Thursday, 31 July 2014

What we did in the holidays part 1 - Comings and Goings

So, what has our club been up to during these warm summer months?  And more importantly, what is PATGOD's opinion?

For the first time in a long time, we will be starting the season with the majority of the players who ended the previous campaign.  This never used to be a big deal, as players racked up 100, 200 appearances for the club.  Often these players were cheerily greeted during the first pre-season game with a heartfelt, "I see your bloody well still 'ere then?"  In recent years we have started with different line-ups, different managers, hell, even different stadiums!

Our managerial triumvirate has become a duo since last season, with Crooner Thomas heading to a Rat Pack Tribute Night somewhere near you.

This season we are still at Latimer Park, and still looking at most of the same heavily tattooed players we grew to love over the past 12 months or so.  One or two didn't stay.  Elliot Sandy has gone to Dunstable, but, as reasonable a player as he was, I would keep Moreman and Dubi ahead of him.  Any day.

James Jepson has chosen to leave and has already had another 2 clubs in the time it has taken to type this.  Another good, if limited player, it was no coincidence that our upturn in fortunes coincided with him arriving at Latimer Park.  With the arrival of Oulton and the return of Brett and diddy Andy Hall, JJ's opportunities were likely to be limited this season.  It's understandable that James is looking for first team football, but his departure has been met with despair in some quarters.  Main JJ Groupie, and chips aficionado, Dennis Kendall texted us to say, "Best midfielder, lovely left foot.  Not a great start to the season - are Thomas Bailey and Scott Machin bringing in their mates?  Sad.  No ambition!"

The loss or Worby in goal may be a bigger gap to fill as no-one has filled us with terrific confidence yet.  And without Andy Osei-Siribour we will need at least another body to sit on our bench.

Coming Soon - What we did in the holidays part 2 - Behind the Scenes.  Can't wait eh?  We can't blame you!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Poppies ready for that difficult "second album"

This coming season is the Club's 142nd.  But, in reality, given the upheavals of the recent past, this could be seen as "Year Two".  Last season was by turns, nervous, horrendous, apocalyptic, uplifting, exciting, disappointing and hilarious*

What should we expect this year? 

Hopefully we will manage to build upon the good things from last season, such as an improving squad, improving facilities, and improving supporter numbers.  Hopefully the ultimate disappointment of the play-off final capitulation won't have put off those wavering supporters who have slowly drifted back to the club. 

Obviously the vast majority of the 2000 Kettering fans who stole my position at Latimer Park won't be back again in a hurry.  Not that I would have expected them to, even if we had won promotion.  Like most clubs, we have a large wedge of people who are attracted to the "big games".  Once it meant a trip to Wembley, or Selhurst Park, or Ewood Park.  These days it means crowding around a bobbly field in Burton Latimer.

But it would be good for the club if a few more were persuaded to return.  More people equals more money equals better team equals more success, even if it also means more f*cking people nicking my spot at the ground.

The club hierarchy seem to be trying to do things right.  Making Martin Bellamy the Commercial Director is an obvious step given he has been doing this unofficially for years.  If nothing else, it increases our chances of securing sponsorship from the Melton Mowbray area.

Keeping prices the same for next year is a good move, along with allowing those who wish to reserve a seat to do so for a small additional charge.  Anyone moaning about this could do worse than consider seated supporters always paid more than us mere Terrace Gods until we were exiled to Non Park.  So, shut up and pay your money!

An open evening to allow people to pop up to Latimer Park to buy Season tickets would be a good idea, especially since some of us have managed to be away whenever the forms have been accepted at the Newland Centre!

On the pitch the squad looks a damn sight better than the one that started last season like runaway sloths.  At this level the likes of Brett and Andy Hall should be more than useful.  Hopefully Dubi will get his head back on straight and come out all guns blazing.  Likewise we trust Henry will finally realise that everyone except us think he's sh*t and commit to us for a whole season!

