Friday, 23 February 2018

The word "Legend" is overused in football....

....but sometimes it is warranted.....

With thanks to Kappa Sports for cheekily borrowing part of an
image from our title winning afternoon in Tiverton back in 2002.

Front and centre, if slightly out-of-focus is the ubiquitous Eli,
cheering the boys to the last gasp title triumph.  But mainly
there for the beer if truth be told!

The small matter of 16 years later and there's Eli again.  Still front-and-centre. 
He has moved the enormous distance of 20 metres down the terrace,
but nothing much else has changed. 

Same pose - check
Same hair-cut - check
Same glasses - check
Same coat - check
Same unfailing support - check

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

A Kind of Magic

What days we are living in.

Mrs Patgod and I are having a few days away celebrating an anniversary in York, and over our main course we can view footage of Matty Stevens scoring our second of three goals away at Tiverton, moments after the event.

We are the thick end of 300 miles away from a third tier non-league game on a Tuesday night, and yet can enjoy this victory, almost as it happens, over a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in the shadow of York Minster.

Is this madness or magic?

Saturday, 17 February 2018

It's all Relative

Following up on our slagging off all Poppies fans under the age of 30, I wondered further whether the occasional bouts of blind fury we display when watching our team could have anything to do with the relative success we've had in recent years, and our becoming overly accustomed to nothing but winning?  Can it be that the drug of winning every week can lead to powerful withdrawal symptoms when denied?

And before anyone takes umbrage - "What do you mean, success?  We don't win EVERY match!!!", we would argue that success is a relative thing.

Firstly, we still have a football club to enrage us.  Over the last 30 years I have lost count of the number of times the Poppies could, and perhaps should have folded.  That we are still here is thanks to the efforts, over the years, of individuals, groups of people, and often pure bloody luck.  A number of clubs have folded who have done far less wrong than the Poppies.  This is why I feel uncomfortable with the chant of "You let your club die...."  It is never that simple.  Or easy.  And we've teetered on that cliff-edge far more times than many clubs that have gone over.

Since arriving at Latimer Park we have, lost a play-off final, won a division, just missed out on the play-offs and finished Top 10.  This season, barring something quite calamitous happening, we will be in the play-offs.  Five good solid years of success.  Most clubs would be happy enough with this.  I'm sure Corby Town would happily trade their last few seasons for ours.

Compare and contrast our last 4-5 years with the pandemonium of the couple of seasons before that.  Being relegated 3 divisions in 2 years?  Playing with 10 men in front of 250 people at Non Park on a day when we should really have played our last ever game?  What about playing with 10 men and a non-moving goalie in front of 150 supporters at a frozen, desolate Steal Park?

There was always plenty of room at Steal Park
as we tumbled a 3rd division in little over
18 months of football.

Those of us who lived through those hideous times seem to have a more sanguine outlook when it comes to the odd defeat or under-par performance nowadays. We are no less passionate than those who completely lose their sh*t if the opponents have the temerity to cross the halfway line.  We may just be slightly more balanced in our responses?

I am grateful I have a club to support (and moan at!) and try to remember how close we have come to shopping at Milton Keynes, or gardening, or, God forbid, becoming an armchair football fan on a Saturday afternoon .  Hopefully most of us feel the same.  If we do, perhaps we'll never be in danger of losing our club again.  And accepting that every time our team takes to the field there are always three possible outcomes.  Unless it rains heavily at Latimer Park - in which case there's a fourth!

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Long way for nothing

What kind of a fool doesn’t make absolutely sure the game is on before setting off on a 190-mile round trip to Burton Latimer?  Me that’s who.  It was a drizzly, chilly kind of day in the corner of Worcs where I live, but a quick glance at the club website confirmed that the attractions of the Tiverton fixture were still the lead news item, so off I went.  Couple of hours later, first hint of something amiss was the absence of parked cars around the entrance to the ground. And where was the away coach? And why was the car park so empty? Plus weren’t they leaving it a bit late to open the turnstiles??

On the return journey, which was a little earlier than usual, the realisation slowly dawned that on checking the website earlier, it was possible – no let’s say highly likely – that I hadn’t remembered to hit the refresh button.  With the benefit of now having done so, I see ample warning of the possibility of a postponement, followed by confirmation many hours before the match was due to occur.  So I’ll scratch that irate email and chalk this one up to experience.

Next week – how I went to the wrong St Ives and confused Newport County with Newport I.O.W.
Note to self: use this

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Tip for AFC Scum-lite....

....when you sing, "You are my Rushden, my only Rushden......please don't take my Rushden away" it can only be assumed you are being ironic.

Your Rushden was taken away from you. 

Twice in fact. 

You managed to lose both Rushden Town and Rushden & Diamonds.  As Oscar might say, to lose one football team may be regarded as a misfortune.....

The "Scum-lite" management team
ponder throwing away a two goal
head start

Anger Management

So, which came first?  The chicken or the Royston official gobbing into a throng of Kettering fans?

Who threw the first insult?  Who threw the first pint?  Who grabbed the first throat?

Who cares?

More importantly, when did everyone get so incredibly angry?  Unfortunately, Poppies fans are getting a bit of a reputation here.  I'm sure we're not always entirely to blame, but we sure don't help ourselves by going ape-shit every time we lose a game of football. Or have a goal scored against us.  Or a corner is given against us.  Or lose the toss at the start of the game..... Whether it is directly into the face of an obnoxious full-back at the game, or while bashing away on social media, we seem to be losing it far too often than is healthy.  No wonder most other fans view is that we are a bunch of complete lunatics.

But why are we getting so angry?
"Did you spill my pint?"

Is it the absolute desperate need to demand instant gratification, brought on by a decade spent spouting whatever went through our heads, with no consequences, on Facebook or Twitter?

Is it the almost complete lack of physical violence in modern football?  Would arsy kids spout off so much if there was the very real possibility of coming away from a game with a thick lip?

Is it the lack of terrace wags who were able to defuse tricky situations with a humorous aside?  I'm afraid shouting, "PAEDO", or "C*NT" at a goalie for 90 minutes doesn't quite cut the mustard in the terrace-wag stakes.

Is it the lack of "Chant-herders" who were a group of older supporters who controlled the singing at matches and steered the young-uns in the accepted ways of support and derision?  Those more dignified Gents who knew the perfect chant for any situation, and knew whether that afternoon's visitors "found a dead dog, and thought it a treat..."  Again, I doubt these guys would have permitted a session of chanting "PAEDO", or "C*NT" from the younger elements.  If memory serves, you weren't even allowed to start a chant until you had 10 years unbroken Poppies service, and a thick fuzz of hair on both your chin and balls.

Is it the lack of a small war, to thin the herd a little.

Regardless of why we are all blowing our tops every match, we really need to ease back a touch.  It's only football. And not even especially good football.  Imagine if something important actually happened in our lives.  How would we handle that?  It doesn't bear thinking about!