Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Eaden off to Rocky Start

Whether we'll ever find out the full ins and outs of last weekend's Managerial shenanigans is doubtful.  Was Marcus making independent payments to players?  Was he helping further their off-field employment opportunities?  Who knows.  Whatever it was, I can't believe the club were unaware of it.

All we're left with is an ambiguous twitter message from departing diving cheat Rhys Hoenes claiming someone had done something, somehow and broke some sort of promises.  Why is it when people try to use Social Media to drop a digital hand grenade they're always so bloody vague?  If Rhys has a genuine, actionable grievance why not spell it out in specific terms?  Why hint and suggest when you can state the facts?  The only reason I can think of is that he enjoys causing the fluttering Poppies Twitter community to have a prissy meltdown?

Now the dust has settled, we're short of one manager and we will also need a new player who can crumple to the turf at the drop of a hat.

Nicky Eaden has been named as the new Gaffer.  We've no immediate problem with that.  He has some experience of this level, as well as, ahem, knowledge of the expectations of Poppies supporters....

But, where, oh where is the obligatory photograph of our new Boss with a club scarf held proudly above his head?  Since time immemorial such a pose, recorded by the local newspaper was the way or indicating the start of a managerial appointment.  Forget signing a contract, or bringing in players.  A £10 scarf, usually held the wrong way up, denoted that we had a new hairdryer & orange cutter in the dressing room.

C'mon Nick and the Northants Telegrpah.  Sort it out.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Are you reading, Ken Samuel?

Another season of "so far, but so far" on the Klondike half-time draw front, with Club worthy Ken Samuel practically laughing in my face every time I made my purchases.

Well, are you reading this, Ken?  Barely days after Patgod won "Poppies online Blog of the Year*" I won this -

Yes Ken.  That's right.  Read it and weep.  I won a draw, and you couldn't stop me.   Five whole pounds to spend on hardly needed fattening pastries, but I ate them, and thought of you as I did it!  Mmm.  Mmm.

*to answer the readers (ok, reader) who asked about us winning the "Poppies online Blog of the Year" award at Sywell, this was obviously a fictitious award.  As far as we're aware, we're the ONLY Poppies online blog.....

The trophy belonged to JC who carelessly left it with me when he was on the dance floor.

And let's  face it - if such an award existed Ken Samuel would make sure we still didn't win it....!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Meanwhile in other promotion news

Now that the non League playoffs are done and dusted a number of important issues have been settled, not least the amount of travelling we face next season.  As expected, the relegation of 4 southern clubs into step 2 has forced a further redrawing of the boundary, which now places Gloucester and Oxford in the 'top half', and at the present rate of expansion will soon literally start just north of Watford. Compared to some of the journeys we will face, Oxford is practically a local derby, whilst Gloucester is just down the road from where I am, so another welcome addition. 

Plus Kings Lynn have come through the playoffs to claim their place. Not just any old playoffs, these were playoffs leading to a further playoff, with 8 teams whittled down to just 1.  Thank Christ we managed to avoid that – with our track record in these things it would have been like buying a lottery ticket (or if you prefer even longer odds, a Klondike). So congrats to the Linnets.  Over the last two years you’d have to say that, like us, they’ve earned the step up.  And we look forward to continuing to annoy them by taking most of the points.

Elsewhere Corby put up a good fight but in the end were pipped by Bromsgrove Sporting. An unusual name for a phoenix club and particularly inapt for those who remember Kevin ‘Bomber’ Richardson swatting away various lightweight mid 90s Poppies. Bromsgrove seem to be better supported now than they were in the old Conference, but it does help if you’re winning most weeks. And talking of which there’s the fairytale story of Salford City’s rise to the Football League.

Thanks to the Class of 92 (coincidentally, the average gate 5 years ago) they’re just the latest but most glaring example of how far a few quid can take you in non League circles. I caught a few minutes of their playoff final and it was notable how tight the cameras had to zoom in on their little gaggle of fans, none of whom looked like they had ever seen a Salford game until Giggs and the Nevilles showed up (you can just tell these things… don’t ask how) . In a couple of years they could be playing in the Championship - perfectly possible if the Manc Millionaires still have money to burn. Paul Scholes might even fancy a go at managing them, if he has a spare month or so.    

