I Swear I was There – Memories of the Free Trade Hall

“I don’t believe you, you’re a liar – play fuckin’ loud”, drawled Bob Dylan at the Free Trade Hall on May 17th 1966. What followed was an exhilarating and venomously delivered version of “Like A Rolling Stone”.

Dylan was angry and like his rival and contemporary, John Lennon, when wound up, he was brilliant. What rattled Dylan was a catcall of “Judas” from 16 year old Keith Butler in the audience because he was playing with an electrified band (The Hawks, who themselves would go onto have a distinguished career) and not acoustically.

Fans of folk music, who Dylan was strongly aligned to in his early career, were, and are, notoriously puritanical about their beloved genre. What Dylan did, in Butler’s eyes, was tantamount to a betrayal akin Continue reading I Swear I was There – Memories of the Free Trade Hall

An Overcast Day And A Sultry Night – Manchester 14th of September 2014

Up to and including the match against City on the 2nd of November, there’s only one United match that is not being shown live on television. That is United’s next home match against West Ham in a couple of weeks. By then, United’s first six games will have been shown live on television. That is quite something for a side that finished 7th last season. No matter what is going on at Old Trafford, for good or bad, United are the biggest show in any town it happens to be.

The obituaries had been written about United over the summer, Continue reading An Overcast Day And A Sultry Night – Manchester 14th of September 2014

The Answer My Friend Is Blowing In The Wind – Manchester 5th of January 2014

We’re back to that time of year when the trees have come down, Father Christmas is back on the dole and everybody’s bills come through the letterbox. The time of year when people go off the beer and there’s slightly less cheer as the festivities disappear. That can only mean one thing; we’re back to the third round of the FA Cup. This is when players and supporters of smaller clubs get condescended by clueless commentators from ITV and BT Sports. Bemused players, who didn’t grow up in the UK are asked, “just what did the FA Cup mean to you as a boy growing up in Spain/Holland/Germany etc”? Before that though, we had the New Year’s Day fixtures. Continue reading The Answer My Friend Is Blowing In The Wind – Manchester 5th of January 2014

If He Was Holding An Ace – Manchester, 25th of November 2013

Marouane Fellaini has now played ten times for United and he has impressed on precisely none of those appearances. Some players, like Roy Keane, Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie make an immediate impact, others, like Gary Pallister, Andy Cole and David De Gea need a so called bedding in period. I really hope that Fellaini is of the latter. The harsh truth is though Fellaini needs to start asserting whatever midfield authority he has on games like the one United played against Cardiff. At the moment, he looks like a rabbit in headlights. It’s one thing being outplayed by Yaya Toure soon after you’ve signed for a new club, another thing altogether to be anonymous in virtually every other match since. The most damning thing about United’s midfield options however is that I would still pick a dazzled and dazed Fellaini over Tom Cleverley and Anderson. Continue reading If He Was Holding An Ace – Manchester, 25th of November 2013