It’ll Be Off

Another picture heavy post, because I can’t be arsed to write anything
February 27, 2011, 1:37 pm
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Following on from Aris Thessaloniki’s programme mishap the other week, Wigan went and printed a picture of the MRE during an FC United game under the impression that it was a Manchester United game. I mean, technically they’re right, we are Manchester United fans, but I’m not sure Gill and Ferguson will see the funny side.

I’d like to think it was a deliberate mistake, but maybe I’m giving them too much credit.


Where there’s muck, there’s brass
February 25, 2011, 1:55 pm
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Excellent work from FC United fan Lee Barrow, who has taken his high-pressure hose thingy around Manchester, and used a stencil top blast the filth away to leave these handy community share reminders everywhere. Sites covered so far include Manchester Road in Bury, Blackfriars Bridge, and areas of Newton Heath. Stylish, innovative, and functional. Us to a t, that.

February 25, 2011, 1:48 pm
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Apologies for the lack of update recently. Ian from over at 200% grabbed me by the neck, held my head under water and screamed “WRITE SOMETHING FOR MY WEBSITE, YOU FUCKING SHITE.” He has a point. I’m amusingly listed on the authors section, beside people who have contributed about 200 – 1800 articles to the site. I was on one.

But the TAL video that was released last week seemed the obvious choice for me to write about, and with Ian’s advice of ‘write from the heart’ still ringing around my cochlea, I smashed my way through four cans of Tyskie, and produced this. I’m not sure it makes much sense, but I clearly had some point to make, even if I don’t know what it was. Still, read it, you’ve obviously got nothing better to do with your time if you’re on here.

In the meantime, FC United have climbed up to seventh in the table. This seems remarkable seeing as people were talking relegation a few weeks ago, the knee-jerk, pessimistic twats. A 3-1 win over Burscough, with three excellent goals from Norton, Wright and Carlos Roca, continues our remarkable run, of eight wins from the last eleven games. And with second playing fifth and third playing fourth this weekend, we’ve got a great chance to move closer in to Halifax’s chasing pack.

Assuming we beat Stocksbridge Park Steels, one of the hardest sounding teams in the country, of course. I had intended to lace this post with facts about the club and the town, but it seems nothing of note has ever happened in Stocksbridge. So Saturday could be the finest day in the town’s long history. but probably not.

And finally – I like saying “and finally”, reminds me of Tony Wilson on Granada Reports doing the light-hearted bit about the cat who came home after seven years missing – Kenny Dalglish paid tribute to former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson after leading Liverpool to a 1-0 Europa League win over some team or other. Says Kenny: “I’m only here managing in the Europa League because of the work done before me by the players and Roy.” Which is a little hard on Hodgson, as I blame the work done last season by Howling Mad Rafa Benitez for Liverpool playing in the Europa League. Typical Scouse blame culture, trying to pin it on old bollocks chops Hodgson.

Even Aris Thessaloniki find them funny
February 17, 2011, 11:32 pm
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intrinsically funny


city’s Europa League opponents apparently pulped every copy of their match-day programme after printing the above picture as city’s squad photo. Apparently they only realised it wasn’t genuine when someone pointed out that Tevez wasn’t wearing a snood and had his mouth shut.

Read more on the Manchester Guardian’s website:

FC United 4-2 Chasetown
February 16, 2011, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Match Report, News

Despite my best intentions to travel up tonight, I was scuppered by an over zealous Barclays personal banker, who deemed some recent transactions on my card as suspicious. That they decided jewellery, a dinner out, and groceries were so far out of the ordinary as to cause them to put a block on my card did everything to endear them to my girlfriend, and nothing to help me make the trek north to see us play Chasetown.

But fuck it. If it means we’ll win every game from now until the ens of the season, I’ll continue to stay away. Despite going down to ten men late in the first half, United rallied back from a goal deficit to see us leap up to eight in the table, a position so lofty we could be atop city’s old floodlights. Quite where we go from here depends on our result against Burscough on Saturday – another win and I’ll be all pissy knickered with excitement.

Michael Norton scored twice tonight, taking his tally to twenty for the season, a total one of our lot was so confident he wouldn’t make, he put money on it. I’ll take great pleasure in watching him pay out next time I see him, even if I’m not one of the lucky beneficiaries. Norton’s finishing and all round game has looked a lot sharper in recent weeks, and thanks to the increasingly brilliance of Matty Wolfenden’s play, he’s looking a lot less isolated up front. And even the loss of Chris Ovington, who has moved on to Buxton for more regular football, is offset by the news that Steve Torpey has returned to full training.

