Tuesday, 29 December 2009
New Year's Day 2000, widely held to be the start of the new millennium by all but determined pedants like me, who irritated everyone by insisting the real event was a year later, saw over 2,500 flock to Rockingham Road to see what was undoubtedly a dull match against Nuneaton because they always were. The honour of notching our first goal of the new decade fell to Leroy Chambers, and if you can recall anything about him, well done.
What looked like being just another slow death of a season was unexpectedly rescued by an event almost as rare as a new millennium - a run in the Trophy. It was ironic that we should finally return to Wembley with a distinctly average team, and it is doubtful that the low key occasion itself spawned even a fraction of the generation of Poppies fans who claim Wembley 79 as their first match. However the next day featured the obligatory opentop bus ride around Kettering, one of several during the decade and all rather too long for the thin numbers that lined the route. I recall Sam Banya on the top deck beaming royally like he'd personally won us the cup with a brilliant hat trick. Well in his own way he became a legend, and if only the technology was around then his glaring miss against Rothwell would be a Youtube classic.
Two years later the same bus was on duty again but only to mark our return to the same level after a season in the Southern Prem that was enough to turn your hair grey. Not many teams lose four in a row and still end up champions and even fewer do so after contriving to be beaten by the mighty Newport IOW in the run in. But somehow we pipped Tamworth by a tiny margin thanks to the Folkestone keeper saving a penalty whilst we won at Tiverton, and were still celebrating on their pitch long after the match.
The following season, in the words of Captain Blackadder, began badly, fell away a bit in the middle, and the less said about the end the better. Down we went again, this time to the alien surrounds of the Ryman Premier aka the old Isthmian League. Which meant a succession of home defeats to tiny outfits from Essex before a late rally under Kevin Wilson enabled us to make the cut for the new north and south feeders to the Conference, or as it was now known, the Conference Premier.
Our first season in the Nationwide North was a relative success: top of the table for a while and defeat in the playoffs. At least it felt like we had bottomed out and were looking upwards. Then in October 2005 Peter Mallinger sold the club to Imraan Ladak and immediately we were national news. Not solely for that reason - Imraan had thoughtfully scoured the football world for a suitable person to entrust with team affairs and come up with... Paul Gascoigne (belch). No club in the sixth tier of English football has ever enjoyed a higher profile than we did in those brief 39 days between Gazza meeting the gumbies on Football Focus and being fired after 1-3 vs Barrow.
KW was swiftly reinstated but to no avail and by the end of the campaign IL had fed him to the crocodiles too, and the boys in red were taking on a new look with exotically named recruits that tested Pete Simcoe's matchday announcements to the limit. Half the team had French names and so did the manager - surely this heralded an era of unbroken success? Well - no. What Morell Maison lacked in expertise he didn't quite make up for in quotability. Shortly after we topped the table in March he poked Droylsden in the chest and said "catch us if you can!". Noting we were only a couple of points ahead, they said "ok!" and did. Imraan fired Morell with two games to go, appointed Westley to get us up through the playoffs, he didn't.
But from this low came the new dawn of Mark Cooper. First season: champions by 17 points (that bus again). Second season: FA Cup 4th Round. Third season: second in the league, Cup 2nd Round er zzzzp.
Six weeks later, Cooper off to Peterborough, squad in disarray, chairman again making headlines for all the wrong reasons, dropping down the table, can't buy a goal... Perhaps fitting that at the end of the Noughties, that's what we score.
Sunday, 27 December 2009
You are standing on the edge of your own area with the ball at your feet. Do you -
(A) Make sure you clear your lines, whether by a thumping clearance down the pitch or threaded forward ball?
(B) Try a little backheel flick to Boucaud?
(C) Pass square to Boucaud??
You are standing on the halfway line with the ball at your feet. Do you -
(A) Try to pick out a pass to one of our forwards and try to set up an attack?
(B) Try a little backheel flick to Boucaud?
(C) Pass square to Boucaud?
Somehow, and we're not exactly sure how, you are standing within 10 yards of the opposition goal. Do you -
(A) Try to get a shot away and perhaps even score for your club?
(B) Try a little backheel flick to Boucaud?
(C) Pass square to Boucaud?
How did you do?
Mostly (A). We don't really think you've got what it takes to stand around the middle of the park looking for little passes to Andre all day long. Better luck next time.
Mostly (B) or (C). Welcome Patrick! It's good that you've taken the time to fill in our silly little quiz.
Monday, 21 December 2009
Stay cool, X
"Back of the Net!" Screams Exodus, as he celebrates with delighted Posh fans, who 5 minutes earlier wanted his lanky arse on the next bus back to Kettering.
