Sunday, 24 April 2016

Last Day Drama Unfolds!

There was everything to play for as the season reached the final round of matches. Only three points would do for the Poppies at Dorchester, whilst relying on Hungerford - already assured of a playoff spot - to win at Leamington.  It promised to be an afternoon of twists and turns!

3.00 – They’re off!  Kettering immediately test the Dorchester keeper.  Leamington immediately give theirs an early touch of the ball.  

3.06 – Poppies take the lead!  Hungerford off to a patient start.

3.15 - Poppies double their advantage!  Still cagey stuff at Leamington.

3.16 – Dorchester score! Hungerford nearly get into Leamington’s half.

3.31 – Howe makes it 3-1 for Kettering!  Leamington switch to 6-4-0.  As do Hungerford.

3.45 – Half time.  Poppies form a determined huddle before leaving the pitch.  Hungerford stay on for a picnic.

4.00 – Second half begins at Dorchester.  Leamington decide to have a second cup and an extra biscuit.

4.06 – Second half begins at Leamington. Hungerford bring on the coach driver for his first appearance of the season.

4.30 – Hungerford and Leamington meet in the centre circle to swap family photos and chocolate.

4.45 – Solkhon makes it 4-1 to Kettering.  Leamington take the ball into the corner.  Hungerford let them.  

4.48 – Final whistle at Dorchester. Leamington keeper chats to his opposite number.  

4.50 – Travelling Poppies fans clap the team off.  Travelling Hungerford fan finishes his crossword.  

They think it's all over...

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Wham Bam - records tumble at Latimer Park (probably)

7.45PM - Cheer team onto pitch

8.15PM - Boo team off the pitch

9.30PM - Cheer team off the pitch.  Not quite believing what we've seen.

10.00PM - Google maps being consulted.  Just how far is Dorchester?

And, how about those records?

SEVEN goals in a League game for the first time since 1979.  Apparently.

FIRST TIME we score SEVEN goals in one half least 1979, but probably earlier.

POSSIBLY BIGGEST recorded number of goals scored while wearing the famous Kettering Tyres shirt.

FIRST TIME EVER we play three consecutive Thursday games!  Presumably.

Apologies if the above is a bit vague, but you come to PATGOD for jokes about Canavan's hair, Rene's arse and Steve Kinniburgh's high-pitched squeaking.  You want hard facts?  Go bother Paul Cooke!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Poppynet R.I.P.

So farewell to Poppynet, which passed away suddenly last Friday. As no one seems to have a backed up copy, future historians have lost literally thousands of posts saying "I'll be there" or "+1", not to mention countless furious over reactions to a defeat, draw, or win by insufficient goals.

To mark Poppynet's passing, the club have thoughtfully announced that  before the next home game there will be a minute's grumbling, with half the crowd united in muttering "Law out" whilst the rest slag off Canavan. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

"Shirt Sponsorship - where will it end?" by Graham James

Graham has sent the following into PATGOD.  

This may come as news to most of you, but we DO accept contributions.  Willingly.  Gladly.  Gratefully.  It means we have to do less!

As the celebrations to commemorate football being run by greedy, capitalist accountants, (sorry, to mark the 40th anniversary of Kettering T becoming the first team to misspell their club's name on a shirt), became more like a continuously postponed wet t-shirt competition (do they still have them?), I thought it was about time to reproduce a newspaper cutting that I surprisingly found recently. I can't find the gas bill reminder which came only week but amongst programmes that have remained unread for 37 years there was this amusing cutting which appeared in the Daily Express in 1976.

This was when it was a sort of news paper, long before it became obsessed with Princess Diana, then Madelaine McCann, then foreigners, pensions, extreme weather warnings and health warnings/breakthroughs. I keep waiting for the headline about an influx of migrants causing pensions to fall, snow to fall for three months and hospitals to close! It was about this most peculiar notion of having advertising on football shirts. Now of course even Little Sodbury in the Marsh under-7s reserve team are probably sponsored by something like Frank's rat control company. (well at least they are until Frank's son no longer plays for them).

