Friday, 18 October 2019

Blurred Vision

I went to the optician’s today for an eye test. It found I'm slightly short sighted, which makes it harder to see distant things clearly. I was advised this could be an issue when, for example, going to a football match.  Did I want glasses?

My mind flashed back to last Saturday.

“No thanks!”

At the moment, the less seen the better. After a month or two of ‘adjusting to life at this level’ the Spennymoor game punctured any illusion that things are going to get better without a major shake up in personnel.  Against a side that are just solidly mid table we looked smaller, weaker and devoid of any idea where the next goal is coming from. And that was just in the warm up. Bmm tish!

Though we’ve been here before with struggling sides, I can barely remember the Poppies looking so futile so early in a season, with the exception of the Nene Park fallout. However there are still nearly 30 games to go and the chance to re-set under a new manager. Who will it be?  Even the ever reliable rumour mill was finding it hard to cough much up last weekend. Over 30 applications had been received, and they were all, er, from people. Believed to be associated with football.  With some experience of playing the game.  Come on, give us a clue! 

It’s good though that the club are taking their time, after the rather too hasty announcement of Eaden (was that after sifting through 30 candidates? maybe not). This is probably the most important appointment we have made in many years, so let’s give ourselves the best chance to get it right. I hope though, that extra points in the interview process aren’t awarded for being an ex Poppy. “Someone who understands the fans and their expectations”.  Marcus Law had it right when he said that other managers make us a feature of their team talk: keep it tight and wait for the moaning b*stards to turn on their team. And this idea that a former legend will have a special insight – well Man U tried that and you have to say it’s going well.  No, all it gives you is an extra few games before the knives are out.

What do we need? Ideally a magician, an inspirational figure who can turn base metal into gold. On £250 a week plus expenses. But failing that a grizzled old sod with a book (because he doesn’t do laptops) bulging with contacts, who can bring in a bit of experienced knowhow at short notice to shore things up. A modern version of Graham Carr, and no we don’t mean Alan.  

Hello, is that Billy Whitehurst?

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Legends indeed

Last night's Legends evening at Latimer Park was a rousing success.  Gordon, Sean and Jim spoke well and their mix of amusing stories, gossip and glimpses of the Poppies past, kept the large crowd entertained.

These guys still consider Kettering Town to be THEIR club.  No matter where they originated, or who else they played for they all stayed local and stayed engaged with the Poppies.  This is certainly a trait one doubts that modern players are likely to emulate.  In the days where being on the bench for a couple of games has players rushing for the "Exit", it is doubtful many of today's crop will be engaged in this sort of evening 30 or 40 years down the line.

But, what struck me the most the evening was the sense of history and continuity that came from engaging with men who played for us 40 or 50 years ago, and sharing stories that many people in the room remembered and could relate to.  Decades of shared memories of good times and bad times.

It made me consider how we, the current crop of Poppies fans, all to often allow a few bad results to lose our perspective.  KTFC is a living organism, that has weathered much hardship over the years.  How petty do we look when defeat in a single game can tip us over the edge into desperate fury, when balanced against our club being in it's third century of continued survival?  The Poppies are for life, not just for 90 minutes.

Of course, this will all go out of the window if Spennymoor turn us over this afternoon...

Friday, 11 October 2019

Farewell Alex - we hardly knew ya!

Alex Nimely's departure didn't come as too much of a surprise to seasoned Nimley watchers.  When you consider he has never played more than 20 games for ANY of his 11 clubs so far, and hadn't found the net since notching for the mighty Stabaek in Norway almost three years ago, one wonders why we placed so much faith in him.

In his few minutes on the pitch for the Poppies he did slightly less than the last supporter who invaded the pitch and was about as threatening.

So much riding on him.  Waiting for the International Clearance.  Dumping Aaron for him.  Sometimes you wonder how Eaden hung on to his job for as long as he did....

One for a future Poppies Programme Quiz

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Sounds Familiar?

This was how the end of Nicky Eaden's tenure at Nuneaton was reported in the local press a few years ago.....

"....But a run of seven league matches without a win, plus elimination from the FA Cup, has seen Hawkins look to move in a different direction with the club bottom of the National League North"

Eaden's bullet at Latimer Park was reported thus......

