Sunday, 27 September 2009
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Friday, 18 September 2009
But how does the charming Mr Evans rank in a Top Five I've just thought up of Managers the average Poppies fan hates with a vengeance? Obviously he's in there, but starting at Number Five, lets look at the runners and riders -
Number Five - Martin O'Neill. No-one under the age of 35 will understand the cold, hard, hatred us older folks have for this charming, twinkly-eyed Ulsterman, who is the darling of the media and produces teams that play fresh, attractive football. But you weren't there when his oh so nice Wycombe put four past us at Rockingham Road in front of a sea of blue to effectively finish the rivalry between our two clubs. O'Neill was the up and coming new boy, full of attacking flair and ideas, whilst the Poppies had put their faith in stalwarts like "No-frills Morris" to somehow grind us into the Football League with 42 1-0 wins. Well, we know who won that duel, don't we?
Number Four - Dave Pace. Steve Evans's Manc cousin had a magic couple of years when his team of northern nonces held sway over the Poppies. This sway wasn't helped by having this globulous, gobby arse in charge, ever quick with an angry quote for the media and rude gestures to supporters. If ever a face screamed out to be put on a punchbag, Dave's face was it.
Number Three - Graham Westley. Let's see - has managed Stevenage on a couple of occasions - check. Managed the Diamonds - check. Succeeded in turning the most free scoring Poppies team in a generation into boring also-rans. 4 games in charge at Rockingham Road was 5 too many for this cocksure would-be managerial superstar. Graham, you've got to ask yourself why you're still at non-league level. Answer could be that the only person that rates Graham Westley IS Graham Westley. Mind you , I think he rates himself enough for all of us.
Number Two - Steve Evans. Self effacing, measured and conciliatory are all words and phrases that you would have to patiently explain to Evans. Not that you'd get the chance mind, as the loud-mouthed, multi-chinned, crook would scream you down and then probably eat you alive.
Number One - Brian Talbot. Another classic from the vaults. Can't be bothered to justify Talbot's number one spot. If you were there, you know why he's top of the charts. Here's a few reasons to get you going. Feel free to had the hundreds more that apply -
Inarticulate to the point of imbecility.
Inflicted Mark English on us.
Stealing our players.
Stealing our place in the County footballing pecking order.
That bit of stupid bird shit in his hair.
Claiming the Diamonds budget was lower than the Poppies.
Got found out within 5 minutes of Grigg's money running out.
And did we mention that stupid, big nose?
We have been inundated with emails (well, a couple anyway) with extra anti-Talbot statements.
The first one relates to the packet of sweets he keeps about his person for certain nefarious, and as yet unproven activities which we won't go into in any great depth, except to say that he is unlikely to get a job as a lollipop person.
The second refers to his supposed "monkey heed". In all fairness, he doesn't really have a "monkey heed". This chant was created by some enterprising Geordies who happened to notice that then Sunderland Manager Peter Reid did indeed have something of a simian noggin. He could easily have got a part in the then current remake of Planet of the Apes with minimal assistance from the make-up department.
As is the nature of these kinds of chants, soon every club was using it, or a version thereof to mock opposition players, managers, and hell, why not, supporters too!
Poppies fans dutifully aimed this chant at Mr Talbot. Not that his head is particularly "monkey heeded". At least not in shape. As for the contents, I think we're on much safer ground!
Have we missed anyone out? Let us know.
Thursday, 17 September 2009
"Alright...I've got a whole box of old PATGODs. Are they worth anything yet? I have issue number one also! I knew it would never take off! And here we are 20 years down the road, and we're still tickling those gates of dawn. Up the Poppies. XX Lorne."
Sorry Lorne, I think you are being a bit hopeful as to the worth of PATGOD back issues. If you're lucky you might just get the cover price were you to sell them on. However, given that early doors the cover price was "FREE", I don't think you've got quite the nest egg you'd hoped for !
Best put them back in the loft and maybe the great-great grandchildren may be able to sell them and buy a jetpack or an antique Blue Ray DVD player.
Is this really the future - a world where every disgruntled squad member sounds off to their select circle of 300 "friends" in apparent disregard of the fact that anything remotely newsworthy will be posted on Poppynet?
Do the nation's keyboard warriors really need yet another excuse to trawl the web endlessly?
