It’ll Be Off

Bringing myself up to date
April 12, 2011, 12:42 pm
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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.


Who the fuck is Ronald Johnson?
April 5, 2011, 7:26 pm
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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.

Welcome to Manchester. Again.
March 8, 2011, 9:11 am
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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
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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.

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.