Your Guide to our Visitors – Northampton Town

Prior to moving to Sixfields, Northampton used to play at the County Ground; a stadium renowned for only having three stands. In homage to their former home, the design of Sixfields also incorporates just three completed stands. This is partly because four fully functioning stands weren’t actually required, as a large percentage of the home support had buggered off to support MK Dons instead.

Stevenage also have just three complete stands. The difference being that we’ll shortly have four stands as nobody’s done a bunk with the money. As far as we know.

Can you imagine living in a county where the main areas of population are Northampton, Kettering and Corby? That’s like waking up one day and realising that you’ve got a choice between living in one of Baghdad, Basra or Mosul. Or Borehamwood. No wonder Cobblers fans are so gobby.

That’s it. That’s our lot. There’s nothing further to say about Northampton Town, Northampton as a town, or the shoe making business in general. We’ve only got six more of these to go until the end of the season and this one has dredged the very bottom of the barrel of Carlsberg which, now we think of it, is brewed in Northampton. All we can say is, thanks. Thanks Northampton. Thanks Northampton Town. Thanks for having nothing interesting to say about you. Thanks for giving us probably the pissiest lager in the world. Thanks for distilling probably the pissiest lager in the world into Special Brew to make it easier for drunks to piss themselves in public. Thanks for giving us the ability to verbally abuse John-Joe O’Toole for 90 minutes whilst he bosses the midfield. Thanks for employing the most insipid manager in history who tweets about such things as how competent he is at making a batch of Yorkshire puddings (and he really does). Thanks for having a bunch of gobby teenagers wearing moody Stone Island as your fan base. Thanks for being one of the largest towns in the UK that nobody ever wants to go to. Thanks to whoever designed the route of the M1 motorway for bypassing the place. Thanks for giving us the Reverend Richard Coles and his earnest piano playing in the worst band of the 80s and his subsequent earnest commentaries on earnest subjects on all earnest TV and radio channels ending in the number 4. Thanks for giving us Faye Tozer out of Steps for if she hadn’t existed there would have been no Steps and what a tragedy that would have been (ha). But, most importantly, thanks for forcing Carlsberg into every bar in every football ground in the world in a bid to ensure fans have to watch shit fourth division football matches in a state of sobriety.

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Kennedy to Arsenal

It’s the headline most young footballers would most want to read about themselves, unless they were already playing for Manchester City, but imagine what it must feel like to read it if you’re a 22 year old from Lisburn, Northern Ireland? And if your name’s ‘Kennedy’?

But this is the reality for Stevenage starlet Ben Kennedy who, we understand, has secured match day tickets for Arsenal v BATE Borisov in the Europa League fixture to be held at Big Stadium in the coming weeks.

A source close to the highly-rated former teenager told us “Can you imagine coming from some backwater where you don’t even feature on the town’s Wikipedia page as one of its notable people to a place where you actually get to see Arsenal play against a team from – I assume – Lithuania? This is a dream come true for Ben.”

Since signing for Stevenage as a young kid, Kennedy has gone from strength to strength, including getting a subscription to Sky Sports last year. But who could have imagined the journey he would make to see in the flesh the heroes of his 55 inch telly. Or even Alex Iwobi.

Boro fan Arthur Penus told us “I knew that the loan deal at Newport was only the start of Ben’s adventure. I only hope he takes Joe Martin with him. I would love to be able to see a Europa League match at the Emirates. What’s that? Tickets are readily available? Sorry, I’ve got a few episodes of Bargain Hunt to catch up on.”

It is believed that after the Arsenal fixture, Ben will return to Rodney Parade where he’ll spend the rest of the season sitting on the bench eating Sour Patch Kids.

After that, the world is Kennedy’s oyster. But not before Stevenage try to sell him to a club for money. “It’s always been the club’s priority to sell its Academy players for wonga” said a club spokesman over the phone. “Dino foolishly told the truth about Ben the other day so we now need to drive his value back up. The club will therefore be producing a Ben Kennedy DVD showing his goal at Kenilworth Road from multiple angles and in slow motion, with a backing track by Mogwai. We’re also paying local journalists £5 every time they use the phrase ‘highly rated’.”

Highly rated Ben Kennedy was unavailable for comment.

