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Remembrance Day 2012: Premier League respects war heroes

The Premier League remembers: Clubs pay their respects to war heroes

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UPDATED:

16:05 GMT, 10 November 2012

Ahead of Remembrance Sunday, Premier League clubs across the country paid their respects to those who have served their country in war.

Players had poppies emblazoned on their strips while those at Stoke's home game against Queens Park Rangers warmed up in Appeal T-shirts.

A minute's silence was impeccably observed at all grounds.

Message: Arsenal players' shirts were emblazonded with poppies

Message: Arsenal players' shirts were emblazonded with poppies

A minute's silence is observed before kick off in an English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Fulham

Chelsea, like all 20 Premier League
clubs this weekend, will wear poppies on their shirts against Liverpool tomorrow, which will then
be auctioned off to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

Defender Gary Cahill admitted he might have to explain the significance of the
red flowers to some of his foreign team-mates, but was sincere as he discussed the importance of marking Remembrance Sunday after meeting
servicemen and women at Chelsea's training ground at Cobham.

In memory: A war tribute outside Everton's stadium before the match with Sunderland

In memory: A war tribute outside Everton's stadium before the match with Sunderland

'Some are based here for the next two or three years and some are going off, March until December,' he says.

'They
come back for Christmas. It's real life. It must be crazy. I can't
imagine what that would be like. They deserve a lot of respect.'

Remembering: Stoke and Queens Park Rangers players observe a minutes silence

Remembering: Stoke and Queens Park Rangers players observe a minutes silence

Stoke City's Peter Crouch wears a Poppy Appeal t-shirt

Referee Martin Atkinson (centre) wearing a Poppy Appeal t-shirt

Matching: Peter Crough (left) and referee Martin Atkinson wore Poppy Appeal t-shirts at Stoke

Heads bowed: Reading players wore poppies on their shirts against Norwich

Heads bowed: Reading players wore poppies on their shirts against Norwich

All 20 Premier League clubs will wear the poppy with pride on Remembrance Day

All 20 Premier League clubs will wear the poppy with pride on Remembrance Day

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UPDATED:

23:47 GMT, 2 November 2012

All 20 Barclays Premier League clubs will display a uniform poppy design on their shirts for the first time to mark Remembrance Day.

Every top-flight club will further show their support for the Poppy Appeal by donating all ‘Remembrance’ shirts to the British Legion for auction.

This year’s Poppy Appeal activities are even more poignant, with Armistice Day — November 11 — falling on Remembrance Sunday and all Premier League clubs have permission from the Royal British Legion to use the official Poppy on their shirts.

Wearing the poppy with pride: West Brom display their Remembrance shirts

Wearing the poppy with pride: West Brom display their Remembrance shirts

British Legion targets 42m record

The Poppy Appeal was launched in 1921 to raise funds to support the Royal British Legion’s charitable work and pay respect to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This year, the Legion aims to raise 42million, 2m more than 2011’s record-breaking total, when 46 million poppies were distributed. The first Premier League club to play in poppy-adorned shirts were Leicester City in 2003, and manager Micky Adams wanted it to become the permanent strip after his team won back-to-back games that November.

Sportsmail has also learned that England’s rugby team will wear poppies on their kit when they play Fiji at Twickenham next Saturday — but Scotland will not do so the following day.

The Scots have opted to take the field at Murrayfield on Remembrance Sunday with poppies on their tracksuits and not play the All Blacks in poppy-adorned shirts.

Fiji will also wear poppies on their playing kit for their clash with England.

Wales, who welcome Argentina to the
Millennium Stadium at the same time as England host Fiji, will wear
poppies sewn into their shirts.

The
All Blacks will be wearing poppies on their warm-up tracksuits for the
anthems at the Scotland match. And Australia will wear them against
France.

Show of support: West Brom's Liam Ridgewell (left) and Gareth McAuley pose with south Staffordshire community fundraiser Alison Bates

Show of support: West Brom's Liam Ridgewell (left) and Gareth McAuley pose with south Staffordshire community fundraiser Alison Bates

Football’s adoption of the poppy has been mired in controversy in recent years. England were prevented from wearing them on their kit against Spain at Wembley 12 months ago by world governing body FIFA.

