Is That The Programme?

There was an air of uncertainty and discontent in 1987 as Red News first graced Warwick Road with its presence. The magnitude of the job Alex Ferguson had in front of him was becoming increasingly apparent and whilst it was early in his incumbency, such was the turbulence of Manchester United’s season, there wasn’t 100% confidence on the disgruntled terraces of Old Trafford that he was the man to repair the debris left to him by Ron Atkinson.

30th anniversary edition of Red News, where this piece was originally published

In the wider world, Margaret Thatcher’s government were continuing their vendetta against football fans. One of these ideas was to make every football supporter carry membership cards for the club they were affiliated too when attending matches. It was around this time that United introduced their own shitty membership scheme, the benefits which included 10p off a pencil rubber in the newly fangled superstore for the commencement of the 87/88 campaign. One of the most controversial measures of this scheme was making the Stretford End terrace members only, where the Stretford Paddock was fine for anybody who wanted to attend. This resulted in a lot of refuseniks (this writer included) moving over to the Paddock and it’s also this writer’s opinion that the Stretford End was never quite the same after this. Continue reading Is That The Programme?

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

Where The Brass Bands Play… – Manchester 9th of March 2014

The return of club football couldn’t come a day too soon for United after the debacle in Athens. The meantime has seen United fans living through a mini silly season. A silly season which has seen Betty Boop, a Jack Russell from Ordsall who got trapped under a car bonnet, make the national news on the BBC. A silly season where a campaign which garnered over 17,000 signatures to get Tom Cleverley dropped by Roy Hodgson, also make national news. A bemused Roy Hodgson was asked about this petition, organised by Glenn McConnell, an Everton fan from the Liverpool district of Blackpool. A knock on result of this petition and Tom Cleverley’s admittedly erratic recent form, saw him roundly booed by a load of inbreds/ingerlund fans at a mass open sewer in North West London (alias Wembley). Reds at The Hawthorns were in a more conciliatory mood, recommending the much improved Maroune Fellaini for England. Continue reading Where The Brass Bands Play… – Manchester 9th of March 2014