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In seventy seven it was Docherty, in twenty eighteen it’s the SMRE…

Submitted by on September 4, 2018 – 2:39 pmNo Comment

Book cover, John Buchan 39 stepsUnless you’ve been holed up in a darkened room avoiding the Mancunian heat this summer it surely can’t have escaped your notice that changes have been afoot under the St Mary’s Road End terrace as work has been going on to turn it into a space that can not only be used on match days but also for the benefit of the local community during the rest of the week and to help to make this corner of Manchester a stronger and better place to live. And all of this work has been overseen by our expert team of volunteers who know a thing or two when it comes to thermal insulation and intumescent paint and have ensured that the work has been completed on time and to budget. More than can be said for the likes of Crossrail and Spurs eh? Once again, it demonstrates the value of our very own volunteers to this football club.

We have it on good authority that new-fangled air conditioning units have been installed as part of the refurb which will ensure that the space maintains a constant temperature when in use that is a few degrees above the ice-station-zebra-like conditions that we’ve regularly endured under the SMRE until now. So you can leave your fingerless mittens at home. Anyway, now that the refurb is complete this coming Saturday will see the official re-opening of the space under the SMRE with the all-important ribbon cutting to be undertaken by a very special guest (more of that later). And it will also be marked by the first Course You Can Malcolm of the new season. Yes folks, Malcolmses is back for another season and our CYCM historians have informed us that it is exactly eleven years since the very first CYCM on the 8th September 2007. Eleven years eh? Bloody hell. Which means that with our two year sabbatical this will be the tenth season that this unique match day event will once again be playing its much cherished part in nourishing our football club both financially and culturally.

Food-wise we will have Westwell’s tater ash, cheese pies and homemade vegan food lovingly prepared by one of our volunteers and possibly a cake or two to nourish you. Entertainment-wise we‘re confident that we’ve got a packed line-up to sate your appetite. So read on to find out how it all might or might not pan out:

12.00 Doors open

Turnstiles will open at the St. Mary’s Road End at 12 noon for fans wishing to attend CYCM. So please use these turnstiles rather than accessing the ground via the main entrance.

12.45 Baz kicks things off

Our usual compere Si is away getting married but Baz has stepped in as a willing caretaker MC. When he’s not busy booking luxury coach travel to tiny English towns or stapling fanzines together Baz is apparently a dab hand with a microphone.

1.00 Martin Buchan

We’re almost Bruce-in-the-96th-minute-ly excited to announce that ex-United skipper Martin Buchan will be joining us at Malcolmses to officially re-open the redeveloped SMRE by cutting some scarlet ribbon and saying a few words.

Old Trafford Blues 45 coverYounger Reds are probably wondering why we’ve invited some bloke off the BBC to re-open the SMRE and then gone and spelt his name wrong but for those of us of a certain vintage Martin Buchan was a true Manchester United hero. Indeed the definitive account of seventies United The Red Army Years reckoned that “only the Fonz could compete with Buchan for awe-inspiring cool” in the mid to late seventies. On the pitch he was as indispensable to seventies United as Robbo was a decade later – a stylish centre half who was perhaps United’s only truly world class performer at the time and represented Scotland at two World Cups. He was already a cup winning captain and international cap when he signed for United in 1972 from Aberdeen but perhaps his finest moment was leading United to victory in the 1977 FA Cup Final against Liverpool, in the process denying the scousers a crack at the treble and securing a place in United folklore.

Almost as memorable was his 1976 B-side Old Trafford Blues – a gentle mocking of his team mates set to a breezy blues soundtrack that remains pretty much unique in the world of football songs. Off the pitch with his preference for reading books over playing cards and disdain for laddish banter he developed a reputation as an outsider and something of a rebel who was unafraid to speak his mind. Several amusing Buchan anecdotes from down the years illustrate how he did his own thing in his own way but perhaps the best was when a leading reporter from a national newspaper asked if he could have “a quick word” after a match and was met with the response of “yes, velocity”. And there was also his one-man stand against a sponsorship deal with Gola because it “would have been dishonest to take the money”. Somehow we reckon he’ll fit right in round here.

1.20 MaD

MaD posterAs if there wasn’t enough drama at FC United at the moment our old friends from Moston-based MaD Theatre Company will be along to give you a sneakier than sneak preview of their latest production It’s The Wrong Way To Tickle Mary which will be playing at the Lowry Theatre on 8th and 9th October. It’s a trip back in time to what might have been going on in Salford a hundred years ago at the time of the suffragettes and the First World War, before the Class of ’92 moved in and started poaching our best players. MaD Theatre Company are no strangers to CYCM and if you’ve seen them before you’ll know they’re ace. If not, you’re in for a treat.

1.50 Quiz (Karl Ladley)

For those of you who don’t know Karl we think it’s fair to say that he has an astonishing footballing memory. When Leamington’s Connor Gudger suffered that horrific facial injury in the match at Broadhurst Park a few weeks back Karl turned to those around him and said of Gudger that “he doesn’t have much luck against FC”. He was probably the only person in the ground (apart from the lad himself) who recalled that it was Connor Gudger who scored that spectacular own goal in the FA Trophy match against Barwell in 2014. It’s for this reason that we’ve invited Karl to write a quiz for us. So if you think you can remember how many appearances Simon Band made for FC in the 2005-06 season then this next twenty five minutes is going to be right up your street.

2.15 Scuttlers

No, we haven’t travelled back in our Malcolmses time machine to bring you some feisty young belt wielding mill workers from nineteenth century Ancoats but we have got you a young Mancunian band by the same name. Scuttlers are four lads from Middleton who formed a band last year that blends rock, punk and indie sounds and they’ll be playing a twenty two minute semi-acoustic set for us. They won the Battle of the Bands competition at the recent Rochdale Feel Good Festival and according to the MEN received “a glorious reception and brought a loyal following of fans who enjoyed their energetic set”. Aside from this prestigious slot at CYCM they’ll be playing their biggest gig to date at Night People in town on 1st December. We think you’ll like them.

3.00 Our Buchan-eering red shirted heroes take to the pitch to do battle with Southport who, incidentally, back in 1977 when Martin Buchan was leading United to scouse busting glory were still plying their trade in the Football League.

Sounds alright doesn’t it? We really are lucky to be able to enjoy such talent and creativity for freemans, all within the bosom of our very own football ground. And we’ll possibly have other stuff going on if time allows including the auctioning off of some Martin Buchan memorabilia to raise a few bob for the Development Fund. Hopefully we’ll see you there and, if so, come and wish us a happy eleventh birthday. Till then….

CYCM’s home is under the St Mary’s Road End terrace and entrance is free, just head to the turnstiles at the St Mary’s Road End of the ground but try and get there as early as possible as we’re anticipating it’s going to get busy. We’ll be located about two-thirds of the way down the SMRE and there will be no partitioning in place. So if you’ve never been to CYCM before and are curious to find out what it’s all about then please feel free to join us and have a nosey – the more the merrier, the rest of us will just have to shuffle up a bit. Usual rules apply: no divviness or nuclear weapons or misplaced apostrophes. Refugees are welcome

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