In the end it’s probably not worth getting too worked up about these ego vehicles.  They come along, they ruin things for the rest of us for a few years and then inevitably they fall off a cliff when the money dries up. When that happens to Salford we will permit ourselves a smile, helped by the knowledge that, this time, no one would be crazy enough to suggest that we take over their ground.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

A Night of a Thousand Awards!

In news that will cheer long-time readers, PATGOD's ongoing contribution to the emotional and mental well-being of The Poppies family was finally acknowledged at the recent end of season awards.

In a lengthy, emotional speech, owner Ritchie Jeune praised our place in the public Poppies debate, saying, "You make a f*ck more sense than the rest of that sh*te on social media."

Poppies boss Marcus Law added, "God bless PATGOD.  You guys keep us honest.  Not like that sodding Pedro.  Now, where is he?" He added before weaving drunkenly into the crowd, looking for his nemesis.

Handing over the "Online Poppies Blog of the Year Award", won despite stiff opposition, Club Chairman, Dave Mahoney paid warm tribute, "Winning titles and back-slapping evenings like this are all well and good, but the real joy in football comes from being mildly ribbed by middle aged men who for some reason think they're being clever, or in any way funny."

Some of the other, lesser winners on the night

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Time to put our feet up

Even though we lost to Weymouth in today's "Southern League Squeezing Another Pay-Day" Cup Final, it wasn't all bad.

In fact, if anything, Weymouth should be more worried about next season than us given the fact that, bar keeping shots down, they were a distant second best to the Poppies today in every department.

If we could...

  1. Score open goals
  2. Score penalties
  3. Score from 2 feet out with only the keeper you beat

...we would have won today at a canter, in our most dominant home display, (which wasn't against a youth team) for some weeks.

Off to Sywell now to have a couple of halves, and gird our loins for National League North!

 The "lucky" socks get
a well deserved break

Friday, 3 May 2019

Let's talk attendances

Another season over for most of us.  Over of course, except for those teams engaged in the world's worst and most poorly run play-offs (no clues, but up until last week, we played in this league...)

Another opportunity to engage with the mostly brilliant "Turnstile League" on the KIng's Lynn FC unofficial Linnets site: -

Click here for Statto-sadness!

As ever, there's lot of interesting attendance stuff on this site, particularly when it comes to average non-league crowds and the difference between this season and the last one.

We, for instance enjoyed an almost 30% increase in attendances at Latimer Park this season, up from 645 to 838.  This average figure was boosted by a 2000+ gate from the Scum-lite game and a couple of 1000+ end of season disappointments, when the club did all it could to dissuade the casual Poppy fan from ever returning (no strikers AT ALL against Barwell FFS Marcus...!)

A number of the teams that have played the us in the FA Cup in recent seasons experienced a  bit of a "Post-Poppies-bounce" where their stay-away supporters were once again enthused into watching their clubs after seeing the mighty Kettering.  AFC Mansfield's gates swelled by a massive 131% this season.  Basford enjoyed a huge 150% increase from 192 to 481.  And Nantwich Town's turnstile operators won't have known what hit them with their average gate ballooning from under 300 to over 1000 - a ridiculous 270% Poppies-inspired boom!

Other teams we've played in recent years showed some interesting stats.  Most curiously, Nuneaton, who are preparing to replace us as former Conference big-boys in the Central League, saw a 35% increase in attendances despite being nailed on for relegation from about September.

Hereford saw their average gate dip slightly from 2553 to 2353, partly because of a season-long struggle, but mostly because the locals had no Poppies fixture to turn up for.

Leiston, despite a season of ups and downs in a new division, registered a 0% change in their crowds, 296 last season and this.  Kings Langley's average crowds were boosted to the tune of 2.  I'm sure that had nothing to do with Rene's arrival....Slough's attendances went up by over 100, which was no bad thing given their 2017-8 average gate was a highly suspect 666.

Football League chasing vanity project Salford City saw a 54% rise in crowds to 2489, which means that there will be even more disappointed Mancs when the United old-boys find another hobby.

Other facts to catch the eye: -

Enfield Town were rewarded for  turning around an escape from relegation last season to an unsuccessful tilt at the play-offs this season by attracting one extra fan, up from 405 to 406.