We don't recall indulging in mind-altering drugs during the production of Issue 8, but having re-read the following article, we wouldn't fancy trying to prove it in court!
Rushden perform the unique feat of winning the First Division thus being the only team to win each division in consecutive years. The FA Cup and League Cup follow and they are only prevented from winning the European Cup Winners Cup when Diego Maradona scored a winner, seemingly off his zimmer. Roger Ashby says, "I'm disappointed for the 60,000 fans we brought from Rushden all the way to the final here in Vladivostok.
Northampton Town chairman comes clean and admits the new ground was really, and I quote, "A little white lie." At an extraordinary club meeting Dick Underwood stepped down and comedian and moments long Cobblers fan Bruce Forsyth was elected to the office of Chairman by a 2/3 majority of supporters and directors. The actual voting was, for - 20, against - 10, unable to sign a cross - 236.
Mr Forsyth's first action was to secure the team's new ground in the car park of the Las Vegas Hilton, where he was spending the season as 5th warm-up act for Keith Harris and Cuddles (Orville having been tempted away by Rod Hull as a replacement for Emu, who'd signed for Arsenal as their new centre forward). The Cobblers make the jet-lag suffered by opposing sides pay as they manage to finish 2 from the bottom.
Corby Town are relegated from the Kettering Sunday League for failing to fulfill over half of their fixtures. Newly appointed supporter-manager Angus McChunder says, "Corby who?"
Kettering Town come 2nd in the GMVC.
Rushden win all the domestic trophies and defeat Inter Milan in the final of the European Cup. Roger Ashby's name is linked with at least 24 teams on the continent, but says, "Where could I go that can be any bigger than Rushden Town?"
Northampton Town are forced to return to England and are forced to share Peterborough Ice Rink with the Peterborough Pirates Ice Hockey Team. A number of the more attractive players win contracts to appear with Mr Forsyth on "Play Your Cards Right". The uglier ones get bit-parts on "you Bet!" The club enjoys one of its best seasons for many years because, " the playing surface was so similar to the one they played on at the County Ground."
Corby Town spend the season playing a series of prestige friendlies against various groups of youths who wander around the Exeter estate in the town. Keith McSkoda, ex-all in wrestler takes over the reins at the club because, "I'm the hardest bastard you'll ever come across, and I've got the only football."
Kettering Town finish 2nd in the GMVC.
Rushden Town's capacity is raised to 125,000 in time to parade the clean sweep of trophies they capture. The club is invited to join a new European Super League. Town Mayor, and recently knighted manager Roger Ashby says, "It just so happens that I was looking for a league to put our 5th team in."
Northampton Town changes hands when Bruce Forsyth loses the club in a side bet with Ronnie Corbett during a pro-am golf tournament in Salt Lake City. As new chairman, Mr Corbett spends several hours introducing himself to the team. He promises a new ground, more players, sponsorship by his jumper manufacturer, and tells them an extremely long version of a joke his producer had told him a few nights previously.
Corby Town, under the leadership of Raith McSkoda begin a campaign at the Wellingborough Indoor Cricket League but bow out after one game. Mr McSkoda says, "It's a friggin' rip off!" In the ensuing scuffle Mr McSkoda partially destroyed the cricket hall and hospitalised 2 dozen police and firemen.
Kettering Town finish 2nd in the GMVC.
Rushden Town supply the entire England football team which wins the World Cup, held for the first time in the Galapagos Islands. In a see-saw final they defeated surprise finalists Luxembourg 23-0. Rushden, England Manager, and recently appointed Papal Legate, Roger Ashby says, "The World Cup is the cake, but the league is our bread and butter."
Northampton Town play their fixtures in the back garden of Ronnie Corbett's house in Hertfordshire, while awaiting completion of their new ground which was being built in the centre of the large roundabout on the A43 on the way to Kettering. Mrs Corbett says, " I don't mind really, except when they tread on the flowerbeds."
Following the sentencing of previous manager Raith McSkoda to 25 years for assault and criminal damage, Neil Edwards returns to take over the club. He says, "We only intend to play in the Kettering and District Cribbage League until the club is back on its feet and able to afford a new football."
The Football League decide to allow the top 2 clubs from the GMVC into the league.
Kettering Town finish 3rd in the GMVC.
Rushden Town again win everything. They even reach the semi-final of the Benson Hedges Cup before losing to Essex. A new T-Shirt is launched bearing the legend, "I SUPPORTED RUSHDEN WHEN THEY WERE IN NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL" Over 170,000 were bought in the first week. Manager, pop star, male model, cabinet minister and chatshow host Roger Ashby says, "Ain't life wonderful?"
