An Undividable FAQ
You get a glow when some things happen. It might be a close family moment or a time when you realise how important your friends are after plodding on for so long. Or it’s that fifth pint that is reeling you, and you mellow in the pleasure of idolising beer and you thirst for the sixth one, which you know will lead to the seventh one, which stands every chance of progressing to the eighth. And then you’re gone.
Or it’s a track that re-enters your life, and in making that re-entrance, it makes you blub. Or you re-fall in love with your football club and remember why you love it. Separate say, a classic track from the rest of your life, and it has no real importance when put against a family loss or an affecting tragedy.
However, there should never be any separation. We know that. Your life is your life because it is made up of so much, of so many different chunks and bundles. Of landslides and slurry slides and A and B sides. There is no divide.
You cannot separate the love of your football club from the rest of your life. You can’t lose your family, you can’t lose your friends, you can’t lose your beer and you can’t lose your music. Or the love of your place of birth. Unless of course you were born in Stoke.
I could not, cannot and will not lose my love for Manchester United Football Club. You can’t do something that is impossible to do. So I won’t. That’s not hard. That’s easy.
It’s just that at the moment my pub has got a temporary landlord who is a ground floor flat. He’s put in neon florescent lights instead of the welcoming lamps that lulled us in. Blink or go blind. Look down or lose your vision.
He’s attempting to give my family and friends their ticket. He’s not keen on their presence. He has no concept of their laughter and closeness being the cross joint between every brick that built this barricade. There’s stone. There’s sand. There’s cement. There’s water. There’s a shovel. There’s a willingness to mix. There’s no separation because there cannot be. It becomes concrete. Concrete can be a solid foundation or it can be broken into diddier pieces to sling and fight back.
He’s put Elton John and Sting and U2 and Coldplay on the jukebox. He’s changed the beer from one of Manchester’s five independent breweries to a gassy lager producer. There’s no cask. Only cash. Bubbly banter being battered by nauseous bubbly beer.
However, it’s still mine and your ale house. We’ll get it back. We’ll get it better. We’ll make it better. It’s our local because we made it our local. He cannot own what is not his to own.
This is my book on that fight to regain what is ours.
Questions often asked that I’m too bone-igull to keep replying to…
Why is it called that? It’s as if it wasn’t just thrown together…
The charm of ‘Glow’ and its ability never to be divided has been explained in the ‘What’s it all about Ralphie’ bit. Putting ‘An Undividable Glow’ also means that on the front of the book there are two words beginning with ‘UN’. To me that always meant two Uniteds without ever hammering it.
Also the acronym is ‘A.U.G’ which guided me to believing that they are ‘All United Games‘. We are all watching our United but in different ways. We’ve always done that within Old Trafford – a granny who has been going for sixty years in south stand will, despite many points of similarity, watch the game differently from a young fan in J stand lower.
The book also stands in Manchester’s fine tradition of making up words. The English language is forever in flux. It’s French, it’s German, it’s Latin, it’s nonsense, it’s all sorts. I do believe there are three words on the front cover alone that are not words. The correct spelling of the book’s title would have given it an acronym of ‘AIG.‘ It was never going to have that attached to it. IAIIWJTT.
Why change the book’s name?…
The book had a number of working tie-culls. By far the most important of which was ‘East central Manchester bloodline’. The ECMB title never let me forget what I was writing about. It might not seem like it at times when it goes off about ‘egg and bacon eating’ or the 135 or Val Doonican but it did. I knew that when the book was finished I would change it.
ECMB had been very kind to me but it knew it could only take me so far. The book is riddled with ECMB references so its influence can never be forgotten.
Why does it cost £8.78?…
You buy one copy, you put it in front of 878 and you get 1878. It’s as simple as that. Good Reds who advised me throughout the book were left distraught at my lack of business skills. A book at 347 pages long, with tens upon tens of pictures, should really be more than £8.78. The romanticism of making it that price more than amends for any monetary loss. I started out to write a love story not being frightened of losing money.
I owed my Mam and Dad money. That’s embarrassing at my age but with a lifetime of following United I presume I’m not alone. I should budget better but some people just aren’t good at it.
