WHO ARE THE BEST, MOST LOYAL SUPPORTERS IN BRITAIN?

How do we get a definitive answer, one thing I know is, that if it was left to the anti Manchester United English media the answer would not be Manchester United fans (it just wouldn’t be allowed)  fortunately though I’m going to investigate and look a little deeper beneath the hype than those cretins in fleet street who make me sick with there sycophantic adoration for two clubs whose supporters don’t deserve it. I mean if they changed the word Loyal for Stupid, Ugly or deluded i wouldn’t have a problem.
After consulting my Oxford English Dictionary, found the definition of the word loyal is: Constant, firm in allegiance to a cause. Well I’ve been going to football since 1966 and always had a hanker for statistics  and obviously must  have a memory a lot better, than those fleet street hacks, whose memory retention would seriously struggle to challenge that of a goldfish. Is it just me or do you also get pissed off with the constant KOP or TOON this, and KOP or TOON that, always bigging up the KOP and the TOON army, when we know the truth.
So here are some facts to justify my contempt for the Maggots….Pre- Keegan average attendance at St James Park of 16,000 in 1981 followed by 17,000 in 1982, Remember that’s average attendances not the odd game or two…
Even nowadays the press look to excuse their pathetic turnouts, A EUFA cup game in Palermo against a team that was top of Italy’s Serie A at the time, all they could muster was, at  most 180,  its not a misprint, I don’t mean 1800 really 180. High unemployment, difficult to get to! blah..blah..blah
Anyway I could go on giving numerous examples in the intervening years of gates between 10 and 15 thousand for Newcastle  home games, but by now you must have my point and hopefully understand my frustration at the word loyal been associated with Newcastle United, conclusively proving that their supporters been the most loyal in football is PURE FICTION.

As for the vermin, the press’s love affair with them mystifies me, why is it only United fans see through those despicable excuses for human beings, just what can we thank those ‘lovable rogues’ for; The introduction of the stanley knife! not only did they earn the reputation for never fighting with even numbers, they would then attack lone supporters ten handed and  cut them with the stanley knife, they get us banned as a nation from europe for years, and because of there actions force all seater stadiums on us
domestically, changing the match going atmosphere from tribal hostility to that of a night at the opera!
Do i really need to carry on,and still the media love them glossing over the CS gas attack on uniteds players the Shit Slinging and Toilet smashing, Munich singing, ambulance attacking… sorry! i hadn’t finished..And still the media pander to the myth about them. Yet if a united fan so much as breaks wind during one of their many minutes silences held at Anfailed during the season we are labelled scum with sky even putting up sub titles on their news bulletins for the hard of hearing..

As for loyalty, well during uniteds 26 year wait for the title we had a higher average than liverpool 24 out the 26, with the other two years Old Trafford undergoing major rebuilding work..now liverpool have gone 22 years without a title and guess what, not once have they managed a higher average attendance than us… though the scouse loving media, will use the excuse of the differing capacities nowadays, no such excuses during the 70’s and 80’s their golden period supposedly…

So just who are the most loyal, and how do we find out?

Using the now well used chant “Where were you, When you were Shit?” as a guide I have  produced a table, using the four teams whose supporters would claim the title of most loyal, and Chelsea just to show what an embarrassment their following really is..

What I’ve done is to find a decade in the last 50 years, each of the five teams listed was least successful. (Supporting your team when you’re not winning is surely the best guide to Loyalty)

 

             TEAM LEAST SUCCESSFUL DECADE SINCE    1961                                             AVERAGE   ATTENDANCE FOR                  DECADE
      CHELSEA 1981-1990              5yrs in old Div2               18,642
NEWCASTLE UNITED 1981-1990              5yrs in old Div2               22,716
         CITY 1991-2000              3yrs  Div2               27,292
       LIVERPOOL 1991-2000              no title               38,816
       UNITED 1971-1980               1yr  in old Div2               48,802

Even with total average attendances since time began, United top the list averaging over 40,000 followed by Liverpool at 34,00-.

Would you believe it, the most berated set of fans in football, the prawn sandwich brigade turn out to be the most loyal fans in Britain. Not that the media would ever give us any credit. All they do is find any excuse to criticise, slaughtering the atmosphere  at Old Trafford, when its actually no worse than any other, in the new all seated stadiums created since the Taylor report. Silence at Anfield, St James Park, Villa Park, Goodison Park etc, is completely ignored, never commented on, whereas if Old Trafford isn’t rocking for ninety minutes they compare the atmosphere to that of a morgue, and a ground full of glory hunters.

So a round of applause to all you  fellow United fans, your loyalty is unsurpassed, the best in Britain.