Northampton Town move into their new ground but it is closed by the council due to lack of planning permission 6 1/2 minutes into their first game of the season. In an act of desperation Mr Corbett asks the County Cricket Club for their old ground back. The cricket club agrees on the condition that Mr Corbett agrees to make no more episodes of "Sorry!", and stops the BBC from repeating "30-odd years of the Two Ronnies". With this settled they return home and are promptly relegated.
Corby Town purchase a second-hand football and manager Neil Edwards says, "Now watch us go!" Luckily for the club, at that exact same moment the SDP Government, under the leadership of David "You can stuff proportional representation up your arse now we're in power" Owen, it is decided to remove the entire town of Corby back to Scotland allowing even a team as bad as Corby Town to win titles.
As a joke the FA allow the top 21 clubs in the GMVC to enter the Football League.
Kettering Town finish 22nd.
Sunday, 20 December 2009
The people of Kettering are the most miserably negative group in Northamptonshire.
The Poppies supporting folk of Kettering are the grisliest bile-spreaders within the town.
And elements of the Poppynet community are the blackest-hearted, moan-merchants amongst the Kettering support.
And, in the grand scheme of things, that makes them pretty negative.
Take the reaction to poor X, for example. Sure, he's packed away his largely ineffective long-throw and left us for Peterborough. He took the opportunity to further his footballing career in a far higher division. Ordinarily even the biggest whiners on Poppynet would wish him well, and count him amongst the "Glorious Few" of ex-Poppies that we could be kinda proud of. As opposed to the 99.5% of former players we would be perfectly content to never hear of again.
The odd, and very odd Poppynetter seem to have taken great exception to anyone even daring to mention X on their hallowed electronic pages. This former player appears to have become persona non grata in double quick time, and anyone who reports on his activities at his new club is aggressively rounded-on. Is it just because he is an ex-X, and we shouldn't be wasting keystrokes on anyone who no longer pulls on the red of Kettering? I hope not, as these same people have no problem in talking about our history and the players who have represented us in the past when it suits them. It would seem unfair to deny others the same right, surely? At the bottom of this page is a photograph of the great Roy Clayton. Should this be removed as he no longer holds down an automatic starting place for the Poppies? (but who knows, with our limited striking options nowadays...)
I'd rather think that talk of Big X is exposing a raw nerve amongst certain of our support. Because his departure, and that of Cooper now appears to have become the defining moments of an end of an era? The good days have gone and all that is left is uncertainty and worry? A run of defeats under Lee Harper, the almost incessant rain during his tenure (did it ever rain under Cooper?), and a Chariman who seems intent upon steering the Club onto the rocks have made for particularly interesting times.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Parents of Chelsea players are asked to note the following timetable:
8pm - arrive at party
9pm - get tanked up
10pm - dressing up game
11pm - tequila shots followed by vodka & red bull chasers
12am - meet Santa
1am - film each other having sex
2am - jelly and ice cream
3am - punch photographer and assault taxi driver
Meanwhile Stoke manager Tony Pulis has played down reports of a frenzied bloodbath after he cancelled the players party in favour of extra throw-in practice.
"I'm disappointed with the way this has come out", he said, whilst assisting police with their enquiries into the deaths of six players and a member of the backroom staff.
"I was brought up that what happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room. It's important for my surviving players to have trust that whatever is said and done will remain within those four walls".
"This is player power gone mad".
Final result from Liverpool Magistrates Court:
Club DJ 2 black eyes, Steven Gerrard 0.
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Barrow scored one. They might have had two. So what. Teams with attacking flair would expect to overcome that. Our problem is the lack of options. Plan A looked ok for a while in the first half but once Barrow worked out that we couldn't vary it, it was child's play for them to keep us out after they scored.
It's going to be a tough few weeks until the next opportunity to refresh things in January, but if LH (or whoever) is denied the necessary resources then, it's going to be a tough few months.
Obviously, this is something the Council won't do, so there is the real danger of a fatal impasse. The recent favourable publicity the Club has enjoyed has brought the Council to the negotiating table. Hakewell sounds increasingly desperate to sit down with Imraan, and now it looks to the casual observer as though the Football Club is the stumbling block to these talks.
Get in there Imraan! As the Club's high profile starts to wain again these offers of talks may well dry up. You don't need us all in there with you to argue our case. However, it might be an idea to have a representative supporter as part of your group to ensure the Council don't try to screw us over. That is always harder to do with an actual voter in the meeting!
