Red Rebels – A book review
September 15, 2017 – 5:18 pm | No Comment | by:

Roughly two-thirds of the way through Red Rebels: The Glazers and the FC Revolution the tone of the book changes from a rollicking, scarf twirling love story imbued with Mancunian rebelliousness to almost Private Eye …

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Kick It Out? by:
September 20, 2017 – 7:33 pm | No Comment

(Image: AFP) By Johny Helzapopin

In a week where Romelu Lukaku has scored again for Manchester United, continuing his blistering form since his arrival from Everton, off-field issues have overshadowed what all United fans should be focusing on.

The Kick it Out Campaign contacted Manchester United in response to a song sung by a small section of United’s support referencing an over large penis allegedly belonging to the in-form Romelu Lukaku. They claim, rightly, that referencing the size of a black man’s penis reinforces a racial stereotype, and has been met with characteristically hyperbolic whinging from a lot of football fans about the various nuances of what is and isn’t racism.

Whilst not being perfect in regards to action taken against racism around football (Rio Ferdinand spoke publicly against the charity following racist abuse against his brother by the England Captain John Terry), Kick It Out has a years-long track record of highlighting and campaigning against racial abuse in football. Manchester United fans should listen to their calls for this song to no longer be sung.

My initial reaction to the song was to cringe, shortly followed by the second-hand embarrassment that I’m part of the same fan base that continues to sing such lazy tropes. I’m not going to pretend United fans don’t have form for this kind of song: Djemba-Djemba’s “12 inch member” is an obscure fan favourite amongst United away followings, we’ve all heard various songs about Ji Sung Park eating dogs, and fewer people will be familiar with a bizarre chant about Shinji Kagawa’s relatives bombing Pearl Harbour, the latter capping off an awful away at Goodison Park; David Moyes’ last game in charge. Littered with Hillsborough songs I left the match a good 15 minutes before the final whistle, such was the level of hysterical offensiveness some United fans like to carry themselves with.

I’m not going to sit and pretend I haven’t sung some of these songs and worst when caught up in the atmosphere at a game, but it’s time we collectively grew up as football fans. It’s not just Manchester United who choose to sing the most offensive songs they can to get a reaction from hated rivals; Spurs fans, Chelsea fans, Emanuel Adebayor, Liverpool fans, Brighton fans, the list goes on and on for supporters and players being both a victim and a perpetrator of racism, homophobia, and a litany of songs glorifying various disasters. This is a football wide problem and I’d hope Manchester United, with a proud and varied songbook, could rise above the childish and sometimes offensive to sing a tribute to our players that they can appreciate.

The defence of the song has come from various people online, hilariously exemplified by @MUFCsongs off Twitter. Quite what the need or the desire for an official statement released by the group (I suspect this isn’t a group but one sofa masturbator tweeting out of a box room in Hyde) today was, but they’ve written ‘TM’ in their username, so have placed themselves officially at the forefront of this shitstorm as spokespeople for Manchester United fans, whether anybody likes it or not. I would like to take this opportunity to say I will donate to a GoFundMe for someone to actually officially trademark “MUFC songs and chants” and sue the absolute bollocks off them for copyright infringement if anybody has the time to pursue such an action. Their incoherent rambling in the excruciatingly embarrassing official response has only served to highlight the wider issue of football fans not exactly being pioneers of political correctness (if I hadn’t lost a lot of the potential audience before uttering that term they’re long gone now).

In their rambling, incoherent yet ultimately hilarious response they point out other chants haven’t received Credit: Gordon Floodsuch a reaction. “Are the Ji Sung Park chants also racist?” Yes, yes they are lads. They seem to flirt around the issue of the fact that maybe we have sung problematic songs for a while but never actually make the connection. The official statement goes on to criticise Stoke City fans for singing ‘Delilah’, which is somehow some kind of anthem for violence against women, some no mark United blogger for singing about former United superstar Bebe being homeless and Paddy Power for employing him. At no point does this crusade for moral superiority contain any self-reflection. United songs and chants do manage to make a great point about white journalists not being the moral compass for black issues, but this is diluted by their assertion that the comment came from a fan on their page who states that “he was black and was not offended at all”. Quite how much faith we can put in this is up to the reader, but it seems to me that the likes of Kick it Out are more on the pulse of this particular issue than either white journalists or some of the more prominent internet United groupies.