"....That shock loss (in the FA Cup at Sutton Coldfield) came after a poor start to the Vanarama National League North campaign with the Poppies winning just two of their first 11 matches"

Eaden's managerial "style" of last-ditch, dour, backs-to-the-wall, just trying to hang-on, was never going to be acceptable at the Poppies.  As a club we have been building steadily for the past five years, and we are hungry for more.  Not be told constantly reminded of how hard everything is, by a Boss with a permanent hang-dog face and miserable demeanour.

We all KNEW this season was going to the challenging.  We didn't need our new Manager repeatedly telling us this from Day One.  Tell us we'll piss the division, our new ground is practically built, and that we'll sign Ronaldo.  We'll know it's bullshit, but it will give us all a lift.  No, instead, Nicky gave us defeated body language, and a depressing revolving-door team, who did their damnedest to reflect their Boss's attitude.

Steve Kinninburgh and his dog-whistle voice have been given the task of shepherding us through a vital run of fixtures.  In the next 6 games we will play all 5 of the other teams at the bottom of the league.  With 4 of these games to take place at Latimer Park, the importance of the next few weeks can't be overstated.

After these games we have York, Boston, Alfreton and a double header with Brackley lined up.  I'm sure I'm not alone in being happier if we had a few more teams below us in the table by the time we begin these fixtures!

Eaden heads for the exit at Sutton Coldfield

Monday, 23 September 2019

If Music be the Food of Love....

Opinions of musical instruments at football games usually range widely between, "No way", and "No f*cking way". 

A loud drummer serves to do nothing but annoy those close by, and totally dominate any attempt at singing.  A drummer used to come to our occasional big games back in the day, and served only to drown out any atmosphere with his random, inappropriate and LOUD drumming.  The team thankfully made sure that really big games were sufficiently thin on the ground for this not to be too much of an issue.

Last Saturday's frustrating stalemate with Sutton Coldfield was (and I can't believe I'm typing this) enlivened by the visitor's musicians.  Not just a lump of a fan banging a drum with the natural rhythm of a thrashing octopus, missing a few limbs, caught up in a fisherman's net.  No, these guys could....actually play.  

As well as a trumpet player, Sutton Coldfield sported 2 drummers (a'la Adam and the Ants circa 1980) to lend gusto to proceedings.  Even those Sutton supporters not directly involved with the instruments knew their roles within the overall orchestration with additional percussion and vocals, if "vocals" can be extended to include just the word "Tequila!" shouted with gusto.

A quick word of warning to our fans.  Just because we all experienced a reasonable band on Saturday, do not feel you are under any pressure to follow suit.  We Poppies fans have an unfortunate habit of "monkey see, monkey do" when it comes to seeing opposition fans doing something shiny and new.  Sometimes this works out for the best - you'll find it difficult to believe, but PATGOD wasn't the world's first fanzine....!  Sometimes it works out not so well - I still shudder at the recollection of Dave Chuckle, having heard a drummer, turning up at an away game with a cucumber and attempting to replicate the sound of semi-professional percussionist with a large vegetable and any random flat surface.....

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Whisper it Quietly

At 4.45PM last Saturday we managed to hold onto a 2-1 win against "high-flying" Alfreton.  At pretty much the same time our newly-appointed-relegation-rival Bradford Park Wanderers contrived to ship an equaliser to another newly-appointed-relegation-rival, Spennymoor.  We didn't move up the table, but opened up a small gap between ourselves and the relegation zone.

This was followed up with another win against, admittedly lowly Cogenhoe in the County Cup.  Not the toughest opponents in the world, but a win is a win.  And back-to-back wins when struggling are not to be sniffed at.

Hopefully our re-introduction to the world of winning football matches will spark a few more positive outcomes in the weeks and months to come.  The truth is, we have been there or thereabouts in most of the League games this season only for luck to turn against us, 15 minutes of madness, or running out of steam (or a combination of all three).

Perhaps the tide is starting to slowly turn?  Perhaps we are getting the measure of this division?  Or, perhaps we are starting to try to win games, rather than trying not to lose them?

...or perhaps we're benefitting
from selecting our best forward?

Aaron has started 4 games this season.
We won 3 of them....

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

There but for the grace of God

Any medium or long-time Poppies fan knows about suffering.  And the cold, hard fear that comes with being, on a handful of occasions, within a hairs-breadth of losing our club.  This knowledge, does impart, though, a sense of calm when a few results go against us.