There's a time to play hardball, and a time to make peace. For the sake of the Poppies, surely now is the time to make peace?
The Clock is Ticking......
Friday, 11 December 2009
However a very different sort of Telford Day (an AFC Telford day?) unfolded last season when the emotional high of an FA Cup battle against the big boys was very closely followed by the crashing low of going out of the Trophy with barely a whimper .
Tomorrow, worringly, it's all looking too familiar. Throw in the extra ingredients of a manager who's still to confirm whether he can resolve his differences with the chairman, and a bunch of players who are either (a) disenchanted (b) borrowed or (c) probably still knackered from Tuesday, and it doesn't bode too well for a Trophy run extending much beyond 5pm Saturday.
It certainly wouldn't be the first time we've exited two cups in the space of a week. We may even have done three once, if you count the Bob Lord Trophy.
But come on guys let's be positive. We're playing Barrow, so if we get past the first 4 seconds it could be our day. And Jason Lee is still banned from coming within 10 miles of Rockingham Road.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
I don't suppose we'll ever really know what happened in those minutes after the game. I'm not sure even those involved can entirely and accurately remember the exact order of events, and what precisely was said.
Having listened to both of Imraan's radio interviews, as well as John Deehan's and Lee Fowler's ones I was struck by how genuine they all sounded. None of them said anything which screamed out, "I am lying, but I hope that no-one notices!" Of course, each of them painted themselves as the injured party, but I reckon each of them is telling the truth as they remember it. Nevertheless it makes our Club look like amateur-hour again.
So, where does all this leave us?
Deehan, if he was ever actually employed by the club has gone. Imraan's talent for self-destructive publicity continues. Hopefully Lee Harper will remain as Manager, if he can reach an understanding with his mercurial Chairman. Also hopefully, Lee Fowler does the decent thing and asks for his contract to be terminated. This would leave him available to another club, and rid us of a player who doesn't want to be here, but is content to continue to collect his wages.
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
- Production of articles.
- Making the wording fit the pages.
- Non-existent letters page.
- News and stories that can be months out of date by the time people see it.
- Paying the printer.
- Selling the bloody thing.
- Explaining what a fanzine actually is, and patiently pointing out for the millionth time that it is NOT the programme.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Half of the strikers on this list from barely a fortnight ago have now been deemed surpus to requirements....
Thursday, 3 December 2009
In '89 our Cup achievements were overshadowed and those were different days when non-League football had a much lower profile. Now the club has made national headlines in consecutive seasons and - far better - for exploits on the pitch rather than gimmicky recruitments off it. At last we are no longer known only to the casual football fan as that club who Gazza managed. The FA Cup is our path to glory, and dare we imagine the impact if by some magic we win next week's replay? It could literally be the making of Kettering Town.
But whatever the result at Elland Road, this is already the season in which we have beaten Luton, Wrexham, Cambridge United and Hartlepool, drawn with Oxford and of course Leeds. A few names to conjure with in there, never mind what division they currently occupy. We've gone to a string of bigger clubs as underdogs and silenced their crowds, giving the present generation of Poppies fans a bunch of awayday highlights as good as anything in our history. Yes Barnet and Wycombe were fantastic at the time, but I dare say we'd have swapped them for winning at Kenilworth Road.
The fact that this could all prove to be a glorious last hurrah for KTFC as we know it is something best not dwelt upon. If the events of just the past few days have proved anything, it is that this club just won't lie down and where there's life there's hope.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Monday, 30 November 2009
- A sizable minority of Leeds fans still think they are the best club in the world ever, and not simply a team doing well in the 3rd Division as was.
- A similar minority of Leeds fans believe that bellowing "Leedsleedsleeds" in your face somehow makes them the best supporters the world has ever seen.
- Although Lee Harper worries the hell out of us when the ball is down by his ankles, we wouldn't swap him for anyone else - particularly the Leeds keeper.
- No Kettering fan will be travelling by train to the replay unless they have a hankering for an 8-hour return trip with delightful 5 hour stopovers in either Sheffield or Derby.
- God bless Ian Roper's all-effort displays, but please keep him away from the microphone & camera.
- Being a copper at a Poppies FA Cup game must be the second easiest way of earning cash EVER, second only to being a sofa tester, and just ahead of stroking puppies.
- The white rose of Yorkshire was superseded, and made redundant in 1485 by the Tudor rose, which is Northamptonshire's emblem.
- The thousands of away fans in attendance made less noise than the couple of hundred AFC Wimbledon fans earlier this season.