Notice I’m saying Britain; It gives me an opportunity to put into print a few home truths about those Bigots north of the border.
Celtic and Rangers really do give the Geordies a run for their money as Bullshitting supporters, using the analogy, if you say it often enough, then it must be true, was made for these loathsome creatures. Ideally I would loved to have added them to the earlier list created, showing there average gates during the seventies or eighties, When Aberdeen had the audacity to challenge their automatic right to win everything, i cannot believe how both clubs have tried to erase the past. Its not possible to get any attendance figures from 1966-1990 period, non of the plethora of websites they both have publish any attendances pre-1990, I know why the embarrassment would be excruciating for them, gates of under 20,000 the norm for them both, with averages not much higher. Even only as far back as 1993 Celtic only averaged 22,000, with one home league game that season attracting 10,602. Loyal supporters my arse!  The Biggest Glory hunters in world football.
Without doubt Celtic fans are the biggest bores you could ever have the misfortune to meet, immediately telling everyone know how loyal they are, and what a massive world wide support they have (Yawn). Both Clubs though reminisce about their one European triumph, which personally I think is an absolute disgrace, considering they probably are the only two clubs in Europe who have been guaranteed European football every season since it began in 1961.
Celtic fans would have you believe Lisbon in 1967 was suburb of Glasgow for the night, and Rangers fans make out they filled the Nou Camp, Barcelona for the 1972 Cup winner’s Cup final.

Try not to laugh now….but the attendance that night in the Nou Camp was 24,000 it must have looked magnificent in a stadium that could hold 130,000 at the time.
As for Celtic, the attendance was 45,000 in an 80,000 stadium, Have a look at this newspaper cutting from the time..

celtic

And back to how boring Celtic fans are, it’s not long before they are telling everyone how many fans they took to Seville (yawn yawn). I’d say it was about 75,000,
WOW, All it does, is reinforce everything I’ve said about them been the biggest glory hunters in world football. I remember at the time Alan Brazil and other radio pundits all having a big Celtic love-in, urging fans to travel without tickets for the crack.

Contrast that to United in Barcelona 1999, we  were literally  told that we couldn’t go down the bottom of the road without a ticket, and we’d be arrested at airports, train stations, and on ferries when searched, if we didn’t have a brief. We still easily matched Celtics turnout, and put Liverpool’s 30,000 in Istanbul to shame, but have the media ever given it a mention, it must be an unwritten code never to give any credit to United fans from the Scouse infested press.
One day Celtic and Rangers fans will wake up and smell the coffee! All supporters from other clubs throughout England and Europe are not laughing with them, we’re laughing at them, they are a joke.
As for them joining the English premier League, Are you having a laugh?
i remember Alan Brazil and Mike Parry at Talksport, questioning, if we in England could cope with their massive support.
Well Cowdenbeath, St Mirren, and Alloa manage every week with grounds only holding five thousand, or do they only go when they play friendlies in England, PART TIMERS TO A MAN.

The Red Army in MOSCOW ……………(The Journey)

MANCHESTER UNITED manager Alex Ferguson has won more awards and had so much acclaim it must be difficult for him to appreciate all the honours bestowed on him, BUT DID YOU KNOW…… He is the only leader of an invading army ever to maraud the Russian capital Moscow, and to return home victorious. This is no mean feat as the previous two commanders to foray across the frontier onto Russian soil lived to regret it. And proved to be there nemesis in endeavours at world domination. Napoleon Bonaparte led an army of 500,000 men in June 1812 in his failed attempt, followed by Adolf Hitler one hundred and twenty nine years later when he launched operation Barbarossa in 1941 sending three million soldiers over the border. Fergie’s Army was much humbler in proportion; Thirty Five thousand Reds trekked the sixteen hundred miles across Europe to Russia’s seat of government. The different routes taken by fans in an effort to support the lads is amazing and shows our passion is greater than any others. Obviously if it had been CELTIC or ‘The best fans in the world’ LIVERPOOL our brainwashed media would have said they had more than Hitler and Napoleon combined.                                                                                                            But this is a narrative about a small ‘Band of Brothers’ who made the trip, all the way by Train. As i am not happiest of flyer’s i will if possible try an arrange an alternative mode of transport whether it be by Sea, Car or Train i will investigate it, with the final in Moscow i honestly thought it would have to be by plane, its amazing how resourceful i can be when it comes to not getting on an airplane…….

