It’ll Be Off

Bringing myself up to date
April 12, 2011, 12:42 pm
Filed under: News | Tags: , , ,

The post I did about Ronald Johnson Playing Fields, Wayne Rooneyily titled ‘Who The Fuck is Ronald Johnson’ has caused much debate, and a fair amount of jaw-grinding. Indeed, twenty-two comments is a record for this blog for a post that wasn’t about The Sun being a right-wing shit-rag.

The vast majority of the comments are from Moston residents unsure about the ground plans. And to them I shall say please wait and see. It’s not my place to try and sell this idea to you, the club will be in contact with you very shortly, if they haven’t been already, and many of your reservations should be satiated by our gregarious diplomats. But what I would like to point out to you is that it’s wrong to suggest that FC United being based in Moston will only be of use to those of you who follow football. That just won’t be the case. FC United have it written in to the constitution that “the club will develop strong links with the local community and strive to be accessible to all, discriminating against none”. We are, genuinely, good eggs. Good eggs with the odd rough corner, but good eggs nonetheless.

In all the Ben Deegan inspired hysteria over the weekend, I forgot to mention the collective of Ciudad de Murcia fans who mooched over from Spain on Saturday. Now I’m usually fairly sceptical about this whole friendship club thing, preferring the isolation of the bitter malcontent to trying to work out who to support should Torino play St Pauli, or Wimbledon play, errrr, who else are we supposed to like this week?

But the CdM lot showed such humility, friendship and respect for us that I found it hard to not only instantly warm to them, but also to not beam with pride. Check out the letter they sent to the club, and see if you don’t break in to a huge grin: “So is our commitment to introduce to our club to those people who one day had a dream and fight to turn it real. Is our responsibility to say a big THANK YOU to make possible that real football come back to their real owners. And is our dream to one daycould being as big and prestigious like United of Manchester.”

Oh, you lovely, lovely bastards. Go see their website, let them in to your heart, and bask in the enriching glow of International Socialism:

Finally, some Northwich fans were unhappy about the way Michael Norton celebrated in front of them having scored yet another vital goal in a long line of vital goals this season. Well, short memories, huh? Remember the FA Cup game last season? When Wayne Riley scored scored he ran past our fans and gave us the ‘shush’ celebration. Which, to those predisposed to mard-arsedness, could be a fairly provocative gesture. And even if you’re less likely to erupt in to mock indignation at the slightest thing, it still signaled Wayne Riley out as a massive fucking tool. So a big thank you to the karma police not only for Norton’s goal, but also for Wayne Riley’s missed penalty, and missed sitter against Deegan late in the second half. That’ll learn him.

Peace, and Love, and Ben Deegan
April 10, 2011, 10:16 am
Filed under: Match Report | Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday was not a day for football. Or at least it shouldn’t have been. The weather was pre season friendly hot. We should have been sat drinking al fresco in a town square somewhere, not holed up in CYCM with all but the tiniest of windows covered up just in case we accidentally catch sight of the pitch whilst drinking and go on a expletive laden murderous rampage. We are, remember, football fans. Simple, violent, and decked out in cheap and nasty leisurewear.

I had decided that due to this not being a day for football, we would lose a lazy game 1-0, in front of a barely interested and not at all motivated crowd. It’s this sort of feeble ignorance and pessimism that means I no longer earn a living from a job that requires me to know or understand anything. I was wrong. Very wrong. Wronger than claiming benefits without declaring the £58k sat in your bank account, Andy Morrison, you fat, useless, ex-city knacker.

For what I hadn’t counted on or taken in to consideration was the sheer balls bigger then King Kongness of this current team. The intrinsic Unitedness that flows through this fine, fine club from top to bottom. When we should have been going on to lose the game after Sam had been sent off, a penalty had been awarded, and our centre forward was thrown in net, we didn’t. Deegan lolloped gamely to his right, pushed the ball away, and set up a final thirty-five minutes odd of action that would see Northwich Victoria at home join a list of bum-clenchers and heart-worriers that already included Quorn, Rochdale and Brighton.

