Thursday, 1 December 2011

Ice Hockey v Football-No Comparison.

Football is increasingly played by pansies who roll around on the floor, supposedly in agony, if an opposition player barely touches them. Pretty soon it will be a sport without any physical contact to protect the poor little rich boys on £250,000 a week who are so delicate a tap on the ankle and they hit the deck, rolling over ten times before clutching the shattered ankle and looking in agony, beseechingly at the referee urging him to deal with the attacker. Once a yellow card is brandished at the opponent there is a miraculous receovery.

Contrast that with a game for real men, ice hockey:

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Altrincham FC-Probably The Worst Suppporters In Non-League Football

Altrincham's Ground
On Sunday FC United of Manchester, of the Evo Stik Northern Premier League, beat Altrincham FC of the Conference North in the FA Trophy. It's about 15 miles from Altrincham to Bury and Altrincham suggested that 400 fans would attend. In the event about 150 made the journey. Pretty poor by any standard.

FC United won the game, it seems the Altrincham players are as lacking motivation as their supporters. But then, if you take a look at the Altrincham fans' forum you find that they are even worse than the impression they gave on Sunday. Here are one or two of their comments about FC United:

until they fail to meet the conference's rule on security of tenure coz bury get bought by a lottery winning fan and kick fcum out, their numerous committees start in fighting on location of new ground reflected by a poor season on the pitch and everyone gives up and goes back to OT....they've not had a bad season yet.......lets see how they respond to failure and how that impacts on crowds and volunteers............alty could get taken over by a euro millions lottery winner......
Our third* season in this division, not won a trophy in two seasons. FC United do not have committees we have a board elected by the fans. We have planning permission for a new ground, by the earliest date we could possibly be in the Conference we will no longer be playing at Gigg Lane.

I didn't go yesterday on principle. I refuse to acknowledge their existence as a club in the same way that I dont recognise MK Dons. Starting a new club when things aren't going your way goes against everything I understand being a supporter of a club to be about.
The above comment typifies all that is wrong with football, and is perhaps partly the reason why Altrincham FC are in a huge mess.
As we all know, FCUM was set up by Man U fans who opposed the take over by the Glaziers. It would be interesting to see whether or not the FCUM fan base dropped if Man U was ever sold.
Another one who has obviously neither discussed FC United with an FC United fan nor done any basic research. If United were sold to another money grubbing millionaire nothing would change. It wasn't just the Glazers, it was the whole corporatisation of football that we rejected. No, I wouldn't go back and I doubt many would.

Fans at an FC United home game.
This next comment is obviously from somebody who really does need help:

So when fcum get into the BSP, are told to sit down by stewards at Luton, have to pay their players more to compete so come up with the marketting idea of having 3 kits a year, have to market themselves and become a brand name to progress find out they have to pay more than fans of Histon when they play cambridge, start to sign players from the south who don't represent manchester........wil they start up FC FC Utd?

While there is no end of local clubs with proud histories they could have changed allegiances to, they decided to create a toy that (as has been pointed out as their good points) is ruthlessly raking in cash to fund thier rise......they have become to all intents and purposes a mini Manchester Utd turning into the club doing all the things they said they left soon as they started out they were having their traditional saturday kick off time of 3pm changed on police advice...and it wont be long before they are succumbing to the lure of TV money either.

They are a parady of themselves....
We have no problem with players who don't come from Manchester and never have. He's made that one up. If the board want to make a major decision there is a vote among the members. So if wer don't want to change the kit we vote not to, just as we voted against having a shirt sponsor. The Histon/Cambridge thing doesn't make any sense. If he means clubs putting up prices when they play us then I would boycott that game.

Yes we are raising funds to build a ground, you need go do that in the real world. But we are not being royally shafted by our club which "ruthlessly raking in cash" implies. We pay what we can when we can. Even our season tickets are sold on the basis of pay what we can afford.

As for changing allegiances to a local club with history, that really would have been the height of stupidity and hypocrisy. We hated the way football and our club had been taken over by greedy bastards so we go and take over another club!! On the other hand it would have given Altrincham fans even more to moan about. I can imagine the; "who do these arrogant ManU bastards think they are taking over my club" comments had we gone down that road. Personally I wanted to remain with a group of people I felt an affinity with and a shared purpose, that being football for the fans not the bank balances of multi-millionaires.

The following comment is, I suspect, made up. I doubt this person has ever consulted an FC United fan on the issue of moving games. If he had he'd have been told we attended the FA Cup game because we knew that games could be moved when we entered the competition. We boycotted a league game at Curzon Ashton because it was arbitrarily moved with no consultation.

That box has already been checked as well... And no FC United fan could explain to me how they still went to a Friday night match that was rescheduled just for TV when that was one of the major factors of them making a breakaway.
So it seems to me there are two options. Sit on your fat lazy arse moaning about your owner, manager and players as Altrincham fans do when not moaning about FC United. Or get off your fat lazy arse and do something positive like the founders of FC United did.

If you can bear to here is a link to the Altrincham fans' forum.

For a refreshing change here is a link to the FC United fans' forum.

Have a look and decide who you'd rather spend your Saturday afternoons with.

*It's been pointed out that this is actually our fourth season in this division, just proving how time flies when you're having fun!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Gary Speed RIP

Gary Speed 8 Sept 1969-27 November 2011
Gary Speed, manager of the Welsh national team was found hanged at his Cheshire home this morning.  Formerly played for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United. Played 85 times for Wales.
Rest In Peace

Monday, 21 November 2011

FC United of Manchester v Altrincham-FA Trophy, Sunday 27 November 3-00pm

FC United take on Altrincham at Gigg Lane on Sunday at Gigg Lane, Bury. Kick off is 3-00pm and adults can enter the ground for £8, over 60s £5 and under 16s £2.

A bumper crowd of 2000 plus is expected with a derby day atmosphere. Local club Altrincham were only relegated from the Conference last year so should bring a decent following and provide a tough test for FC United of the Evostik Norther Premier League.

But don't forget, the appetiser is at Gigg Lane on Wednesday against Kendal Town, kick off 7-45pm.

For more info please visit the FC United website.

Friday, 11 November 2011

We Will Remember Them

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Newcastle United Play at St James' Park

Every day some idiot involved in professional football gives us another reason to boycott the game. Depriving scum like the Glazers and Mike Ashley of cash are the only way to drive them out of the game.

Newcastle United play at St James' Park not the 'Sports Direct Arena' or the 'Mike Ashley's A Nobhead Stadium'.

Sadly the chavs are in charge and the biggest chav clubs have sold their souls along with their 'naming rights'. I really thought better of Arsenal but no, they play at The Emirates. Chelsea are selling the name of Stamford Bridge, no surprise there. But I really didn't expect Newcastle to prostitute St James' Park. I suppose Ashley thought he could sneak it in because the Geordies would all keep schtum while enjoying a cracking start to the season. Are they that easy to buy off? Let's wait and see.

Manchester City have gone from Maine Road to 'The Council House'. Which was renamed the City of Manchester Stadium, which became Eastlands, which has now become the Etihad Stadium, which is Arabic for United ironically. But I suppose being a Bedouin club changing names frequently is the next best thing to roaming around different grounds all season.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

FC United of Manchester-Moston Community Stadium

Manchester City Council have this afternoon approved FC United's planning application for their own ground.

