Sunday, 27 March 2016

Patgod Goes All "La-De-Da" Part II

Or, there goes the remaining dregs of our anti establishment credentials.

Not content with fraternising with the blazer wearing brotherhood once this century, yesterday a one man splinter faction went back and did it all again. I was there as a member of the self styled Poppies Exiles, attending the first get together since the group was formed last summer. As a gesture of thanks for helping to sponsor away coach travel, the club offered to play host at a match of our choice. I quite fancied the Madrid derby, but apparently that wasn’t an option. So we selected Slough, the thinking being that Easter Saturday might just mean there was a better than 50/50 chance the pitch would be playable.

And so for the second weekend in a row I pulled up in the Poppies car park in what I now regard as my customary space. Pausing only to exchange the usual greetings with the stewards I joined the other Exiles in the main bar and was at once drawn into a cheerful huddle of local accents that had survived, in some cases, decades of absence from Ket’rin’. A short while later we were directed to the sponsors lounge (not that I needed directions of course, being an old hand at this type of thing) where a buffet spread awaited.  The reminiscing was cranking up when Marcus joined the group and there was a quick roll call of locations for his benefit. The most distant attendee was from Lancashire, the closest from St Neots. I was sort of mid table at Malvern, circa 100 miles from LP.  The Thailand and Portugal delegates sent their apologies.

As the atmosphere built inside the throbbing arena it was time to take our (named) seats in the BPW stand. Here I was rudely interrupted by my fellow contributor, who seemed to think that our acquaintanceship entitled him to engage me in conversation from the common standing area.  Thankfully a mere nod to a nearby official was enough to have him moved swiftly along. The game unfolded until the point, late in the second half, where we were invited to select the Poppies best player of the afternoon, or the Gary Mulligan Man of the Match as it is unofficially known. Momentarily forgetting that, I suggested Carvalho.
"But his name’s not Gary Mulligan"
“Oh ok then”

And so Gary Mulligan was surprised and delighted to collect another Gary Mulligan Man of the Match award and bottle of fizz to put in his wine fridge, soon to be cellar.

Back in the lounge the storytelling resumed, with some terrific tales about Big Ron, Trevor Peck, Big Ron, Frank Large, Big Ron, Big Ron and Big Ron. Will we one day tell similar stories about Sylvain Obeng and Herve Pepe-N’Goma? I doubt it – these were more relaxed, rambunctious times when football in general took itself a lot less seriously. Plus it's a lot easier to say Big Ron.  

With a final set of handshakes the Exiles departed to various points north, south, east and west and resolved to do it again next season, when hopefully the numbers will be swelled by more of our far flung missionaries. If you are one of these and would like to sign up, contact

Big thanks to Clive for making it all happen and Ken for the hospitality.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Patgod went all "la-di-da"

Were you interested how Patgod's afternoon rubbing shoulders with the great and good went when we were in the sponsor's lounge at the weekend?  No?  Tough!

A pint in the bar and Mein Host Martin Bellamy took us upstairs to the room where the guys sponsoring the match itself were already ensconced.  The two young lads representing the ball sponsors were running behind, so we nobly ploughed on regardless with drinks orders tucked into our starters.  Ken Samuels also popped by to catch-up and make sure all was OK.  Food, drink, Poppies-talk?  Seemed fine to us!

We were well into the main course when the ball sponsors arrived and jumped straight into their lasagne.  By this time Marcus had fulfilled his managerial obligation of putting his head around the door for a chat about the team that day, what was happening behind the scenes, and thoughts about both the afternoon and the season.  

Of course, having practically sole access to Marcus we couldn't resist chatting about his past association when we were all at Rockingham Road, as well as his dealings with a certain Asian Chairman, who shall remain nameless.  I think Marcus enjoyed the chat too as he seemed to overrun and suddenly had to make his excuses in order to go and give the team their pre-match bollocking.

