Neecey is back on board tonight, I've missed the miserable sod, he's good company and knows his football. Rockingham Road is the home of The Poppies and even in the rush-hour traffic it only takes us an hour.
Kettering has a population of 85,000 and at one time was famous for the boot and shoe industry. You may know their Director of Football, the underachieving Ron Atkinson. He is an accident waiting to happen and is nearly as useless as The Pies Director of Football, Howard Wilkinson.
Atkinson is more famous for his double-act partnership with ITV's Clive Tyldesley than with anything he achieved in the game and is the inventor of sayings such as "early doors", "backstick" and "lollipop". Their partnership came to an acrimonious end after Ron aimed a racist remark at Chelsea's Marcel Desailly. Kettering's Chairman is Asian, the manager is black and so are several of the players, I wonder what they make of it all?
Atkinson skillfully steered Peterborough United from an automatic promotion place to a position outside the play-offs last season. You may have witnessed it on Sky One, it was called Big Ron Manager, it was cringe worthy.
Farsley Celtic is near Leeds and are managed by Lee Sinnot, they are looking for a play-off spot. Their wage bill must be half of Kettering's.
Inside the Social Club there is a photo on the wall from happier times when Graham Carr was manager, I recognise a few faces, ex-Imp Phil Brown is one. His goals fired Lincoln City out of The Conference and back into The Football League. Carl Alford is also on the photo, someone once phoned up Danny Baker on 6-0-6 and said they'd seen Alford in the local Poundstretchers wearing his Kettering kit with his name and number on the back, a classic.
Kettering win the the best pint of the season award, the Everards Sunchaser is stunning. There are some strange characters in the bar, Neecey compares it to Royston Vasey. A Jim Royle lookalike is holding court at the bar, his overgrown beard is covered in froth. It's an hour before kick-off and the bar is busy we settle down to watch Ireland play South Africa in the cricket.
The programme is over-priced at £2.50, I've seen better efforts in the Central Midlands League. It's £12.50 to sit down, it's worth it, this must be the best stand in the non-league. Rock the Casbah by The Clash kick-starts my circulation, it's a chilly evening. The playing surface looks near-perfect, no excuses tonight. Big Ron enters the arena and spends the entire game lurking in the background, chewing gum.
The first-half is an open affair, Farsley No.9, Damien Reeves has caught my eye. Trinidad and Tobago international, Andre Boucard, is Kettering's main artist and pulls all the strings in the middle of the park, he opens the scoring on 26mins, smashing the ball home from 18 yards following a neat lay-off from Craig Westcarr, you may remember Westcarr, he is the youngest player ever to represent Nottingham Forest.
Kettering striker Rene Howe soon makes it 2-0, a ball comes in from the right, he gets a great first touch and fires it in from close-range. Howe has come from Bedford Town and on this outing looks set for a bigger stage.
The Farsley back four is like Fred Carno's Circus but they are dangerous going forward, Reeves pulls one back on the half hour, reacting the quickest following a smart save by Osborn.
Ex-Pie Darren Caskey is playing for The Poppies tonight but he is not popular in these parts and does not receive the huge signing-on fees that his agent Eric Hall masterminded at Meadow Lane.
Neecey is a creature of bad habits and has a degree in fast-food chain establishments: "Pukka Pie and Chips twice please love". It's awful but I am ravenous. Early in the second-half Westcarr strolls through the Farsley defence and finishes with his left peg, 3-1.
It's become a drab affair, The Poppies save a few for Saturday, the game stop-starts, and is littered with substitutions. Farsley sub Ryan Sugden scores a consolation goal following a howler by Poppies' keeper Osborn.
Kettering Town 3 Boucard, Howe, Westcarr
Farsley Celtic 2 Reeves and Sugden
Man of the Match: Andre Boucard