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....