More information from the FC United of Manchester website.

Calling All Football Fans

 We 'The 72 Unite' group is made up of fans from the Football League angered by, and at a loss to explain, the news today that the proposed legislative changes to the existing academy systems have been voted in favour of.

In the current financial climate with the divide between rich and poor widening on a daily basis, Modern Football continues to be an exaggerated version of the overall global picture. THE RICH CONTINUE TO GET RICHER, WHILE THE POOR SUFFER.

Lower league football is dying, starved by Premier League greed and excess. Attendances are down, and clubs will soon cease to exist, unable to balance the books to survive let-alone compete with the elite.

The lifeblood of Football League clubs are their successful academy systems, some of which have supported and sustained clubs for many years, producing local, homegrown talent representative of the area and fanbase. Today’s ruling cuts this essential lifeblood at the arteries and will signal the death knoll, the final nail in the coffin for the survival of Professional Football outside the Premier League.

In response we are calling for action from EVERY FAN at EVERY MATCH on Saturday 29th October 2011 to UNITE, rise-up and fight for the very existence of their clubs. It’s NOW OR NEVER we must let the Premier League and FA know we will not be trampled on.


Monday, 24 October 2011

Tour de France 2012-The Route

Cycling Weekly have the details of next year's Tour de France. Just visit here.

A nice touring holiday following Le Tour is on the agenda for next year, looks good.

Manchester United 1 Manchester City 6

So United got thumped by City, it happens.

In 1989 City beat United 5-1 and what has happened in the intervening years? United now have a record number of titles. City won the third division play-off final against Gillingham in 1999 while United were winning the European Cup against Bayern Munich.

Interestingly the only messages I've received gloating about yesterday's result were from plastic Scousers, one from Kent one from Sheffield. Says it all really.

Friday, 14 October 2011

The Biggest Club Game In The World-FC United of Manchester v Chester FC

Well, maybe not, but it's certainly the biggest game in England tomorrow. FC United of Manchester take on Chester FC in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.

Kick off is at the proper football time of 3-00pm and a bumper gate is expected at Gigg Lane, Bury. A thousand Chester fans are expected to take the attendance to over 3,000.

Do yourself a favour and savour the atmosphere of football as it should be.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Football Deserves Manchester City And Carlos Tevez

Yesterday was a big day for me in sporting terms. I went to Old Trafford for the first time since giving up my season ticket following the Glazer theft of the club and his dumping of a half billion debt on it. I went at the invitation of my niece and we were sat in 'K' stand, which used to be the most feared seating section  in football with some of the noisiest and most passionate fans.

In a section of the tier of seating above us were the Swiss fans from Basel, it was a European Champions League game. The Swiss were obviously Alpine mountain folk with little culture as they repeatedly sprayed us from above with fluid from cups and bottles that we couldn't determine the origin of.  Not pleasant but they did make a noise, chanting and singing throughout the game.

The rest of the ground was silent for most of the game and maybe it was the lack of passion and support from the stands that contributed to United's second half performance, one that a team of geriatrics would have have been disappointed with. The whole atmosphere was flat, corporate and sterile. It was more like an early round of the Carling Cup than a European Cup game. What the hell has happened to English football? The atmosphere was draining away prior to 2005 in most grounds, it now resembles a night at the opera on last night's experience.

The best part of last night was the news  after the game that Manchester City had been beaten in Munich and that Carlos Tevez had refused to play. Manchester City are like the chav who won a rollover jackpot on the lottery and then goes on the world's most vulgar spending spree. Purchases are made on the principle of showing off rather than value for money or genuine need, hence the boastful billboards when they took Tevez from United. Not so chuffed now are you City? Looks like Fergie has made you look like clowns yet again by offloading a misfit onto you .

They've also had a pop at the wealthy old aristocrats of Arsenal by getting mercenaries like Nasri and others from there. What they haven't realised is that buying a collection of greedy, money grubbing mercenaries doesn't make a team of champions. Tevez has proved that on several occasions at Manchester City, as has Balotelli and the great thing about last night was that Dzeko, another mercenary at City also threw a temper tantrum and is in the brown stuff with their manager Mancini.

The problem with football is that money has completely corrupted it and blackened its soul. But there are two clubs that have done more than others to ruin the game, Manchester City and Chelsea. Bought by vulgarians from abroad with more money than taste they have tried to buy success but don't realise that they can't buy class. Blackburn Rovers, in their own small way, managed to do it in 1995. But when their wealthy benefactor went it was obvious there was no solid foundation for the club to build on. They have achieved little since then and are now owned by a family of chicken processors from India.

Last night was the first time I've watched 'top class' football since 2005 and I won't be going again. Well done City and Chelsea, you've hammered the final nails in the coffin of English football.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Lancashire County Cricket Club

Belated congratulations to Lancashire on winning the County Championship. I've woken up every morning since having to check I hadn't dreamt it. Absolutely fantastic.

And the work on rebuilding Old Trafford has begun in earnest so that the ground will be a fit stage for a team of champions to play on. It's sad in some ways because I have so many fond memories of the old ground from first going as a young lad in the late '60s early '70s, but we do need to build for the future. This season I've been to Headingley and Edgbaston to watch Lancashire and those two wonderful grounds really brought home to me how desperately in need of redevelopment Old Trafford is.

Many congratulations and a huge thank you to all at Lancashire for a wonderful season.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Chorley FC v FC United of Manchester-Live in Moston!

Following the shambles caused by Chorley FC and Lancashire plod, FC United fans can now watch Saturday's game live in Manchester without having to put a penny into the coffers of Chorley FC.

From the FC United of Manchester website:
We are pleased to announce we have secured agreement from the League and Chorley FC to stream Saturday’s match live to a venue of our choosing and we have therefore chosen to show the match at Moston Miners Club.

We have developed great links with the Miners Club in recent months with the venue being the hub of much of the work we have been doing in the area.

We have been encouraged by the response from supporters to the club’s decision to decline an allocation of away tickets for the fixture and, by showing the game live, it allows those supporters to gather together to raise money for the club and for Moston Miners Club as they continue their re-development after the recent fire.

Doors will open at 10.00 onwards for breakfast, with the game scheduled to start at 12.30. We are asking that those attend make a £5 donation as a means of entry.

Many thanks to FCUM TV and FCUM Radio, who will be doing a simultaneousness broadcast to make the stream possible on Saturday.

Also on a Saturday morning, at 10am, FCUM Radio has a programme called Sown Ja Saturdaze, so if you’re looking for something to listen to whilst eating your breakfast, help yourself.

PLEASE be mindful of concerns over parking in Moston. There is plenty of parking on Lightbowne Road and its a short walk across the park to the venue at the Miners club. We urge all supporters to please use Lightbowne Road for parking.

Buses from Manchester city centre stop opposite Teddington Road for the Miners club, numbers 77, 51 and 24 from Lever Street or Piccadilly.

The venue:

The Miners Arts cafe. Teddington Road, Moston , M40 0DJ.

Alcohol and soft drinks will be on sale, plus food etc at the venue.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Chorley FC v FC United of Manchester-10 September-Well Done Lancashire Police!