At Retford our goalkeeper scored. And then yesterday our centre-forward saved a penalty. That’s what we’re about. That’s who we are. Some will tell you it’s Punk Football. Others that we just make it up as we go along. Whatever the explanation, we don’t really understand when we’re supposed to be beaten (and at the start of the season, when we were supposed to win). Ben Deegan made possibly the most incredible take from a cross I have ever seen. Vic managed to hit the woodwork four times in the same attack, with the goal gaping. And in between all that, Michael Norton scored his eighth goal in six games to snatch us the unlikliest of unlikely wins.

At the final whistle Gigg Lane erupted. The players gooned about on the pitch as much as we did in the stands. Ben Deegan, a man I’m growing to love in a way that needn’t make my missus worried, but probably should make her jealous, allowed a huge shit-eating grin to form over his daft, lovable face as he was serenaded from the stands. He and his teammates look like they’ll never lose again. But we don’t need this run to go on forever. Just another seven games or so. And fuck it, why not? Why not get promoted having been second bottom in January? This is FC United. We do things differently here.

Who the fuck is Ronald Johnson?
April 5, 2011, 7:26 pm
Filed under: News | Tags: , ,

Our new ground is set to be in Moston, at the Ronald Johnson playing fields. No one knows who the fuck Ronald Johnson is, but it’s close enough a name to handsome Norwegian utility man Ronny Johnsen that we can pretend it’s him. Ace!

And while Moston doesn’t hold the same romanticism and historical relevance that Newton Heath does, it is included in that ‘Tra-la-la-la We all hate city’ song, which is something at least.

I’m not getting too excited over this until Andy Walsh has stuck a spade in the ground and work is underway. Otherwise the next thing you know MCC will have sold the land to British Ping Pong, and we’ll be building our new ground in fucking Bury or somewhere.

Still, onwards and upwards.

More on Rooney
April 4, 2011, 6:34 pm
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It soon became clear after whatfuckingwhat-gate that the nation was clearly divided in to two camps. Those who thought that Rooney’s actions were an unacceptable and a disgrace, and those of us who don’t wet the bed.

Leading the tub-thumping for the easily offended was, and this’ll come as no surprise to anyone, the Daily Mail. With a column that reached Brass Eye levels of satire, Patrick Collins opined that “if Rooney is allowed to bellow the sexual oath at a live microphone without repercussion, then nobody in authority will ever be taken seriously again.” Elsewhere, Lord Pendry said that “Players should be banned and maybe in time, that will make them accept their responsibility to the young people who look up to them, clearly forgetting that the job of a footballer is primarily to play football, and the job of a parent is to ensure kids don’t yell WHAT FUCKING WHAT just because they saw Wayne Rooney do it on the telly. And funniest of all was Graham Poll, who suggested Wayne Rooney had ruined Mother’s Day, in an echo of the post I made yesterday, finally tipping this whole absurd affair in to the realms of beyond-parody.

Except the FA then slapped a two match ban on Rooney, a charge so ludicrous as to lead me to believe the Fergusonian whispers of anti-United bias and agendas. The alternative is to believe that football is not only irredeemably fucked, but governed by a bunch of precious old fogeys, too busy making jam sponges in the church hall to run OUR game properly, and only get involved when someone dares utter profanity or blasphemy.

Because right now the message the FA is putting out is that it’s OK to asset strip a football club, to move it to the other end of the country, to kick it out of their home and change the locks, to shoot an intern with an air rifle, to rape, drink, take drugs, and steal, to refer to a fellow player as a ‘fucking poof’, to shout racist abuse, to do all this and worse beside, but it’s not OK to swear. As someone tweeted but minutes ago: “The FA’s knack for vigorously+mercilessly prosecuting the wrong issues is uncanny. Traffic wardens when you need Police.” Nail on the head.

