Manchester: We are all immigrants
September 3, 2015 – 10:05 pm | No Comment | by:

Love is the only anything that means everything. Love always wins. At some time or at some point, in however you choose to keep it, love always wins. You reclaim it if you’ve dropped it, you fight for it if you’ve not got it and you brawl to keep it when you have it because it’s life precious and it’s everything you are.

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Manchester: We are all immigrants by:
September 3, 2015 – 10:05 pm | No Comment

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Potty Doris linked my arm and we traipsed slowly across the estate to pick up her pension at Openshaw TSB on the Old Road.

The eighty three year oldness in her means we just take our time. If the world goes past, then the world goes past. I always think we have to walk so slow because her heart is so big, and knows so much, that it takes a lot of lugging around.

I resist telling her that she walks like-a-dog’s-back-legs- whilst-it’s-shitting. She always says “As soon as you could walk I used to run your little bleedin’ legs off taking you to your Nana’s so she could mind you so that I could clock on at the Rotunda for eight o’clock.”

Apparently with vascular dementia the carers are supposed to embrace the repetition of the stories. One time it’ll be the last time and then you’d do anything to listen to that story again. Anything.

So, with her arms entwined around her son’s arms, she can just about make it to the bank now to get her weekly wedge out. She doesn’t spend it on anything as we pamper her. That’s the way it should be. When we were young we were pampered to fck. And pampered to fck comes in cycles. Everyone knows that. That manageable distance to the bank is a handy enough guide if we want to take her anywhere.

We don’t measure in feet, inches or miles but “It’s here to Varna Street School”, “It’s here to the five-a-side”, “It’s here to the bank”, “It’s here to Barkery Jamma’s”. You won’t know Barkery Jamma, he’s a good nearby neighbour.

Having said that, you might. He’s a kindly lad, very popular and his family is huge. There’s never been a recorded case of someone not being in at Barkery’s when you call. It’s like Cairo being out. So I take it back, you might know him.

Anyway me and the Dorisateer are just chirruping along to get her pension and walking past Barkery’s. Now Openshaw has changed over the last decade or so. For example when we won the league at the Tottenham home game in 1999 I finished up getting a joe back to east central Manchester late on.

As the joe reached a tenner on the clock I had to get out before I’d got home as all I had on me was a tenner. Long day of beer and celebrations etsetch. It’s gone two in the morning and I walked into four young lads, late teens and intent on giving me a crack.

They didn’t get their way. I was more aggressive then. As I recounted this story to another local the next day I mentioned that they were black lads. Because there were so few blacks in a very, very, very white working class area, the local knew the house the lads were from. Apparently they were not very nice people, regardless of colour and they’d just moved in bringing some nefarious ways from Longsight with them.

Openshaw now, as fitting with Manchester’s proud history, has seen an enormous influx of black economic migrants. There’s a little Zimbabwe going on in the tributaries off Vine Street and it has truly reinvigorated the place after the destroying decline of the Thatcher years with all the drugs and the board-ups that that piece of tory venom and her collaborating DNA descendants brought with her.

And within that changing face of Openshaw me and Potty Hole were going for her pension. As I’ve said we were walking past Barkery Jamma’s when Doris said “There’s a lot of black people around here now isn’t there?”

I looked across at the little thing in the big red coat that’s going too big for her as she’s diddifying. She’s concentrating on the floor as the flags are a bit bandit on Wetherby Street. Not for one moment did I even think a not-nice’ism would come out of this cute entirety of goodness, I was just intrigued where her mind, that had spent the whole of its 83 years in east central Manchester, was going with that last comment.

And so I said “Yes, there are Mam.” She shuffled along in the little leather sandals that are the only shoes she can wear now as her bottom ends give her a hard time.

After a second or two, without looking up at me from beneath her hood-that-she-looks- a-bggr-in as she had had to put it up as it was grey and drizzly, she said “Isn’t that nice…that of all the places in the world they could go…they choose us?” As she carried on looking at the pavement as she pottered along I said “It is Mam … it really is.” And I cried at the beauty of such simple goodness.

Notice how she also said ‘choose’ and not ‘chose’. Not a past tense but a continuing tense of choosing and continuing to choose. Ever-changing Manchester. As with all the finest, finest human beings Doris has an accordion for a heart, it just opens up and there’s room for everyone and no-one has to move up. And a little piece of east central Manchester got temporarily more temperate.

Love is the only anything that means everything. Love always wins. At some time or at some point, in however you choose to keep it, love always wins. You reclaim it if you’ve dropped it, you fight for it if you’ve not got it and you brawl to keep it when you have it because it’s life precious and it’s everything you are.

As the constantly fluttering, demonstration-attending Manchester Trades Council banner wisely states ‘ A better world is possible.’

- This is an excerpt of an article taken from AFL issue four. It, and many other previous issues, is now available to buy for just £1.50 inc postage at our online stall: AFLshop

‘Mixing sport with their filthy politics’
August 13, 2015 – 4:19 pm | No Comment | by:
‘Mixing sport with their filthy politics’

From the June 1932 issue of The Worker Sportsman, which also includes a report on the Kinder Scout mass trespass which had taken place that April.
This article is reproduced by kind permission of the Working …

Ten bob….
July 23, 2015 – 6:08 pm | No Comment | by:
Ten bob….