Lancashire police close in on a man smoking in a pub!
I've lived in four police areas, Manchester, Derbyshire, London and now Lancashire. Without  a doubt, and I'm not going into a long list of reasons, Lancashire police are the most inept bunch of clowns I've come across. They are useless, in fact they are worse than useless.

Thanks to their ineptitude, and the idiots who run Chorley FC, a day out at a non-league football game has been ruined for hundreds, maybe thousands of people. Without any consultation with FC United Chorley met the police and announced the following restrictions for our game on September 10th:

-Kick off  moved from 3-00pm to 11-30am.
-Game to be all ticket.
-FC United to get 530 tickets to sell only to season ticket holders.
-Chorley fans, with a voucher from one of three previous home games, could buy four tickets each.

FC United have absolutely no history of trouble, home or away. Chorley claim the restrictions are in place because of their fans attacking Chester fans last season. So why restrict FC United fans?

It was Chorley fans, allegedly supporters of league clubs who attended for the day, who attacked Chester fans. So why allow Chorley fans to buy four tickets that could easily get into the hands of the yobs who caused trouble last season?

The trouble last year came about because the club skimped financially on segregation of Chester and Chorley fans. The segregation broke down and violence ensued.

The police insisted that Chester move their fans' coaches during the game. The Chester fans weren't informed, went to where they had left their coaches and were promptly attacked by yobs.

In a nutshell the Lancashire police and Chorley FC couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery. Anybody who has watched football for a few years could have told the police and Chorley that their organisation for the Chester game last season was inadequate.

FC United have the biggest support in the Evostick Northern Premier League. What has angered so many FC United fans is that regardless of our record of exemplary behaviour, the police and Chorley, with no consultation with officials from FC United, brought in these draconian restrictions merely as a dummy run for when Chorley host Chester again this season. So if you live in Lancashire, get dragged out of your bed in the early hours and taken to the local nick don't worry, it's probably just a dry run for when they have to nick a criminal!

But don't forget, FC United could probably have taken over 1000 fans to Chorley. So the cock-up suits them as their manager has publicly expressed his wish to see FC fans outnumbered by Chorley fans for the game.

Eventually the league ordered a meeting between the two clubs, the league and the police. That meeting took place yesterday.  There was complete intransigence on the part of the police and Chorley FC. This shows that Chorley and the Lancashire police have learnt nothing from last year's disastrous Chester game. The board of FC United are not prepared to put FC fans at risk,  so there will be no tickets sold to FC United supporters. Strangely, following that decision by FC United last night, Chorley moved the kick off to 12-30.

So thank you to Lancashire police and Chorley FC. You have screwed up between you a great day. Instead of running out to a crowd of maybe 2000+ and a great atmosphere the players will be running out to a few hundred and no atmosphere. And Chorley FC are likely to make a big loss on the game having to foot a huge policing bill but with  a fraction of the crowd they had expected.

Perhaps the lesson for Chorley to learn is that we may follow FC United home and away in huge numbers but don't take us for granted, we're not here to be dumped on. We left Manchester United to form a new club because we were tired of being treated like crap, the Glazers being the final straw. We sure aren't going to sit down and let Chorley FC and the Lancashire police shaft us.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Non-League Day and FC United of Manchester

On Saturday 3rd September 2011, clubs across the country will be hoping for larger crowds than normal when the non-league pyramid hosts Non-League Day.

The organisers of Non-League Day said: "It is a chance to shine a light on the hundreds of clubs in this country who are almost exclusively volunteer run, and do so much good for the local community, be it through coaching, fundraising or providing opportunities for local people."

So why not use this opportunity to bring someone along to Gigg Lane who wouldn’t normally attend. There’s no Premiership football due to the international weekend so it’s the perfect chance for people to try non-league football.

In addition, residents from Moston and the surrounding area have been invited to this match for free via vouchers that have been delivered to homes by our volunteers and is part of the wider consultation associated with FC United’s proposals for a community based football ground near to Broadhurst Park.

Anyone with a North Manchester Day voucher will be able to attend this match for free on production of the voucher through turnstiles 13 and 14.

Let’s show any non-league virgins, curious North Manchester residents and potential new supporters what’s so good about this thing of ours...

FC United vs. Rushall Olympic, Gigg Lane, Saturday 3rd September, kick off 3pm.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Moston Community Stadium Facility-FC United of Manchester

Next month sees Manchester City Council looking at FC United's planning application for their Community Stadium Facility in North Manchester.

The scheme will bring an invaluable resource to the people of Moston and a much awaited home for FC United, who have been groundsharing with Bury FC since their formation in protest at the Glazers' takeover of Manchester United in 2005.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Chester FC v FC United of Manchester

In 2005 the Glazers bought Manchester United, or rather they borrowed millions to buy Manchester United then loaded the debt onto the club. To many of us it was the final straw in the gradual disillusionment that had started with the advent of PLCs, then the formation of the Premier league, and then the sale of the soul of football for TV money.

Thousands of us walked away from Old Trafford, binning our season tickets and turning our backs on the club we had supported as boys, as had our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers. To the vast majority of Mancunians United is in our blood, but we also have pride and principle and while understanding why many couldn't and still can't make the break, despite ever more expensive tickets and other rip-offs, we left and began supporting a breakaway club, FC United of Manchester.

FC United is an idealistic club. Owned by the members it is an Industrial and Provident Society. Having rebelled against the crass commercialisation of top flight football one of the first votes of the membership was to reject spirt sponsorship. A few years back there was a boycott of a game when the kick off was brought forward for the benefit of internet TV. Kick off should be 3-00pm on a Saturday, not 8-00pm on a Monday or 1-00pm on a Sunday. In our second season there was a boycott of a game because the home club did away with concessionary prices for juniors and OAPs for our visit in an effort to cash in on the club's huge support.

Chester are also a fan owned club so there should be a natural affinity you would think. But Chester FC are charging £12 to enter the seated area of the ground, which is expensive when you think that the average admission price in that league is around £9. And Chester are seen by some clubs as trying to buy success, a poor man's Manchester City in a way, by poaching top players from other clubs.

As a football league club in a previous incarnation Chester's fans are also seen as arrogant and obsessed with regaining their status as a league club as if it's a God given right. A similar club, AFC Halifax Town were similarly unpopular, for the same reasons, last season as were Boston United fans before them.

In the 1990s I spent a lot of money travelling to support little Chester City, as they were, when they had a 'Fans United Day' to try and stave off bankruptcy, something they have had to do due to poor support on a regular basis. Fans from all over attended in a spirit of mutual support. United fans attended only to hear the majority of Chester fans chanting abuse about Manchester and United in particular, hardly in the spirit of the event. I decided then that I would never do anything to help Chester football club again, whatever form it took.

So what does this have to do with FC United playing Chester on 24 August? Well, while there is no organised boycott, a lot of FC United fans have decided that they will miss the Chester game. I'm in two minds myself. I'd prefer to boycott the game but want to support my team. Are we (FC United fans) getting a bit carried away with the idealism at times? Maybe, I'm not sure. Will I be there on 24 August? Maybe, I'm not sure, I'll just have to see what happens between now and then.