(Answers: yes, yes and yes I fear)
Let's start with Facebook - the electronic diary for the sort of people who never kept proper diaries. Feeling happy? Feeling sad? Missed the bus? Been for a dump? Update your Facebook entry. Pointless but harmless - most of the time, but not if the comments have the potential to embarrass, offend or otherwise cause damage.
Yes footballers are normal people too (we'll discount Branston, whose Facebook entries were in any case so garbled, only a skilled interpreter equipped with an Enigma decoder could make sense of them). But if they are employees of KTFC and post negative comment on club affairs it can only be disruptive, coming as it does from inside the dressing room where team spirit is paramount.
Plus they usually come across as a bit thick and we like to think of our players as perfect in every way.
Friday, 11 September 2009
Not many players leave the club on such a wave of goodwill and the reason for that pure and simple is that Gareth Seddon always gave his best in a Poppies shirt. Sure he had his limitations - not the world's quickest or best in the air, and a frustrating tendency to stray offside - but he clocked up many miles chasing lost causes and was always someone you hoped the ball would fall to in case he came up with something special. Best of all perhaps was the instant smash from 20 yards that put us ahead in the Notts County replay, with the cool finish against Eastwood earning Gareth another slice of local history.
But for all his virtues the feeling persisted that Gareth was not the spearhead to take us to another level, so the Fleetwood move is probably good business for all concerned. In their one cameo appearance together, we saw Gareth alongside Moses and in terms of pure ability and eye for goal there was only one winner. Whether Moses can match Gareth in attitude or last even half a season will be interesting to see.
- Will there be Gazza’s inner monologue where he rants at the memory of Kevin Wilson, who had indelibly left his mark at the Club? If so, we hope it is a good deal more coherent than his outer monologues!
- Will he order all the players to throw all their medals (!) into the bin because they’ve never won them fairly? Or in this case, at all!
- Will his conflicts with such strong-willed, highly decorated international players as Will Gourlay and Stefan Morley be written with the same powerful verve, and ear for earthy dialogue?
- Will Gazza come across as a footballing megalomaniac, utterly convinced of his own brilliance, even in the face of abject failure, or just another washed up Geordie stereotype?
- Will Gazza’s drunken, rambling outburst against Imraan, where he continually refers to him as “The Doctor” make it into the story, or be considered too far fetched?
- Will he manage to avoid falling off the team coach this time?
So many questions!
Sunday, 6 September 2009
The news of the demise of Farsley Celtic over a figure equivalent to 1/1200th of the amount Manchester City have just paid for a barely workmanlike defender only serves to confirm the insanity of modern football. At one end of the game you have pampered players bleating about the amount of income tax they are paying on their multi-million wages, and at the other end there are clubs that have been part of their communities for centuries going to the wall over a few hundred thousand pounds.
That’s not to say that Clubs that get in trouble are entirely blameless. More often than not it is down to living beyond your means. We are all so desperate to inch ourselves closer to the golden glow of the Premier League that we are all spending money we simply don’t have. Money that perhaps should have been put aside to pay the VAT bill!
Moderate players are being paid far too much money. Clubs that are far too small to pay full-time wages are stretching themselves to accommodate engorged wage bills. At the same time the number of people paying at the gate to watch football is falling. There is also less sponsorship money coming into the game as companies outside of football rightly have other, better priorities closer to home. All-in-all, this is a combination of factors not entirely conducive to continued footballing harmony. And if this sounds familiar, it should. As well as any other number of Clubs, it describes the Poppies pretty accurately.
Without Imraan’s continued backing exactly where would we be now? At best, we’d be moaning on Poppynet about our ticket allocation for the forthcoming derby at Rockingham Triangle. At middling we’d be groundsharing with Rothwell Town, and arranging our games around their fixtures. At worst we could all be talking about Kettering Town FC in the past tense. Let’s not kid ourselves that we’re a full-time football club playing at this level due to anything except Imraan’s wealth and, credit where it’s due, Mark Cooper’s abilities. Let’s also not kid ourselves of the condition we will be in should Imraan pull his funding.
So football continues to throw every penny it has got at players wages to the exclusion of everything else. Supporters are paying a fortune to watch their teams. Clubs overspend and go bust.
Whatever happened to the plans mooted a decade or so ago, when those in charge of football had a rare prescient moment, and foresaw where we were heading? The plans that included the regionalisation of the old Division Three and Four and the possible reverting to part-time football at this level? This may have been a way for Clubs to continue to pay their way, and achieve success. Not only didn’t this happen, but the upper reaches of non-league have also become full-time to match the unaltered lower divisions of the Football League.