If I were Wayne Rooney, I’d take the two match ban without appeal, then never, ever pull on the shirt of England again. He’s been carved up not only by the media, but by the Football Association who’ll be begging him to play for them in the next few months. Fuck them.

Football’s Darkest Day

You’d think that today would be a day of celebration. A vivid carnival of all that is right with being Red and Mancunian. Big United larruped West Ham in the East End yesterday, despite having been two down at half-time. And up in weird, charity-shop filled Retford, FC United came back from a goal down to beat those muscular, flesh-devouring freaks from Worksop, thanks to a last minute Jerome Wright penalty.

And off the pitch things should have been even better. In the clubhouse post-Match, when prompted to sing us a song, Karl Marginson chose the epoch defining anthem of the RRF, our oft-mocked, but never bettered Ben Deegan and Coronation Street mash-up. A song once derided by the entire MRE. Labelled (with some justification, may I add – have you ever noticed the eerie silence in Le Louvre? Great art instills a sence of awe that transcends mere verbal communication, innit) an atmosphere killer. Well, the RRF have long argued that if you have to ask about this song, then it isn’t for you. It’s a song for those who know, and Margy clearly knows.

But enough of the back-patting. Today should have been a day of celebration. A day of looking fellow man in the eye and making him wilt, for both Uniteds showed steel of character, mental fortitude, and in the case of everyone save Darron Gibson, the levels of skill and technique that you associate with a United player. But today can’t be that day. There is heavy precipitation battering our fiesta. And why? Because Wayne Rooney swore.

Forget his match-winning hattrick, this vile – and dare I say it, WORKING CLASS – youth had the temerity to use profanity in a moment of high emotional stress. When will this cur learn that his unsanitised ways are not wanted in football? Those men in suits who walk the corridors of power, the sweat drenched hacks smashing at their keyboards, the perpetually offended chattering classes of middle-England will not rest until SWEARING has been kicked out of football for good.

We cannot, as United fans, take Rooney back in to our hearts. Forget his transfer request shenanigans of Autumn time. This here is much worse. The acrobatic overhead kick of the derby win was enough to banish the former misdemeanour in the eyes of most. But how can Rooney save this weekend? How can he ensure that Mothering Sunday isn’t forever associated with his spud-like napper growling “What? Fucking What?”. Across the country today, mother sits with child, an awkward silence hanging over the dining table, both fearful of talking lest they shout “WHAT FUCKING WHAT?”. And this is Rooney’s greatest crime. In one single, goal-celebrating moment, he is responsible for the total collapse of the family unit. This goes beyond football and in to the realms of civility and society. Rooney is in many very real ways WORSE THAN THATCHER.

So today, instead of buzzing over Big United putting one sticky hand on number 19, and Little United marching inexorably towards the Playoffs, playing the sort of heart-busting, mind-expanding brand of football we have become proud to live vicariously through, we have to just accept that football, and life, will never be quite the same.

RIP Football. What fucking what.

Whitby 0-1 FC United (2-2 HT)
March 25, 2011, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Match Report | Tags: , , , ,

It was a sad but possibly fitting end to the day. 3am in Salford and I was hugging the porcelain unsure whether to vomit or shit in to it. It would be easy to blame the Whitby scampi for the sudden and unwelcome onslaught of the screaming ab dabs, but I’ve never claimed to be anything other than that. As my stomach tightened, and my ring twitched, I began to wonder just how the fuck I could cope with the two hour train journey back to London the following day. That I did so without soiling myself and carriage E of the 0935 London Euston service was testament to my mental (and possibly anal) fortitude.

But you haven’t come here to read about my terrible sickness and diarrhoea, a curse that continues to burn within me 48 hours on from the game. Or maybe you have, this is the internet after all. But it would seem a shame to ignore what was a great day out, and an even better result in favour of stories of scat and nausea.