But in their own small way Chester FC/Chester City have given me at least as much cause to stay away as the Glazers have at Old Trafford. I no longer visit Munch, Florence, Milan or Lyon to watch football, maybe I'll add Chester to that list.

*A correction. I initially referred to them as AFC Chester in this post which they are not. It is confusing when Chester City they were, now they are Chester FC and there also seems to be a club called AFC Chester knocking about with some tenuous link to the other two. Mea culpa.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini

We've had reports that Roberto Mancini is looking to buy a house in Manchester. Nothing fancy, just a two up three down!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Lancashire v Gloucestershire and Dickie Bird

Now then, which one's me?
On July 28th 1971 I was enjoying the summer holidays. I'd passed my 11+ and was starting, in the September that year at Xaverian College in Rusholme, where we would finish school at 3-30pm and then go on to watch the last couple of hours of cricket at Old Trafford before going home. But on July 28th we had a whole, carefree day to watch Lancashire v Gloucestershire in the Gillette Cup semi-final.

Tomorrow I'll be on a trip down memory lane with Lancashire again playing Gloucestershire in a one day game, but this time preceeded by a sportsman's lunch with Dickie Bird as special guest. Dicki Bird is probably the world's most famous umpire and was umpiring on that historic day in 1971. The lunch is especially to comemmorate 40 years since that glorious day, the most exciting day's cricket I, and many others have ever witnessed.

Tomorrow will be a day for wallowing in nostalgia. The reminiscing began last month at the last lunch I attended. A group of us, grey haired, bald or both stood with pints of Thwaites bitter recounting whereabouts in the ground we were on that July day, and night as it transpired. In most cases we were sat somewhere on the grass between the boundary rope and the perimeter wall around the pitch. What we all remembered perfectly clearly was the sheer joy carrying us across the pitch to swamp the victorious Lancashire players as they tried to leave the field after an historic win. As 10-00pm approached the players were still on the pavilion balcony celebrating with the thousands of joyful cricket fans still crowded onto the field in front of the pavilion singing and screaming with sheer joy. My mum and dad knew why I was so late home that day, because it had made the News at Ten.

Roll on tomorrow, and reliving every glorious moment.  Don't worry if I'm a bit late home Jules!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Belle Vue Aces Announce New National Speedway Stadium

Belle Vue Aces have announced the plans for a new national stadium in Manchester. It is hoped it will be ready for racing in 2012.

Full story from

Great news for Manchester, and Gorton especially.

Friday, 29 July 2011

M40 4FC Supporting FC United of Manchester

M40 4FC is a pressure group in North Manchester supporting FC United of Manchester's efforts to build a new stadium, sport and community facility in the Moston area of Manchester.

They are on Facebook:

And Twitter:!/M40_4FC

Below you can see some YouTube clips of the group.

Keep up the good work!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Mark Cavendish-True Superstar

I'm already looking forward to Le Tour de France 2012, especially to see Mark Cavendish defending his Green Jersey as sprint champion of this year's tour. We'll be planning next year's holiday in France around the route, even Mrs B is getting hooked on Le Tour.

Cav has been referred to by many as 'probably Britain's greatest current sportsman'. That's rubbish, drop the 'probably' and you're right! Tour cyclists are the greatest and toughest athletes in the world, and Cav is up there with the best.

Don't forget Cadel Evans. In recent years he's had some terrible luck in le Tour, but this is his year and he thoroughly deserves the Yellow Jersey as overall winner, Australia's first. Many congratulations to him too.

Roll on Le Tour 2012.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Scandal-Bryan Robson Tells The Truth

What is untrue in the following statement made by Bryan Robson?

'I disagree with people when they say football is a sport. Football lost its sporting thing when the money started coming in and Sky TV and all that. Football's a business.'
He's absolutely correct, which is a large part of why so many of us former Manchester United season ticket holders sacked them in 2005, and haven't watched Premier League football since.

So why is he being pilloried for doing what thousands of people, agents, directors, players, officials and others have been doing for years-bending the rules to make a few quid?

Oh yes, he got caught mentioning it!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Lunch With Mark Halsey

I was at a lunch at Old Trafford yesterday to raise funds for the Lancaster County Cricket Club Development Association. The special guest was Premier League referee Mark Halsey. If you don't know Mark Halsey and his wife have recently both been battling cancer, Mark had throat cancer his wife leukemia. Thankfully they are both doing really well and Mark is now refereeing again, his wife's leukemia is in remission.

He is now doing sterling work raising funds for the Christie Hospital in Manchester. Later in the year he is planning a fundraising event, again at the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club and the guest speaker will be Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho. It should be in September or October, I will be posting details here as soon as possible.

Mark Halsey was an entertaining and likeable speaker. His fight back to fitness is an inspiration to us all, and I hope to be there again when Jose Mourinho comes over to support him and an extremely worthy cause. 

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Vancouver Ice Hockey Riots

I love ice hockey and, as the news reports from Vancouver say, the violence is usually on the ice not among the spectators. And I can assure you, there are some amazing fisticuffs on the ice. But yesterday it kicked off on the streets of Vancouver after the Canadian team Vancour Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins.

I'm always loathe to take the mainstream media at face value and the coverage of the Vancouver riots has justified that cynicism. According to the media there is shock that this kind of thing could happen in Vancouver, of all places. I wonder then, which Vancouver the following riot took place in when Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the New York Rangers in 1994?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Premier League Axe Supporters Direct Funding

In an act of sheer spite the Premier League has axed funding to Supporters Direct. This is how Supporters Direct describe their work:

Supporters Direct help fans form trusts by offering advice on how to get it off the ground. We ensure that as many supporters get involved as possible. Having worked with fans setting up over 160 trusts since 2000, we advise fans on what works and what doesn't and give examples of good ideas from other places. As the fans who get involved are volunteers, it's important that they don't get disheartened or feel they wasted time on something that hasn't delivered. We help them avoid going up blind alleys and instead spend their time on things that will be positive and make a difference. We also take some of the load off their hands, as we have full-time staff who are at the end of a phone to advise if needed.

We also pay for all the legal costs of setting up a Trust and may be able to provide small grants, to cover things like advertising, printing, and room hire etc.
It seems the withdrawal of funding is retribution for 'innapropriate' Tweets by their former chief executive Dave Boyle when celebrating AFC Wimbledon's promotion to the Football League. Boyle has already resigned.

The Premier League, proving once again that they exist merely to shit on supporters!

Full Article by David Conn.

Friday, 10 June 2011

FC United of Manchester-Moston Community Stadium

FC United of Manchester is to hold further consultation sessions over its plans to develop a community facility and sports stadium in Moston.

Four further sessions have been planned across the area for June as the club continues to talk to residents about its proposals.

The sessions will be held at the following venues:

Session 1
Venue: Moston Methodist Church, Moston Lane
Date: Tuesday 21st June 2011
Time: 6pm - 8pm

Session 2
Venue:Moston Labour Club, Moston Lane
Date: Wednesday 22nd June 2011
Time: 6pm - 8pm

Session 3
Venue: North City Library, Rochdale Road
Date: Wednesday 29th June 2011
Time: 6pm - 8pm

Session 4
Venue: Miners Community & Arts Centre, Teddington Road
Date: Thursday 30th June 2011
Time: 6pm - 8pm

The sessions have been organised by FC United and club representatives will be there, together with Moston Juniors Football Club, to explain the plans and answer questions. Representatives from Manchester City Council will also be there to answer questions and explain the council’s processes.
FC United general manager Andy Walsh said: "These sessions are part of our on-going consultation with the Moston community about our plans, aimed at giving as many people as possible the opportunity to put their views directly to us and Moston Juniors Football Club.