No-one minds when fans take defeat badly.  It's a natural reaction.  If we didn't care who won or lost a game, we'd all be rugby fans.  Where some of our fans get out of line is that they believe their personal anger trumps everyone else's.  They seem to think that because they scream loudest at the players, or bravely on social media that no-one else feel it as badly as they do.  Not the players.  Or club officials.  Or the other supporters.  They're wrong of course.  We all feel it.  But some of us can see beyond that day's match.  Club officials need to see beyond the next match, the next month and even the next season.

When a football club has nothing to worry about other than the actual football, a lot of people must be doing a lot of things right.  A football club is a living organism where numerous people put in, mostly unseen effort to keep the show on the road.  Ninety minutes on a Saturday every fortnight is the very tip of the iceberg.

Having peered over the brink more times than any of us can remember, all of our thoughts are with the supporters of Bury today who would dearly love to have nothing more to vex them than a below par performance at the weekend.  Hopefully this serves as a wake-up call this morning for every football supporter who still has their club and wants them to mortgage their future to chase immediate success.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Ugly Poppies fans show no signs of growing up anytime soon

In a week where elements of our online "support" well and truly lost it once again in an embarrassingly juvenile way, a far more important story than us losing a game of football may have passed you by.

At the age of just 40, former footballer Junior Agogo died following a stroke suffered a couple of
years ago.  A tragedy to be sure.  But, Junior Agogo, you ask?  What's he got to do with the price of fish, and the stupid levels of online Poppies fury directed at our Chairman because we lost a game of football?

Nothing really, beyond perhaps putting things in perspective.  A life ended sadly short trumps a second-half capitulation in a single match, surely?  But, there's a slightly more Poppies-centric angle to the story of Junior's earlier career, and a certain game against us while he was a Barnet player.

Anyone who was there on that sunny afternoon at Underhill in April 2003 will never forget what they saw.  To put you in the picture, we were winding down a singularly unhappy season in the Conference.  We had bounced back into the top flight at the first time of asking after a fabulous afternoon at Tiverton, and we were back where we belonged.  Except, as it became painfully and speedily obvious, we DIDN'T belong at this level anymore.  Nailed to the bottom of the table for pretty much the entire campaign, Carl Shutt was eventually, humanely fired in favour of the far cheaper Dominic Genovese, who was given the task of shepherding us through our final half dozen fixtures.

One of these last, or possibly the last of these fixtures was away to the old enemy - Barnet, who had already started their yo-yo existence between the Football League and Non-League.  This season they were back down with us dead men, and, for once, weren't in the running for promotion.  Consequently only over a thousand turned up to watch Martin Allen's Bees run up a cricket score against the already doomed Poppies.

Between 3 o'clock and 4.45pm Barnet, with Junior Agogo much to the fore, Barnet spent 89 minutes and 45 seconds in the Poppies 6-yard box.  Every shot or header hit the goal frame, or a defender's face, or the keeper's nuts, or a fellow attacker.  It was achingly funny to watch - like a comedic Alamo, and we knew, absolutely KNEW that if Barnet had played all night, they still wouldn't be able to score.  We even went down to 10 men and it did them no good.

But what made it even funnier is that in the barely 15 seconds where we booted the ball into Barnet's half of the pitch, they contrived to score an own goal and then let our loanee Lee Clark sprint from the halfway goal to score one of  the least expected or deserved goals we've ever achieved.

The final whistle was greeted with laughter and bemusement from all corners of Underhill.  We'd won 2-0 despite having only one attempt on goal, and Barnet failed to score despite having (at a conservative estimate) 40 thousand attempts on goal.

The match report here, if anything, paints a postive Poppies spin on the game -

The Barnet fans in the bar afterwards were very chipper and a pleasant afternoon was spent with them.  Looking back now, I dread to think what the reaction of elements of our supporters would have been were the positions reversed.

Actually, I don't have to imagine it.  I'm seeing it most Saturday evenings!  Throw random anger, anonymous social media and a sense of entitlement into a pot and stir vigorously and you have the worst of modern football, and a glimpse of ugly Poppies support circa 2019.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

I guess we're not in Kansas anymore.....

The elation of the late with against Telford has faded into the background after a couple of dispiriting emphatic defeats.  If nothing else, we've left ourselves with a lot to do to match last season's record of just two away defeats....