Jesus. Look at the size of this mother-fucker

Whitby is a fine looking town with many excellent pubs. It’s the sort of seaside town that smashes the shit out of the image of the decaying, miserable resort that Morrissey et al go on about. And while it stops short of being vibrant, or exciting, it manages to be exactly the sort of place you would want to visit on a day trip to watch your football team. Or hell, maybe even to take your loved one on a long weekend away to. The harbour is picture-perfect, and drinking outside in the pleasingly mild evening, lights twinkling in the distance, you couldn’t help but think that there were worse ways to spend your time, and much worse places to spend it in. In every possible sense Whitby is the anti-Frickley.

Not at all childish photo of the day

Not everything was perfect, however. We had caught the bus from Scarborough to Whitby, and stopped half way at a place called the Flask Inn, a pub and caravan park, to empty our bladders, then work on refilling them again. There was a large Leeds United badge on an interior door of the pub. There was a Leeds United clock above the bar. The landlady, who managed to be the least accommodating  person to have ever worked in the service industry, continually called us scum having found out we were FC United. All of which wouldn’t matter, except the ale was fucking horrible. The Black Sheep tasted and smelled like vinegar, and even the Carlsberg tasted exactly how you would expect it to had you been storing decomposing sheep carcasses in the keg. Imagine being the poor fucking soul who booked a two week stay in that shithole. Looking back I should have done the humane thing and set fire to the large collection of gas cannisters stored out back. Studying the face of the regulars at the bar it is now clear to me they were willing and wishing me to do it. To them, dying in a terrible inferno was preferable to spending any more time whatsoever in that backwards, miserable hostelry. As they ran out of the blaze, clothes melted on to skin, hair burning, unfeeling of pain due to nerve endings being burned away, they would have screamed “THANK YOU! THANK YOU FOR ENDING THIS TORTURE!” And the fact I missed this opportunity makes me less of a man, I think.

We had met at Piccadilly station at quarter to ten. Drinking commenced not long after. Despite initial pleas to pace our intake, things snowballed horribly out of control. By the time kick off approached, and we had ensconced ourselves in the Middle Earth Tavern, listening to fucking Metallica, the jagermeister and beers were flowing like shit out of my arse – wild and free. At half time at the game, one of our party text his Dad to inform him the score was 2-2. Quite where he had conjured up four goals from in a half that saw nothing more than midfield skirmishes is a mystery, but we haven’t seen such creativity since Josh Howard and Rory Patterson wore the shirt.

Eventually the deadlock was broken, with Michael Norton prodding home at the near post following a corner. Or maybe a cross. It’s difficult to remember. In the dying seconds, Whitby had a glorious chance to equalise, their number seven heading wastefully over after Sam Ashton had parried the ball back out in to the middle of the area. But fuck it. He missed, we won, and now we find ourselves in fifth place, finally breaking in to the play-off zone after our incredible run.

One day like this a year'd see me right

The journey home managed to be one of the most uncomfortable few hours of my life. With the first murmurings of discontent from my gut coupled with the minibus being officially the coldest place on the planet according to BBC weatherman John Kettley. But fuck it. After a day like the one we’d just had, a little bit of misery was always needed to counterbalance things.

The Hills Have Eyes
March 19, 2011, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Match Report | Tags: , , ,

When the pig’s head first landed on the pitch there was a panic that a Buxton local had somehow been decapitated in a terrible off pitch incident. The clammy, leathery skin. The vile, upturned nose. The cold, dead eyes. It could easily have been the face of a Derbyshire hill-dweller.

When it became apparent that all those in the Buxton end remained with head in contact with neck and shoulders, it became sadly clear that one Buxtonian family would be without tea tonight. Somewhere deep in the Peak District, a litter of children almost immovable due to inbreeding, writhed in their nests constructed from straw and faeces, in the knowledge that they wouldn’t be feasting on snout and eyeball soup, and would instead have to suckle from one of their mother’s six hairy nipples. Truly sad.

This obvious and distressing spectacle shook the Buxton team, who remain very closely linked to their community indeed. They soon threw away their hard-fought two goal lead, as Michael ‘Not From Gorton’ Norton pounced twice to ensure FC United got a share of the points and continued their long unbeaten run.