- Nothing quite beats getting wet at an FA Cup game.
- Moses needs to sort his f**king head out while he still has a career in football ahead of him.
- It is almost impossible to send coherent text messages whilst standing in driving rain.
- Lee Harper has been thoroughly reading his guide book to "Manager-Speak".
- Leeds fans seem to be labouring under the impression that a tie against Manchester United means a return to the big-time. This might be true if the gap in league places between the Red Devils and Leeds wasn't almost exactly the same as the gap between Leeds and us!
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
80’s pop-star Feargal (Loving You) Sharkey has weighed into the debate as to which town in the UK is saddled with the most embarrassing Council. Following KBC’s decision to prosecute HMV in Kettering for letting Faryl Smith sing at the branch, Mr (A Good Heart) Sharkey , on Radio Northampton's drivetime show, labelled Kettering Council as “Ludicrous”.
The (You Little Thief) singer went on to bemoan the “Ridiculous Decision” the Council had made. He may have also added, “the stupid feckers!” but this is unconfirmed at this point.
It does make you wonder about KBC. Why do they want to appear as though they hate anything good that comes out of the town? At this point in time Kettering is known to the outside world for three things: -
(A) The Poppies
(B) Faryl Smith
(C) Wicksteed Park
If there is a story in the press over the next week about KBC trying to close Wicksteed Park we will be left with the inescapable conclusion that they are systematically trying to destroy everything positive to do with the town!
Maybe if they manage to abolish all the good things in this town they feel they will be able to bulldoze what remains of the heritage quarter, build shopping centres on every street, and round-up every first-born son to be sold into slavery without stirring up any dissent.
Now that Feargal (Teenage Kicks) Sharkey has thrown his hat into the ring, we contacted other 80’s pop stars to find out their opinion of KBC’s overall performance.
Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow thought that the Council was being short-sighted in not suporting popular local amenities. Marco Pirroni, of Adam and the Ants was worried that KBC was out of step with the wishes of the people it was elected to serve. And Kim Appleby of Mel and Kim fame added that the Kettering Borough Council had pissed her off for the last time and that they should, “Sort themselves the f**k out before I put a cap in their asses!”
Thursday, 19 November 2009
(Of the Pitch, that is)
One of the first things that will occupy Lee, Lee, Lee Harper in his new job will be to get the best out of our forward players. Each has their particular talents, but we have yet to hit upon the devastating combination which will have opposition defenders both cowering, and stifling an attack of the shits. Just imagine where we would be in the league if our forwards REALLY hit it off!
Arguably top of the pile presently is Moses Ashikodi. In his favour is his directness and eye for goal. This talent can also be known as greed! But when it is in a striker who hits the net, “Greed”, as Gordon Gekko once said, “Is Good”. What lets him down is his almost pathological inability to play alongside any of our other strikers. Give him the ball in a lone striking position and he’s as good as gold. Try to link him up with anyone and it’s shrugged shoulders and rolling eyes all round, as flicks go to no-one and the strikers spend almost the entire game standing 60 yards apart.
Our other main threat comes from Anthony Elding. He shares Moses’s directness and eye for goal, but the main thing that lets him down is, frankly, he is too good for his teammates. He makes numerous searching, intelligent runs that are almost never spotted by anyone else in a Kettering shirt.
Next in line is our favourite son, and longest serving player (!), Jean Paul Marna. Even though criticism of JP is tantamount to blasphemy at Rockingham Road, even his most ardent fan (Cough – Imraan - Cough) must admit he is bringing very little to the party these days. His lazy, mazy dribbles almost always end with him being dispossessed. He wanders around in a bit of a daze, and seems just a bit to content to be a bench-warmer. Yet, we all still love him, which can’t be said for –
Poor old Damian Spencer, who seems to have slotted into the “handy scapegoat” position gladly vacated by Iyseden Christie. I think much of the ridiculous anger (even for our pop-side) aimed at Spencer is decidedly unfair. For most of his time here he was used as a lone striker, when his obvious talent is to win headers and flick-ons for a second striker. And no-one can argue that he doesn’t win the majority of headers he goes for.
Lastly we have Francis Green, who despite some good games has often looked lightweight when playing down the middle. Seemingly another player to add to our “bit-part-forward-cum-winger-type list. When he first came here he took players on, but these days seems more content to lay the ball off rather than commit the defender.
There’s also Danny Thomas, but his style of play is so similar to Francis’s that it seems unnecessary to rewrite the previous paragraph.
So, there you have it. Plenty of striking talent, which needs shaping into a potent force.