It was all kicking off in Dunstable, where Dunstable Town saw a 30% dip in crowds, as AFC Dunstable experienced a 30% rise.  Their average gates are now separated by a meagre 2 people.  If these two people argue and one goes to AFC from Town, their average gates will be the same.  Who gets the bragging rights then?

During these tangled Brexit times FC Romania have expertly managed to back both pro & anti campaigners cases, as their attendances rose from 36 to 133 - a whopping 270% rise.  This proves the success of integration AND the fact there's too many foreigners here!!!

Lastly, and seemingly for the nth season running, our lowest home gate was against Redditch.  Seemingly every season our smallest crowd watches the most incredibly bonkers match!

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Toot toot!

Who can't look at this photograph of Rhys without
seeing him as a five year old, pretending
to be a train driver, and pulling on the
horn as his train races through another station. 

Ah, bless!

Photo (c) probably Shorty. 
Most of the in-focus ones are.... 

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Memories Are Made Of This

Coming soon… Poppies v Diamonds, the complete highlights DVD.  Newly extended version.

Sit back, relax and enjoy top action from 20 years of local rivalry! 

You’ll GASP at the memory of the one good thing that Leroy May ever did in a Kettering shirt.

You’ll LAUGH as the Nene Park lights fail, and all the Poppies fans stay behind to sing sh*tty ground.

You’ll SHUDDER as Duane Darby nuts Brett McNamara and cops a lengthy ban.

You’ll WONDER where the next goal is coming from at times.

You’ll CHEER as Vowden & McNamara fire us to our first league victory.

You’ll EVEN make a big deal of Robert Codner scraping us a point.

You’ll PREFER to forget the next ten years or so (NB. Not included in the director’s cut).

You’ll MARVEL at Iyseden Christie’s cool finish, earning him an extra stuffed hog as a win bonus.

You’ll DANCE on Diamonds’ grave… until Ladak had other ideas.

You’ll FREAK OUT as Rhys scores late.

You’ll IDLY CHAT AND RUB ON SUN SCREEN as Poppies stroll to another routine derby success against our local bunnies.

Estimated running time 60 minutes. Or for Rushden viewers, that’s between two marks on the parish sundial.   

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Halesowen remembered

Option One - This is a downside of the "Panorama" option on a camera phone when people move (with apologies!)

Option Two - Yet another Diamonds fan wants to jump on the Poppies bandwagon.

You choose....

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Selfless Selfies

You can't have glimpsed the various KTFC social media outlets in the past few months without stumbling across dozens of images of a somewhat sternly-confused looking Poppies fan taking random selfies in front of football grounds, turnstiles, or almost entirely blank brick walls.

Richard looking stern at Basford
Unless you've been living under a rock you will know that the angry-looking fellow is Trust Vice-Chair Richard Atkinson.  He is attempting to collect selfie-images from the grounds of every team we have ever played in the FA Cup.  Not for his health, or as part of an especially sad hobby - no, he's doing this for YOU!  Yes, YOU.

Richard scowling at Derby
He is seeking sponsorship to help fund additional terracing and cover so the rest of us can stay dry whilst watching our Championship heroes / relegation haunted losers (delete as appropriate, depending when you read this).  Richard is one of those annoyingly positive people who gets off his arse and does the sort of things we bitch about people not getting off their arses and doing.  Frankly he shows up the rest of us for the lazy, whining, tight-arse moaners we all know we are, but don't like being reminded of.
Richard grizzles at Yaxley
To, in some small way deflect our torporous guilt, we can sponsor Richard so he can continue to scowl into his camera-phone for many more weeks and months as he hunts down the balance of the 100+ stadiums of the 184 in total he seems to have pledged his life to track down and record.

Richard looking pugnacious at St Neots
If for no other reason than to stop the internet filling up with photographs of Richard and his thousand yard stare, you can donate towards the Tin Hat fund through various avenues here: -

Richard looking justifiably
smug in Irthlingborough

Monday, 15 April 2019

Fruits of success

With the title now sealed we can look forward to three pressure-free games to round things off.  Three games to take a victory lap, see how near we can get to 100 points and how close Marcus can get to beaning someone’s hat off as he does his fruit tossing thing.

First it was bananas then as the season went on and he hit his stride, satsumas were added. The volume of fruit has increased too. It’s now at the stage where the Tin Hat goes home healthier than it arrived.  The question is, though, will small orange citruses be enough at a higher level? Should we bulk up and bring in some tangerines?  Do they even sell tangerines in Blyth?