My old fella turned up his toes last season. The money I owed him was then turned to writing a love story. The saving I had done to enable me to pay him back, turned into a backdoor way of getting an inheritance, as all my other inheritance off him had been pissed up the wall of Moston Labour Club or Oldham Street. Proud of him for that. Truly proud.
The money I owed him, and that I was now left with, could be used to make me unfrightened of cost. I’m sure I could not have gotten away with that £8.78 price if I had gone to a publisher. I certainly wouldn’t have gotten away with using the word ‘unfrightened.’ I’d still like to lose ‘thousand’ rather than ‘thousands’ so if you can make sure your Red mates buy one and not borrow yours then that would be great. It is the only book of the first season.
It would be nice to think that there has never been another book priced £8.78. An individual price, for an individual situation, at an individual football club. It would also be great if you brought exactly £8.78. If you don’t though and you give me a tenner you’ll get 22p back in your change. One pence for each player of the two clubs with one soul. IAIIWJTT.
Why has it been printed in east central Manchester?…
United were born in east central Manchester. All my family, tracing back to great, great, great Gran and Grandads, were born in east central Manchester. The book was written, published and printed in east central Manchester and was born there for those reasons. It went in the printing machine at one end, and came out the other, within smelling distance of Bank Street and the Heathy Newtons.
I could have been a better businessman and got a cheaper printing cost abroad. A lot cheaper. But I was unfrightened. I had one chance at book romance and I took it. I’m glad I’m a poor businessman. My Red blood’s a billionaire.
Why bring it out in July when it is too hot for football?…
I was going to bring it out as last season finished. I’m glad I didn’t as I had too much other stuff to do. It has taken so much hard work that I nearly gave up many times. It probably won’t look as if it has but it did. It was also nice to bring it out for the Supporters Direct Cup as AFC Wimbledon played their part in our formation. That game was also the 22nd in the month. The number 22 has played a nice role in the books formation as it kept me focused on two teams of eleven.
I also wanted to bring it out on a Saturday, with a three o’clock kick off game involved. Those behind electronic screens, who might moan that they wanted to get the book first on the internet, should pay respectable deference to match day attendees. The book will attend its first game on Saturday the 22nd. With fine opposition.
We’re going to sell it by hand. We’ll shout like we used to do when selling UWS on Warwick Road. In that way we have brought a fine tradition with us. Reds who have been electronically supportive throughout will knock me into shape after that game and sort out a pay-pal do-dar.
Is the book bollocks?…
I really should say “No, it’s great” but I’d be fibbing as I don‘t know if it‘s good or not. If you read it in the next few weeks then you will be the same as me as I have not read it. When I closed each chapter I usually accompanied it with a “Woo-hoo” to signify that I’d thought I’d got it. If it didn‘t get a “Woo-hoo” then it didn‘t feel right to close it.
On that basis I have never gone back to a written chapter after it was finished and woo-hoo‘d. When a chapter closes in August or September it will always remain how I felt in August or September. If you re-opened and tampered with it with more experienced eyes months later, then that would not be a true recollection.
The only exception to this was chapters two and three about the summer. There was just so much to write about, and so much to do, that it only got part written at the time. I just made over 10,000 words worth of notes. I wrote the summer months just after Christmas on the basis of those notes.
Even when advisors said “You can’t write a conclusion without re-reading the book. Re-read it and tie it all in” I couldn’t help but agree. However, there was that awkward get in me that said “Hold it. It was said that it would be too hard to form a club or too hard to publish a book yourself. Fck it. I’m going to write a conclusion without re-reading the book. Who said you can’t? Besides everyone.”
What I felt when writing the conclusion was what I felt without intrusion from a thousand ups and downs of the season. The ones that remained with me were the ones that were documented in the conclusion. By their definition of still being here, they must be the most important. I know I could have done it others ways but that was the way I chose and stuckerteez to. I tied it as best I could.
So it might very well be shite. There’s definitely three or four things I would change already but you have to let it go sometime. The three people who have read it so far, and who I chose to let read it as they were very hard to please, loved it and were moved to say some very, very complimentary things about it. I hope you find it so.
I know readers of UWS will recognise my writing style. I’ve obv tried to slow down the pace at times as 347 pages at the intense speed of a one page column would cauterise your eyes. So I reflected the pace of the NWCL division two games and it quick, quicks and slows, in slow, quick, quicks succession.
Good luck. You’ll fckn need it.