It’s never too late for love…
Below this article is a piece that was written into the world on August 16th 2008. It came in the first ever issue of A fine lung. It was a statement of loving intent. Before you read its rambles I’ll give you the salient points:
We thought the idea of a chimneybreast in the clubhouse at Ten Acres Lane would be a lovely one. It would fit in with the area’s history. East central Manchester was an industrial belt of this city. There were chimneys everywhere.
We would be the only clubhouse in Britain to have one. FC United of Manchester being original and yet historical at the same time again.
If Wembley can have an arch then Newton Heath can have a coal fire of resistance. Our Mancunian icon. You can see the postcards in the Tourist Information featuring us. Every Saturday home game we light a bonfire of love. If Rome can have white smoke, then Manchester can have red, white and black smoke if we so wished. The smell of the coal fire would announce our presence. The senses aroused for the forthcoming game.
As an ‘Ooeer Missus’ aside, we are opposite the old site of Mather and Platt. Manchester rhyming slang of immense esoteric proportions. We could build an erection to mirror Mather and Platt’s erection.
Every new snot four bedroom detached property with garage in snot areas seems to have an external chimney. If it’s good enough for Hale Barns then it’s good enough for Newton Heath.
Smokeless zone? Plenty, plenty, plenty of environmentally friendly ways around that.
The funds to be raised by A fine lung. If 11 issues were done before August 2012 then that would be £5,500. That’s got to be a good run at the cost and with building trade workers within our midst already volunteering to work a Saturday and Sunday whilst the site is closed at weekends, there was a growing swell.
Can you imagine the cold winter day walking to the ground knowing that your clubhouse had a coal fire in the corner to warm your backdoor on? There will be a club volunteer, when asked what he or she volunteered to do would reply “I’m a fulltime crumpet-on-a-long-fork person”. Proper filter coffee and two crumpets for £2 for the DF. When was the last time you had crumpets done on an open fire via the usage of fork? Thought so. The chimney would go on paying for itself for our 99 year asset lock.
Our campaign predated the new drawings obv but now we can see that we will have to deal with what we are dealt with. The tidgey ground will be subject to ground regulations. The 1980s sports hall will be talentless metal-clad nonsense. The bit in the middle is ours. Ours to define ourselves.
We are not Northwich Victoria ground people. We are not Curzon Ashton ground people. We are FC United of Manchester with all the suss, love, caring and insight that history has bestowed on us. We cannot drop this opportunity. In 50 years’ time when the sports hall has come down and the ground has been built around, the ‘bit in the middle’ of our history will be there.
If you combine the chimney with reclaimed timber on the clubhouse floor then you’re talking welcoming and home. We could varnish every close season so that it smelt like the first school assembly after you got back from the six weeks holidays. Cost effective? Find us a quality carpet and underlay for less than £15 a square metre? That’s what In Situ in Hulme are charging for reclaimed timber floorboards. And they’re proper dear. We could easily source cheaper. They go down and 99 years later they look even better. We’d be changing carpets every five years.
The chimney breast was mentioned at the AGM two years ago by a very prominent person within our club, AFL has been around and plodding it, at the last open day suggestion box at Hope Mill there were at least six people who put ‘Chimney breast’ in the suggestion box. We’ve been absolutely rhubarb at pushing ourselves till now. However, since we’ve got off the settee last week we have not come across one single person who has not said that it’s a fantastic, fantastic idea. There has been fervour.
It is such an obvious, obvious inclusion to distinguish ourselves – and within the finest traditions of being cost effective – that we feel, as some have said, “that it’s crucial.”
The only “Are you sure’ness?” we have had has come from the lovely people who have been grafting and grafting and grafting again on it. I personally spoke to an involvee whilst knocking on doors in Newton Heath last week. The grafting lovely woman said “It’s too late.” My reply was that “It’s never too late for love.” Never.
It’s very, very, very late. So was Solskjaer. We’re sorry, we’re settee people and have a tendency to sit down a lot. It’s not the bestestist of traits but it’s not the worst. We have eleven days. It cannot be dismissed as quirky. It couldn’t be less so. It’s beautiful. And everyone spoken to so far agrees. I was going to list the people who have loved the idea. It’s a very, very long and very influential one. I won’t. They know who they are. You reading this have just joined them.
Awkward for planning? Without, without doubt. Very, very sorry. Truly. Awkward for those lovely caring people that have worked so hard to get us 11 days away? Without, without doubt? Very, very sorry. Truly. My year upon year experience of those consultants you employ is that they always say ‘No’ at first when you ask anything awkward. And especially ‘No’ when it’s awkward and late. Expect a ‘No’. Fight for a yes. The rewards would be bountiful. We’re not asking for ground changes, we’re not asking for sports hall changes, just that you stick a living, organic beacon in the middle of our defining bit to stop us being identikit. We will be told it’s too hard, too late. Step back. Is it? Of course it isn’t.
