Bright Lights, Late Nights and Hard knocks at the Hardrock

Alan Miller remembers the growing anger in the crowd at The Hardrock in Stretford as they were awaiting Chuck Berry to take to the stage on the evening of Thursday 18th January 1973. Alan says that “we were oblivious to the chaos that was unfolding behind the scenes. Chuck Berry was due on stage at 9.30 and he ended up coming on at 11. He was going to have to come up with something special after that and he didn’t”. Former Red Issue columnist Mister Spleen remembers that “Chuck Berry got bottled offstage after turning up late and only doing half an hour”. What caused the delay was Berry’s now notorious practice of demanding payment in cash, prior to the show. The main problem was that the management of the Hardrock had no idea of this until the night of the show. Chuck Berry was going nowhere near the stage until the money turned up and they didn’t have the required cash to hand. Old Trafford swag stall holder Malcolm Hancock says that “they had to plead with the manager of the local Midland Bank to open up and give them the cash. It’s just as well they did, there would’ve been a full scale riot otherwise”. Charlie Darlington, an Urmston red who grew up idolising Johnny Berry and a lighting engineer at the Hardrock said that “Chuck Berry is one of the most arrogant and ignorant people I’ve ever heard of”.

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The Hardrock opened its doors as a venue in the summer of 1972 and November the 8th saw the 40th anniversary of its closure, before the building was converted into a DIY shop (which itself is due to close imminently). Over its three years, giants of the rock music world, such as Led Zepellin, Paul McCartney, David Bowie and many others played the venue.

Prior to being a music venue, it was the Top Rank, a bowling alley which was a mere hundred yards from where Tommy Taylor lived. Red News writer Roy Cavanagh also remembers it being a favourite place of George Best’s when he first came to Manchester in the summer of 1963. Roy explains that “I used to go there with George on Tuesday and Thursday nights”. Jamie Rennie, a Manchester City season ticket holder from Old Trafford has similar memories. Jamie told Red News that “When it was the bowling alley, we used to play football on the car park and some of United’s younger players used to turn up and join in. John Fitzpatrick and Francis Burns were regulars. Sometimes even George Best played with us” Continue reading Bright Lights, Late Nights and Hard knocks at the Hardrock

Rovers Return To Win At Old Trafford. Manchester, 31st Of December 2011

Consensus amongst Reds on the quiet was that there would be disappointment if United didn’t make a decent dent into City’s superior goal difference today. Last season, United put seven goals past a better Blackburn side that took to the pitch for this match. Before today’s match, Blackburn had won two league games all season although they had gone to Anfield on Boxing Day and surprised everybody by getting a draw there, everybody, Blackburn Rovers fans included, were expecting a comfortable win for United. After a busy but flat footed start from United, Blackburn’s first attack yielded a penalty when Dimitar Berbatov pulled Christopher Samba over, just inside the United area, on sixteen minutes, to help referee Mike Dean, make probably the only correct decision he made all day. Mike Dean had a stinker of a game, denying United a blatant penalty about five minutes later, when Evra was tripped up in the Blackburn box on an overlapping run and constantly allowing Blackburn goalkeeper, Mark Bunn, to waste time on goal kicks after Blackburn had scored. The fact that Blackburn were wasting time in the first half is a good guide to the mentality of this backward club. Continue reading Rovers Return To Win At Old Trafford. Manchester, 31st Of December 2011