Add this to the uncertainties we face in 2019/20.

A personal wish list for the remainder of this season:

1. Force the Diamonds to give us a guard of honour next week (best imagined in slow motion, 300-style, with a thumping rock soundtrack.  Poppies!  Hurrggg!!)

2. Put on at least one more performance that shows why we’re champions.

3. Reunite Holman with his mojo, or at the very least let him scuff one in off his arse: whatever it takes.

4. Aaron’s “sore throat” gets a little better so he can give us a song.

5. Stockport go up, sparing us the indignity of hosting them, and all the cruel and distressing things their fans will sing about Latimer Park.

6. Salford City don’t.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs...

Joyous scenes at Halesowen as Rhys gets the promotion party under way. But wait… one fan doesn’t appear that impressed. He’s wearing a Poppies scarf but that frown of disapproval at such unseemly happiness can only mean one thing.

Barry Frost.

There’s a time and a place for these things, he appears to be saying.  And it certainly isn’t before I’ve finished this tray of chips.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Ten Years After

Anyone scrolling to the right and down on our menu page will stumble on the fact that this blog dates back to 2009. April in fact.  Which makes it 10 years old. Wow, already?

Can it really be a decade since, during a humdrum late season game, GL and I were chewing the fat about how the printed fanzine had had its day, and if only there was a way of producing something more immediate than a match report from 4 months ago. Could modern technology assist?  I’d vaguely heard of something called the internet but GL was way ahead of me and had vaguely heard of something called a blog.

Out of nowhere Patgod was reborn as Patgodonline on the world wide web, and a global audience of billions could now, in theory, digest our take on events in and around Kettering Town FC.  With occasional diversions to have a pop at some off topic target deemed to be deserving.     

They say timing is everything, and just as the original hard copy prototype first emerged on the coat tails of a famous FA Cup run, so the electronic version arrived just too late to celebrate a similar journey.

But heady excitement isn't really the natural territory of Patgod. Resigned pessimism is much more our thing. Or perhaps was, because the last decade has been a game of two halves: decline to the brink of extinction, then a slow but steady recovery.  Along the way even we have mellowed a little.  It’s now ok to be annoyed just some of the time, and otherwise enjoy the honest efforts and occasional absurdity of life at this level.

Like everyone who has stuck with the club during some very lean years since 2009, we’ve emerged with a fresh perspective.  Losing a game is disappointing, yes, but we’ve come very close to a lot worse.

That said, we still haven’t forgiven Mickey Nuttell.

We're fresh out of images of that Nuttell so here's another we equally admire.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Well, duh......

Wow.  Didn't see this one coming.  Oh, wait a minute.  Yes we could.  All of us.

"One ticket or.....er....one ticket and another one...."

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Cautiously Reali-Pessi-Optimistic

Alright, so it turns out Alvechurch can play a bit and hadn’t read the script. Events elsewhere mean we still only need a single point from 4 remaining games IF Stourbridge win all theirs (unlikely) including head to heads with the Inbreds and Kings Lynn (make that very unlikely). 

Oh what we would have given, in the Conference nearly men days, for a position even a quarter as good as this.  Remember, the closest we ever came to winning that league was a last day shootout that involved Kidderminster losing, us winning and with a 7 goal swing.

Look away now if you don’t want to see the result.

How to describe how nailed on we are?  Ladbrokes are refusing to take bets (admittedly because they refuse to believe the Southern League Central is an actual league - is it Southern, or Central?  Southern Central, or Central Southern?).  In snooker terms it's just pot the black to win, and it’s in the jaws of the pocket.  We need double top whilst the other player is still stuck on 491.  One to win off 10 overs with 9 wickets standing, and Johnny Vegas coming on to bowl.  
We can't blow it now. It's impossible. There's more chance of Jacob Rees Mogg winning Celebrity Fight Club, or an episode of Eastenders not featuring an actor seething through clenched teeth.   

But just in case, isn’t Tom Knowles due a loan move to AFCD?  Followed by Kings Lynn.   

Andddd the match

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Cautiously Optimistic Once Again

Thanks to our unerring habit of scoring most of our goals after 4.45 on a Saturday afternoon, and Stourbridge's admirable new-found ability to turn wins into draws, and draws into defeats, we rock up at Latimer Park knowing a victory will win us the league.

