Saturday, 17 October 2015

There are 9 goal thrillers and there are 9 goal thrillers

For a few of a certain age, today’s chaotic 5-4 result immediately conjured up memories of the last time that Poppies were involved in such an unusual scoreline – way back in 1981 against Altrincham in the old Alliance Premier League.

That game must have had a peculiar magic because I know I’m not the only one who still regards it as the most exciting game I’ve ever seen. The scoring followed almost exactly the same pattern as today, we coasted into a 4-1 lead early in the second half then were pegged back to 4-4 before a decisive strike, but the context was different.  Back then, we were up against undoubtedly the best team outside of the Football League. The previous season they had won the APL (with us a close second) but were yet again denied promotion via the re-election system, allegedly because a chairman who had promised them support was delayed in traffic and arrived too late to vote. They had played Liverpool at Anfield in the Cup and had the closest thing to star quality at our level.

We, on the other hand, were sliding fast from a side that had pushed Alty all the way for the title and were beginning to sniff the possibility of a relegation struggle. So Rockingham Road was buzzing as we built an unlikely 4-1 lead. I can still remember Stewart Atkins riding a very heavy challenge (a certain penalty), opting to stay on his feet to slot in the fourth. Then like a wounded animal Altrincham began to claw it back and we watched in growing dismay as the lead was wiped out. In goal we had the callow Kevin Fox, who modelled his curly perm on Peter Shilton but for us never really recovered from the moment when he rose to clasp a routine catch only to drop it for an unmissable equaliser.             

So with the scores level the tension was suddenly intense. When we recall this game as the most exciting, what we really mean is the last 10-15 minutes. With things on a knife edge, we were awarded a penalty. As Frankie Murphy prepared to take the kick, Altrincham’s notorious John King warned him of certain unpleasant, possibly season ending consequences if he was to score. The kick was saved but in the ensuing scramble Paul Haverson shot through a crowd of players and RR erupted.

I still recall the nervous shaking excitement of those last few minutes. Just a couple of league points at stake, but it felt like a big cup tie. I can’t say that today stirred up quite the same emotions. A lot of water has passed under the bridge, and the atmosphere was different. But it was strange how the sheer rarity of what was unfolding acted like a little time machine, and there I was back in 1981…      

Friday, 16 October 2015

Cobblers, Be Afraid. Very Afraid

"There are a number of other interested parties..... we began talking with these other parties.  We have made significant progress in these talks to a position where things are now well advanced."

"a winding-up petition by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)......Chairman ..........said he "fully expects the matter to be resolved by the end of next week".

".....owes HMRC a "five-figure sum".

 "Following this morning's announcement, we are contacting HMRC and are requesting an urgent meeting with them."

Has someone been dredging up some of Imraan's most asinine, end-of-days comments he was mumbling from behind locked doors at Non Park whilst awaiting the men in white coats?  Mystery investors?  Check.  Winding-up petitions?  Check.  Offers to meet the people you owe money to?  Check.  

Unfortunately for our County Cousins, the above quotes have emanated from their current Chairman rather than our old one.  

One important difference between Imraan blithely steering us onto the rocks and the current Northampton Town situation is the small matter of the Ten Million Quid they've borrowed from their Council and seemingly blown on a bizarre recreation of the old County Ground "Meccano" stand.  Without the seats!  Nostalgia is great, but bloody hell, is this all that £10,000,000 can buy these days?

It appears from the outside that the Cobblers hierarchy had literally banked on a big money take-over, so stopped paying any of their bills, assuming the incoming Indians would brandish a large enough cheque book to smooth everything over? (Cough - James Caan - Cough!) 
Who knows.  But, boy, does the situation stink!

Perhaps not all the £10,000,000 has gone on this.
Just hope Paul Knowles is paid up to date this time.... 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Poppies (refresh) TV (refresh) Strikes (refresh) Again

The currently still in play second half from Bamber Bridge is exciting stuff.  Made even more tense by the constant buffering of the signal necessitating hitting the refresh button every 25 seconds.

This brings the signal back for a second or two.  If you're lucky.

Just long enough for something to sound like it was about to happen, or leave the commentators faces frozen in some most unappetising poses - think mad men suffering a huge stroke.  One of whom may well be Phill Jupitus.

At times you only have the vaguest sense of what's going on, and whether we are defending for our lives, or about to score, needs to be guessed at, often purely on the direction the commentators were facing when the screen froze.