We’ve done our bit - over to you, Lee!
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
In an earlier blog, it was noted that coincidences abounded on the trip to Hartlepool. In the days following Hartlepool, as it grew increasingly more likely that MC would soon be gone, I found myself mulling over another coincidence between the Poppies boss who in my eyes he most resembles - Ron Atkinson.
In November 1974, Big Ron's final match in charge before departing for Cambridge United was a Cup victory over League opposition. Would Mark Cooper go out the same way? It transpired not - but he did sign off with a win at Cambridge United!
The Big Ron comparison first struck me in the championship campaign and has grown in my mind ever since. There are echoes in their moderate playing careers before dropping into non-League but plenty of others can rival that. What they have in common at the same age is a presence, a confidence that lifts players and achieves results that others wouldn't, combined with a slightly abrasive edge that some might find cocky.
How many times under Cooper did his teams defy the Poppies stereotype of wilting under pressure and losing the big games? Top of the table by 5 points? Fine we'll make it 10. Crunch match against nearest promotion rivals? Result 5-2. Cup replays against League opposition - played two won two. Older heads can no doubt recall many similar performances in the Atkinson glory days.
Like Ron, Cooper has developed something of a swagger (even if his teams weren't always set up to play that way). He clearly feels he has a big future, and although management is more precarious than it ever was, I wouldn't bet against him matching Big Ron in reaching the top flight. Hopefully without the benefit of a fake tan, bling or regrettable off-mike moments.
I don't care that it was an early round of a meaningless county cup competition.
I don't care that they didn't put out their first team.
I don't care that it was only played at Rockingham Road because they'd neglected to pay their electricity bill.
I don't care that it took extra time.
I don't care that it was cold.
I don't care that this pointless game set me back a tenner.
I don't even care that the social club was closed to me.
We beat the Direones, and I finally got to see it!
(In your misshapen face, fool!)
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Only time for a quick blog today as I'm expecting a call from Mark Cooper anytime now. Championship football eh? I can't wait! I'll be able to shore up Peterborough's defence in no time. Blue also brings out my eyes!
I've typed up my resignation from Burton - to be honest, they were a pile of shit anyway! And yellow? Who the hell plays in yellow! It just makes you look fat and jaundiced!
Anyway, got to go. I expect my phone to ring any second now.
Any second now.
Just checked, it's still fully charged.
In an unexpected move, Champ the Lion has thrown his, er, mane into the ring. "I'm sure it would surprise a few people", he growled, "seeing as I haven't completed all my coaching badges and all that, but I do know the club inside out".
"With my experience of what works best in the area of walking around the pitch waving at little kiddies, I'm confident the team would be in safe hands."
"Providing the role can be combined with my usual pre-match duties - and I don't see why not - I'm ready to give it a go".
And as for whether a successful caretaker stint could open the door for something more permanent, Champ said "That's up to the chairman, all I'm focussed on is getting the lads ready for the next match".
We shall see. Whatever happens, Champ seems to be set to become the first furry, carnivorous, slightly comic creature to manage at a senior level since Altrincham's John King.
Friday, 13 November 2009
Sunday, 8 November 2009
No need for 95th minutes goals today!
And then the draw for the Second Round...
"Which way to the bank...?" Leeds United at home has to be the plum draw of the round. I just really, really hope the local police don't see it as an opportunity to pay off their mortgages.
Friday, 6 November 2009
However, after sharing my findings it was pointed out that I'd somehow omitted the defeats at Gillingham and Blackburn. Bugger!
The now complete and accurate list of our FA Cup away-days against League Clubs in recent memory (until I remember another one) is as follows: -
Halifax Town. Won 3-2. Great night, great trip (except for the coach catching fire) Robbie Cooke and Russell Lewis shot us to heaven (well, more exactly, Charlton).
Charlton Athletic. Lost 2-1. The largest Poppies migration which didn't involve twin towers descended on South London. Cooke scored the goal which put us within touching distance or glory.
Maidstone United. Won 2-1. Revenge in some small measure for them beating us to promotion to the league a couple of years earlier. Not sure if we'd got better in the meantime, but they sure as hell were worse! Phil Brown and Darren Oxbrow scored for us. However, only one of them was a Kettering player at that time!
Blackburn Rovers. Lost 4-1. Rovers were about to go on a Millionaire-backed ride that would result in a Premier League title. They took a short break from their inexorable rise to give us a bit of a spank. Brownie scored our goal, which looks better every time you see it, and it looked pretty good at the time.