Wow.  That all turned around quickly, didn't it?

Curiously, looking below us, there are still two teams who mathematically can pip us to the title.  Admittedly, both Stourbridge and Kings Lynn need to win all their remaining games, and we need to lose all of ours, but the fact remains - WE CAN STILL BE CAUGHT!!!

Assuming this calamity can be avoided, the runners and riders for the play-offs seem to have pretty much sorted themselves out.  Also, assuming we do avoid 5-straight defeats (!) the four teams lining up to attempt to throw themselves into the bear-pit of National League North are Stourbridge, Kings Lynn, Stratford and Alvechurch.  Scum-lite, Biggleswade and Coalville are snapping away in case any of the teams above them implode.  Of all these teams it would be nice if Stratford could squeak the promotion with us.  Partly because they've got former Poppies gaffers in charge.  Partly because it's a nice local game, in a season where a few long trips beckon.  But mostly, I'm already trying to spot teams we might actually be able to beat next season!

But, for today - let's quickly put Alvechurch to the sword, have a few drinks and start getting scared about next season!  But most of all, if you're heading up today for the first time this season, I stand near the corner flag at Town end.  I'm not asking for you to come and say hello, I'm warning you not to nick my spot on your once-a-season visit!

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Just a few tickets left apparently....

...if one of the last tickets somehow
falls into the hands of a disturbed
individual with a penchant for
extreme violence and homemade
explosive devices, we would
be devastated.

If they sell out the tickets.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Exactly how many appearances earns you a Winner's medal?

Congratulations Adam for reboarding the gravy train at Billericay Town.  It's a shame your 70% effort and constant bellyaching didn't work this time around at the Poppies.

And if you need a reference, PATGOD witnessed both your attempts on goal in the months you were here and will happily tell anyone about your AMAZING glancing header against ROCK-BOTTOM Bedworth United.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Cautiously Pessimistic

Well, the game away to Biggleswade certainly showed us a few things.  The first of which was Biggleswade itself.  I don't think I've ever seen Poppies play there on anything but a Tuesday night.  It's fair to say that daylight is not as flattering as floodlight. 

Secondly, Holman's seeming disinterest at being played as an outright centre forward continues.  One would have thought that in O'Connor's absence Dan would have grasped his chance at being the main cutting edge of the team and run riot.  No riot.  Very little running.  Disappointing.

Biggleswade offered next to nothing, but for all of our possession and huff & puff I don't recall their goalie doing anything special to repel us.

Even being 8-points clear, nothing is certain.  With typical Poppies-pessimism you can look over the remaining fixtures and other than today's game with a deflated St Neots*, you can see each of the teams we are to face putting up very stern tests, whilst Stourbridge's run-in, from a NN16 postcode looks like a succession of gimme's.

Look who's lining up to thrash our stuttering heroes!

St Neots (H) - fighting to beat us to try to stay up
Leiston (A) - fighting to complete a double over us
Alvechurch (H) - fighting to be in play-offs
Halesowen (A) - fighting to stay up in front of a large home support
Barwell (H) - fighting to stay up and put one over our large group of  Barwell rejects
AFC Scum-lite (A) - fighting for play-offs and to justify their existence by beating us
Stratford (H) - fighting for play-offs and defending Shakespeare's honour after my not studying him well at school.

And now, it has been proved via Facebook that even though we have the highest average attendance in this division, and, at time of writing, the 49th highest average attendance outside of the Football League, our gates as a percentage of our population are very small.  6th bottom of our division in fact.  More cause for pessimism, were it not for the fact that this table had pinned our town's population as 93,000.  Wow, that's big.  Some 30,000+ more than the actual population in fact.  Has our population been added to that of Kettering, Ohio?

A quick trip to Wikipedia later and it seems that every other team in this survey has their population based on the town in question, while ours seems to include the entire Borough.  Seems a smidgen unfair, and not a level playing field, surely.  Speaking of which, off to Latimer Park....!

* entirely my fault if I jinx this one....

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Cautiously optimistic

Towards half time last Saturday, with us 3-0 to the good against ten men, looking well set to extend our lead to 11 points with 8 games to play, erstwhile contributor JC wandered past with the aside “Even we can’t stuff this one up”.

He didn’t actually say stuff but it had a couple of letters in common.

