Saturday, 27 February 2016

Poppies give 100% against plucky Histon

Hill - 4%
Langdon - 8%
Carruthers - 9%

etc. etc. up to 100% between the lot of them.  You get the idea......

Not sure how every player managed to give their worst "performance" in a Poppies shirt in the same game, but everyone looked so disinterested you'd be forgiven for assuming this was either the last game of the season, or the first game of pre-season.

Should have known what was coming when the club unveiled the new away game match sponsors.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Now I know how Yoko felt!

There are surprisingly few perks to be had in being married to the Poppies Trust Chairman.  Er...beyond being married to the Trust Chairman herself.  Obviously....

  • Access to the KTFC movers and shakers?  Nope.
  • Reserved seating?  You're having a laugh!
  • Complimentary matchday drinks?  As if!
  • Quick squint at a photocopied team sheet?  I should co-co!

But then again, I doubt that, back in the day, Dennis was as well received and feted as Margaret.

However, being the "First Husband" has given me an early glimpse of some of the bits and pieces being dragged out of storage ahead of tomorrow's Memorabilia Exhibition.  Some were familiar - the "Poppies FA Cup video compilation should be familiar - I bloody well made it, only to have it disappear into the Trust's vaults!

Other items were slightly less familiar, and all the more fascinating.  Football League application brochure featuring a beaming, enormous jawed Ron Atkinson.  Supporter club magazines from 40-odd years ago.  Signed footballs with plenty of wriggle-room as to the actual identity of the names.

Framed photographs rescued from the walls of the Tin hat club, and sponsors lounge as we were being bundled out of Rockingham Road.  I imagine that a lot of irreplaceable memorabilia was lost forever during Imraan's "Berlin-Bunker" period, and that landfills around the country were the final resting place for whole swathes of our club history.

Other, random items, somehow escaped the carnage.  I thought I'd share this photograph I took as I thought it was odd, and rather touching that these two images survived - Phil Brown and Gareth Price, who seemed as inseparable as players as their photographs are today.

Both were bona-fide Poppies stars in the days where frail but talented players seemed to be all the rage at Rocky Road.  Peter Morris and Graham Carr must have taken a peculiar pleasure in seeing their players get buffeted and knocked to the floor all game long by Northern hardmen!

As we all know, Gareth sadly died tragically young.  Not sure what happened to Phil.  But, if he's nowhere to be found I'd suggest the Authorities could do worse than start their search in Colin Reynolds's basement!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Even Further Beyond a Joke!

Ken Samuels's heroic one-man effort to hold back the boiling online-fury of online-Poppydom after yesterday's postponement shook loose an interesting timeline of events.

At 9.30AM Ref One calls game on.
At 1.30PM Ref Two, after a bit of rain, calls game off.
At 2.15PM Ref One, returning after his game had been called off, suggests he would have allowed our game to go ahead.

Don't worry.
This is non-league.
We don't pass on the floor!
We appreciate that not every postponement is cut and dried (with no pun intended).  There are games where the referee barely has to get out of his car to know the game simply isn't going to happen (see December /Jan this season).  Other games are tougher to call.  The pitch could be touch and go, with really damp patches being forked.  At the same time the forecast is for wall-to-wall rain, and the opposition team are on the phone, asking whether they should set off.  No one would relish making that decision!

But at this level, when a game is seriously touch and go surely the official must make every attempt to allow the game to be played.  OK, a poor pitch will affect the quality of the spectacle, but this is Latimer Park, not Wembley (in case anyone's unsure).  We don't expect too much in the way of quality (heretical, I know...)   Give us a bit of goalmouth action, more goals for us than them and a few contentious decisions to boo, and most of us will cheer the final whistle, and leave happy.

Perhaps even more important than making a few hundred miserable Poppies fans slightly less miserable for a few minutes every week, continual postponements exponentially hurt clubs at this level.

Clubs at our level have one crack at making money - one game every fortnight to take money over turnstiles, bars, burger van and in the sponsor area.  We don't have lashings of TV money to cushion the blow of postponements - unless you count the money taken by Poppies TV of course!

This one game per fortnight (or 3-games a week as we'll have until May) is our only chance to pay for our club.  So calling a game off this late is a absolute killer.  Beer is bought in.  Food has been prepared.  Players are in attendance.  Supporters have travelled to the ground.  All of this costs money.

Calling a game off at this stage should be the last resort.  If the game can possibly be played, it should be attempted.  It's a bit muddy?  So what.  Get out there and play!

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Getting Beyond a Joke

Another blank Saturday.

Another day of rain and mud at Latimer Park.  The place is so susceptible to rain I wouldn't bet against the Memorabilia evening and the Beer Festival being postponed.