Elsewhere, Gennaro Gattuso shocked the footballing world by deeming it advisable to both throttle and headbutt officially the 34th hardest man in the history of football, Joe Jordan. Jordan barely blinked as Gattuso flopped his hirsute dial on him, yet had the roles been reversed the outcome would have surely seen Gattuso collapsing and drowning in a pool of his own blood and snot.

Claudio Pasqualin, Gattuso’s agent, came out today and said his client’s behaviour post match had been due to Jordan calling him a “fucking Italian bastard”. Now, here at It’ll Be Off we take a zero tolerance to both racism and xenophobia of all kinds, but as pointed out elsewhere, sometimes truth is its own defence. And for all you nostalgists out there, here’s two and a half minutes of Joe Jordan banging them in:

And finally, Crawley have continued to cash in on their cup fortune by drafting It’ll Be Off’s favourite newspaper in as a one-off shirt sponsor for the game. Not content with raking it in from prize and television money, as well as a 50-50 split of the Old Trafford gate, usual sponsors Alamo International have been shunted to the back of the shirt, to make way for The Sun’s logo. According to the Crawley Town website:

“Alamo International, as sponsors of Crawley Town FC have generously agreed that Alamo’s name will be moved from the front to the back of the special shirts being released for this special match. The Crawley Town team will wear these shirts for the Manchester United match, which will help enable Crawley Town FC to take advantage of this unique opportunity with the Sun newspaper.”

 It’s odd, you know. Usually there’d be a groundswell of goodwill for a non-league team going to play Manchester United at Old Trafford, but with every day that passes, more and more people are turning on to the fact that Crawley Town are a reprehensible bunch of shitheads. And we’ve not even heard owt from their gobshite manager, and convicted fraudster, Steve Evans yet. So that’s something to look forward to.

Odds and sods
February 15, 2011, 4:21 pm
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Prior to the derby, Manchester United revealed their new anthem, ‘United Road’. Written by Will Robinson and Daniel Ryan (and let’s be honest, with a debt of gratitude to John bloody Denver) and performed by ‘The World Red Army, featuring Richie’, the song set a world record for simultaneous face-palming after 75,000 couldn’t believe quite what they were listening to. Not content with stripping Old Trafford of any sort of spontaneous atmosphere, the club seem determined instead to pipe in their own, X-Factor ballad-lite aural assault. Says Robinson: “I am totally inspired to write lyrics about United – they have achieved so much and are a great club,” presumably taking a break from scrawling God-awful poetry in to the back of his GCSE English exercise book, whilst looking longingly at a girl he’ll never even talk to.

Meanwhile, at universally loathed Crawley Town, a supporter has been arrested after making Munich aeroplane gestures, and signalling 1958 out on his fingers during the video of their special FA Cup song, ‘A Message To You, Rooney’. This, I suppose brings in to light many questions, not least what the fuck are Crawley recording a song for? Wasn’t this once the sole preserve of FA Cup finalists? Can any old non-league side, even ones not financed by dodgy money from fuck knows where, now release a piss poor reworking of a song every time they get past the FA Cup qualifying rounds? An opportunity missed from the board. How good would it have been if Andy Walsh and the Deeganites had done their own cod-Reggae number prior to Brighton away? Exactly as good as Crawley’s – fuck all good.

 But back on topic, clearly the fan in question, a 19-year-old lad, is a fucking idiot. But is it in anyone’s interest to have him arrested? The charge is ‘suspicion of causing harassment, alarm or distress’, which suggests that whoever reported him to the police needs to cowboy the fuck up. Are we not past the point where some spotty div doing the aeroplanes causes anything more than an arched eyebrow and the confirmation that far too many football fans are as classless as they are clueless? Even the picture of the Scousers with their Munich anniversary banner they took to Chelsea didn’t enrage me so much as fill me with a disgust that they couldn’t even be arsed going to the trouble of stencilling the lettering properly. If you’re going to label us Munich cunts, at least put a bit of fucking effort in to it.

The BBC got in trouble for Grange Hill's edgy new direction

Anyhoo,  a condition of this lad’s bail is that he now can’t travel up to Manchester for the match on Saturday. I’d have thought a much more suitable punishment would have been to let him travel and leave him unprotected on the forecourt pre-match. Where he’d have had to listen to United fucking Road by the World Red Army featuring Richie as idiots in green and gold sombreros walked past for an hour or so.