Anyone who lived through the years of table topping positions being frittered away would know exactly where JC was coming from.  When you’ve seen a double digit lead overhauled in the run-in it stays with you, like a childhood trauma (that might explain the bed wetting).

But it’s gone. It’s over. It’s ok. Relax. We don’t do that any more.

Assuming we close down this division in the next few weeks, that will be four titles in 17 years. Not a bad average. In fact pretty good.  A hypothetical fan born in roughly 1990 has mostly only known a KTFC who given a sniff of promotion snuff out all competition and close it down.

True, it isn’t quite what we once aspired to, when the Football League beckoned, gave us a wink and all but promised tonight was the night. If you had told us then that we could look forward to 4 promotions, imaginations would have run away. Surely we’d be just below the top flight at least?
Yes, possibly, but for the 5 relegations.

But despite the drop in status, each division is tough in its own right. We compete with the players we can afford and are willing to play at this level. So any promotion is a big deal, relatively speaking, and in a way is pay back for all those years of disappointment.
Because even we can't stuff this one up.
Erm, hopefully.  

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Don't make us angry. You won't like us when we're angry!

Another away day.  Another away win.  Another set of home fans take to social media to bemoan the angry behaviour of the travelling fans.

And you know something?  They're absolutely right.  We can be a bunch of headcases.

Take a step back and have a good look at how we react during away games.  There is little more than a constant barrage of abuse from some quarters of Poppies support.  And it's not always from those you would expect to angrily abuse opponents, home fans, officials, own team, passing gulls etc. either.

Passion is one thing.  We all want the Poppies to win.  Demonstrating this with blind, spitting fury is another thing.  Once you've worked yourself up into a right sweaty-tizzy five minutes in, where do you have left to go for the rest of the game?  Just ranting every time a decision goes the other way.  A case in point was the ridiculous abuse heaped on a linesman for daring to give an offside against us in the second half by a bunch of Poppies fans who had absolutely no view of the incident.  This rolling thunder of fury carried on for ages, even though I, who was directly in line, was trying to mime to them that our guy was a good 2-yards offside.

Whatever happened to terrace wit?  Or amusing abuse?  Or honest to goodness sarcasm?  When was the last time you found yourself laughing out loud at something shouted from the terraces, rather than wince?

Surely mockery and comedy, spiked with an occasional barbed comment are far better at highlighting perceived shortcomings of the officials than straight way shouting, "C*nt!" at them for 90 minutes.  Anger is  invariably destructive.  Put yourself in the ref's shoes.  Isn't it human nature to take against the team who's fans are throwing nothing but vitriol at you all match long?  And, what happens when we stop winning every game?  What happens to the barely bottled anger then?  With nowhere else to direct it our own players might find themselves in the firing line.  Or each other? 

"Think of you heart - be more Eric Plant" 

"Don't be THAT fan - be more Stalwart Stan"

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Was this the moment?

At about 4.50PM on Saturday Tamworth scored a late winner against Stourbridge, and Brett knobbed in a winner against Rushall Olympic.  In the space of a few seconds, a Tamworth foot, and a mighty Poppies love-pump may just have decided the title race.

In a few chaotic moments the Poppies were suddenly 8 points clear at the top of the table with 2 games in hand and only 11 games to go.  Such a position has led even the most care-worn, jaded Poppies fan to ask, "Surely even Kettering can't f*ck it up from this position?"

Already our thoughts are prematurely turning to wondering how many beatings we'll get in the National League North, how we're going to con the ground grading officials, and whether we might actually orgasm when the AFC Scum-lite team have to give our players a guard of honour when we rock up at Hayden Road?

All thoughts for another day.  In the meantime, let's all bask in Brett's reaction to scoring yesterday's winner with his gingery chopper....


Saturday, 9 February 2019

Decisions, decisions

Choosing the December / January "Goal of the Month" is proving to be quite a tricky decision.

When we saw Meikle's thumping effort against Hitchin hit the back of the net our immediate thought was, "well, that's the winner."  Two seconds later and Richens scores against the same opponents from even further out.  Mmm...this might be a tougher one than we thought.

Mere moments later and Rhys's last gasp winner against AFC Scum-lite pops up.  Must be the winner surely?

And then Tom Knowles third touch for the Poppies (his first ran the ball out of play and the second failed to trap a simple pass) hits the back of the Stourbridge net for another last gasp winner!