"We want as many people as possible to come along and tell us what they would like included in our plans for what would be a community facility. Equally this is not a done deal so we want to hear any concerns so we can take these into consideration as we develop our proposals.

"We will be working closely with the council to keep the community informed as our consultation progresses."

FC United’s proposals for the development include a 5,000 capacity stadium, community changing facilities and classroom, a function space open for public bookings, two additional community pitches and landscaped public areas. The development represents around £3.5 million of investment in Moston.


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Foreign Players in the English Premiership

If you watched England's excruciating performance against Switzerland yesterday you will know exactly why there are so many foreigners in English football. Eleven Englishmen just aren't worth paying to watch.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Barcelona v Manchester United

Barcelona deserved their victory last night, but greatest team in the history of football? Do me a favour, United were crap. They apologised for not turning up in the 2009 final then forgot to turn up last night too, pathetic.

So what does last night say about English football? That it is all hype and no class in a nutshell. United were lucky in 1999. Were lucky in 2008 to get an English team in the final. Fulham got to the final of the shambolic Europa League but apart from that English football is all fur coat and no knickers. Man City won the FA Cup, can you even remember who knocked them out of the Europa League? Who knocked Asenal out of the 'Champions' League, which isn't even for champions any more?

English football is the triumph of hype over quality. A tart who wins a rollover, pardon the pun, on the lottery is still a tart.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Manchester City FC Announce New Shirt Sponsor

To celebrate their first trophy in 35 years MCFC have announced a new shirt sponsor:

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Pro Cycling: The Tour Series

One of the highlights of the sporting summer is the Halfords Tour Series, which will be in the North West on June 9th when they race through the streets of Oldham, ee bah gum.

Ok, you're not going to see Lance Armstrong but you will see fantastic, thrilling cycle racing with some of Europe's finest racers taking part on a street circuit no more than 2 miles long, so the action never stops as the teams go for it.

For me it's a great appetiser before my trip to France to watch a few stages of Le Tour in July. If you enjoy cycling, or have always wondered about watching pro cycling, then this is the ideal introduction. And it's free!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Pamplona Bull Run

If you're fancying a holiday with a difference this year, I can recommend taking in the Pamplona Bull Run. We were there ten years ago and watched in the bullring rather than out on the streets where the Corrida takes place. But a couple of warnings, if you're squeamish about bull fights then leave Pamplona out, if you're squeamish about seeing people getting gored by bulls, leave Pamplona out. Here's a superb film that gives you a flavour of the event:

Pamplona San Fermin Official Website

Manchester City FC-Upholding a Long Tradition

It was good to see Manchester City, or rather their fans, upholding tradition last night. They paraded their first trophy in 35 years at their council owned stadium but didn't manage to anywhere near fill it.

Lots of cash, no class.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs Ryan Giggs tried to gag the press,
Ryan Giggs Ryan Giggs what a bloody mess,
He's himself to blame, we all know his name...
Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs
At least that's what MP John Hemming said in the House of Commons today. Or something similar.

Burglaries Set to Plummet in Manchester

It's being predicted that the number of burglaries in the Manchester area will plummet tonight. The reason being that the usual suspects will be lining the streets as Manchester City parade their first trophy in 35 years through Manchester.

However Inspector Gallagher of GMP warned: "We're expectin' loads o' pockets to be picked though like, yer know what I mean? Ci'ee fans are always up for a bit o' dippin', yer know what I mean? Worse than Scousers like most of 'em sort o' fing ".

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

United Fans Laughing At Liverpool Fans-Again!

Some years ago Liverpool fans unfurled the following banner at Anfield. Their arrogance made them believe that United would never equal their 18 titles.

But on Saturday United won their 19th title, so a group of United fans got into Anfield and unfurled the following banner before their home game with Spurs:

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Manchester United Champions

I gave my season ticket up, and haven't been to Old Trafford since 2005, but it's absolutely fantastic that in spite of the Glazers United have won their 19th title.

Bloody magic!

Manchester United 19 Liverpool 18. He certainly knocked them Scousers off their perch.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Manchester City FC-The Biggest Joke in World Football

After years of accusing any club that wins a trophy of buying success, anybody who doesn't live in the bog at their team's ground of not being a true local fan, and claiming that all City fans are from Manchester this appears on their website: 

New to Manchester City FC? If you're not yet a diehard fan then here's a quick guide to help you on your way.

We all know we have the best fans in the world and manager Roberto Mancini is building the team our supporters deserve.

Loyalty, commitment, passion and, during the darker times, a sense of humour has been needed over the years to follow the Blues – that’s what we affectionately call City - but expectation and optimism have now been added to those qualities.
Success means we’ll be welcoming a new generation of City fans from here in England and all over the globe, too, and when our new followers come on board, they’ll be welcomed with open arms into our ‘family’.
Champions League qualification and the FA Cup Final will mean hundreds of thousands of people will adopt the Blues as their chosen side and with that in mind, here is a guide to help ‘newbies’ bluff your way through the televised games, with your mates down at the pub or actually at a game.
So long as you’ve got City in your hearts, we want your support – and if you are watching City (there’s only one City, by the way!) take on Stoke at Wembley on Saturday and you’ll be cheering us on for the first time in the new Carlos Tevez home shirt you’ve just bought on-line, this is stuff you need to know.
As they say on the evening news sports results round-up, if you don’t want to know the following - or more likely if you already know (!), look away now.
Our fans’ anthem is Blue Moon, a song written 67 years ago by Rogers and Hart and adopted in or around 1989. Though we don’t sing the whole song – just the chorus  - Blue Moon echoes out when the players are need of an uplift or when we we’ve just scored.
If asked where we play our football, it’s the City of Manchester Stadium – also nicknamed Eastlands due to the area of Manchester it is in. It’s worth noting that from 1923 to 2003 we played our home games at Maine Road

Traditionally, we don’t like red as a colour – unless it forms part of a red and black striped away kit the team have worn periodically over the years
...Bluffers guide to MCFC
If you are asked who your favourite players are from down the years – your credibility is at stake here – don’t say Francis Bell, Colin Summerbee and Yaya Dzeko though these names exists, they are combinations  – have a good scan over the club website and check out who the current favourites are and who the club legends are and take notes!
And, if we score against Stoke and some more experienced Blues (ahem!) around you ask you to join in a ‘Poznan’ , don’t say ‘Sure, make it a double with ice’, simply turn your back to the screen or the pitch, put your arms around the shoulders of the people on either side and jump up and down. Simple! Watch the experts in action first!
Poznan dance
Incidentally, it’s called The Poznan because City played a team called Lech Poznan earlier this season and their fans did the same dance – we just named it in their honour!
This is our first FA Cup Final since 1981, so don’t try and bluff your way through historical facts. The last trophy we won was in 1976 so again, get this right or you’ll arouse suspicion.
There may be the odd person who tries to trip you up with the terms ‘massive’ or ‘Man City’ – please ignore these are we are now accepting these words in general club usage!
Of course, in the fullness of time you’ll pick ‘The Knowledge’ and become a diehard City fan just like the rest of us. Until then, we hope the above is of some use!
And if you really don't believe Manchester City are all cash, no class and couldn't possibly put anything so crass on their website then follow this link.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Football Conference Play Off Final and Pure Greed

On 21 May the City of Manchester Stadium (aka The Bertiedome, Wastelands or Middle Eastlands) hosts the Football Conference play off final. We don't know who is in it yet but it is looking likely to be AFC Wimbledon v Luton Town.