Eventually, after a Sportsmail campaign
and statements from Prince William and Prime Minister David Cameron, a
compromise was reached where the players wore specially manufactured
black armbands emblazoned with the poppy.

They also wore poppies printed on their anthem jackets and observed a period of silence before kick-off.

Respect: Wembley falls silent before kick-off last November

Respect: Wembley falls silent before kick-off last November

In 2009, Liverpool and Manchester United were the only top-flight clubs not to wear a poppy on their shirts, but in 2010 — the last time domestic fixtures fell on Remembrance weekend — every team sported the poppy.

Last year every Premier League club wore a poppy on the weekend of November 5-6, but there was no uniform design of the poppy.

Some
were printed on shirts, some embroidered and some fixed by heat
transfer. This year, after working with the Royal British Legion, who
run the Poppy Appeal, each strip will carry the same poppy design.

Poppy day: Gabby Agbonlahor in Aston Villa's shirt in 2011

Poppy day: Gabby Agbonlahor in Aston Villa's shirt in 2011

Most clubs will iron on printed poppies but a small number plan to carry an embroidered poppy.

A spokesman for the Royal British Legion said: ‘The Royal British Legion is extremely grateful for the support that the Premier League and the 20 clubs are giving the Poppy Appeal. We look forward to seeing players, managers and staff wearing their poppies with pride over the coming weekends.’

Kettering go back to 1976 in bid to beat winding up petition

Staying alive! Kettering turn to the 1970s in bid to save club from going under

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UPDATED:

15:29 GMT, 29 March 2012

Time travel isn’t something that’s going to become possible anytime soon but if you head down to Kettering Town this weekend you may just get the next best thing.

The mid-table Conference National club have announced a one-match sponsorship deal with Betfair that will see them turn out in a strip based entirely on their 1976 kit right up to the ‘short shorts.’

Getting hairy: Kettering will take to the field on Saturday with a retro kit

Getting hairy: Kettering will take to the field on Saturday with a retro kit

Spirit of 76: Kettering Kettering hope to raise much-needed cash to keep the club afloat

Spirit of 76: Kettering Kettering hope to raise much-needed cash to keep the club afloat

The Poppies are in the midst of a financial crisis and face a HMRC winding up petition at the High Court on Monday. The one-off deal has been put in place in the hope of boosting much needed funds.

Kettering made history in 1976 when they became the first British side to feature sponsorship on their match shirts.

At the time the FA threatened them
with a 1000 fine if they did not remove it, but a year later shirt
sponsorship was legalised paving the way for Football League clubs to
cash in.

In another welcome
nod to the 1970s, season ticket holders can get into Saturday's game against
Stockport County at Nene Park for just 1, with supporters
able to pocket the money saved on a full price ticket or donate back to
the stricken club.

Kettering’s
acting Chairman George Rolls said: ‘The club is extremely grateful for
the support that Betfair have shown us. The money raised will massively
help the club at this difficult time.’

Judging by the video, a change in strip isn't the only thing Stockport may have to face at the weekend.

Dodgy
perms, outrageous moustaches, questionable tackling technique and
maybe, just maybe, a 'Saturday Night Fever' goal celebration could be making a comeback…

Mark Stimson and Kettering facing a Real struggle – Michael Walker

On the Road with Michael Walker: Stimson”s suffering Kettering are facing a Real test

Here’s a question no-one was asking this El Clasico weekend: what could possibly connect Real Madrid to Kettering Town

The facetious answer is that they both played on Saturday and both lost.

Bearing in mind that Real’s latest annual turnover was €480.2million, while last week one Kettering player chose to take a labouring job in Scotland rather than continue with the Midlands club, sarcasm would not be unjustified.

But the Kettering faithful, of whom as many as 10 made the 550-mile round-trip to Gateshead on Saturday, could enlighten us.

They have a certain Jaime Navarro in their team.

Bemused: Kettering

Bemused: Kettering”s Jaime Navarro did not understand why his wages were stopped

BY THE WAY…

Plymouth are off the bottom of League Two. Argyle won a point at third-bottom Bradford on Saturday and host fourth- bottom Hereford this weekend. Looking up.