Decisions, decisions.

After much painful pondering we have to go for Tom's free-kick winner against the team who milli-seconds earlier were top of the table.  And yet, if you told us at the start of the season that a 93rd minute winner against the Scum-wannabees WOULDN'T win goal of the month, year AND decade, we'd have beaten you senseless with Duane Darby's old muzzle guard.

Tom Knowles is under there.  Somewhere.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Staying put

Good to see Woy’s Crystal Palace doing their bit for the magic of the Cup by knocking out Spurs today.  If one Premiership side beating another doesn’t seem that magical, you’re perhaps forgetting that Spurs are now the biggest clear and present danger to our all time goals record. 

We began this season with a slender lead which we managed to extend to 16 before deciding to concentrate on the league.  Then Spurs immediately signalled that stealing our crown was very much in their sights by sticking 7 past Tranmere and trimming the gap back to single figures. 

The fact that Pochettino chose not to go public on this just underlines its secret importance within the Spurs camp.

It was all starting to get uncomfortably close. All that stood between them and top spot was a couple of favourable draws, or Kane staying fit.  Patgod wouldn’t normally wish any harm to the unassuming England ace, but we were punching the air when he was ruled out for 6 weeks.

So we can puff on that cigar and enjoy our unique record for another season, with hopefully a few more ties to keep Tottenham at bay.  And a nice twist that Palace did us a favour on the same patch of south London where we scored one of those goals 30 years ago this weekend.

Going up?

After 24 hours of calm reflection, there are two things to say about the Stourbridge result yesterday.

The first is, well played Kettering for having the character to turn the game around in the last few minutes, when it seemed we were about to be unfairly denied, and reclaim our place at the top.

The second is,


Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive, but to be behind the Stourbridge goal was very heaven.  It even out Diamonded the Diamonds game.  An instant 'I was there' - like Ernie’s late winner at Boston back in the day and others like it - to be recalled whenever we need reminding why we bother.  The sort of moment when it takes a second to absorb that this is really happening, then grown adults go nuts and we go on to witness crazy things like Marcus pogoing in front of the away end (just like Peter Morris at York St – only kidding), and Aaron hobbling onto the pitch to take a photo, apparently of himself!   
And what a contrast between the scorers – Brett, 500+ games, club legend, still a key man at big moments after all these years, and a kid on loan making his debut who if he never does anything else in a Poppies shirt (and he might not) will always be remembered for that free kick.

THAT free kick.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

"The Least from the East"

Light dusting of snow.
Pitch not frozen.
Pitch not flooded.

Game called off.....

If we'd been travelling and the game was called off for tonight's "Heavy Snow" we would not have been impressed.

We might as well turn football into a Spring-Summer-Autumn game and have done with it.

Actually, that doesn't sound an entirely bad idea.....

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Class is permanent. Just like Dan's smile......

We all know Dan Holman is class.  We know that being of National League quality means he has a great first touch, good vision, and a predatory eye for goal.

What we didn't realise is that training at National League level these days extended as far as professional media deportment.  But it seems, looking at various of Dan's photographs, that he has received a fair amount of posing-training to get his best side and smile, front and centre whenever someone says......"watch the birdie!"

Dan, cheering up the kiddies in hospital

Dan, cheering up the match sponsors part 1

Dan, cheering up the match sponsors part 2

Dan, cheering up the match sponsors part 3

Dan, cheering up Rhys, by letting him
ride him like a donkey on Skeggy beach!

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

A half season of two halves

As the Poppies stumble and thrash away a great position at the top of the league we are all looking for answers.  Why does the team that looked unbeatable a few months ago suddenly struggle to overcome the most modest of opponents.

From the outside, and with no great pretensions to football knowledge or management skills even the most cursory look over our season so far tells you all you want to know.  Or not want to know.

Leaving aside the noddy cups for the sake of clarity during the first 16 games of the season, we played Rhys up top, on his own 12 times.  And three times with Borg alongside him, and once with Aaron.  Our record for this period reads Won 13, Drawn 1, Lost 2.  Top of the table - Confererence North thumpings, here we come!