It shows how much attitudes have changed since then regarding the funding of football clubs and the acceptance of seeing adverts absolutely everywhere. I mean, have you opened up the Evening Telegraph website lately? Oh, you haven't have you. Well all I can say is I now know which clothes websites my wife has been looking at lately. It is rather off-putting seeing a photo of Rene Howe with an advert of a bra popping up next to it. 

You probably have to take into account that chairmen of clubs in the 70's were mainly local, elderly businessmen who probably considered the records of the Beatles to be the Devil's music and that it was corrupting the nation's youth. The words odorous and even prostitute were used to express their distaste of this revolutionary new move.

Now how much did Manchester United just receive for a new deal?

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Poppies Diary Update

As our fixture dates continue to morph due to the odd passing shower, and Latimer Park's complete inability to absorb water, we thought it best to update next week's fixtures.

Monday 18

Redditch (away) - postponed due to being a shit place

Tuesday 19

No game (wet pitch)

Wednesday 20

A combination of our kids, backroom staff and bar staff will take on AFC Scum-lite.  The supporters of the pretend-plastics are already walking to Northampton in their droves to attempt to recapture a sense of being a big club again, playing at a big Football League stadium, against an old rival.

This, all despite the fact that their club has never been a big club, never played in the Football League, and have never played against the Poppies before.

Having fulfilled his 2-week contract with the club, James Jepson is expected to have left Pseudo-Scummers immediately prior to the kick off.

John Cecil will be representing the Poppies at the game.

Thursday 21

No game (wet pitch)

Friday 22

No game (everyone has got better things to do on a Friday night)

Saturday 23 

7.00AM - Kick off at Redditch.  Post match, quick shower and back to Latimer Park.

Midday - Kick off against Barnstaple, with a few changes from Redditch.  A quick shower, bite to eat, and then back on to the coach to Dorchester.

7.45PM - Kick off against Dorchester, with pretty much the same team that played at Redditch.  After all, they've had upwards of 12 hours rest!

And there you have it.  2015-2016 over and done with (unless we win all three league games....)

Friday, 15 April 2016

It's Official!

Most jinxed kit.  Ever

Sunday, 10 April 2016

The Play-Offs beckon....time to panic!

With yesterday's excellent result away to Chesham pushing the Poppies into the play-off positions, ahead of 3 home games next week, it has to be said things are looking very rosy at the moment.

That is, if we want to get promoted.  Don't get me wrong.  I want to see us win every game we play.  Even at my advanced age I still get a kick out of winning and feel unhappy when we lose.  Being in the promotion hunt is always exciting.

Whilst we all would love to see us back in the Conference North, and then Conference National (or whatever it's called nowadays) it would be remiss of Patgod to ignore it's unofficial remit of being contrary of nature, and ask the simple question.

As a club are we ready for Conference North?

Let's be honest - not really.

We have no idea where we will be playing next season.  Our tenure at Latimer Park is not certain.  And even if it was, despite Ritchie's assurances, most still doubt LP is fit for purpose at Conference level.  No 500 seat stand.  No segregation.  Almost no terracing.  No flat bits on the pitch.  Were we still at Rockingham Road we would take a very dim view of a club trying to gatecrash our division with the set-up as it stands at Latimer Park.

All of which leads to the spectre of ground sharing with Corby again.  Patently their ground is considered Conference North level, but, assuming we were welcome, we would be back to freezing evenings, plummeting attendances and not generating any off-field income.  And it's in Corby.  Always worth mentioning twice!  Ritchie's may have pockets deeper than the rest of us, but I doubt they would be sufficient to fund the club indefinitely.

Is our team up to the step-up in quality.  Probably not when you consider half our team came from a Corby Town team who have propped-up the Conference North for most of this season.  Take out our loanees, the young Bens who are likely to be tempted away, and Rene finding his full fitness, and then another team, and what are we left with?  That's right, the guys from Corby, who couldn't make the step up last season.