It did mean having to Leave Blighty on Monday morning 19th May, and returning on Saturday Night 24th May.                                                                                                       Five of us left on 10.00 Eurostar to Brussels from St Pancras, two father and sons, Clive who like me originates from Morecambe, and his lad Billy, me and my eldest son Mark plus Gary (Gaz) an archetypal Manc from Irlam. With Gaz everything is sorted! Yes sorted!  Whereas contrarily my lad Mark who then resided at Nottingham University his answer to everything is Sweet Man!…….

.         The Train arrives in Brussels at 13.03……Leaving us Twenty Minutes to catch the Thalys train to Cologne, not that easy when your baggage weighs as much as mine, at least three crates of lager taking up the bulk of my holdall on wheels, it encourages you to start guzzling, the more you drink the lighter the bag. Time flies and were pulling into Cologne at 15.45 didn’t even have time to get the cards out.   We put the bags in some fancy left luggage, and wondered how to wile away the afternoon and evening before catching the Half Ten Moscow Express…..

We decided a mixture of cultural, social interactivity was correct course of action for the day……….In other words, look at the famous Cathedral which is located directly outside the station, and then find a pub. With a spring in my step and my RAF baseball hat on my head, we left the station and made our way up the steps to the Cathedral, giving me the opportunity at this point, to pass on my understanding and knowledge of WW2 and the allied campaign of saturation bombing German cities, particularly Dresden and Cologne to my four enthralled fellow travellers, I’m certain at least two of them fell asleep, never the less I persisted with the history lesson, explaining how our brilliant pilots, used the latest precision bombing  techniques at the time, to take out every building in Cologne and only left the famous gigantic cathedral standing…. Billy just managing to keep his eye’s open.. Did not seem that impressed, looked at the size of it….saying “They couldn’t have been that good, if they missed a building that big!”   

Enough of the culture, we’re running out of drinking time, after a couple of drinks in traditional German bars, we end up in the Corkonian an Irish Pub not too far from the station…………………………………………………………………………………………………….                                                                                                                                         At about 10 0’clock, half an hour before the train we thought we better get some grub, four of us grab some Chicken and Chips and a quick pint. Billy orders a Mega Pizza (which was to be his staple diet for the next three days) He ate the last piece on Wednesday morning.

      We board the Moscow express at ten thirty with our luggage and Billy’s Pizza, only to find after checking in! ……. Some Old Russian bloke, the spit of Boris Yeltsin, is in my compartment with his wife and suitcases, after a little persuasion Boris and his missus are removed, but jumped into the compartment next door which was Clive and Billy’s,   The hectors now appeared after hearing the kafuffle and had a novel way of solving the problem….Each compartment was equipped for three people, and our two Russian friends were meant to be sharing with this Chelsea fan called Tim, Clive and Billy had been allocated a United fan from Scotland called Andy, the gist of it was; The stroppy rusky, and the train stewards including the lovely Svetlana, could only speak Russian. Boris was refusing to share and wanted a room for just him and his missus, and expected the other four to share a room meant for three. Clive pointed out confidently, with the old British stiff upper lip, how the numbers on the compartment doors tallied with the numbers on his ticket and Andy’s. Svetlana then to our amazement simply peeled the numbers off the door and put the numbers she wanted, on the one door and with a shrug gave a look of ‘that’ll show you lot’. Clive’s face was a picture, eventually it got sorted after I’d nearly wet myself laughing……..The Russians got moved further up the carriage, Clive and Billy got a room to themselves…..   Svetlana was the prototype Russian steward never smiling and stern looking, She could have played a russian agent in any James Bond film….  anyway she seemed to like my cheek and  after this incident we got on really well, even though we couldn’t communicate verbally, and as Holmsie tells everyone whenever he saw Svetlana, he knew I’d be a few metres behind calling swet, swet,

  The first night on board the Moscow Express was a bit of a blur, we drank some more I know, because my luggage was a lot lighter the next morning, and when I woke up, I was sleeping with some of what only can be described as Desperate Dan’s empty cans of lager. During the night the train passed through Frankfurt and Berlin heading east, not that I noticed I didn’t wake until we were approaching Warsaw.   