But little do I know.  They've just scored during a frozen moment when to all the world, it seemed we were attacking.

Sorry Ritchie, but you are still a very long way away from ever being able to charge for this service.  Shame.

Is Latimer Park such a Sh*t-hole?

The blame for the drop off on attendees at Poppies games this season has been laid at the door of various, er, doors.

Poppies TV means you don't have to leave the comfort of your own home to verbally abuse people who's only crime is being better than us at football, but, unfortunately as good as those wearing shirts of a different colour.  When it works (only kidding Ritchie!)

Two extra pounds per game this season might have proved to be a price rise too far for the average Kettering fan who would think nothing of shelling out £4 for a pint or £20 for a pizza.

The opposition aren't rolling over for us this season and letting us win every week.  Not that we appreciated the constant win-fest last season of course!

The other reason given for the fall-off in support is the poor quality of the facilities at Latimer Park.  That is the problem with the club being run well these days - we need something else to rile us and get us moaning!  But, is Latimer Park all bad?  This week, purely in the pursuit of research, we attended games at both our humble home and the National Stadium at Wembley.  Each stadia was marked on several specific criteria, and our results are presented here.

Latimer Park
(1) Distance from my house - 3.5 miles                                                                         6/10
(2) Access to the ground - quick, providing you can get past Sev                                 8/10
(3) Food and drink - Directly to hand                                                                             8/10
(4) Bar - expensive but readily available, and can take into the ground                        7/10
(5) Cover from the elements - fine, providing the gates stay low!                                 6/10
(6) Tannoy - good, even when Gary Graham spends far too much time reading everything that he sees on his Tablet, regardless of it's relevance                                                                6/10
(7) The games - this season the games have been highly competitive                            7/10
(8) Being surrounded by moaning gits                                                                            10/10
(9) Exiting the ground - Pretty easy.  Again, with our hemorrhaging support                 9/10
(10) Tempted to return?  A season ticket pretty much guarantees this!                          10/10


(1) Distance from my house - Bloody miles!                                                                 2/10
(2) Access to the ground - takes forever to circumnavigate the place!                           4/10
(3) Food and drink - Directly to hand, just open your wallet and empty!                       4/10
(4) Bar - Bloody expensive & needs to be drunk in the bowels of the stadium              5/10
(5) Cover from the elements - Good, but wouldn't have fancied putting it to the test!   6/10
(6) Tannoy - Excellent in the nearby streets, but amazingly poor in the ground            4/10
(7) The games - Poppies could have given England a better game                                5/10
(8) Being surrounded by moaning gits - do they follow me?                                          10/10
(9) Exiting the ground - Long, slow and bumping into people                                        5/10
(10) Tempted to return?  Nice trip, but with hotels / travel and tickets - unlikely!         4/10

Latimer Park - overall score         77/100
Wembley - overall score               49/100

There you have it.  It's Latimer Park for me!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

About f**king time!

A mere FIVE years after the building was officially opened, and at an overspend of a trifling THIRTEEN MILLION POUNDS, Corby Council have finally decided to stop polishing the money-pit turd of The Cube and declared it completed.

In any other town in the country heads would have rolled before now or the entire council disbanded at such wastage.  But as we know, when it comes to the Borough of Corby, money truly is no object.  The building is finally complete - yes, it now has a roof, and if the Cube catches fire, your odds of successfully evacuating the building are now rated at better than 50%.

Commentators are treating this final completion of the Cube as a cause for celebration and civic pride.  One can only assume that any criticism of the activities of Corby Council are outlawed under local bylaws, and no one is asking too many questions as to what went wrong.  And for so long.

Imagine for a minute if the same cocked-up construction had happened in Kettering?  We almost murdered all of our councillors over spending a million quid on the Market Place!  A five year overrun?  Thirteen million quid over budget?  If this had happened in Kettering our teeth-gnashing anger would have been so overwhelming that we would have burned the town to the ground, sewn the ground with salt and then thrown ourselves into the river.  At least.  But then, that's Kettering folk for you!  We expect nothing and get nothing.  Not so just up the road.  They expect everything and pretty much get it.  And when they've f**ked that up, they'll get it again.

"Where's the front door?
Bugger, that'll be another 2 million quid!"

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Welcome to the Big Time

Now, finally, Rugger-Buggers may have some small
inkling of what it's like to let the whole nation down
and be roundly ridiculed for it.

Welcome to the Top Table of English Sport!