However, our record over the next 15 fixtures makes far less pleasant reading.  Won 8, Drawn 2, Lost 5.  Play-off thumping, here we come!  But the bare statistics don't tell the whole story.  The last 15 games we have played three up top on no less than 11 times, with 4 defeats coming under this formation.  This is bad enough, but, in many ways the story behind the results is worse.

Other than the big recent win against Hitchin, when was the last time we looked better than the opposition, or even worked as hard?  Even our wins are increasingly hard fought and touch-and-go.  Compare this to some of the flowing wins full of footballing pomp we initially enjoyed this season.

What's the difference?  Pretty obvious we think.  Even with our lack of football knowledge or management skills.





Saturday, 12 January 2019

Twittergate shakes loose the "Snowflakes"

This week's storm in a teacup about an errant tweet from the KTFC account aimed at AFC Scum-lite truly shows how far as a species we have descended into cotton-wool-wrapped-safe-space b*ll*cks.

No more stiff upper-lips.  No more taking it on the chin.  Barely three generations on from fighting them on the beaches we collapse into a state of panic, adopt foetal-position, and experience stupefying shock about....... reading words we don't like!

Someone wrote something insulting about the junior Scummers without checking what Twitter account they were using.  Realises it is through the official club one rather than his own and deletes it.  That's it.  Dumb thing to do.  But no-one died.  Or was physically harmed.  Or psychologically scarred.  Should it have happened - no.  Did it happen  - yes.  Was it removed - yes.  Should that have been the end of it - sure, why not.

A few Inbreds might have been nonplussed by the message.  They would have moaned.  The A6 bridge troll might have shook his fist in our general direction.  That should have been it.

But no, not only do the Direones act as though we'd tempted their sisters away from the communal straw bed, Poppies fans then back them up with cries of horror, regret, empathy, and apologies.

Apologise?  Hell no, not in PATGOD's name!!!

One more time, for anyone not keeping up with the relationship between us and them....

Rushden & Diamonds FC was a plague on non-league football, and did more to destroy the part-time game and the Poppies in particular than any other organisation.  They died.  Football cheered.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds FC was set up by people wising to honour the legacy of the original club (without making an effort to save it of course).  They could have called themselves anything.  Rushden FC.  Ithlingborough FC.  Webbed-Fingers Athletic FC.  Anything. 

But no, they wanted to ally themselves to Grigg's monstrous hobby, and be seen in the same light.  Well, congratulations - you are.  If you want to be seen as the footballing equivalent of the Galactic Empire you can't complain if everyone cheers when Luke Skywalker slams a missile into your Death Star, can you?

"Stay on target...."

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Five things we learned from the Diamonds game

1. So this is how it feels to beat them at home
We’ve been trying, on and off, for over 20 years, enduring defeat after defeat, the memory of some of them even now suppressed by daily medication. They even knocked us out of the Cup in the last ever tie at Rockingham Road. Clearly we must have done something very wrong in a previous life to suffer so horribly. But we've broken our cherry at last, and our record against them on New Year’s Day is now played 2, won 2!

2. Paul White does a mean Conor McGregor when he needs to
Check out the Facebook clip and enjoy the celebration of our winner that earned PW dog’s abuse from the turnips behind him, and a spot of bother at the final whistle.  We demand an encore at Hayden Road!

3. The Adam Cunnington thing still isn’t working
Introducing this towering square peg into our mobile front line has skewed the balance and apparently demands that we pump it long and hope for a knockdown, rather than the tactics that served us pretty well until his arrival. Up to a point he can’t be blamed for doing the job he’s asked to do, but there are already signs of frustration and it would help if he didn’t have the air of someone who is better than all this. Holman definitely is, but works his socks off.

4. Diamonds fans have no sense of irony
“What a waste of money” sang the turnips as Cunnington fluffed his overhead kick and Holman failed to score.  Between them probably earning about 2% of the wage bill that the previous bastard incarnation spunked out to buy their way into the League. Also amusing was “We’re going back where we belong”.  What, the UCL?

5. If we go up, we’d better get used to being locked in at the end
Segregation of a tiny ground with only one point of entry was never going to be easy, and allowing the away fans to disperse first was probably on police advice. It’s certainly not hard to imagine some of our vocal element having a go whilst heading out, regardless of the result. Next year could bring even larger visiting numbers if any one of several ex League clubs is having a good season. Whether, warmed by our most pleasurable late winner in years, we’ll always be as cheerfully patient is questionable.