Should Buxton, as a result of today’s game, miss out on play-offs, they can take solace from the fact they were beaten to the punch by a team superior in terms of both technical ability, and evolutionary progress.

FC United 2-1 Worksop Town

Worksop is the home of Wilkinsons. This, more than anything, should endear Worksop Town to us. Where would we be without Wilkos when we need to buy stuff and you’re not sure where to go? Cutlery trays for your kitchen drawer. Mr Men books. Cheap Haribo. Hamster and other small rodent accessories. Cheap bathroom sets. Lengths of chain. I still find it utterly incomprehensible that Oxford Street in London manages to have room for a Debenhams, John Lewis, Selfridges, and other department stores, but not a Wilkos.

Worksop: Beautiful

It seems fitting that Worksop were as uncomplicated and as direct as a Wilkos store. They were a typical East Midlands side. Big. Uncompromising. Dirty as fuck. There’s literally nothing to do in the East Midlands except break down brick walls with your fist, and beat up other humans. This explains their intimidating gigantism. In Worksop, or Retford, or Hucknall, they’d look at Carlos Roca and treat him with the amused curiosity that David Chadwick would treat a hamachi, salmon roe and basil flower, or similar amuse-bouche. They just wouldn’t be able to appreciate his delicacy and subtle skills. No. Worksop is all about slabs of meat, and torn flesh. Which is why it was excellent to see Chaddy in our defense on Saturday. These are the games he relishes. With him at the back, Norton taking kicks for the good of the team up front, and the frighteningly able Matthew Tierney in midfield, we were much better prepared to face a team like Worksop than we would have been at the start of the season.

Luckily for us, the physical strength of the East Midlander is offset by a mental weakness and gross stupidity. Despite scoring from their first real chance from the match, Luke Beckett smashing the ball in to the roof of the net as he would smash his fist in to a brick wall during his leisure time, Worksop soon panicked in the face of a Matt Tierney led onslaught, and James Cotterill, who is desperately trying to sound like Jake Cottrell, swivelled on the edge of the six yard box, and stuck the ball high in to his own goal. There was about a minute between their equaliser and the own goal, and this new-found mental resilience, that compliment our silky footballness, is one of the reasons we find ourselves peering in through the back window of Hugh Heffner’s lesser known house, the Play-off Mansion rather than flirting with the mundane world of meaningless, midtable mediocrity.

There was still time for Worksop to threaten, but a great save from Sam Ashton, followed by an awful fuck up/great tackle combination from Sam Ashton, saw to it that we ended the ninety minutes as winners.

Things could have been much better for us had Halifax, who’ve been fucking irritating all season, not decided to lose to Buxton. I reckon they did it on purpose, the obsessed, bitter cunts.


Welcome to Manchester. Again.
March 8, 2011, 9:11 am
Filed under: News | Tags: , , ,

In a scene reminiscent of a Spike Jonze film, my train carriage yesterday was filled with Andy Walshes. It was odd, surreal, amusing. Everywhere I looked the proud, statuesque pose of El Presidente peered back. Not since BPA on the final day of the 2009 season, when an entire Manchester Road End of Eric Cantonas watched me watching the first half of the game, have I ever been so pleased I don’t smoke weed or take psychotropic drugs. Had I done, then in the words of the media’s current favourite mentalist, Charlie Sheen, it is likely that my face would have melted off and children would have wept over my body.

There’s still a thrill when a club as small as ours gets such widespread coverage. That the Co-op chose to use us in their advertising campaign should be of immense pride. We were featured on the back page of a newspaper that has an official (as official as a wikipedia fact can be) readership of some 3.5million people. Further to this, two huge billboards were put up in Manchester, again featuring the determined face of our honourable leader.

We may be small, but we seem to be becoming increasingly important. Long may that continue.