Sufficiently fed and watered we took our places in the small BPWFC stand for the first half.  At the end of the pretty forgettable first 45 minutes the Missus was invited by Mick Coe to draw the winning Klondike number.  For once in my life I didn't want to win the bloody thing.  How would it look if she drew out my number?  What kind of reaction would that get?  A lynching?  Scarily the number drew shared my first three digits, but I was 10 out.  Phew!  And, bugger!

It was then straight back to the lounge for hot drinks and the dessert we didn't have time for before the game started.  I soon learned that a 15 minute half time break is precious long enough to enjoy a few more moments hospitality, as we had barely got back to our seats before they scored, and scarcely made ourselves comfortable before we had scored too.  

Like most people, I have watched England games on television, where we join with the commentators in slagging off the people in the posh-knobs enclosure who aren't back from hospitality for the start of the second half.  Rich, non-footballing bastards!  If they can't be arsed to get back to their heated, soft, ergonomically formed seats, they shouldn't be in the ground in the first place!  Well, I'm inclined to be a little more understanding now.  I barely managed to get 10 yards to and from pitch side at Latimer Park in the allotted 15 minutes.  God knows how you'd be expected to walk the half mile at Wembley up a thousand steps, munch a prawn sandwich, slurp a glass of fizz, and still get back in time to see England scrape past such fearsome international foes as Estonia and San Marino.

But we did manage to see the whole second half, pausing only to confirm to the two late coming ball sponsors that, being late again, they'd missed the only two goals in the game!

At the final whistle it was back once again to the hospitality area for another warming brew and pose for photographs with Man of the Match Gary Mulligan handing us a team-signed, framed copy of the match programme - a nice touch.

All in all a very enjoyable experience, and one heartily recommended.  We all know that every penny we spend on admittance, Klondikes, beer and sponsorship is vital in keeping our club going, and it was warming, with a few spare bob in our pockets, to help out a little more.

And don't worry - by the next game, when you are back to being one of the plebs, you will be happily ignored by all the people who couldn't do enough for you the game before!  Phew What a relief!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Patgod goes all "la-de-da!"

Once upon a time PATGOD was an actual publication.  Typed on paper.  Stapled together pages, making up a bona-fide fanzine.  Which we sold for money!  I know.  Mad!

Each issue we produced would raise anything from a few hundred to several hundred pounds. Printing the damn thing cost a fair wedge, but, generally once we'd made the painful effort to loiter outside Rocky Road enough times to shift copies of the bloody thing we ended up a few quid to the good.

Whatever profit that was generated invariably found its way back to the football club by way of donation, rather than over the social club bar as was generally assumed.  Whether or not the fanzine happened to be "banned" at the time had little or no impact of the club's selfless acceptance of the monies we'd raised.

One thing we never did with the donated money though was to sponsor a game, ball, programme or even the toilet rolls in the boardroom loo.  It never really occurred.  Sponsorship was for boozed-up, middle-aged businessmen.  Not for the likes of us.  We were far too cool, young and trendy.

These days we are certainly not too cool, young or trendy (we probably weren't back then if truth be told...) so have taken the plunge and sponsored the programme for Saturday's game with St Neots. While we'll be hob-nobbing with a better class of Poppies supporter we won't forget the people who put us where we are now, but bugger me, we would if we could!

Friday, 11 March 2016

It's a Win / Win

FA Cup football on the BBC.  That's good, even if only because it cuts down on the number of episodes of "Eastenders" the Beeb shows this week to a manageable 73.

Not sure how long it's been since we did a Lookalikes feature, but with Gary Linekar getting ever leaner and perma-tanned, we simply couldn't pass this one up!

Gary Linekar

Former England Hotshot
Current Match of the Day host
Is practically cumming at Leicester's form this season

Actor Paul Bazely

Former star of TV series "Benidorm"
Er...current star of TV series "Benidorm"
Not gay in real life.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Sad story about a former star

A sobering counter-point to the excessive earnings of today's top footballers.

Tommy Lawton: The England star who begged for money