                                                                                 .    A cup of coffee provided by the lovely Svetlana in her compartment,  and some breakfast courtesy of a hamper containing a variety of goodies, made by the wife and kept fresh with frozen bottles of water went down a treat, followed by a shower on the platform of Warsaw station, it entertained a few of the locals anyway. The train added a few carriages and another restaurant car, before carrying on its journey. In advance of the Polish Belarus border Svetlana checked our transit visas, which we needed, along with a genuine Russian visa, not just a match ticket. It was a requirement before applying for the Belarus transit visa. She did it in preparation for a much closer inspection by the Belarusian border patrol. For what must be regular procedure ,Swet and the other Russian stewards seemed nervous at the impending inspection, but when the state security boarded the train I could understand Swets trepidation, it was like a scene from a spy film, with the heavily armed guards constantly looking us, up and down, “PAPERS” ….I felt uneasy as they scrutinised our paperwork, it was all done in complete silence, everything was in order and one of them, before exiting the train even managed to smile and muttered an inquisitive,  Manchester?…….. All five of us in unison said ‘Yes’

                                                                         

Once inside Belarus the track gauge changes, the aftermath of the cold war,  Russia didn’t want potential invaders from using the rail system, and changed from a international gauge to a much broader one, so the train is shunted into a rail yard, just outside a station, where each section is jacked up before changing the undercarriage. This procedure takes about two hours. Officially passengers are not allowed off the train in Belarus, but my charm was working on swet, and she understood my request for us to find a pub, while the wheels were changed, admittedly she rejected the invitation to join us, she did though take us to a cash point, to get some Belarus roubles, before showing us where nearest Bar was located outside the station, and in her own inimitable way explained, be back in the station in an hour. As we only had an hour in Belarus it was pointless everybody getting the local currency. Holmsie said “he’d treat everybody” and just withdrew the lowest denomination possible from the cash point, and off we went to the pub, Andy and the Chelsea fan Tim joined us making seven, we all had two pints and some bar snacks, Clive’s 10,000 Belarus roubles had gone by now, so we went back to the station in good time for the train. On his return home Clive found on his bank statement the 10,000 Belarus Roubles had cost him the mighty sum £2.37. As the credit crunch bites inEngland maybe a holiday in Belarus is on the cards, it might be a shithole, but it’s fucking cheap!

The train returned to pick us up in an hour just as Swet had told us, with our new undercarriage now in place, it was time to finish off the wife’s hamper and drink the remaining contents of my luggage bag, before freshening up and heading off to the restaurant car and bar and settling down for a good session, only as a means to help us sleep the night before the big game you know, I wouldn’t want you to get the idea were some sort of pissheads. The beer was going down really well and the time just flew by, we met a few Chelsea lads in the bar which was good news for Tim the Chelsea fan with us, he didn’t feel quite so outnumbered, I can understand a few of you thinking how can you drink with the opposition when tomorrow we could easily be having a tear up in Moscow, its easier than you think especially as these were old school Chelsea fans not Corporate slag’s that infest the rent boys support nowadays,  they detest those sort of fans much the same as we do  the JCL’s who have tagged onto our club since the Premiership began. Another thing we have in common now is that they hate the vermin nearly as much as we do, and have sussed out how the Press/media pander to the hype around their lowlife fans. Chelsea fans are now the only other set of fans that see Liverpool as the Murdering scum we do. These lads were sound, just like me Holmsie and Gaz passionate about football, their club, who liked booze. Only difference been we support United…..

We had a good crack  with these lads hopefully they will go back to London a little wiser as well because they seemed to believe the Myth about Chelsea taking the Stretford End in 1984, me and Holmsie were straight on it, asking were you there?                            Because we were, they said yes! …But in the Scoreboard End, Then we asked you know all the faces down at Chelsea do you know anyone who was actually in the Streford that night?  Fair play to them, old school Chelsea fans, they had to admit they didn’t, that’s because none of them were, we told them. Anyway Holmsie and I gave them a full run down of events that night. And now they can go back to London and tell the truth of what really happened, when someone starts talking shit in the pubs around Stamford Bridge on match days.The beer is flowing nicely, the rusky behind the bar has cooked me a fried egg sandwich (life doesn’t get much better than this) as we enter Russia and get closer to Moscow, some Bright spark thinks its time we tried some of the local brew VODKA….Why?  Don’t they know Winterbottom can’t handle spirits especially when it comes in half pint glasses, not little miniatures like in England?  After knocking some of these back, why is it! You have to down it in one? Holmsie thinks I’ve had a stroke when I seem to be paralysed down one side of my body there is egg yolk dripping down my chin and I shut up for thirty seconds, anyway the panic is soon over as he realises both sides are paralysed…….I really don’t know what time I got to bed, but thank god for Swets coffee she brought me a cup in the morning to wake us up about an hour before reaching Moscow. Giving us just enough time for Billy to eat his last piece of pizza, have a wash and get our things together. Billy wanted to bring the empty pizza Box; he felt it was part of the family having been with us so long, Clive declined, so we said our goodbyes and deposited it in one of swets rubbish sacks.

Moscow itself and the Game to follow!….  