When will it end? When League teams routinely go bust? When a Premier League Team folds? When the TV money runs out? Maybe when we run out of bored Far East or Russian billionaires! Or perhaps it is when supporters finally baulk at funding the lavish lifestyles of people whose only talent is to kick a football.
Friday, 4 September 2009
Let's not forget how Gazza almost single handedly healed the sectarian divide in Glasgow by defusing generations of hatred with his inspired flute paying mime. Or that Mark Bosnich enabled the North London Jewish community to forget the horrors of the past with his amusing Nazi salute. And drugs awareness charities were quick to praise Robbie Fowler's coke snorting goal celebration. All examples of footballers using their celebrity to make the world a better place.
To that illustrious company we can now add Nathan Tyson after his sensitive handling of the situation at the end of the Forest - Derby game last Saturday. With crowd trouble back in the headlines and no love lost between these local rivals, Tyson eased tensions by offering the defeated Rams fans a symbolic olive branch in the form of a tactfully waved corner flag.
We look forward to a Premiership star heralding hope for the Middle East by exposing a bomb belt after scoring a goal, or indeed tearing up £20 notes to signal that happier economic times lie ahead for us all.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
At that time, football fanzines were the big new thing and everyone had to have one. A bit like an iPhone, but with dodgy lettering and staples. And swearing. It was simply a case of when not if for the Poppies, and a lively character called Lorne Cheetham seized the moment. When I first came across him, we both lived in London and arranged to meet at our fixture at Welling Utd, where he confidently assured me he would be launching KTFC's very own fanzine.
Lorne's advance description of the blockbusting first issue didn't quite match the reality of the single folded sheet he handed me on Welling High Street. Had the pages not been numbered 1 to 4 I might have been tempted to ask where the rest of it was. But he looked so pleased... and it was undeniably a start.
Not that everyone was so generous. The initial reaction from the Travel Club was lukewarm at best, with copies discarded on the terrace (just imagine what they'd fetch now on eBay!), and even before he saw it Peter Morris instinctively developed a nervous twitch.
It wasn't the happiest of afternoons for the team either. A 3-0 defeat to Welling's familiar mixture of dwarves and trolls left the travelling fans in a foul mood which not even Lorne's jolly glance back to the epic previous season could improve. In fact it probably made things worse.
But happy birthday Patgod and hope you like the football shaped bubble bath we bought you.
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
However, fast forward to 2009 and not only do we have a triumphant Ashes series to celebrate, but it was underpinned by key contributions by Northants cricketers past and present. Yes all right you made us say it - Northamptonshire won back the Ashes.
First there was the mighty contribution of Monty at Cardiff. With the bat. Arguably the most unlikely combination of words since "John Major" and "My Affair With" appeared in the same tabloid headline. When Luton Town's most famous fan since Eric Morecambe walked out to join Jimmy Anderson with 11 overs remaining, most would have preferred to see Eric taking guard (with or without glasses). However Monty defied everything hurled his way with incredible aplomb, and apart from almost running himself or his partner out only a few times, it was thank you Monty, the MBE's in the post.
Inspired by Monty's heroic resistance, England went 1-0 up at Lords so I think Northants can take the credit for that too. The battered Aussies limped to a tour game at where else but Northampton to regroup but with only limited success. The two players who had most to prove, Phillip Hughes and Mitchell Johnson, did not impress. Hughes - an even bigger flop than Bopara - was bounced out again, whilst Johnson's figures were mangled by second teamers enjoying a rare opportunity.
That turned out to be Hughes's last contribution before he was dropped whilst Johnson survived and gradually clawed back some form, as did Australia until England had only pride to play for in the 4th Test. But looking back there were a few precious psychological points earned in the way Graeme Swann joined Broad in racking up what was - incredibly - the second fastest hundred stand in the history of Test cricket. Swann, of course, having learned all he needed to know at Wantage Road (you see where this is going).
With the series poised at 1-1 it needed one more push from either side and with 8 wickets who can argue that Swann was the man. Certainly not Swann himself I suspect. So there is no doubt in the eyes of all true England fans that the Ashes would not have been reclaimed without the contribution of this least fashionable of counties. So much so that had there been a victory parade like 2005, rumour has it that an open top Yorks bus was on standby, with instructions to convey the team to cheering crowds in Abingdon Square via Greyfriars.