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Your Guide to our Visitors – Yeovil Town

Did you know that Yeovil Town are called The Glovers due to previous manager Graham Roberts being an enormous fan of Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon films? Roberts was also an enormous fan of sending faxes to Newcastle United to tell them what a bunch of arseholes Stevenage were; an action that got him the sack from Huish Park. We’re not sure if he tried to claim “diplomatic immunity” when the chairman proffered his P45 across the table, or whether he got to see Patsy Kensit without her top on. We suspect not. Lethal weapon, indeed.

For those under the age of 40, a fax was similar to a Snapchat but would take about 3 hours to deliver. And the Lethal Weapon movies were a bit like Cagney and Lacey, but with a bit more humour and with a bit less emphasis on Mary Beth’s marriage to Harvey.

Incidentally, American hip-hopper Childish Gambino named himself Donald Glover as a nod to Yeovil Town’s multi-cultural identity. He almost changed This is America to This is Somerset, as he wanted to challenge the institutional racism he imagined might be encountered on dairy farms in the south west of England.

Yeovil manager Darren Way is one of two current football league managers named after thoroughfares; the other being Keith Hill of Rochdale. Other sporting stars named after roads include the cricketer Brian Close and AFC Wimbledon supporter Brian Lane in New Tricks. Bury manager Ryan Lowe isn’t named after a road, but if he was it would probably have lots of potholes along its length and dog shit on the pavement.

Like all rural communities Yeovil has had to adapt to sustain itself. Instead of having an economy solely reliant on the making and drinking of cider, the region has moved towards newer 21st Century technologies such as the manufacture of yoghurt and crystal meth.

One of many anagrams of Yeovil is ‘olivey’, which sort of describes the colour of the Glovers’s kit. Olives have yet to make it to the West Country, with Yeovil residents preferring the crunch of a radish as a pre-dinner snack.

All trains to Yeovil stop at Tisbury, which is the cultural centre of the south west of England. They then stop 8 miles from the town of Yeovil. Which is a right pain in the ball sack, especially when you eventually get to the pub and discover it’s a Hungry Horse.

By the way, we’ve just discovered that Graham Roberts is on twitter. We’re going to see how quickly we can be blocked by him.

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Your Guide to our Visitors – Forest Green Rangers

Piers Morgan, being a prick.

We could devote the whole of this article to taking the piss and/or getting very angry because FGR only serve vegan food at their stadium. After all, nothing gets us more vexed than what someone else decides not to put in their mouth (insert joke about Piers Morgan’s wife). But we won’t do that. None of our writers are vegan (as far as I’m aware) but we’re fully aware that eating meat doesn’t make you any more of a man (or woman) than somebody that doesn’t. In fact, isn’t it laudable that Forest Green and their chairman are making the effort to make a difference? I’d much rather a club banging the drum for animal rights and the environment than one sponsored by a gambling firm, pay day loan company, craft beer brewery, or Jake Bugg. Or whatever the hell it is that our own sponsors do. And if we all ignore Piers Morgan, the cunt will eventually just disappear back up his own arsehole.

Craft beer eh? Emperor’s new clothes or what? “We’ve got these citrus hops from Bolivia that give our beer the flavour of elderflower, papayas and Dettol so, as it’s an artisan brew with a limited run of 9 million gallons a day, we’ll put it into a tiny can and charge you £3.99 for it. And did we mention we’re owned by a multinational conglomerate?” Wankers.

And what the fuck is ‘street food’? It’s a fucking mobile burger bar. Just cos they put it in a brioche bun it doesn’t make it worth £8. “I know, let’s go to a street food festival where I can have an overpriced burger from a mobile burger van, which will fill me up so much that I can’t buy anything else to eat, so I’ll just wander around thinking I wish I wasn’t full up cos that burger over there at that mobile burger van comes in ciabatta, and I’d look the dogs bollocks walking down the street eating that with artisan ketchup dripping down my Jack Wills jumper.”

And don’t get me started on ‘gastropubs’. Actually, yes, let’s go there. It’s just a pub that has decided to replace its pool table with some scruffy tables and chairs (shabby chic, if you like) for the faux middle classes to sit down and eat some overpriced scran at. And if you’re on a budget you can go to M&S and indulge in their ‘gastropub’ range of ready meals so that, after 3 minutes of microwaving, you can pretend you’re sitting in some place in Shoreditch that used to be a decent boozer but which is now full of pricks who all invariably support Chelsea.

