My Last Scrap of Dignity

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hers is beauty

I am tired of trying to be clever, I just want to tell the damn story the way I remember it. It's about space and timing although some of you will think it is about a man and a woman. I guess it is about that too, but mostly it is about space and timing.

It doesn't start the way great stories start. It wasn't raining and I don't think it was that cold outside either. I didn't have my poncho or my umbrella. I just had me. I was wearing flip flops one size too large. Blue and worn, I don't think anybody ever noticed they were just a bit too big for me. My jeans were ripped near my heel from dragging on the ground and my shirt was beginning to fade from too many washings. I didn't think about meeting her that night but like I said, this story is about timing.

And space.

She was pretty. She had brown eyes and they were something to look at but you wouldn't stop breathing if she looked at you or anything. I liked the way she dressed, in jeans and some shirt of some sort. For whatever reason it didn't seem fake on her, she wasn't trying to be what she was, she was just being it. You have no idea how attractive that was to me at that moment. How many times do we meet people who just slither around in their own skin trying so hard to project some fantasy image they have of themselves on to you. As if you care. As if you would give a damn that they really can't afford that watch or that those shoes. I don't know maybe it's just me. Maybe it's because I wear flip flops from Reject Shop that are one size too big.

So we started talking. How that came to be isn't so important. We started talking about football and life and she had opinions. Not your everyday opinions like "I don't like Arsenal because they sucks" or "French are divers." No, she had real reasons for her opinions, like something about the quality of the players Sir Alex was bringing in in the transitional season and she rattled off some startling information about the problems of 4-5-1 formation. It wasn't in that huffy puff way that some people do things. You know that way when people know something they get loud and excited and slam down the information upon your ears with triumphant arm waving. She did none of that.

The movements of her lips were nice and full formed they moved comfortably on her face. Sometimes I have noticed women speak quickly as if speaking were a crime or that their lips can only be perfect in the position they were in when the final bit of lip gloss was applied. She had such a beautiful slight smile that enchanted me a good four feet away. What if it was raining and I had an umbrella to protect her? I wonder.

Monday, June 27, 2005

It's where we are

**Not sure who the author is but it's good nonetheless.

Malcolm Glazer has done just one thing for Manchester United - destroyed its dwindling soul and filled the gap with a shed-load of debt.

For the first time in the club's history, it is in the hands of a man whose sole interest is how much cash he can squeeze out of the name and reputation of Manchester United.

United were a club with a great tradition, a tragic and beautiful history, the club of Billy Meredith and Duncan Edwards, of Eric Cantona and George Best, the Stretford End and the Manchester Blitz.

What is it now? A means for a very rich man to make himself even richer, by driving up ticket prices, exploiting the "brand" and marketing United to people who think Munich is just another German town and that Nobby Stiles is a hairdresser's in Collyhurst.

My dad helped to rebuild Old Trafford after Adolf Hitler had done his worst in 1940 - he was born a bomb-burst away in Ordsall. Like hundreds of thousands of ordinary Mancunians, he could no longer afford to go to watch United, had he still the desire to do so.

And it will get worse.

Glazer will complete the United transformation from a club made by the people and for the people into a preserve of the middle classes, driving in from Cheshire and all points south on matchdays, consuming and spending, but knowing nothing of support.

A lot like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in fact.

United began life when a group of railway workers got together to form a club, and they soon became a central point in Manchester life.

In the 127 years since the club's formation, that noble ideal has been hijacked and turned into something callous and calculating, where balance sheets are the bottom line. It is a club that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. No one is claiming that this is all the fault of the Glazers. The process began years ago, when the Edwards family realised the potential and began buying up shares in the club.

The switch to a plc in 1992 freed up money to improve the ground and the team, but it also laid it wide open to predators like Rupert Murdoch and the Glazers. At least Louis Edwards had supported United - his first interest was in the football, not the dosh.

And the plc, for all its faults, had the nous to maintain some contact with supporters groups, and was accountable to the thousands of ordinary shareholders as well as the cash-hungry millionaires and City institutions who owned most of it.

Now United, bar the shouting, are solely in the hands of a man who sees them as just another business gamble, and it is the last straw for many loyal supporters.