 

SCOUSEBUSTING, OR I PREFER VIOLATING VERMIN! (Part 2)

Six years on, were now in 1985, and not much has changed, United were flattering to deceive in our quest for the league title…But it wasn’t for the want of trying, three times between the 1979 and 1985 semi finals, we have smashed our record transfer fee, buying Ray Wilkins from Chelsea for £825,000 and breaking the million pound barrier to get Gary Birtles from Nottingham Forest and  then breaking the world transfer fee record, when we signed Bryan Robson for £1,500,000, which makes now having to sit back watching the Glazier’s finacially rape the club, absolutly heartbreaking. We as fans then accepted United not winning the League, we didnt like it, but we could see the club was pulling out all stops to change things. Now from a position of real monetry strength,  we are not using that muscle to improve the team, over £70 million every year is spent servicing those parasites interest payments on their debts. Back then we used the power and name of Manchester United to get the best, admittedly in Birtles’s case it never worked out, you could say we shopped at Harrods, if we were Glazer free we could attract the best players in the world, but now just can’t compete with any of the big boy’s and the most galling, watching City spending money like some Chav that’s won the lottery. We are pretty close to having to shop at the equivalent of a Car Boot Sale, looking for some young talent that we’ll be able to sell on for profit! Anyway back to 1985,  admittedly in those  intervening years  we’d had an FA Cup Final victory against Brighton, and an exciting run in the Cup Winners Cup, eventually going out to Juventus in the semi-final to fall back on. What made life worse for us,  was that Liverpool were going from strength to strength ,still sweeping all before them, only Everton the blue half of Murkeydive giving them a serious challenge…….. So it was inevitabe in 1985 after victories in the earlier rounds against Bournemouth,Coventry,Blackburn and West Ham we were to be drawn against Liverpool once again in the FA cup semi-final.

Semi-Final 1985

13th April  at Goodison Park, surprisingly if I remember correctly United might have been slight favourites this time as we’d drawn 1-1 at Old Trafford and only two weeks prior to the semi final had managed a 1-0 victory at Anfield. Getting tickets was the usual hassle and Paul eventually got ours from that famous old ticket tout Stan Flashman. We went round his house in Whetstone North London to collect the tickets; unfortunately they were in Liverpool’s end (Glwadys Street)……We decided to get a mini bus into Manchester and then take the special into Liverpool. The Old Bill made all the specials pull into a God forsaken place called Edge Hill, where we’d be bussed into Goodison Park; obviously they didn’t want a repetition of our previous semi final visit. The bus trip from Edge Hill was free of any incident apart from seeing the scousers lining the streets gawping at us. I remember seeing one dad stood with his little lad, couldn’t have been more than three or four and his dad was trying to teach him to do the aeroplane, don’t you just love them!   We got to the ground and were making our way to the Glwadys Street, when we heard a copper offering a Man United end ticket; I swapped mine with him, pissing off Big Al because I had beaten him to it.

 

With unashamed relief I went into the Bullens Road and quickly made my way to the corner section adjacent to the Glwadys Street, where we arranged to meet to see how long Pete, Big Al, Mick Hurley and my brother Paul would survive. I saw them weaving their way through the throng of vermin heading for the corner where I was standing. Paul and Pete Yeardley quickly climbed the heavily greased fence and jumped into our end. The scousers soon noticed and were onto it like a pack of  hyena’s;   I mean its perfect odds for them, four against five thousand. As you can guess by his name Big Al is a huge lump, and he has a AL of MUFC tattooed on his neck, the scousers were making a beeline for him, watching him climb onto the fence was an hilarious sight , he seemed to loose his balance  swaying back and forth, for what seemed an age he was hanging precariously, about to fall back onto the scousers one second or into the refuge of United’s end the next. Luckily for him, he fell on top of us. Mick Hurley though was still trying to make his escape and the scousers attempted to pull him back in amongst them, Mick hung off the fence, gave one a quick dig and hopped over.

With everyone together in the Bullens Road, the match was about to begin. It was once again  as a TV pundit would say  ‘a great game  for the neutral’ and  eventually finished    2-2, with United twice been ahead, Gutting!  What made it worse though, as usual the scousers cheated and got the luck they didn’t deserve, United were 2-1 up in the last minute of extra time, Paul Walsh was clearly flagged off side, the referee completely ignored his linesman and the little shit equalised. Can you imagine the fuss, if that had been us……Nothing happened afterwards that I can remember, except how disappointed and choked everybody was, you would have thought we had lost, Four days later we had the chance to put the record straight.

