As a club we may well be a shadow of our former selves. Playing far below Conference level. Sharing a ploughed field as a pitch. Rudimentary off-field facilities. Treating an away support in double figures as something noteworthy. Lauding players who previously wouldn't have got a sniff of playing in Poppies red.
And yet, there are still signs that others still consider the Poppies as a club of note. One only has to recall the scenes of Bacchanalian excess amongst the opposition fans who's teams even looked like taking a point off us. It was sometimes curious to see just how opposition players overreacted to taking a point from the Poppies. Yes, I'm looking at you St Ives!
And you know what? I was never really bothered. To me it demonstrated that success against Kettering Town still counted for something. I would have been more worried had our rivals started to see doing well against the Poppies as something commonplace.
Another sign that we are still a club of note is the way people with some sort of sway over us continue to try to screw us over financially. Our recent history is a catalogue of "businessmen" queuing up to fleece the club. The owners of Rockingham Road, Nonce Park, former owners of Cambridge United and now the big knobs at Burton Latimer have seen KTFC as a bottomless pit of readies. They all believe our stature is such that they can treat us like a personal piggy-bank.
If it wasn't for the tragic state of Rockingham Road it would have been hilarious to see the greedy Pickerings failing dismally to turn our former home into a multi-million pound pay-day. Their unbiased estimation of the tiny site's worth being so hideously out of touch with everyone else's. It's also tragic for the greedy bastards that forcing us out of our home has cost them rental income in the region of a quarter of a million quid. Shame....
And the thought of Nonce Park being ploughed back into the Irthlingborough swamp it grew out of gives me nothing but happy thoughts.
Now, the owners / leaseholders / landlords (delete as appropriate, and when we actually know the facts) of Latimer Park have lined up to drip their bread in the Poppies gravy. Really? It's not enough that our using their shoddy facility has kept their f*cking place going? Not enough that we have improved their cabbage patch beyond recognition? Or helped their club keep limping on for at least another season?
No. Now they'd like to screw us over for all the supposed benefits of running a dismal facility if not in the middle of nowhere, one that at least shares the same postcode. More "businessmen" seeing us as some sort of big club cash-cow to be vigorously milked.
Ritchie seems to have at least bought us another season's grace with our current landlords. Another 12 months for them to start dreaming up plenty more charges and levies to separate us from our assumed millions. Ritchie's performance off the pitch next season will have to surpass anything we do on it if we are to continue to put the Poppies back on the right path.