Even for those who will continue to go to games, things will never be the same. The atmosphere, which had started to recover in recent years, will die. The sound of Old Trafford will be of polite applause from the puzzled know-nowts in the corporate areas.

Glazer is throwing the dice, and United's future depends on the outcome.

He may just throw a double six, and the club goes on to win trophy after trophy. But it will be a private party, with the traditional support bounced at the door because they cannot afford the admission price.

On the other hand, Glazer's business plan, described as "damaging" and "aggressive" by the man who is now trying to implement it, chief executive David Gill, could easily crash and burn.

The image of the Glazers as street-smart American businessmen with a portfolio full of success does not quite hold true.

The last time they moved into a business they did not understand it was an unmitigated disaster, as they began a dotcom business which lost millions before it crashed under the leadership of Avi Glazer who one leading dotcom commentator said was surrounded by "almost surreal incompetence". Avi is now on the United board, and you can bet he knows less about football than he does about the internet.

The Glazers are taking a huge risk with United, and if the risk fails, they will shrug their shoulders and walk away, their personal fortunes intact, as big businessmen do, leaving their creditors to squabble over the pickings from the carcass.

Players will be sold, Old Trafford will be sold, and United will end up as another Leeds.

Overnight, the Glazers turned United from a profit-making business into the world's most debt-ridden club - and with more and more red ink on the way, if business analysts are to be believed.

Perhaps they have been taken in by the boasts of the plc, that they have 74million fans worldwide, and have not realised that the core of United support is, and always has been, in the north west of England, and in Manchester in particular.

Too many supporters have begun to be taken in by the spin. "You never know, they might prove to be a good thing, we'll just have to wait and see" is the phrase of the moment in Manchester's bars and barbershops.

These kind of people would lie in bed as a burglar breaks in downstairs, and would say to their missus: "Let's just wait to see what he does - you never know he might leave us a few quid."

Because that is the one thing Glazer and his family are interested in - your cash.

Squalid claims that Joel Glazer is "an avid Manchester United fan" only serve to underline the poverty of the pro-Glazer argument. I have never seen Joel on the away terraces at Ayresome Park, or singing his heart out on the Stretty.

Those supporters are the ones United will try to fall back on once the Japanese and the Javans switch their allegiance to Chelsea or Barcelona. For the first time in the club's history, they will find that many of them are no longer there.

Many United supporters, probably the majority, are unhappy about Glazer but are lost in a feeling of helplessness. They feel there is nothing they can do to alter things.

They need to wake up to their own power. As far as Manchester United is concerned, you are no longer supporters, you are customers.

If that is what they want, act like a customer - and if you cannot shake the United addiction and stop going to matches, at least refuse to give the Glazers any more of your cash.

Some fans are afraid of doing this, claiming it would just help United to crash and burn, to bring about financial meltdown even more quickly.

They are dead right. But United would come again. They did it after 1940 when Hitler's bombs seemed to have ended the dream, they did it in 1958 when so many aspirations lay shattered and torn on a Munich runway.

With Glazer removed, and even with the club shattered, United would rise again - and hopefully next time it will be the supporters who are the heart of the club, as they are at Barcelona, and not men for who money means everything.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Season 2005/06 Fixtures

Full Fixture List:

August 2005
Tues 9/8 or Wed 10/8 19:45 TBC UCL(Q)
Sat 13/8 15:00 Everton FAPL A
Sat 20/8 15:00 Aston Villa FAPL H
Tues 23/8 or Wed 24/8 19:45 TBC UCL (Q)
Sat 27/8 15:00 Newcastle United FAPL A

September 2005
Sat 10/9 15:00 Manchester City FAPL H
Sat 17/9 15:00 Liverpool FAPL A
Sat 24/9 15:00 Blackburn FAPL H

October 2005
Sat 1/10 15:00 Fulham FAPL A
Sat 15/10 15:00 Sunderland FAPL A
Sat 22/10 15:00 Tottenham Hotspur FAPL H
Wed 26/10 20:00 Carling Cup 3rd Round CC3
Sat 29/10 15:00 Middlesbrough FAPL A