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Your Guide to our Visitors – Crawley Town

Crawley. It ain’t got a lot going for it, has it? Post-Second World War New Town, 30 miles out of London sitting under the flight line to a satellite London airport, with a tinpot football team that has virtually no Football League history and shit crowds made up of onanists and the criminally insane. It makes you thankful that we all live in – and support – Stevenage. Apart from those of you who don’t live in Stevenage cos you’re not hard enough.

Even worse for Crawley-ites, there are 4 Wetherspoons within a 10 minute drive of Crawley town centre. Can you imagine the horror of living in a soulless New Town constructed of Lego where everyone says “let’s go to the Brexit pub; that’ll fucking teach the Poles, the hard-working cunts” and then you pay your money for a beer and you realise the beer’s gone off and the pipes haven’t been cleaned in a few months and you think “was it worth it, just to pay £1 less for a pint of beer than for a pint of beer that I’d actually enjoy drinking?” and you think “yes it was, cos Brexit means Brexit and, at least after Brexit, when we’re living in some magical land unencumbered by ridiculous and unnecessary legislation such as the Human Rights Act, we’ll all get more than the one button mushroom with our Spoons breakfast that we currently get cos it was the lack of sovereignty over pub grub that resulted in fungi shortages and which also made Wetherspoons have to heat up their pre-cooked breakfasts in the microwave and which made all their pubs have all the ambience of a post-Second World War New Town on a rainy day in January after the Apocalypse so, in the long run, it’ll all be worth it because, let’s face it, my grandad fighting the Nazis in the Second World War was nothing to do with fighting the Nazis and everything to do with making sure we were able to leave the Common Market 75 years later and, if you disagree with me, then you’re not truly patriotic like I am and you probably wear a white poppy you treasonous bastard”.

James Dyson. He’s a wanker too.

Stevenage welcome back Jimmy Smith, Bondz N’gala and Felipe Morais to The Lamex on Saturday. We miss these players. In the same way we miss that bout of cystitis we had the other month.

Did you know that The Cure were formed in Crawley? Neither did we. For those that don’t know, The Cure were the band that lived forever in the shadows of fellow Goth rockers Fields of the Nephilim; the finest band Stevenage has ever produced. Apart from Eastside Jimmy. But Robert Smith got too fat on Spoons breakfasts and generally repulsed people with his girth and mascara and they ultimately faded into obscurity. Which is as good a metaphor for Crawley Town as we can think of.

The Cure’s 1987 hit Just Like Heaven was written in response to Smith seeing Joel Byrom score for Stevenage from the halfway line at Broadfield Stadium in 2010. Dinosaur Jr did a superior cover version of the song, also in 1987, after reading a report of Byrom’s goal in the Non-League Paper. And they did it without the use of Boots Number 7.

We could go on but we literally can’t be bothered. Not because there’s nothing else to write about Crawley (although there is nothing else to write about Crawley). Come back next week when we might do a more playful review of whoever we’re playing next at Broadhall Way. Or we might do your horoscopes instead cos what’s the fucking point, eh? The season’s already over and we can’t even blame it on Sarll. In fact, we’re not going to bother going to a match until we get bummed at Lincoln next month. We’re only going there cos we’ve booked train tickets. In fact, we’ve had to book the late train home cos of the amount of rolling around on the ground time that will inevitably be added on at the end of the game.

Up the Boro!!!

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Your Guide to our Visitors – Newport County

Newport currently sit proud and handsome in an elevated 10th position in League 2. Stevenage currently reside frustratingly and unacceptably in 12th place, one point and two whole positions behind our visitors. The Exiles’s high-flying league position can be put down to one thing: Graham Westley’s brief tenure at Rodney Parade in the 2016/17 season. Graham is favourite to win Welsh Sports Personality of the Year if Newport maintain a top ten finish this year. He’ll probably call Stevenage a shit hole during his acceptance speech. We’re hopeful he’ll also call Teddy Sheringham a wanker.

Westley’s replacement Michael Flynn has masterfully moulded the manure that Westley artfully deposited on the Rodney Parade turf into a well-fertilised team playing attractive football, just as Graham envisaged he would. Flynn’s previous managerial appointment was at Undy Athletic, a team from the second tier of the Welsh League. His time at Undy has been described by Welsh football journalist Ivor Puncture – shortly before he was sectioned – as “brief, streaky and somewhat transparent, with a lot of gaps at the back”.