MUFCsongs finish by saying that until Romelu Lukaku himself comes out against the song, thus publicly having to plead with his own supporters to stop racially stereotyping him, that we all should sing this song about his “hypothetical body part”. Now, I’m not a doctor but I’m pretty sure Romelu Lukaku’s penis is not ‘hypothetical’; the length of the penis in question is indeed the assumption we’ve all been forced to make. As a rallying cry though I’ve seen better.

All this is not a call to stop abusing opposition fans and staff. By all means, continue to abuse Steven Gerrard for not being able to win the league, or West Ham fans for being the most badly dressed tragic wankers that aren’t the England supporters band in the country. We’re supposed to be better than all this. This could be the turning point in United’s support that is much needed. No longer singing songs about opposition managers being paedophiles, going on the piss with club legends who drank themselves to death and left a grieving family behind to find their misery dismissed, or glorifying in the dozens of deaths of opposition supporters. I’d love it if Manchester United fans collectively went to Brighton and abused their supporters for being small-time meaningless little Englander bumpkins instead of subjecting them to the same abuse every other fanbase brings to the South Coast, but I won’t hold my breath for that day just yet.

Red Rebels – A book review
September 15, 2017 – 5:18 pm | No Comment | by:
Red Rebels – A book review

Roughly two-thirds of the way through Red Rebels: The Glazers and the FC Revolution the tone of the book changes from a rollicking, scarf twirling love story imbued with Mancunian rebelliousness to almost Private Eye …

Remit to the bored – CYCM 02.09.2017
August 31, 2017 – 11:26 am | No Comment | by:
Remit to the bored – CYCM 02.09.2017

Course You Can Malcolm returns to Broadhurst Park in the new surroundings of the SMRE Bar this Saturday before the match with Leamington between 12 noon and 3pm featuring the author of a new book on the Glazer takeover and FC United, plus two music acts and a talk about the club’s new disabled supporters group.

Spirit, patience, gentleness
August 16, 2017 – 6:20 am | One Comment | by:
Spirit, patience, gentleness

‘Spirit, Patience, Gentleness,
All that can adorn and bless
Art thou – let deeds, not words, express
Thine exceeding loveliness.

Light in the wheat fields…
July 22, 2017 – 9:19 am | No Comment | by:
Light in the wheat fields…

“Fuck off you fucking pervs”, the skinny peeing girl screamed at us. “You having a shit?” someone said. Standing up and rearranging her attire, she replied, “No, I’m not fucking having a shit, you fucking pervs, I was fucking pissing”. She was a lovely girl as it turned out, from Blackley. She guided us to the field.

You can keep your privates away from me, thank you very much
July 11, 2017 – 8:50 pm | 2 Comments | by:
You can keep your privates away from me, thank you very much

Having never given it a second thought, mainly down to having the NHS and therefore not needing it, private healthcare was something I’d never been intimately acquainted with. That all changed a few years back …

Bevan knows I’m miserable now
July 7, 2017 – 10:01 am | No Comment | by:
Bevan knows I’m miserable now

I still have debts from a decade ago when my wife’s mother had to undergo treatment for cancer in a country that doesn’t have free-to-access health care. My wife spent most of the first two years of our marriage over there nursing her, while my part-time wage, credit cards and personal loans were stretched to pay for treatment.

Now I can go into any company – Make July 5 NHS Day
July 6, 2017 – 7:34 am | No Comment | by:
Now I can go into any company – Make July 5 NHS Day

For the first time every man woman and child in the country could see a doctor and get the help they needed no matter their ability to pay for medical care.

STP me if you think you’ve heard this one before
July 6, 2017 – 7:30 am | No Comment | by:
STP me if you think you’ve heard this one before

We’d had enough of the relentless “private sector good, public sector bad” market-based twaddle that had infused health policy for more than two decades – it was time to stand up and be counted

We were makin’ love by Wednesday…
July 5, 2017 – 7:28 am | No Comment | by:
We were makin’ love by Wednesday…

Today a three-day strike by hospital workers defending their right to acceptable conditions and pay has begun. They are striking against Serco, a multi-billion pound global company that won the contract to supply cleaners, porters and other staff to hospitals in London. Serco’s CEO is Winston Churchill’s grandson. Our solidarity with Serco workers is absolute.