We’ll build our ground at Ten Acres… oh, crap.
March 7, 2011, 10:36 pm
Filed under: News | Tags: , , ,

When the news filtered through on Friday evening that we weren’t going to Ten Acres Lane, it felt like I’d been punched hard in the stomach. I was winded, and wounded, and I didn’t understand why. The statement from the council was equivocal, the one from our club unequivocal. I wanted to believe the council, but common sense told me that our board was the trustworthy side of the see-saw of truth.

The see-saw of truth? Fucking hell, you see what this has done to me? I’m typing complete shit. Even more so than usual. It messed with my head. There was an emptiness that soon gave way to a fury. I knew who to blame straight away. It was the Tories. Or city. Or a gruesome combination of the two. It was someone anyway, and whoever it was would pay. The fuckers.

But while city and the Tories were far from off the hook, those in positions of relative power seemed calm among the maelstrom of misdirected emotion. As accusations and bloody rhetoric flew, they remained steadfast in their viewpoint: wait and see. And when the anger and hurt and disappointment crept away a realisation kicked in. Whenever have the club let us down? When have they done anything to cause us to doubt them?

Remember when the whole kit supplier thing kicked off, and there was widespread confusion and what have you among the few fans who gave a fuck, what happened? Andy Walsh stood up, gave a speech, and they were all pacified. And then what happened? We ended up not with some no mark, two bit kit supplier, but with Admiral. Admiral! For fuck’s sake, with an Admiral kit we may as well have won the 1977 cup final against Liverpool ourselves. Sometimes second choice ends up as the best outcome.

Not that this is necessarily the case this time. Although I was at Doc Adam Brown’s talk in Malcoms on Saturday, I can’t reveal anything publicly to those who weren’t there. Details aren’t always important, yet even though detail was the one thing missing from Adam’s talk, it ironically became the one thing that calmed us all down. Like I say, I can’t give too much away, but the positivity that radiated from our elected board member soon spread among the gathered, expectant crowd.

It’s easy to be pacified by our board and by Andy Walsh. You feel they could talk a bear down from a tree. Andy, in particular, uses his oratory skills to maximum effect. If the fucker did the morning weather forecast on Granada, you’d think you could go outside and beat the shit out of a cloud. So much remains unanswered. Are we as well off as they suggest we may be, or have we been pacified by a verbal benzodiazepine? Well, as I’ve said, I’m inclined to trust the board over even myself. Why would I not?

But all of this is just local political jostling. There are bigger issues at play. There are those who maintain we aren’t a political club. That we’re nothing more than a football club and an excuse for drinking. If this, and the Mehdi Mirzae affair, has taught us anything at all, it’s that we’re an intrinsically political club. Our very existence is inherently political. There are those who see us as a thorn in their side. An annoyance and a distraction. Long may that continue. What we stand for and what we believe in runs contrary to the ideals of those running the game, and these days the country.

And don’t be fooled in to thinking that the Tory government have nothing to do with this,. They have everything to do with this. Their cuts have hit Manchester hard. The city council will see 2000 jobs cut, some 17% of the workforce. Libraries are closing. Public toilets disappearing. General rubbish will be collected fortnightly rather than weekly. The closure of Arcadia, Ardwick and Ten Acres leisure centres would be necessary unless external funding could be found.

Hold up there a minute. The closure of where?

Forget the conspiracy theory of city buying TAL and converting it in to Mario Balotelli’s own personal 3g astroturf pitch and Nando’s complex. That may or may not be the case. The only fact remains that the council, as far in bed with city as they are (and let’s be honest, they’ve spread their legs and find the UAE ball deep inside them) are only responding to the cuts enforced upon them by the current government.

So while David, and Boris, and all those other cunts from the Bullingdon Club sit around a large table worth more than half your house, drinking wine that costs more than your car, there’s an area of East Central Manchester that may have lost out on some of the investment, involvement and Mancunian love and tenderness that they deserve.

Think of that next time you try and claim that FC United aren’t a political club.