Crawley, to their credit, have apparently given the man a lifetime ban from the club, which will no doubt come as a blessed relief. There was also a suggestion, which should surprise no one, that he wasn’t even a Crawley fan, but a Crystal Palace fan. Or, to quote Tony Wilson, an obnoxious Croydon wanker.

Speaking of which, this story from last week warmed the cockles of my black, shrivelled heart. It seems our old friend, Mr Matthew Simmonds, is at it again. Whilst watching his 13-year-old son play football in August last year, Simmonds allegedly became involved in a fight. Naturally, he denied the charge, probably using his stock defence that all he said was “Off you go, Mr Cantona, an early bath for you!” Fingers crossed that Simmonds gets found guilty of assault and receives 120 hours community service, where local school kids get to take it in turns to kick him in the nuts.

And to finish this in-depth investigation in to the world of brainless twats, we play Burscough on the weekend. John Lawless plays for Burscough. Let us not stoop to the level of the imbeciles mentioned in this blog post. Instead, let’s stoop to our own level. Give the fucker hell.

FC United 4-0 Whitby Town
February 14, 2011, 1:22 am
Filed under: Match Report | Tags: , ,

Despite both the social club and the Main Stand inn showing the derby, CYCM decided against it. Twomowers made the point that the club was founded under the principle of not being bossed around by sky, and by sticking United v City on the telly instead of or during a band playing, would have been going against everything we supposedly stand for.

It was a brave move, and one that could have ensured a very empty Malcolms. In the end it wasn’t so bad, certainly not full, but a lot busier than when the band were performing their sound check. At that time there were about a dozen people in the room, six of whom were crowded around an iPhone, squinting at the screen, wacthing the derby with the sort of view usually reserved for the denizens of North Stand tier 3. Had things remained this way, it would have been a sad reflection on our support, and a grave injustice for the band, The Lottery Winners, who were fantastic.

Quite how fantastic they were was open to debate. Many said they were the best we’d seen in Malcolms all season. Others believe Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man still hold that prize. But why quibble? The Lottery Winners have an album out on the 25th, I’ll be trying to get hold of a copy, even though only 500 are being released. That we get to see such bands in an environment such as Malcolms is a rare treat, and a treat we should never take for granted. CYCM is one of the best things about our club, and to ignore it to watch a match on sky elsewhere smacks of going to La Louvre and ignoring the paintings to browse the gift shop. It’s valid enough, but missing the point somewhat.

As The Lottery Winners performed their new single, Lovers Lane, Wayne Rooney scored his sensational overhead kick to ensure that city were kept in their place for another season at least. For all their proud boasts of what they were going to do, they failed to win at Old Trafford once again, in will more likely fail to win any silverware once again. The natural order remains.

Only 1662 people bothered to make it to Gigg Lane for Whitby’s visit. This number is disappoingly low, but even more disappointingly unsurprising. Despite FC United’s recent upturn in form, and a series of ever more impressive performances, even in defeat, many would rather stay away to watch two teams who rather ignore their local community and in some cases try actively seem to try and alienate them, rather than come to support a team that is rooted firmly in the Manchester community. That’s up to them. I can’t criticise, I was one fo the half dozen squinting at the iPhone.

After quarter of an hour of the first half, FC United took the lead. A United corner was only cleared by Whitby as far as the edge of the box, and Jimmy Holden volleyed it in to the net off the angle of post and crossbar. It was a great goal by any standard, and the irony of Holden, who has city’s motto ‘Superbia in Proelia’ tattooed on to his neck, scoring such a sensational volley so soon after Rooney’s secured Big United’s derby victory wasn’t lost on anyone. Actually it probably was. I’ve only just realised it now myself, and wish I hadn’t even started making this convoluted point. But I’ll be fucked if I’m retyping that bit.

Just before half time, Wolfenden had made it 2-0, with a goal I missed as I’d already headed back to Malcolms. Norton added his 18th of the season in the second half for the third, and in the last minute an unfortunate Whitby defender sliced in to his own net when trying to clear a Wolfenden shot.

So 4-0, and a sixth win from nine games. That is playoff form. And should we win against Chasetown in Stalybridge on Wednesday, we could go as high as seventh. Seventh! That’s nosebleed territory. Are the playoffs still a distant dream, or has our upturn in form given us a real chance to stake a claim? I’d like to think the latter, but with us looking stronger in every game, and with every team taking points off each other, I guess anything remains possible.