We owe no former owners anything. We owe no former landlords anything.  We have a playing squad.  We have a management team.  We have a Board of Directors who we know and mostly trust (no one can entirely trust a suspiciously rabid George Michael fan).  We have a goodly number of typically thick, pig-ignorant, boorish but loveable supporters.  As long as bloody Burton Park Wanderers don't go  bust, things are looking good for this season!

Now, let's go and piss this poxy league!

*the fact that Daventry couldn't buy a goal against us, no matter how many games we played!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Farewell to Sid

The best we can do to add our condolences on the death of Sid Chapman is to repeat here a cartoon in which he featured in PATGOD back in 1996.  What we were on back then....?

God knows Sid made of it!  But, we'd like to think that, deep down, he would have appreciated being the only Poppies supporter to ever get his own comic strip in the fanzine.  Surely that would count for something?

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Update from Guy


Thought I'd drop a quick line to let you know what's going on in Branstonville and to catch up with what's new with the Puppies.  But that's enough about you - what about me?

Unbelievable, I know, but I'm going to be hanging my boots up, even though I'm still officially only 31!  Ha Ha!

When I finished last season at Plymouth I thought it was about time I gave the Premier League a crack.  My Agent assured me that there was a LOT of interest, but, strangely, nothing seems to come of it.....

Well, bollox to it!  I've decided to leave footie behind and try pastures new. The BBC website did a nice write-up about me, but with one tiny error -

"He has had 19 different clubs, played more than 450 professional games and headed countless long balls back from whence they came."

As you all know, I NEVER headed the ball straight anywhere!  Ha Ha!

Branston - even teammates weren't safe!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Back Home

It’s been a strange World Cup as an England supporter. Seven months of preparation but knocked out in six days and our boys were back home in their gated mansions in time to watch the final group matches the same as us. Even to see themselves in TV ads grinning, winking, doing ball tricks and celebrating. All very inappropriate, like Suarez being the new face of Colgate.

Was it really just a fortnight ago that the plane touched down in Rio carrying our finest 23 and a whole host of dieticians, doctors, coaches, press officers, PR, HR and even a team shrink whose job it was to release their inner chimp. Or suppress it. Or something.  Just about the only thing the plane wasn’t carrying was the weight of a nation’s expectations.  World Cup fever wasn't a lot lower the last time we failed to qualify, which was just as well really.

Everyone said what a tough draw we had, but this wasn’t the Italy of old. Their top player is 35, chugs around in neutral gear and looks like a hairdresser.  Meanwhile Uruguay’s main talent had an untested dodgy knee. Effectively our task was to do two things:
1.       Stop Pirlo  
2.       Stop Suarez

Having failed to achieve the first objective, everything rested on dealing with the threat of the Hannibal Lecter of the Panini sticker album.  Was Suarez fully recovered?  Ace pundit Robbie Savage knew how to find out.  “If I was playing I would SMASH Suarez in the first 5 minutes.… fairly, of course”.  Of course.  Maybe that was the problem – England were too nice. Fresh from headbutting the dressing room wall, Terry Butcher would have sorted him out. Or needed another bandage.  
The other problem was we lacked a top class finisher. Sturridge might be one day, Rooney isn’t.  His one goal was a tap in.  Even the gerbil who donated its fur for his new thatch would have scored that.  The group was there for the taking if we had a choice of strikers like the previous generation – Shearer, Owen, Sheringham, Wright, Fowler. Even Andy Cole. Ok maybe not Cole.

But at least unlike the two most recent World Cups, England spared us being eliminated on penalties or thrashed, and at times played a little bit of football. Not much to ask perhaps, but better than South Africa when we stunk the place out so badly, FIFA had to open the windows.  And there was no scapegoat this time. You couldn’t pick on old Roy, he did his best, and it almost seems cruel to point out that Gerrard has lately given more assists to the opposition than his team mates.  