Semi-Final 1985 Replay  

  

Maine Road that night was heaving, and full for a change!                                            United had two thirds of the stadium completely out numbering the vermin. We were sat in the North stand when battle commenced….Things didn’t go to plan and the usually reliable and faultless Paul McGrath headed in his own goal, giving United a real uphill battle. But cometh the time cometh the man….Bryan Robson ran from the halfway line, leaving the Liverpool defence in his wake and smashed the ball into the top right hand corner of the net, it was without doubt one of the top five goals I’ve witnessed following United all these years.  We completely outplayed them and justice was done when Mark Hughes hit the winner.

At the final whistle emotions ran high, it seemed as if everybody  ran on the pitch to celebrate, with some of the players been carried off shoulder high, and Captain Fantastic Bryan Robson needing police assistance to leave the pitch… Everyone except my twin  Paul who couldn’t miss the opportunity to agitate all the scousers in the Kippax, running up and down the touch line tormenting the great unwashed!

A few beers in the Vine (Sale) rounded off another great night SCOUSEBUSTING..

(Of course i never have condoned violence at football matches, this is just an account written for true historical records)  

 

               

SCOUSEBUSTING, OR I PREFER VIOLATING VERMIN!

Most Manchester United supporters in the world today, there’s 659 million of them now according to United’s commercial director Richard Arnold, why we have employed that shirt from ITV Breakfast telly is beyond me, Old Malc must be going for the Pink pound! (i know its not him really) have known nothing but success in their lifetime following the reds, but us older fans were really put through the mill. Don’t ever forget though during that 26 year gap between league titles we were the country’s best supported club for 24 of them, and the two times were didn’t top the attendance table was because of ground developments reducing our capacity, just letting you all know ‘we did our bit’….And its funny how the media have completely forgotten that, with their sad and pathetic innuendo’s we are all jump on the bandwagon, gloryhunters. But, that’s not surprising,  they are stuck so far up the scouser’s arse, it’s  just not allowed to give Manchester United supporters the slightest credit…But you youngsters don’t let the picture I’m painting deceive you, we might not have had the tremendous haul of trophy’s the modern United fan has witnessed, but we still had some great times and never lost faith! The highlights been the FA Cup final victories and appearances, but the most memorable undoubtedly, was our year in Division Two the 1974/5 season, which is currently been serialised in Red News  http://www.rednews.co.uk/

What made this 26 year barren spell (virtually a drought) even more unbearable was Merseyside, Liverpool and Everton with Leeds for a while dominating English football…Thinking back now it makes City’s lottery winning bought title last May more palatable!  Of course that still really hurts……………………… ..  But watching them Scouser’s swinging on their Perch was intolerable…So i now get to the real crux of this article, Any chance we had then….And to quote Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army “To Stick it Right Up Them” was too good to miss and i have got a couple of crackers for you…..Two FA Cup Semi Finals in 1979 and 1985  both of which went to replays were incredible occasions, on and off the pitch!.. Here’s my take on all four matches

Semi-final 1979

The 1978-79 season had begun with a 4-0 victory over Real Madrid in United’s centenary match.  When the season started we were full of hope, only to find ourselves at Christmas halfway down the league and suffering an ignominious exit at home to Watford in the league cup, so as January approached it was once again the FA cup we pinned our hopes on getting some success.  Victories over Chelsea, Fulham, Colchester and Tottenham brought us face to face with Liverpool in an FA cup semi-final scheduled for Maine Road on Saturday 31st March 1979, with great anticipation we headed for Maine Road. As you would expect at the time the vermin were hot favorites, especially after tanking United 3-0 at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, can you imagine a more miserable festive season. Now that was a match a more sensible person than I wouldn’t have attended. I’d been living in Whitefield, Manchester the previous six months and was absolutely pot less, I had just enough money to get the National coach  to London, or go to the game and have a few beers. Meaning I’d have to jib the train home if I was to see my family over Christmas……… Well the train journey was a lot more successful than the match; I even managed to borrow a box load of fruit cakes from the buffet car, which doubled up as a Christmas present for my twin brother.

Anyway back to Maine Road, I met my twin Paul, Pete Yeardley and a few of the lads at the ground early in the morning, I can’t remember where I got pissed but I did, In between, awaiting news of the arrival of Liverpool fans.Nothing happened really, it was more the police charging at United fans keeping us away from the scousers as they tried to sneak in. As you can imagine the entire 90 minutes was played in a cauldron of hate, with those lovable cheeky chappy scousers giving us the full repertoire of Munich songs behind the safety of fences, anyone else see the irony there?

