.

The other point has been refuted often enough, but as it’s Easter let’s do it one more time, in appropriate style.

Apart from player recruitment, training, budgeting, retention, selection, rotation, motivation and tactics – what have Machin and Baillie ever done for us?

Oh and the fresh water system and public health.

All is forgiven as Poppies fans get ready to party

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Grave Times for Gary's

The end of the world as we (I) know it?

Disturbing times for we Gary's (not including the evil misspelling of Garry - yeuch!)

As much as Gary's bemoan the ebbing away of the popularity of our name, we may have contributed greatly to the downfall.  Most of the popular Gary's end up tarnishing their image -

Gary Sobers - great cricketer, but ended up beating England too many times for his popularity to endure.

Gary Glitter - the part of his career where he was a top glam rocker of the 70's seems to have been overshadowed by his later shenanigans.

Gary Linekar - Ace striker, but the "D'Artagnan / Musketeer" facial hair has seen his
popularity wane.

Gary Barlow - Former all-round Good Egg has been shown to contribute less to the National Exchequer than Mark English.

Gary Setchell - He may have got us to Wembley but this was overshadowed by his swift defection to the Scum, where he successfully warmed the bench for a couple of seasons.

Gary Johnson's stint at the Poppies was scary at best.  The following is taken from Gary's Wikipedia page about his time with us.  If you don't recognise much of the report, you are not alone! Just when we all thought Wikipedia was becoming more accurate,

"After leaving Cambridge, Johnson took over as manager of Kettering Town as the club introduced full-time football for the first time in the club's history. However, once the decision was made to revert to being a part-time club, Johnson moved to Watford as director of their youth academy by request of future England manager Graham Taylor."

Yep.  Got to admit.  We haven't made a good case for ourselves.  Perhaps if Gary Mulligan can be coaxed to sign on for a further season with us, perhaps we can turn the popularity corner?

No pressure then Gary!