A Methodist in the Madness
One of FC United of Manchester’s Course You Can Malcolm collective has sent us the following for publication on their behalf:
‘Twenty-two is a number that found its spiritual home at Course You Can Malcolm.
Whereas bingo callers imply a sense of inferiority by comparing it to Two Little Ducks, rather than the more appropriate Two Elegant Swans (22 – just look at the serenity and harmony of that combination), the original Oddie who came up with the potty notion of a club-night-in-the-afternoon-at-the-wrong-end-of-the-tram-tracks decreed that any acts that performed there would be clocked at twenty-two minutes. Despite the fact they all appeared without any payment, even for expenses, none of them seemed to mind.
The rationale behind twenty-two minutes was two-(times eleven) fold.
First of all it was reasoned that it was better to leave the CYCM patrons wanting more of the many excellent performances they witnessed rather than risk losing the crowd if the turn turned out to be a turn off.
Rebecca Joy Sharp, a typical CYCM turn
Inevitably, during the course of the afternoon, the heartstrings would be pulled and plucked in the direction of wherever Manchester United was playing that day. This provided the second, more important, significance of the number: linking an invisible, romantic, red thread that entwined the eleven shirts about to step on to the pitch at Gigg Lane, with those representing United.
In an inspirational moment before the AGM at the Central Methodist Hall on November 26th, one of our numbers realised it was exactly twenty-two years ago that Eric Cantona signed for MUFC.
In the ensuing years since the second coming (older Reds will always remember that Denis Law was the original anointed one) we’ve experienced many highs and unimaginable lows as United fans, culminating in that dark day in May 2005.
Since the fight-back began with the formation of FC United of Manchester, there have been many reasons to be proud of our club and the support within it. However, the month preceding the AGM wasn’t one of them.
It seemed that certain individuals refused to believe that people could successfully run an event for seven years – that raised valuable funds for our club – and have no ulterior motive in putting forward a resolution that asked for a small space within the St. Mary’s Road End to continue something that all concerned were rightly proud of.
CYCM is largely made up of a self-effacing, midjmo collective that is uncomfortable in the spotlight. Actually a torch would be more appropriate, or the light on a mobile phone.
The embodiment of this was the diminutive proposer of resolution five. With trembling nerves and a heart beating faster than a Buddy Rich drum solo, I was reassured by her combination of vulnerability and composed defiance. It struck a chord with the vast majority of those in attendance, and the sustained, genuine applause left a warm, undividable glow along with a few teary eyes.
For that we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for restoring our faith in those that engage in the democratic process, as opposed to the boorish keyboard warriors who were conspicuous by their absence, or silence, on the night. The fact that you took the time to attend, listen, applaud and vote was all we could have asked for.
We take heart from the fact that 34.6% voted for the resolution despite the Board’s ‘remit’ option that attracted 42.6%. In all, that’s 77.2% of the engaged membership that wants to see a place in Broadhurst Park for Malcolmses.
FC United was established with a DIY/punk spirit and the volunteers wish to retain that. If a suitable location can be found within the ground where the passionate, creative and downright quirky ethos of CYCM is allowed to flourish, then we’ll continue to run the event that epitomises how we do things differently at this thing of ours.’