Yet again the footballing authorities show their complete disregard for the paying customer by expecting the fans of two clubs to travel 200 miles there and back to watch a 90 minute game of football.  What would be wrong with having a ground in the south on standby for such an occasion?

I was going to watch the game as I am unlikey to ever go and watch Manchester City, indeed any other club there as long as Manchester City are in the Premier League because I won't line the pockets of the greedy sods who play football at that level, or the rest of the people involved in lining their pockets at our expense. But like thousands of others I won't now be going having found out the price:

Level 1 Tickets (nearest the Pitch)
Adults : £36 + £3.50 (Booking Fee) + £ 5.25 (Special Delivery) or £2.25 (First Class)
Children £18 + £1.50 (Booking Fee) + See above
Level 2 Tickets
Adults £41 + £3.50 (Booking Fee) + £ 5.25 (Special Delivery) or £2.25 (First Class)

And if you pay those prices then you obviously have more money than sense. In fact if you pay those prices you're as big a danger to the future of football as Glazer, Abramovitch and all the other greedy parasites.

If you have any sense, or principle, take a stand and BOYCOTT!!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

FC United of Manchester-An 'Away' Fan's View

Since 2005, and the Glazer takeover of Manchester United, many of us have been followinjg the breakaway club, FC United of Manchester. The lads who set the club up can be rightly proud of their hard work and those of us who follow FC think it's a model club, owned and run by the fans and for the fans, not a massive profit. Or in the words of one of the club's many fine and imaginative banners: "Making Friends Not Millionaires".

But that's my possibly my myopic view of FC. I thought I'd ask a friend, who supports rival club Buxton FC, to give us an idea what fans of other non-league clubs think of us. Here's what John thinks:
I along with many neutrals have kept an eye on the progress of FCUM since their formation.
I remember the first league match in the North West Counties league vs Leek CSOB ( only because a lad from work went) and I think there was something like 4000 people there. So you knew something special was starting.

We neutrals watched as they stormed to the title in that 1st season, then the next league, then the next until they reached the Premier Division of the NPL where my team (Buxton) had reached and had mixed seasons.
Tough league this one.

Now as a Bucks fan, and knowing about the size of the following, FCUM was one of the fixtures to look out for as well as our personal old friends, Matlock. The first time we hosted FC there were over 2000 people in our football ground, it was superb. The atmosphere from both sides was amazing and nothing I'd experienced at Buxton in my time supporting my club.

This time round FC didn't storm to the title, as I said earlier it's a tough league this one. In fact after 3 seasons FC are still with us, only just though after missing out in the play off final this season.

As an away supporter watching my boys play away to FC is also a great experience. Going watching my team play at a 'big and proper' stadium at Bury with again a superb atmosphere created from the home fans. When FC get they're own ground, I honestly think they will start to storm this league and the next two and will be in the football league. Financially having to pay Bury for the use of Gigg Lane must be draining so once they are 'home' they will fly.

I have no bad opinions on FC so long may they continue, the aforementioned support has helped many clubs financially so how can anyone not like them. The only thing I didn't agree on was the FA cup games being televised. You can understand from FC's point of view, money towards the ground, but wasn't it one if the reasons the club was formed? Football at 3pm on a Saturday?

Anyway, that's only a small bug bare? Long may they continue and as long as my team are in the same division, we will all look out for FCUM at home when the fixtures come out.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Barcelona v Manchester United

I have happy memories of Barcelona after two visits to the Nou Camp. One when they thrashed us 4 0 in 1993/94, yes I did actually still enjoy the trip. The other when United beat Bayern in 1999. But I've never fallen for all the hype about the football club that is Barcelona. Yes they have had some teams, the current one included, that play some beautiful football, but so do plenty of other clubs.

The constant drooling hype about 'Barca' by the media, and those who slavishly follow the media hype, often makes me retch. A sense of perspective is handy and you only have to look at the vile cheating of the Barcelona players against Real Madrid to get a sense of perspective. Too many of their players are cheats for me to respect them.

Then there is the politically correct hype. Barcelona represents the alternative politics, Catalonia fighting the old enemy Castille. Scratch the surface, especially of the politically correct in the UK but in Catalonia too, and there is still simmering obsession with the Spanish Civil War, Franco and the role of Barcelona in that particular conflict.

So there are people all over the world falling for the hype, a bit of an Arsenal on a world scale situation, and Barcelona pull off the most cynical piece of marketing genius since the conman who made it by selling bottled water when we have perefectly good, if not better water free from our taps. They bung a few million quid to Unicef to put Unicef on their shirts. Bingo, kerching, the dosh flows in as millions all over the world suddenly rise to the bait and start buying Barca merchandise. Bloody mugs!

What was all that about not selling their shirts by having a sponsors logo on them? As cynical a football club as you will find anywhere in the world.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

FC United of Manchester United FC

Happy days for the red two thirds of Manchester. For those of us who binned our season tickets after the Glazer takeover at Old Trafford our club, FC United of Manchester, play in the play off final at Colwyn Bay on Monday. A place in the Conference North is the prize for the winner.

After the sheer joy of the semi-final win at Bardford on Thursday I can't get a ticket for the final sadly. Colwyn Bay only have a capacity of 2500 but it is restricted to 2000 for this game, 1000 allocated to us. Why, oh why do the powers that be give a stadium a 2500 capacity then, the first time they get to fill it, they reduce the capacity to 2000 for safety reasons? 'Elf 'n' safety gorn mad!

Tomorrow Manchester United take on Arsenal at the Emiroids. A win there will put United on the brink of a historic and record breaking 19th title. We might hate the Glazers and refuse to help pay their debts, but would still much rather United win trophies than any other club, especially those who have sold their souls for filthy lucre. You know who you are.


Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Manchester City FC-All Cash, No Class Part II

Manchester City FC are like the roughest old tart in the roughest, grimiest part of town who has won the lottery. No matter how many millions won in the rollover they still have no class, every social disease known to man and the manners and decency of a skunk.

Last night at Blackburn they were singing: "Who put the ball in the Munich's net?" at their overpaid chav mercenary who scored the winning goal in the FA Cup semi final against United. Not just a handful of them, but the couple of thousand almost to a man, who bothered to turn up. Note, not the 100,000 who claim to have been at Ewood Park when they were promoted a few seasons ago. 

Did the Arabs who bought the old scrubber realise what a shabby, vile, nasty bunch of misfits came with their purchase of the footballing tart known as Manchester City I wonder?

Friday, 22 April 2011

FA Cup Final-World Famous Football Cup For Sale

The Football Association are pleased to announce the sale of a much loved family heirloom, the Football Association Challenge Cup.