Joe Jordan makes it 1-1

The match ended 2-2 with big Joe Jordan and Brian Greenoff netting for United, but the defining moment was when Kenny Dalglish who had opened the scoring, backed into Martin Buchan and fell over with all the sincerity of Suarez and Gerrard nowadays. The cheating scousers got a penalty, but missed it! ……. The sense of injustice spurred United on and we led 2-1 until the 82nd minute, when “You wont win anything with Kids” Alan Hansen scabbed an equaliser.

And after been witness to what can only be called a minor miracle, over twenty thousand scousers disappearing into the night, avoiding the massed ranks of baying reds hungry for vermin blood, we had the replay at Goodison Park to look forward to.

THE REPLAY……..Wednesday 4th April 1979

Wednesday 4th April 1979, I got into town early that day , for an early start drinking in The Auld Reekie, Market Street, with John Hallet, anxiously watching the clock in readiness for one of the specials going from Manchester Victoria into Liverpool Lime Street. Again there was a decision to be made, Get the first special or take a later one, and have a few more beers. Well its like talking to an old soldier, saying he landed in France on 7th June 1944, when everybody knows all the real action happened the day before June 6th(D Day).I had to get the first train, and I wasn’t to be disappointed…….When the train pulled into Lime Street, the adrenalin was really flowing and everybody was really wound up and eager to exchange pleasantries with the local populace. The noise was deafening as we exited the station, The police were surprisingly slow off the mark, as united rampaged through the streets chasing the great unwashed of Liverpool, who had congregated on the town hall steps as  a welcoming committee…….I know we affectionately call them vermin, but they actually did look like rats scattering as they saw the full force of uniteds mob, descend upon them. During the ensuing charge, I suddenly felt a really sharp pain in my bum cheek, looking around I turned to see an Alsatian helping himself to great chunks of my arse, Between me and the copper on the end of his lead, we managed to get him off me, somewhat dazed but extermely pleased to have avoided a nicking. I carried on towards Goodison. It was mayhem all the way to the ground, with the police eventually getting control and United chasing off scousers at what seemed every corner en route. On arrival at the ground I was in the Park End, and actually had time to assess the damage to my posterior, and was advised by John and the other lads to seek medical attention. It was then I got reason 101 to hate scousers, in a polite civil manner I approached a policeman and said “excuse me officer, but is there a St John’s ambulance in the ground, where I could possibly get a tetanus injection? ….As I have been bitten by a dog” pointing to my damaged exterior.With all the sensitivity of an SS guard he said “I hope you die! You Manc bastard”……The start of the match took my mind off any pain I was suffering and when Jimmy Greenoff headed the winner twelve minutes from time I had forgotten all about it.                  

 

 

I think I’m still on the floor! …. Eventually after what seemed an eternity the referee blew the whistle and United were back at Wembley. United goalkeeper Gary Bailey Loves beating the scousers as much as us!

The Merseyside police kept us in just long enough for the scousers to get in position to throw bricks from every available vantage point, I was in the giant escort back to Lime Street, boxed in tight and sitting ducks to all those brave scousers throwing bricks in the pitch black, you just couldn’t see them coming, at one point I even put a traffic cone on my head. I must have looked a right dick, with me arse hanging out of my jeans, and traffic cone on my head, but I was happy.                                                                                  Back in Manchester we headed straight for Pips disco, at the back of Victoria station to celebrate and discuss the night’s events.

Part two the 1985 semi final to follow ..(of course neither myself or Red News condones violence at football matches, this is just an account written for true historical records)  

The Stretford End

Where do I start, THE STRETFORD END or should I say the West Stand…Changing the name of our most famous stand or terrace, yet another one of the clubs moves to disenfranchise the hard core old fashioned supporter of Manchester United, who might actually love the club more than the people who run the business want them to. If you get my drift..Could you ever imagine the Vermin ever renaming The Kop…..East, West , South or North stand wherever the infestation is located compass wise..But our owners and for once this isn’t a dig at the parasites, but Edwards allowed it to happen under the  auspices of safety, it hasn’t stopped them renaming the North Stand, the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand though…i’m not denying the great man this  honour, but it galls me to think that a large percentage of the supposed 659 million manchester united fans around the world have never heard of the Stretford End, But who gives a shit! eh Malc…as long they are walking around in a Kagawa shirt…Lets just erode an integral part of mine and thousands like me football heritage! 