Newport share Rodney Parade with a rugby team, the Dragons. The watching of rugby (at least in England) is carried out by middle-class men with posh accents and overbites, wearing Jack Wills sweaters and brown brogues. As a means of tapping into this hitherto untapped market place, Lincoln City have been playing rugby since 2016. Inbred farmers have subsequently turned out in record numbers at Sincil Bank.

Now that the tolls on the Severn Bridge have been abolished, studies have shown that football supporters are no more likely to attend away matches at Rodney Parade. This is based on the fact that the nearest pub to the ground is a fucking Spoons that gets your food order wrong and serves shit beer.

Newport’s greatest exports are Maggot and Eggsy, who are often found trying to be funny on some Channel 5 ‘Top 50 Celebrity Bukkake Scenes’ programme or some similar nonsense.

One Exiles player to look out for on Tuesday is Joss Labadie, a tenacious little player who has a taste for the action and who’s often seen biting away at the opposition. And he also likes to bite opposition players. Perhaps Layth will allow him a nibble of his pie (no euphemism) before the match to quell his hunger. Unless Arsenal are playing.

Postscript: our special correspondent Wasp wishes to shoehorn a joke about Newport making the arduous ferry crossing from the Isle of Wight tomorrow. We thought of doing this but were concerned that it would be a sad cliche and slightly racist, so we concentrated on non-obvious non-nationality-based humour involving Maggot and Eggsy so that the kids would at least have someone to look up on the internet instead of Rita Ora in the nude. Wasp subsequently informs us that the Welsh word for racist is ‘popty ping’. We’re not expecting a Pulitzer any time soon.

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Your Guide to our Visitors – Mansfield Town

Following last week’s abandoned match at Forest Green, it’s understood that Mansfield’s supporters are so keen to attend this match that not even a picket line will stop them.

Speaking of which, and being possibly the most seasonally appropriate segue we’ve ever used, the Flying Pickets had the Christmas number 1 in 1983 with Only You, a track that was originally performed by Yazoo. The opening chords of this song gladdened our ears when we heard it whilst shopping in Sainsbury’s the other morning, until we realised that it was the Kylie Minogue and James Cordern cover version. The realisation of this was like going to bed with Anna Friel and waking up in the morning next to Steve Evans and a mountain of pork pie crumbs.

Yes, we know Steve Evans is no longer the manager of Mansfield but, just like shit on a duvet, it’s hard to totally get rid of the stain.

In fact, it’s hard to get even mildly annoyed about David Flitcroft. This is as good a reason as any to dislike Mansfield Town.

For a short time in their history, Mansfield were known as Mansfield Wesley (honestly), until legal action was taken by Graham Westley due to similarities with his own trademarked name. Other legal action taken by our former manager includes Westley v Alvin the Chipmunk for copyright infringements relating to the defendant’s likeness. And a High Court injunction against that wanker that published Westley’s diaries.

Notable people from Mansfield consists of double Olympic winner Rebecca Adlington. We can’t wait for her to go on Sports Personality of the Year and call Mansfield a shit hole.

Tyler Walker presently plays on loan for The Stags. Until January, when his parent club will recall him and punt him out on loan to a League 1 team. We’re putting our money on Coventry.

Incidentally, did you see we were spot on with our predictions for the Lincoln match. If we were seduced with the notion of being a “lad” we would have put on some moody Stone Island and had a flutter.

Which leads us to our Christmas sermon. Only this week this very journal that you are reading was approached to go into partnership with FansBet, an online betting company. Yes, we couldn’t quite believe it either. Whilst the (unspecified) money would be useful, we are uncomfortable with the omnipresent promotion of gambling whenever we turn on the telly and we urge Ray Winstone to fucking do one, the slag. We’re not against gambling, but just don’t ram it down our fucking throats or make it out to be the coolest thing ever cos we are well aware of the misery it can cause when it spirals out of control. Has anyone else noticed the irony of Ant and Dec lending their name to an online gambling site whilst one of them recovers from his addictions? So we say, if you want to gamble then fine. We’ve done it ourselves. But let’s not make out that playing online bingo in your spare bedroom makes you the life and soul of the party. Or that putting a fiver on a six match accumulator makes you Danny Dyer in the Real Football Factories. If you want to take unnecessary risks in life, spend the night out on the town with Steve Evans.

We end by wishing our loyal Stevenage reader, and the few Lincoln fans that have yet to block us, a very Merry Christmas.

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