The theme is awkward. There was a limited edition of 22 T shirts from Course You Can Malcolm that had written on it in red, white and black but in microscopic writing so as not to cause too much offence that said ‘FC United of Manchester. Awkward c****’. And those T shirts were right. Despite the coarse language they were still loving, still beautiful, still well-meaning but most, most, most importantly they were a proud statement of who we are.
We have been given a gift. We know we have. Let’s just give it that final, tender kiss as we set her on her way.
Our tenderest, tenderest apologies to those so close and so involved so far but if readers agree with the above then act quickly and email firstname.lastname@example.org as we as fans can make a difference. A loving difference that only means well…
Anyway, here’s …
….ISSUE 1 of A fine lung. A statement document no less from 16th August – Peterloo day – 2008…
If there is someone else, some other place, that holds your heart, tell me now, truthfully, before we start. If you love me, really love me, as I love you, it’s the answer to everything if you do…
So here it is: We want to be a specific part of the Development Fund. A specific part for a specific reason. Going to Northwich Victoria’s ground in the first season gave us an insight. They built the ground before the clubhouse. Whereas at AFLM:SPG we, as everyone does, want to see our clubhouse go up at the same time as the ground However, we also want that clubhouse to have a real coal fire. A warm, unstill, beating hearth that says “Aww, come in, you’re home now. We got the fire going with the shovel with the burnty brown newspaper in front of it that’s giving off that burning burnty brown burned newspaper smell. And it’s all yours.”
We want to be a fundraiser within the DF specifically for that chimneystack that’ll give us that fire. Around town you see new builds going up where they construct the concrete lift shafts before the rest of the building. Ours will have the chimney stuck up first. When we get our home, which can only come with the help of other authorities, the chimney will always be ours. It wouldn’t cost the club anything as our fund will pay for the raw materials and we could build it ourselves. The central core of all our loving football community. And any time we have a game or have a meeting we’ll light a bonfire of inspiration. Not in August though, as that’s just Alexander Graham Bellendy.
B of the banter…
But back to the chimleybreast fund. It makes a little part of the DF seem that tidgey bit more attainable. We could price it and have the funds ready and waiting by the end of this season. We have enough skills to build it ourselves as stated. In fact with an electrician on the board at FC United of Manchester we could wire it up so that we have the only talking chimleybreast in the world. There might be another talking chimleybreast but we doubt it. I’ve told others many times that I never wanted to drive because motorcar horns are quite ignorant. You might be slightly bibbing your horn to tell someone something politely but it just sounds aggressive. Until they invent nice polite horns that say “Good morning” or “You’re looking nice today” or “Your bumper sticker is not on your bumper. I realise that that is now acceptable” then I’m not going to drive.
You can’t polish a Kurd. For a start it’s probably racist…
But our talking chimleybreast – lifts do it so don’t get get’ish on us – could be wired up to say all sorts of lovely things such as ‘Not many bigguns can pull off the flowery frock look from Big Scene in Stevie Square but somehow you don’t look a titular head of state when you do it” or “You have an overriding tang of pulled-out-inner–bum-hair but somehow manage to carry it off” or ”May your life be full of the sugar from the coating of Rinstead Pastilles.” It can also be practical by saying things like “Hey, you with ‘G Star Raw’ written in four inch high letters across your T shirt. Fuck off out, you’re not welcome.” And everybody loves a warm breast. In fact as we know, it was the Romans who called us ‘Mamucium’ – A breast shaped hill. And to this day Manchester is full of right tits. Also chimley is a nice Manchester word. We could do hot buttered crumpets on wire coat hanger forks to further fund raise. And we can test out the theory of whether putting potato peelings on the fire last thing at night will keep it ember’ing until the morning. It will be a special, loving place. That brings you changing fire.
We were born on a Woolworth’s fire hurricane. We were drowned in Manchester’s driving rain. We do alright now, it’s Wonderfuel gas. We do alright, it’s wonderfuel gas, know your class, class past. It’s Wonderfuel gas, know your class, class past…
So there we are, that’s what, who and why we are. It would be lovely to think that you’ll enjoy the publication and write for the publication as we will always try to take it above the ‘magnolia walls, white ceiling’. Try. Not necessarily succeed. We’ll write it in the United way. There could be no other way.
Spirit, patience, gentleness’ly yours