Added to this is the fact that at the next level up players are suddenly on contracts.  Good if you have an effective player on sustainable wages.  Not so good if the player turns into another Dean Martin (ask your father).  Also, at this level we are subject to the dreaded transfer window system, where we could be stuck with players for half a season, and that's only if they agree to terminate their contracts.

Lastly, and this may ruffle a few feathers; are we supporters up to a step-up to Conference North level?  We still can't quite get our hardcore of support much beyond the 350-400 area.  We are significantly down on our average gates for last season, although that may change with a few exciting games to come.  Do we really want to be back playing the teams we were playing 10 years ago, and face them with Latimer Park and a third as many supporters as we had the last time they saw us?

Are we really ready for
the next Big Step?

And how will our beer-guzzling support react on Day One next season when they are reminded that, as we were no longer quite so Mickey Mouse anymore, drinks had to consumed in the bar only!  After almost half a decade of nursing pints while watching games, this news will go down like the proverbial rattlesnake in the Klondike bucket.

Will we remember how to handle be able the intricacies of terraces and crush barriers?

And then we are suddenly forking out £12 instead of £10 to witness admittedly footballing giants such as Curzon Ashton, Bradford Park Avenue and Brackley.  I can already hear the whinging!.  "For another tenner I could be watching top level rugby....."  Sure, another tenner.  Oh, and travelling costs.  And parking costs.  And more expensive food and drink.  And then being stuck in traffic for an hour after the game.  AND it's only f**king rugby, where no-one (particularly you) cares a toss who wins or loses.  And the games are only 80 minutes long, so you're also being gypped out of 10 minutes!

All said and done, if we win all our remaining games and then storm the play-offs no-one will be cheering louder than me.  Not that you'll hear as I've rather foolishly booked a holiday during the play off period!  It's not my fault - I booked when we were losing every week and Marcus was already half way out of the door!  How was I to guess we'd bounce back so well?  Bastards!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

What's that bloody racket?

Football grounds are invariably a full sensory experience.  Even at this level.  Those of us who attend regularly tend to forget this.  The noises, smells and sights can wash ineffectually over us.  They are part of our Saturday afternoon and are as natural as breathing.

"What's that bloody racket?"
Even so, occasionally a note is struck that is so discordant that it penetrates even the hardiest, long-exposed Poppy.  You know.  That game when things aren't running as smoothly as we'd all like (i.e. we aren't battering the opposition into a staggering stupor for fully 90 minutes) when some dickhead far to close too you thinks that his vicious personal abuse of his team will help them play better.

It always amazes me that although we may have shed upwards of a thousand fans in recent years we have still managed to cling onto a handful of the most hateful f*ckwits inside or outside of a football ground.  Why do they keep coming when they so obviously hate everything to do with the club?  Beats me.  We've all silently suffered through their constant, unbelievable verbal bile.  We've all had to bite our tongues to stop ourselves telling them what we think of their senseless tirades.

But no, this isn't the "bloody racket" I've alluded to.  And be advised, if you read further, you do with my warning that I may just ruin your afternoon.....

Steve Kinniburgh has many fine qualities.  Although he seems to have put his playing career on hold he has racked up over 100 appearances for us. He captained last season's title-winning team.  Ritchie seems to have folded him into his plans to conquer China.  He is also part of Marcus's coaching staff, which is the round-about-point of this rambling article.

Whilst Marcus is known for his laid-back demeanour, Steve is the more animated and vocal member of the off-field team.  More vocal.  Far more.  His shrill extolling, encouraging and condemnations cut through all the other bubble and grumble inside Latimer Park.  Five hundred of us have no chance of drowning out Steve's powerful, high-pitched, Calendonian pipes.

Steve's shrill din is not a problem as such.  Hopefully the players benefit from his banshee's of wisdom.  However, once your ears have tuned into the frequency of his shrieking it is almost impossible to tune it out again.  It becomes all you can hear until the final whistle drowns him out for another week.  Have a listen at the next home game.  See if you can shake his voice out of your head once it's lodged there!