There have been two enquiries to date, one from an upright organisation in the English Potteries, the other from a family of extremely wealthy Arabs acting through a very dodgy agent in East Manchester. 

Final bids will be considered on May 14th.

Manchester City FC, trying to buy a trophy just like Blackburn Rovers did in 1995.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Manchester City FC at Wembley-First Time in 35 Years?

It's funny how City fans seem to remember 1976, when they won the League Cup, as the last time they were at Wembley. Admittedly a lot can happen in 35 years, like United winning two more European Cups, including a Treble. Lots of Doubles, countless championships and FA Cups. Oh yes, a Cup Winners Cup too. But I think City fans have forgotten a more recent Wembley visit. Come on now, surely you remember?

OK then. It was 1999, when United were winning the European Cup in Barcelona. Ring any bells? No?

Right then, City were at Wembley in 1999 playing Gillingham in the Third Division Play-Off Final. Remember now? Yes, City fans try to forget they were in the Third Division 12 years ago.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

FC United of Manchester

The story of FC United so far, in a short film. Great fun it is too watching FC United:

Friday, 1 April 2011

Racism in Football-Gordon Taylor and the PFA

Once again Gordon Taylor of the Professional Footballers' Association is in the news for talking tripe. This is the man whose Trade Union represents the likes of Wayne Rooney, John Terry and all the footballers on multimillion pound a year contracts. So he knows about life at the rough end obviously.

This time he's demanding that as there are only two black managers out of 92 football league clubs, black candidates should be guaranteed an interview for any vacancy. He doesn't say how he would have dealt with the over representation of Scotsmen in football management over the years. Presumably he would advocate a cap on them applying for jobs.

But strangely he justifies his pretty murky views by criticising the number of foreign managers brought to the UK rather than black managers being given a chance. Even more strangely he supports his argument about imaginary racism by actually naming two foreign managers who have allegedly blocked the progress of black managers in the UK. They are Ruud Gullit and Jean Tigana. One of them's black, and other one? Well, he's black too actually.

From the BBC.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Eric Cantona On Manchester United After Alex Ferguson

Eric Cantona fears for the future of United when Sir Alex Ferguson retires. He worries because of the Glazer ownerhip, balanced at present by the influence of Sir Alex, who Cantona likens to Gandhi.

He also feels that there are now far too many foreign players for the health of the English game.

Pure commonsense from le Roi yet again.

Full article here.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Manchester City FC-Still Bitter After All These Years, 35 To Be Exact

Mike Summerbee shows why Manchester City fans are known as the most bitter and unsporting supporters in the world:

Let's all laugh at City!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Manchester City FC-All Cash, No Class

It's that time in the football season when Manchester City fans go all giddy and silly. The day before the Derby game against United. By 2-30 tomorrow afternoon they'll be back to their usual bitter and twisted selves. Sad to see in a way, hilarious in another.

So how does the groundsman at Wastlands prepare for the Derby at Old Trafford? By proving what a small time club, with small time fans Manchester City really are:

Manchester City ordered the closure of the Facebook site of the club’s groundsman on Thursday night following an inflammatory expletive-laden post about Manchester United ahead of Saturday’s derby at Old Trafford.

Ged Coyne, employed by City as a groundsman for the past 15 years, posted foul-mouthed insults, none of which can be repeated by this newspaper, directed at Sir Alex Ferguson and former United defender Gary Neville, as well as referring to United as “scum”.

With Greater Manchester Police earlier this week advising City captain Carlos Tévez to avoid potentially inflaming tensions between rival sets of supporters by repeating the incendiary comments that have preceded recent fixtures against United, his former club, senior figures at City moved swiftly to close Coyne’s offending Facebook page after being informed of the content.

Coyne is understood to have closed his site on Thursday afternoon after being contacted by a club official, who reminded him of his responsibilities as an employee. A City spokesperson said: "The member of staff in question regrets posting the material and removed it immediately."

Despite City’s actions in seeking the removal of the Facebook page, Coyne’s comments had allegedly already been disseminated on to various fans’ forums, prompting a predictably angry response on United supporters’ sites.

The embarrassment comes after City provided all employees, including players and coaching staff, with guidance on the use of social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter.
Whata dickhead. Quite apt that he should be the Berties' groundsman.

Full sorry tale here.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Manchester United FC-Munich, 6 February 1958

The Flowers of Manchester

One cold and bitter Thursday in Munich, Germany,
Eight great football stalwarts conceded victory,
Eight men who will never play again who met destruction there,
The flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester

Matt Busby's boys were flying, returning from Belgrade,
This great United family, all masters of their trade,
The Pilot of the aircraft, the skipper Captain Thain,
Three times they tried to take off and twice turned back again.

The third time down the runaway disaster followed close,
There was a slush upon that runaway and the aircraft never rose,
It ploughed into the marshy ground, it broke, it overturned.
And eight of the team were killed as the blazing wreckage burned.

Roger Byrne and Tommy Taylor who were capped for England's side.
And Ireland's Billy Whelan and England's Geoff Bent died,
Mark Jones and Eddie Colman, and David Pegg also,
They all lost their lives as it ploughed on through the snow.

Big Duncan he went to, with an injury to his frame,
And Ireland's brave Jack Blanchflower will never play again,
The great Sir Matt Busby lay there, the father of his team
Three long months passed by before he walked again.

The trainer, coach and secretary, and a member of the crew,
Also eight sporting journalists who with United flew,
and one of them Big Swifty, who we'll ne'er forget,
the finest English 'keeper that ever graced the net.

Oh, England's finest football team its record truly great,
its proud successes mocked by a cruel turn of fate.
Eight men will never play again, who met destruction there,
the flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester

Friday, 4 February 2011

Neil Young-Manchester City FC

How sad to hear about the death of Manchester City's Neil Young at the age of 66.

I saw Neil Young many times in the era when United and City were neck and neck in the late 60s  and early 70s. OK, City were actually above United for a time in that period, but I prefer not to dwell on that.

I still remember being chased through the terraced streets around Maine Road on my way to or from Derby games as if it were yesterday. City had the likes of Bell, Lee and Summerbee, but as I remember Young was up there with the best of them.

Football then was much more exciting and atmospheric with players like those I've mentioned, followed by the likes of Rodney Marsh, Gordon Hill and many other true entertainers. But the graceful and skillful players were ably supported by the kind of hard men who would make today's players run for the dressing rooms. I'm starting to sound like my dad now so I'll stop.

Condolences to Neil Young's family and friends, a true sportsman.

Manchester Evening News Tribute.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Manchester United and the Glazers

The Glazers are up to more tricks, and the footballing authorities, as they have done for years now, just sit back and let corporate plunderers destroy what's left of the professional game in this country. Here's what the Glazers are up to now:

By Paul Kelso 8:40PM GMT 02 Feb 2011

Delaware is rated the most secretive financial location in the world, and the change means that it will be even harder for supporters and media to establish the implications of the club’s corporate structure.

The most pressing issue concerning Manchester United’s highly-mobilised fanbase is how the Glazers managed to clear £249.1 million of payment-in-kind (PIK) loans that had been incurring interest at more than 16 per cent before it was abruptly paid off in November last year.