Another game to squeeze in to the last couple of months of the season.  Along with all BPW's additional fixtures.

Another week of no money coming into the club.

Another week where our fans continue to find other things to do at the weekend that aren't ruined every time it starts to drizzle.  No guarantee they won't find something better and we hemorrhage even more supporters.

It's all getting beyond a joke.  And now the f**ing sun has briefly poked its head out!  Oh, joy!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Whisper it quietly......

Don't want to jinx matters, and whisper it quietly, but there is a smidgen of a possibility that next Tuesday's home game might actually happen.

Yes, dust may be blown off beer taps.  Turnstiles might need to be oiled.  The burgers to be taken out of the freezer.  Hell, we may even get to see the "Kettering Tyres" shirts, which are now almost as old as the originals.

One element of our matchday experience which will be interesting is how the match programme will look.  Having not had a home game for almost the entire Winter, we no doubt have a shed-load of out of date programmes ready for our delectation.  To prepare everyone for the potential shock of both home football and old information, we have looked over the numerous upcoming programmes and have distilled them into a handy, convenient digest.  Enjoy.

Poppies Matchday Magazine Winter 2015-2016

Ritchie's Notes.

With the busy pre / post Christmas / New Year / February schedule likely to take it's toll on the players and staff, we welcome Brian Page to our backroom set-up wish Brian Page all the best as he leaves us.

I'm off to China / just back from China / off to China / just back from China.....etc

Marcus's Notes

As we put away the the Halloween and Guy Fawkes stuff for another year, we welcome in the Winter and look forward to celebrating Christmas / New Year / Chinese New Year / Spring with some more stirring performances at damp / swollen / drowned / dustbowl Latimer Park.

We have been busy in the player department recently and welcome, from our neighbours Corby Town, Chris Carruthers, and hope he enjoys his time with us.

......from our neighbours Corby Town, Herve Pepe N'Goma, and hope he enjoys his time with us.

......from our neighbours Corby Town,  Paul Walker, and hope he enjoys his time with us.

......from our neighbours Corby Town,  Wilson Carvalho, and hope he enjoys his time with us.

......from our neighbours Corby Town,  Spencer Weir Daley, and hope he enjoys his time with us.

......probably from our neighbours Corby Town,  Liam Bateman, and hope he enjoys his time with us.

Commercial Notes

Not sure what to buy your loved one for Christmas?  Even though the big day is some weeks away / just around the corner / yesterday / last year / a distant memory we have numerous scarfs and hats for the upcoming Winter / upcoming Spring.

Christmas Bottle Squares go on sale today / draw is today / last few prizes still to be claimed.

Paul Cooke's Notes

F**king weather!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

More Goodies from the Club Shop

How better to celebrate our upcoming Senior Cup Final
with our new friends at AFC Rushden & Diamonds
than with a new half and half commemorative scarf?

Three Grounds Where We Used To Play

The daffs are out, blossom is starting to appear and it’s just turned February. At this rate we’ll be blackberrying in June and collecting conkers in July. It also keeps on raining. The season we used to call winter is now an extended wet autumn morphing into an equally wet early spring.  

As the club enters its third month in which the only activity on the Latimer Park pitch has been the futile squelch of the groundman’s boots, we need to talk again about the options. We really can’t face a future like this. Just as well we had the foresight to get knocked out of the cups early.

To turn the surface, which by common consent is the worst draining slab of clay in the county, into something reliably playable would cost a fortune. And we’d still be watching our football at a village ground.  

What are the options?  Go back to Corby?  Twice the distance for many, and would probably knock a couple of hundred off the average gate.  But playing 3 games a week when LP finally returns to action will do that anyway.  Plus compared to Latimer Park, where on the colder days you have to wrap up like Captain Scott, Steel Park at least offers some decent cover and a better view. 

Alternatively, a lot closer to home, Rockingham Road sits there, slowly decaying but a stadium still, not houses. There are arguments against returning – the cost, the deterioration, the old limitations – but to me, whatever the negatives there are two very big arguments for:

1. It’s in Kettering.

2. It’s a football ground.

There you have it – no never ending search for a plot of land that isn’t immediately earmarked for starter homes or another huge warehouse, no planning battles, no objections from local residents, no site clearance costs, no 3 year wait for the first ball to be kicked if, and it’s a very big if, an alternative site was ever ours.

Even with a derelict main stand and temporary dressing rooms, RR outscores the present alternatives.

Except it’s not for sale. Or apparently not. Or the valuation is too high. Who knows with the Pickering family, who make North Korea look open and communicative.

Ultimately, whatever they would like the place to be worth, the market will decide.  While they hold out for a sum that no one is willing to pay, the site continues to rot and they don’t receive a penny. And we’re going nowhere on yet another blank Saturday.