Gillingham. Lost 3-2. Most annoying of Cup defeats at League grounds because we deserved so much more. Brownie again, and Swamp-Monster Richard Hill did the business for us, but a referee who couldn't spot a foul on a goalie from all of three feet away consigned us to defeat. We were in the midst of one of our periodic downturns, and Graham Carr was picking up players from everywhere to fulfill fixtures. This defeat still rankles.
Ah ha!! Bet you thought I'd forgotten Wrexham. Drew 1-1. Cannot recall for the life of me who scored. Hopefully someone will be able to dredge that one up!
Hull City. Won 1-0. In their pre-Premier League whipping-boy period, Hull were a struggling basement team waiting to be turned over by a sub-standard Poppies team. Matt Fisher's thumping effort turned out to be Peter Morris's last hurrah.Bristol City. Lost 3-1. Darren Collins gave us a surprising half time lead at Ashton Gate, but eventually we were swept away. Probably the only game where he sweated for us, and didn't spend all his time moaning at Dale Watkins.
Lincoln City. Won 2-1. Almost up to date now. Craig Westcarr scored our first, and then recent pop-side scapegoat Lyseden Christie silenced his boo-boys for fully two minutes by heading our late winner. A sweet victory over their lying, whining, loudmouth manager, who's name now escapes me.
Notts County. Drew 1-1. This was a game against the 2008-9 Notts County vintage prior to Sven, flying visits from Sol Campbell, and shady foreign millionaires. Brett Solkhon put us 1-0 up, and of course, we won the replay after they drew level. We went on to go on and sell out Rockingham Road against the mighty Eastwood Town. Fully 4000 more people turned up for this game than would have been there had it been the third round of the Trophy rather than the Cup!
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Of the other 30-odd councillors only two have seen fit to reply. Both positively. As for the rest - so much for democracy and local accountability. So much for the common decency of a response, even if it's, "F*ck you and your football club!" They've all been sent a little reminder as to what the general consensus is about politicians, and the fact that they are helping to foster this opinion.
The important points the Council are somehow not hearing, also the ET with it's coverage, are simply: -
The Poppies want NO COUNCIL MONEY.
The Poppies want NO COUNCIL LAND.
The Poppies seek only a favourable response to building an out of town shopping, football and community area. Such developments, although they may be frowned upon, are NOT ILLEGAL. It doesn't affect any of your precious "town plans" that are usually set in stone until the Council decide to bend or break them.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. SO WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?
It seems that we are going around in circles. The Club and Asda (as was) won't put a planning application in without hearing positive noises from the Council, whilst the Council won't officially comment until the application goes in.
Of course, unofficially the Council may try to screw us over for new offices and a pool, but obviously that doesn't count. It's just politicians trying to f*ck us over once again. Just our luck to have the only Council in the country who don't understand the asset to a town a successful football club can be.
Well, the second email stirred up the proverbial hornets nest. Replies came thick and fast - mostly taking exception to our somewhat disgruntled tone at being ignored previously. Some showed support, but were fearful of stepping out of the line so well defined by the Council Leader. Others limply played "follow the leader" and said that the reply from Cllr Hakewell was also their reply. No doubt this is much better than thinking for themselves....
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
We pretty much know that London is south of here and the North Pole is to the, well, north, but after that the details can get a bit patchy…..
A case in point occurred at Redditch, when some of our Chavs accused their Chavs of being northern, and if I recollect, scum. Northern? You’d be forgiven for thinking so after we travelled on the Northbound A14 and M6, but no, Redditch is actually to the SOUTH of Kettering. So, Redditch go from being Dirty Northern Bastards, to Soft Southern Jessies in the blink of an eye. They didn’t like being called “Brummies” either. “We’re not piggin’ Brummies, we’re Redditch” one Brummie piped, in a broad Brummie accent.
Teams like Telford, Chester and Hereford have not responded well to our assertion, when visiting their grounds, that their proximity to the Principality means that they are Welsh (and they know they are).
The anger shown by Telford and Hereford at our geographical faux pas is perhaps understandable. Hereford is a mighty 17 miles from Taffyland, whilst Telford is a whopping 26 miles from being in sheep-worrying country. Chester, on the other hand, can’t really hit back at claims of closet leek-waving tendencies given the fact that half of their ground is actually in Wales!
What constitutes a Cockney is also open to some debate. The accepted wisdom is that you need to be born within the sound of Bow Bells to claim the dubious honour of dressing in a pearly suit, eating jellied eels and knowing the Kray family personally. This distinction has proved far too narrow for we Poppies fans who have in the past accused everyone from Stevenage down to Maidstone of being Cockneys.