Navarro joined Kettering in August from Real Madrid C. He is 20 and speaks beginner’s English. It must have been particularly unsettling therefore when Navarro had it explained to him why, four months into his two-year contract, his wages had stopped.

He may have thought he’d left a scorching recession behind in Spain, though he probably took the news better than Cristiano Ronaldo would have.

Kettering manager Mark Stimson said of Navarro: ‘He’s bemused by all of it. He doesn’t know what’s going on really. He was shocked when we told him about the money situation, he’s not experienced it.’

Tough position: Poppies boss Mark Stimson is trying to guide the club through this difficult time

Tough position: Poppies boss Mark Stimson is trying to guide the club through this difficult time

Few have. Even in a time of this hardness, when we hear of the travails of Plymouth Argyle and so on, not many managers have had the kind of season Stimson is experiencing.

Kettering Town are the club who appointed Paul Gascoigne as manager six years ago. Their ground was called Rockingham Road and Gascoigne’s presence — all 35 days of it — meant the world rocked up to see what was going on.

Imraan Ladak was the new chairman then, the man behind the enterprise. It was the combined imagination of Ladak and Navarro’s agent that got the player to Kettering.
Ladak is still chairman, but Rockingham Road is no more.

They are a Blue Square Premier club and theoretically have the same Football League ambition as Wrexham, Luton Town and the rest of the division. The reality is that Kettering’s ambition is to make it into next week.

The club formed in Kettering in 1872 are now based eight miles away in Irthlingborough. The ground is Nene Park, which is where Rushden & Diamonds played.

Difficult times: Chairman Imraan Ladak at the club

Difficult times: Chairman Imraan Ladak at the club”s former ground Rockingham Road

They are Kettering’s rivals. That should be were, because Rushden, who had five seasons from 2001 in the Football League, were expelled from the Conference last season and are no more. Who noticed

Kettering, the Poppies, could go just as easily. The front page of the local paper on Friday carried the headline: ‘We Can’t Afford To Lose Poppies,’ based on a comment from the Kettering council leader.

A lifetime ago: Former England star Paul Gascoigne was manager of Kettering for just 35 days in 2005

A lifetime ago: Former England star Paul Gascoigne was manager of Kettering for just 35 days in 2005

The failure to pay players has led to an embargo on recruiting. Economics meant that on deadline day Stimson lost five, including the top three goalscorers. That trend continues and led to doubts as to whether the Poppies could fulfil their fixture against Darlington last Tuesday.

Kettering are a professional club with 14 players on contract but in training last Monday, Stimson had four in front of him.

The 43-year-old Londoner, who started at Tottenham and played for Newcastle, Portsmouth and Southend, managed (literally) to assemble a team that drew 0-0.

The previous game had been a 7-0 home defeat by York City. That sounded like an alarm bell.

‘It made people notice us,’ Stimson said, ‘but since then they might have noticed why it happened and just what has been going on behind the scenes.

‘It has been a difficult week, it has been a difficult couple of weeks.

‘When someone comes to you and says, “I can’t afford to stay because I’m in rented accommodation and I owe money. I can go and earn some money with my dad labouring” — what do you say It’s hard.’

There is hope, there always is in football, that a consortium will step in to relieve Ladak. Stimson, meanwhile, goes on. Eleven of the 16 on Saturday were 20 or under.

Stimson mused aloud about ‘whether the club has to go part-time. At every level now it’s about finance.’

With that he got on the bus, off to watch El Clasico with Jaime Navarro.

Coventry beyond our Ken

Spare a thought for the fans of Coventry City. Not only are Coventry bottom of the Championship, having lost 1-0 at home on Saturday to Hull, manager Andy Thorn was joined on the bench by the man who owns the club in the material sense.

Bench warmer: Coventry owner and self-appointed head of football operations sat on the bench for Saturday

Bench warmer: Coventry owner and self-appointed head of football operations sat on the bench for Saturday”s game

Ken Dulieu — or Ken Deluded as he is known to the dis-affected — resigned as chairman 10 days ago only to quickly appoint himself head of football operations.

He then appeared alongside Thorn, who looked flabbergasted afterwards. It would all appear destined to end in tears — fans’ tears.