You can polish a turd…
July 3, 2017 – 7:30 am | No Comment | by:
You can polish a turd…

They later discovered that the kind elderly man, with time on his hands, had lay in his bed and very carefully sucked all the chocolate off his maltesers.

“We’re going to save it you bells…”
June 30, 2017 – 7:35 am | No Comment | by:
“We’re going to save it you bells…”

It took my first holiday abroad on my own with my mates to try and get my head round why I’d need travel insurance, I think the conversation went “why did we need that as it’s free isn’t it?” The concept that it wasn’t free just didn’t make sense at all.

TaterhashtagMakeJuly5NHSday…
June 30, 2017 – 7:27 am | No Comment | by:
TaterhashtagMakeJuly5NHSday…

She’ll be 70 next year. The fact that 70 is still considered very young has got to be smashingly symbolic of cradle to the grave-ism if we manage to get a movement going in the next twelve months that culminates in a Manchester party in 2018.

Time to take a chance
June 7, 2017 – 11:30 pm | No Comment | by:
Time to take a chance

Author Selina Todd, who wrote critically acclaimed The People: The Rise and Fall of The Working Class, tells AFL why she’s voting Labour…

Fear, love and hope will rage…
June 7, 2017 – 8:32 pm | No Comment | by:
Fear, love and hope will rage…

For the first time since the first time, I will be voting for a manifesto I actually believe in. Since Jeremy Corbyn won the first leadership election, he has galvanised many on the left. And he has done it with basic social democratic ideas and policies that aren’t even ‘radical’ in the grander scheme of things.

Don’t draw a cock
June 7, 2017 – 12:50 pm | No Comment | by:
Don’t draw a cock

Every time I get in the voting booth I get the urge to draw a cock on the ballot paper. It’s worse this time cos a family member has appointed me as a proxy. It’s double temptation to draw a cock.

Making America Grate Again (lessons to be learned)
June 7, 2017 – 12:48 pm | No Comment | by:
Making America Grate Again (lessons to be learned)

It was now, with alarming ease, that people who’d never before mentioned race to us felt comfortable in the company of relative outsiders to spout their new-found, or more likely long-held but until now supressed views about the perceived danger they faced from Islam and the burden of paying the medical bills of lazy, unemployed African Americans and Latinos. Far from being the joke figure he was to us, Trump was being openly celebrated by many I met in Atlanta as a leader who would deal with these “problems”. These sorts of conversations were not difficult to get into on that visit. Foreign policy never came up though.

Pass the brillo pad…
June 7, 2017 – 8:25 am | No Comment | by:
Pass the brillo pad…

And what will follow? More of the bloody same. More people using food banks, more people dying because they have had their benefits stopped, a hard brexit that will make the whole country worse off, a tax haven for the very rich, people finding that, in real terms they are facing pay cuts and less workers rights.

The beautiful cack-handed ibex
June 6, 2017 – 8:07 pm | No Comment | by:
The beautiful cack-handed ibex

What a beautiful world it wants to bring into being for the many; what sturdy collective endeavour it encourages us all to work towards.

Thursday Night Fever
June 6, 2017 – 8:05 pm | No Comment | by:
Thursday Night Fever

Sometimes I have imaginary arguments while walking to work in which I come up with amazing ripostes to win the argument in no uncertain terms. Occasionally this is muttered out loud instead of inside my head and I get caught unawares by someone silently overtaking me, and I have to hope they think I’m using one of those bluetooth earpieces, so rather than being a lunatic I’m just a twat.

The best thing since black pudding
June 6, 2017 – 10:19 am | No Comment | by:
The best thing since black pudding

I’m immensely proud of my upbringing in Manchester in the 90s and the communities which shaped me that have been forgotten. The people who work hard and look after each other have been badly let down by the politicians of all persuasions who were supposed to look after them.