Free from any anxiety about whether England can scrape through as far as a regulation quarter final exit, we can sit back and enjoy the rest of the tournament.  Meanwhile, as the national teams of England, Spain, Italy and Portugal suddenly have gaps in their diaries, how about a mini knockout to decide the best group stage loser? A bit like the Europa League. Sky would snap it up. Or Channel 5.    

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

It's a bummer being English!

With the England football team about to play an infamous dead rubber at the World Cup, going out at this stage is so embarrassing - it's like being Scotland.  Or what Scotland used to be like when they were good enough to actually qualify for anything...

And with England's cricketers chasing an impossible 350+ with only 5 wickets remaining against bloody Sri Lanka, it is a tough time to follow any of our nation's main sports.

At this point most sports fans look to the efforts of England's egg-chasers for comfort.  No joy there either after they have just been whitewashed by the All Blacks.

There's never an Olympics around when you need one, is there?

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

F*cking Non F*cking Park!

Three years since THAT Wicksteed Park meeting. Three years since the majority of Poppies fans were mugged, and steamrolled into jumping into the Direones still-warm grave.  Three years for most of us continue to ask ourselves, "Could we have done more to keep the club at Rocky Road?"

Of course, the entire meeting was set-up in such a way that there could only be one decision.  Imraan played the crowd like a virtuoso.  Basically we couldn't afford to keep paying Pickering for a crumbling hole, and why should we when a gleaming super-stadium lay unused just a few miles away.  Imraan couldn't give any actual costs of moving to Non Park, beyond a few, vague suggestions of a host of investors and sponsors, absolutely gagging to throw money at a Kettering Town Football Club who were playing in a piss-hole village..  As we were increasingly starting to notice with Imraan, the nitty-gritty detail wasn't really his bag......

It was obvious that discussions for us to move out of Rockingham Road were advanced.  I imagine he already had Morrell in place too at this early stage.  In fact, in his one misstep, he clumsily tiptoed around answering a direct question about the new Manager.  An "offer" thrown out to the room by Imraan to basically chip-in and keep us in Kettering was carelessly worded and deliberately vague.  Beyond needing fully half the people in the room to sign up that minute to an unspecified and uncosted offer of funds to the club.  Knowing that no-one trusted the Chairman with our money meant this was always a non-starter.

And then there was the contributions from the floor.  To my everlasting regret I never spoke up.  I imagine many others felt the same as me.  Wished we'd spoken up, no matter how pointless it would have been, nor how quick we would have been shouted down.  Let Imraan know what he was doing was wrong, wrong, wrong!

Instead we bit our tongues as various characters stood up and backed the move.  I don't know their names.  Didn't then and don't now.  I just know them by the nicknames I've given them.  Amongst others there was "Old Git",  "Nervous Girl", and "Mouthy F*ckwit".  The "Old Git" blathered on about supporting the club for 60 years and supporting them wherever they played.  To give him his due, I do still see him at games.  I always curse his contribution on the night.  "Nervous Girl" made it as far as Non Park, which was f*cking big of her as she basically begged for us to go there as it would pretty much guarantee us League Football (It did, Southern League football!)  Haven't seen her at Latimer Park though.

As for "Mouthy F*ckwit" I don't think I'd ever seen him at a Poppies game before or since.  Not even at Non Park, where he angrily decided we must go.  He spent most of the evening shouting at anyone who dared even question why the sudden urgency to decamp to Freak-land.  I mean, it's not as if there was a big queue of clubs desperate to relocate to Inbred Central.

I have occasionally seen "Mouthy F*ckwit"around town, scurrying about in his Liverpool shirt, no doubt looking to catch his heroes on Sky TV at a pub in town.  I doubt this clown even knows the Poppies still exist, and couldn't care less.

The Wicksteed Park meeting ended in the infamous "vote", where we are supposed to have given Imraan his mandate.  I say "supposed" as many of us had left before the end of the rally, er, meeting.

As PATGOD reported at the time -

A sad day all round.