But even then, we don’t have the record for rank geographical ignorance. During Darlington’s brief stay in non-league, one of their charming followers called my better half a “Cockney Slag” as she was selling programmes at Rocky Road. Either this person possessed an extraordinary ability to somehow divine that her maternal grandmother hailed from London, or, more likely, assumed as they’d sat on a coach headed south for 4 hours that they must surely be in London! Oh, and the slag bit was wrong too, I hasten to add!
Even within London, regionalism runs rife! I remember watching Arsenal play West Ham once on the TV, and the Gooners were calling the Hammers, “Cockney W*nkers”. My first instinct was to say, “you’re all Londoners, surely, you’re ALL Cockney W*nkers!”
Here's a helpful map of the UK purely for illustrative purposes. The appearance of the fair Becky Mantin is purely coincidental.
Monday, 26 October 2009
The dates for proposed riots on the new Market Place, burning in effigy of council officals and the (further) ransacking of the town centre are TBC.
By typing the word "Kettering" into the Google search engine, we were amazed to find that little old Poppies generated the most results with 381,000. The Council received a creditable 364,000 results, and the Hospital rounded out the top three with 326,000.
Curiously, none of the hundreds of sporting organisations within the Borough showed up at all in this not particularly scientific test. This is not to suggest in any way other sporting bodies within the area aren't important, but shows simply the level of interest the Poppies generates at a national and international level.
For better or worse, "Kettering" to the outside world, beyond planning guidelines, and "local plans" IS the Poppies. Not the Council. Not the Newland Centre. Not the Market Place. Not the Lighthouse Theatre. And certainly not the Lahnstein twinning association! Our councillors would do well to remember that when presiding over our fate.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
As we foresaw in an earlier blog, the area seems to have developed into a mecca for our dumb-ass, halfwit youths to do those tossy skateboard jumps, which by all laws of physics, should shatter their legs every time, and ride tiny little bikes with no brakes. What is it with these chavvy dickheads and their tiny little bikes? You must have seen them. Generally they are full grown men on piddly, single gear BMX type bikes, with their saddles about an inch above the back wheel, with their only method of braking to shove a foot on the rear wheel! When they pedal hard, reaching speeds of almost walking pace, their knees are bobbing furiously either side of their stupid heads!
Curiously, none of the Council's "artist's impressions" of how the market place would look featured the town's gaggle of half-brained, inbred scum draped over it, looking like they need culling. No, the initial drawings tended to feature perfect looking families enjoying the fountains, horse-drawn carriages and leafy trees. And not the collection of low-browed scuzz, who's only interest to society is to throw a spanner in the works of the theory of evolution.
But, as we are dealing with Kettering Borough Council, which is second to none when it comes to addressing the concerns of its residents (sarcasm), action has been swift and decisive. This sign has now gone up on the market square. Who knows, if the mongrels could actually read after attending school for 10 years, it might have some effect, but I doubt it. We shall see.
Friday, 23 October 2009
The first is the guy they had in goal until the last year or so. Kinda little. Kinda looked like an accountant or middle management type. Always had a smile on his face, and constantly chatted to the crowd behind him. Despite the fact that he usually let in 3-4 goals per game he always seemed very happy to be playing. Almost as if he'd turned up to go over the club's books and ended up playing for them. The way I imagine it is that just as he was adding up the sponsorship receipts (all £3.20 of it), the players shouted up to the office that they needed a second goalie to help out with a training game. He put down his calculator and said that he'd played a bit back at college. The players convinced him to give it a go, so he fished his golf boots out of the back of his Mondeo and went between the sticks. Next thing, it's several years later and he's still playing for them, which didn't say much about the previous goalie.... Here's little Richard having yet another swing-and-a-miss.
The second image that springs to mind was the pissed-up gumbie who threatened about 30 Poppies fans for celebrating a goal. He just walked up to the little stand we were sat on and basically threatened us all. I say "walked." He had been liberally swigging from what seemed to be a large clay cider pot through most of the game, pausing only now and again to swear and gesture at the away supporters. In fact, when he'd had just about enough of us and came over to give us a barely affordable piece of his mind, he left his drink container with the steward he had been standing next to for the entire game. The obliging steward, who could teach our stewards a thing or two about customer care, dutifully guarded the bottle until its erratic owner came back. Marvellous entertainment.
The third thing that comes to mind is that great big black defender they used to have. What was his name? Exodus Mombassa or something. Bloody good player with an enormous throw-in. I often thought, if he could be on the end of his own throws, Redditch might be a decent team!
I wonder what happened to him?