The manner of the defeats has been the most disappointing aspect of these losses.  Sure, at Kings Lynn last week, we ended on the front foot and the home fans cheered the final whistle with not a small amount of relief.  Truth was, however, they should have been out of sight long before their weak-link keeper fumbled yet another ball in front of his goal. Darlington were not so generous in  making their victory look close.  By all accounts we were not only not at the races, we weren't even aware that races were being staged.

But then again, we knew this season was going to be an enormous step-up.  From Day One most of us have said we'd accept staying up this season as an acceptable return to this level.  Of course, a mid-table finish, or an upper mid-table with a brief flirtation with the play-offs would be even better, but most of us are realistic enough to know anything more than survival would be a big ask.

We all know a couple more rapid fire defeats will ratchet-up the indignation from the usual quarters within our support, but we really need to keep our eye on the survival prize and not allow our knees to jerk with their usual rapidity.  It doesn't help that, by and large, we've had nothing but building, continued success for the past 5 seasons.  Eventually you hit the buffers of arriving at a level where you are an also-ran rather than a sure-thing.  I think it's fair to say we've arrived there now!

At the time of writing, two clubs in this division have instantly freaked-out.  Bradford Park Avenue and Hereford have dispensed with their Managers before the mid-point of August has been reached!  This is a tough division.  We will need to fight on and off the pitch to earn the right to play in it.  We wanted to be back in the "Big Time".  Well, were there now.  We can either enjoy it or get scared and fretful.

At least we've been told that we can continue
to drink inside the ground, which should
help to numb the expected pain!

Friday, 2 August 2019

Ready or not, here we go....

Tomorrow sees our biggest leap into the dark since 2012 when we were thrown out of the National League, and into a Southern League hungry to kick the sh*t out of a fallen "big boy".  Our last experience of National North was the surreal Championship season where our team made up of slumming League One rejects, and buoyed by DRC's bottomless chequebook had slapped the rest of the division around so much the other clubs cheered at the prospect of seeing the back of us.

We re-enter this division tomorrow in a far humbler manner than we left it.  We have only half the team that won the Southern League last season.  We no longer have our big old, crumbly-comfortable Rockingham Road.  Or, indeed, our cold, hard, non-functioning Nonce Park.  We have our bobbly field and newly brightened floodlights.  We do have a handful of players that will be brand new to most of us.  We also have a new Manager, who was slipped into the role almost before Marcus Law had made his, still unexplained, departure.

Nicky Eaden is the new gaffer, and almost the poster boy for, "Mr No-Nonsense Northern Gaffer".  Overall the online Poppies support seem quietly happy with what Nicky has done and who he has brought in.  "Quietly Happy" at our club would translate as "Ecstatic" at any other club, but we like to keep our powder dry at Latimer Park!  A photograph of him holding a Poppies scarf over his head is still glaring by its omission, but I'll try not to mention this again....

AFC Telford will be slumming it with us tomorrow.  Their team will provide a stern test for our newly assembled team.  Their expected large support will provide an even sterner test for us supporters.  We've spent the past six years being a big fish in small ponds, where an away support that stretches to two cars raises eyebrows.  I really hope our vocal element, unused to being sung back at, add wit and withering sarcasm to their vocal repertoire, and perhaps lean less on anger and abuse.  If we resort to fury the first time away supporters mock Latimer Park's shortcomings, we're going to be for a long and angry season!

It's going to be a tough season.  Management, Officials, Team and Supporters are going to be as one more during 2019-20 than possibly ever before.  Let's give it a go, and remind this division of what they've been missing in Kettering Town Football Club!

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Well played Poppies, well played

Why has it taken me until now
to spot this?

Hat's off to whoever was responsible!

The club have set the bar high for the
rest of us this coming season!

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Did Mark Cooper EVER Smile?

With all the current online hoo-ha about the Poppies -

No new ground work!

No work on new ground!

Players leaving!

No new signings!

Manager gone under mysterious circumstances!

New Manager STILL not photographed holding a scarf over his head (see below!)

Rumours about fate of BPWFC!

A lot of tough looking fixtures for our depleted squad of fringe players!

40% increase in admittance price!

Friendly suspiciously cancelled!

New kits potentially with us before Bonfire night!

With all these issues swirling around us, the internet sometimes throws up a little bit of comic relief.  Like this painfully mid-90's photograph of our former gaffer Mark Cooper.

Forget Blur v Oasis.  The main fight back then was Birmingham City v Good Taste!  And I don't recall Birmingham winning.....

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 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!