Delaware’s secrecy rules mean that the directors, officers and shareholders of the new company are unknown, as is the source of the money used to repay the PIKs.

The PIKs were controversial because they were secured against the Glazer family’s shares in United’s holding company, meaning that ultimately the club could have been passed to the hedge-fund lenders in the event of default.

The Glazers have declined to say how they paid off the PIK loans, and whether any debt incurred to do so is still secured against the family’s shareholding in the club or related entities.

Financial analyst Andrew Green, who blogs on football finances as Andersred, said the move suggested the Glazers were trying to obscure the source.

“It is almost as if the Glazers are trying to keep information about the PIK repayment secret,” he wrote. “Naturally we can’t ask the Glazers anything about this as they won’t talk to the fans and their employees in M16 don’t appear to know. In my view that is not how the biggest football club in the world should be managed.”

US-based sources have suggested that the Glazers have taken a new loan at a cheaper rate to clear the PIKs rather than turning to third-party investors or using personal cash. It is unclear what security they have offered against the loans, and with United apparently their most valuable asset there remain concerns that the club revenues could still be required to service the loans.

According to UK regulatory filings lodged with Companies House the new Delaware company, Red Football LLC, now owns 100 per cent of the shares in the club’s UK parent company Red Football Shareholder Limited (RFSL).

RFSL was the vehicle by which the PIKs were paid off, but is now hidden behind the new structure in Delaware.

Last November two new shares in RFSL were issued at a combined value of £249m. RFSL then bought two shares in its subsidiary Red Football Joint Venture, which owned the PIKs, and the money was used to pay off the loans.

Manchester United and the Glazer family declined to comment on the changes, but a spokesman said the Glazers remain the ultimate owners of the club.

From the Telegraph Online.

I don't have a dreamy idealised view of the past. I don't look back at the way football was being run prior to PLCs and Russian, Arab and American corporate raiders sailed in with their skull and cross bone flags flying. I remember United being owned by the Edwards family, City having old Mr Alexander in charge. But they, and the footballing authorities of the day, ensured that football clubs were sports clubs, first and foremost. They genuinely loved the clubs and, although not perfect, knew they needed the local communities behind them if the club was to progress.

I recently spoke to a multi-millionaire who owns one of our bigger clubs. He hates football and only attended two games at his club last season. He left both at half-time, bored. Can he really have the interests of that club at heart?

Did the Arab prince who owns Manchester City wake up every Sunday or Thursday of his life desperately wanting to know how City had got on the night before against Stockport County or Gillingham? I couldn't resist that one. Did the Glazers go to their American football club's games with little radios glued to their ears listening to United's games on the BBC World Service praying that one day they would own the club?

The Premier League, Premiership or whatever it's branded as today is a mirage. 'Customers' are paying an arm and leg to watch mediocre football because, let's be honest, take away the hype and the product is not brilliant. Witness the empty seats in the last round of the FA Cup. Manchester City, the world's richest football club could only muster 27,000 fans in the FA Cup against Leicester. Witness the empty seats at last night's games. A friend of mine was amazed that she could buy a ticket at Anfield for Liverpool playing at nearby Blackburn. Not only were they on open sale but over 1000 weren't even sold.

Last week I heard the depised David Gill, CEO of Manchester United, refer to United as "the biggest franchise in the world". So there we are, in the eyes of the people who run United, up there with KFC and McDonalds. It made me sick.

Since 2005 I haven't stepped foot in a professional football ground. Like thousands of others I now follow FC United. Yes I sometimes get pissed off with certain elements of FC United, mostly the politics, but that's what happens when a group of idealists get together. I know others who left United in 2005 when the Glazers arrived but are now following their own local non league clubs. And I doubt that any of us would ever go back to the professional game.

Somebody accused me this week of being a traitor and turning my back on my club. I was born in Manchester, followed Manchester United all my life attending my first game in 1965 and have watched them all over England and Europe. But I'm not an idiot. If I keep getting ripped off in a shop, I stop shopping there. If I get the squits every time I visit a restaurant I stop eating there. If the Glazers ask me to bend over while they shaft me I get out of their pretty damn quickly.

To me the ones who still pay to watch top flight football are mugs, but I still can't bring myself to call them traitors because I know and understand why many thousands of genuine fans just can't walk away from their clubs. Likewise I think the genuine fans understand why we have walked away from top flight football.

The ones who call us traitors and turncoats are invariably the plastic fans who jumped on the football bandwagon when Sky and the PLCs bought English football's soul. But don't worry, they'll be away from football when the hype fades and another sport becomes the cool thing to become a customer of.

Just read the article above by Paul Kelso again. Then give it a bit of thought.

You might also like to read The Beautiful Game? by David Conn. He might be a City fan who writes for The Guardian, but if you have any interest in football his book is a must.

This post is also on my other blog, A Brief Encounter.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Transfer Deadline Day

You've only got until 11-30pm to change your name to something exotic, preferably Spanish or Portuguese, and to get a mate to become your agent. He can then contact an idiot at an English football club and sell you for several million quid. All the better if you know a computer geek who can doctor a film of you, supposedly playing in South America, and post it on YouTube.

Sounds ridiculous? Remember Graham Souness and Ali Dia!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Andy Gray's Sexist Comments

We totally and unconditionally condemn Andy Gray's sexist comments about that poor lineswoman (pictured below). What a caveman!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Football, Ryan Babel and Whining Scousers!

Calm down, calm down
It's one of those facts of life, Mancunians can't resist having a pop at Scousers, and Scousers can't resist having a pop at us, or a great long whinge when Manchester United beat them! Underneath what can admittedly turn quite venomous when football is involved, we all love it and wouldn't have it any other way. Take football out of the equation and, in my expeience, Mancunians and Scousers actually get on really well. There, I've said it.

So I was ecstatic on Sunday when, beer in hand I watched United beat Liverpool in the FA Cup at Old Trafford live on TV. Then I really enjoyed winding up the Liverpool fans I know, none of them real Scousers as it happens but I enjoyed it anyway.

Then I really enjoyed hearing Scousers moaning and whining about the referee being United's twelfth man. Come on, it's not that long ago the world was whining about every penalty Liverpool got at Anfield, that's how it goes when you are a successful club. And, as they say, good decisions and bad go for and against you and over the season even themselves out.

Then Ryan Babel went on Twitter and had a pop at the referee, posting a photo of him that had been edited and showed him in a United shirt. His comment was: "And they call him one of the best referees? SMH (shaking my head)". I must admit, I found it mildly amusing. But the lunatics at the Football Association have charged him with improper conduct. The FA charging anybody with improper conduct smacks of stinking hypocrisy when you look at the appalling standards of behaviour and professionalism of the idiots in charge of English football.

Bear in mind Babel is also a Dutchman and I don't think the referee, Howard Webb, endeared himself to the people of Holland when he refereed the World Cup, so Babel probably found what he thought were poor decisions just added insult to injury.

When you look at the state of English football, gates dropping as evidenced by attendances at weekend in the FA Cup, Russia and Quatar getting to host the World Cup in a few years time, a FIFA rep stepping down because corruption seems to be endemic, you'd think that people at the FA would have more pressing things to worry about than a player, perhaps a bit emotional after a big game, posting an ill advised comment on Twitter.

It really is a joke.