November 2005
Sat 5/11 15:00 Chelsea FAPL H
Sat 19/11 15:00 Charlton Athletic FAPL A
Sat 26/11 15:00 West Ham United FAPL A
Wed 30/11 20:00 Carling Cup 4th Round CC4

December 2005
Sat 3/12 15:00 Portsmouth FAPL H
Sat 10/12 15:00 Everton FAPL H
Sat 17/12 15:00 Aston Villa FAPL A
Wed 21/12 20:00 Carling Cup 5th Round CC5
Mon 26/12 15:00 West Bromwich Albion FAPL H
Wed 28/12 20:00 Birmingham City FAPL A
Sat 31/12 15:00 Bolton Wanderers FAPL H

January 2006
Mon 2/1 20:00 Arsenal FAPL A
Sat 7/1 15:00 FA Cup 3rd Round FAC3
Wed 11/1 20:00 Carling Cup Semi 1st CC S/F
Sat 14/1 15:00 Manchester City FAPL A
Sat 21/1 15:00 Liverpool FAPL H
Wed 25/1 20:00 Carling Cup Semi 2nd CC S/F
Sat 28/1 15:00 FA Cup 4th Round FAC4

February 2006
Wed 1/2 19:45 Blackburn Rovers FAPL A
Sat 4/2 15:00 Fulham FAPL H
Sat 11/2 15:00 Portsmouth FAPL A
Sat 18/2 15:00 FA Cup 5th Round FAC5
Sat 25/2 15:00 West Ham United FAPL H
Sun 26/2 15:00 Carling Cup Final CCF N

March 2006
Sat 4/3 15:00 Wigan Athletic FAPL A
Sat 11/3 15:00 Newcastle United FAPL H
Sat 18/3 15:00 West Bromwich Albion FAPL A
Wed 22/3 19:45 FA Cup 6th Round FAC6
Sat 25/3 15:00 Birmingham City FAPL H

April 2006
Sat 1/4 15:00 Bolton Wanderers FAPL A
Sat 8/4 15:00 Arsenal FAPL H
Sat 15/4 15:00 Sunderland FAPL H
Mon 17/4 15:00 Tottenham FAPL A
Sat 22/4 15:00 Middlesbrough FAPL H
Sat 22/4 15:00 FA Cup Semi-Final FAC N
Sat 29/4 15:00 Chelsea FAPL A

May 2006
Sun 7/5 15:00 Charlton Athletic FAPL H
Sat 13/5 15:00 FA Cup Final FAC N

TBC - Wigan Athletic FAPL H

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Red Flag flying high

The worst season in living memory. Rubbish in the league, rubbish in Europe, beaten in the cup final, Scouse win the Champions League, ginger yank buys us out with £1bn worth of debt. Football is truly dead. Perhaps these ditties will cheer you up?

"Keep the Red Flag flying high"

United's flag is deepest red;
It shrouded all our Munich dead;
Before their limbs grew stiff and cold;
Their heart's blood dyed it's ev'ry fold;
Then raise United's banner high;
Beneath it's shade we'll live and die;
So keep the faith and never fear;
We'll keep the Red Flag flying here;
Then raise United's banner high;
Beneath it's shade we'll live and die;
So keep the faith and never fear;
We'll keep the Red Flag flying here;
We'll never die, we'll never die,
We'll never die, we'll never die,
We'll keep the Red flag flying high;
'Cause Man United will never die.

"Liverpool Slum"

You look in the dustbin for something to eat,
You find a dead rat and you think it's a treat,
In your Liverpool slumsIn your Liverpool slums,
You shit on the carpet, you piss in the bath,
You finger your grandma, and think its a laugh,
In your Liverpool slums.In your Liverpool slums,
You speak in an accent exceedingly rare,
You wear a pink tracksuit and have curly hair,
In your Liverpool slums.In your Liverpool slums,
Your mum's on the game and your dad's in the nick,
You can't get a job 'cos you're too fucking thick,
In your Liverpool slums.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Cute :)

You're my Honeybunch,
Sugarplum Pumpy-umpy-umpkin,
You're my Sweetie Pie
You're my Cuppycake, Gumdrop Snoogums-Boogums,
You're the Apple of my Eye
And I love you so and I want you to know
That I'll always be right here
And I love to sing sweet songs to you
Because you are so dear.