By Jonathan Allsop
Squirrelled away in various boxes in our flat are, aside from books and music, some of my most treasured possessions. Football programmes. Hundreds of them. David Goldblatt in his excellent book The Game …

Debt, Democracy, Disillusion
July 10, 2015 – 10:29 pm | No Comment | by:
Debt, Democracy, Disillusion

So the bloody lazy Greeks expect us hardworking northern Europeans to pay for their lavish lifestyles? Well let me tell you, a debt is a debt and that has to come first. There’s nothing more …

Have your say at supporters’ summit
July 2, 2015 – 12:41 pm | No Comment | by:
Have your say at supporters’ summit

The Supporters Summit takes place in Manchester (Mercure Hotel, Piccadilly) on Saturday 18th July 2015 (10am-4.45pm), organised by the Football Supporters’ Federation and Supporters Direct.
The free event attracts fans from across the UK who …

Our house
June 10, 2015 – 10:23 pm | No Comment | by:
Our house

This match in terms of football was an irrelevance. It was nice Benfica wanted to play us, it was nice some of their fans turned up (and delivered a decent pyro show), and it was …

FC United – the journey home
June 8, 2015 – 9:38 am | No Comment | by:
FC United – the journey home

By Jonathan Allsopp
I reckon Odysseus had it relatively easy. Okay it took the Greek ruler and hero of Homer’s Odyssey ten years to return to his Ithaca home following the Trojan war, battling various cannibals, …

Just another day at the football
May 11, 2015 – 3:44 pm | 2 Comments | by:
Just another day at the football

He agreed to pick me up and take me to an end of season party affair at Bradford City, who had gained promotion and were set to celebrate against Lincoln that afternoon, writes Fletchermoss.

A really shite post-election United metaphor
May 8, 2015 – 10:25 pm | No Comment | by:
A really shite post-election United metaphor

I was half way up the Holte End and heading towards the exit tunnel when a mate grabbed my arm and pulled me back a couple of steps, sending me off balance. “You’re not fucking going” said the lad stopping me from mardy arsing may way into the Birmingham night.

Once a blue…
May 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm | No Comment | by:
Once a blue…

By Jacamo Red
“Alright Sir? Voting Tory on Thursday? Good man! Take some posters and stick them in the staff room Sir!”
“Alright Miss? Voting Tory on Thursday? Why the hell not! Well have a poster anyway!”
That …

Merry Christmas turkeys
May 8, 2015 – 9:40 pm | No Comment | by:
Merry Christmas turkeys

No doubt we’ll get what we voted for – five more years of the same, with a little bit more thrown on top. So let’s just remind ourselves what that’s going to look like.

Election 2015… Arsed?
May 4, 2015 – 3:52 pm | One Comment | by:
Election 2015… Arsed?

by Divinio
 
 
Five years ago, the 2010 general election saw the constituency of Manchester Central yield the lowest voter turnout in the whole country. With such a diverse range of peoples living within its borders, this …

Leave your politics at the turnstiles
April 28, 2015 – 10:09 am | No Comment | by:
Leave your politics at the turnstiles

Football-wise, supporter owned FC United of Manchester continue to lead the way in demonstrating that football has the power to reach out beyond the pitch and change people’s lives whether it’s unemployed youngsters, kids struggling at school, elderly people living on their own or destitute asylum seekers.

You just haven’t earned it yet baby…
March 17, 2015 – 8:39 pm | No Comment | by:
You just haven’t earned it yet baby…

Twenty three years ago I stood on several away terraces and sung “we’re gonna win the league” with Manchester United seemingly poised to win their first league title in a quarter of a century…

The readies under the bed…
February 20, 2015 – 6:54 pm | No Comment | by:
The readies under the bed…

Thanks to everyone who has contributed in any way. To those who have created and sold the publication, bought it at matches and to those who have bought magazines and T-shirts away from FC United via our stockists Cornerhouse, the National Football Museum, Working Class Movement Library and our online stall (home and away with Stu from the Bay).

A hijacked legacy? Tony Wilson at 65
February 20, 2015 – 12:31 pm | No Comment | by:
A hijacked legacy? Tony Wilson at 65

I have an uneasy feeling that Manchester’s success has been somewhat hi-jacked and, it’s almost as if Tony Wilson has been written out of that history…

Moving the goalposts
February 19, 2015 – 3:13 pm | No Comment | by:
Moving the goalposts

From the official FC United website:
FC United fanzine A Fine Lung has contributed £4,300 to the Development Fund raised through sales of the fanzine and associated merchandise. The donation will contribute toward the costs of …

To Hough End in a Handcart
February 15, 2015 – 3:07 pm | No Comment | by:
To Hough End in a Handcart

Welcome to Brokebackadhurst Mountain
Finally the bombshell we’ve all been waiting for, but hoped would never drop, exploded this week with the news that there is to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters branch …

Brit Flop
February 15, 2015 – 1:29 pm | No Comment | by:
Brit Flop

Not long now to the Brit Awards. Feb 25th is the date for your diaries. Excited? Noel Gallagher is. He’s getting himself giddy by saying he’d rather drink petrol straight from the nozzle than listen …

Shake Your Friends Maker
February 10, 2015 – 9:16 pm | No Comment | by:
Shake Your Friends Maker

FC may have gained a whole host of  admirers after their exploits on the south coast this weekend, but our new friends from Torquay aren’t  the only ones. At last season’s game against King’s Lynn, …

Love United Hate What?
January 2, 2015 – 12:20 pm | No Comment | by:
Love United Hate What?

Some things to bear in mind before publicly announcing you think politics have no place in football, courtesy of the excellent Llandudno Jet Set:
The parts of the internet that have held my recent attention have …