Well it seems the name STRETFORD END means more to opposing fans than our own nowadays, especially the cockney’s……You cannot walk into your local Waterstones or WH Smiths bookshop nowadays without seeing some new book published about some no mark  London hooligan firm, Gobbing off how Big and Tough  they are, I really should walk on by, ignore them and go look at something on the top shelf or something. Is just me though or do you also get a morbid fascination to see what they have to say about United and our firm, only to cringe at the fairytales put into print by these people… Everyone has ‘done’ United if you believed all the shit written by these guys, United’s mob should be able to give Paula Radcliffe a close race, we must have clocked up more miles than an habitual marathon runner, I for one won’t be bringing any of my three lads to Old Trafford again, its just not safe! All these fucking hooligans chasing united around the streets of Manchester. Lets get a few Facts straight about these , They all except Cass Pennants (Wets Ham) credit where’s its due fail to mention what United fans had done in and around their grounds during, from what some people (not me) would say, were the Halycon days of Football Hooliganism. After Englands world cup win in 1966 until around 1986, a twenty year peroid when you defended ‘your End’ at any cost, and things became tribal… As i said at least Cass Pennant admits United took the West Ham North Bank in May 1967, but no mention from Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal about United taking their ends on a regular basis, memorably taking the Shed in 1973.

It was always awkward at Spurs, taking the Shelf at Tottenham or whatever part of the ground was their end at the time, The Park Lane or Paxton Road. A clever ploy by them, fed up with getting embarrassed every year you take the The Shelf, and they say, thats not our end, we’re in the Park lane, next year you go in the Park Lane, and its  We’re in The Paxton Road now…As for Arsenal, we took their North Bank so many times, United fans actually started to think thats where we were meant to be! …Its strange non of these events are mentioned in their account, yet they have the audacity to say “They have taken the Stretford End, thinking that’ll sound good in a book, a chapter how we ran the Stretford End will sell a few copies, sod the fact its nots true!…But once its in print and with the passing of time, people believe it. And some of these stories, it would more honest to say fable’s, supposably happened before anyone from London had the courage to enter Old Trafford,  anywhere except the reserved seating in A stand..in those days only the Suits sat.(that started to change in the 80’s)..The facts are, none of these cockney warriors came to Old Trafford in force until the introduction of police escorts in 1977, now that is a fact, not a rafa benitez fact, but a real FACT! ….Anyway a lot of these myths are spreading and as special request from a mate, Lindsay who has asked me to re-print an article i wrote about five years ago for Red News.. http://www.rednews.co.uk/      the first ,in a series called Fact or Fiction

So Lindsay here’s the article:

But one book in particulary about The Chelsea ‘Head-hunters’ by Steve Hickmott and Colin Ward, really pissed me off,  and it’s a chapter from that book which is to be the subject in  our first FACT or FICTION : ……………..Have Chelsea taken the Stretford End ?

September 5th 1984 is the date in question. It was early in the season our second home game, in fact. Chelsea had just won promotion from old division two, with their supporters earning a fierce some reputation terrorizing such places as Shrewsbury,Carlisle,Grimsby, and Huddersfield, before coming back into the big time. I must give them credit though the previous April they had taken extreme liberties in Manchester and at Maine Road, but that was against City, who were also languishing in division two.

This was United though, The attendance that night was 48,000 with Chelsea bringing about 3,000 filling three sections of the Scoreboard End, they also had a small section in A stand, where there main boys were seated. The kick-off was approaching, and about 7 o’clock,  a small firm of Chelsea were sussed in the top right hand corner of K stand (looking up from the pitch), the word went around and united started to prepare for a set too, most of uniteds lads were still outside and everyone decided to wait a few minutes before getting stuck in, Someone though was tipped the wink by a steward, that the old bill were about to come and move them out, it was now or never. Uniteds boys moved up the steps towards the Chelsea fans, they were quickly on there toes with only one or two standing. Scattering them across K stand, some of them jumping into A stand, and the others into the Scoreboard amongst there own fans. The then ritual ‘Chelsea Aggro’ chant started, with the Stretford End replying ‘United Aggro’ soon drowning out the rent boys. It looked quite impressive as the united boys who’d seen off the Chelsea mob, then charged down too the bottom of K stand just above the Chelsea fans, chanting ‘UNITED, UNITED’, letting everybody know exactly who had come out on top. Nothing else happened until about three minutes from time,Chelsea’s main Firm, about thirty of them were seen leaving A stand, they had just exited the stadium, underneath that tunnel where the little railway station is, when they bumped into some of Manchester’s finest. All hell broke loose with Chelsea taking a real pounding. Heavily outnumbered some Chelsea fans were eventually  hospitalized, the police surrounded them, and tried to force united fans away towards the Stretford End, but they couldn’t contain uniteds mob, and sent for the police horses. In the mean time the game had finished (1-1) while all this was going on. The police horses arrived and were charging the united fans back, causing a concertina effect on supporters fans exiting the Stretford End and Stretford Paddock, people coming out were pushed back in, forcing fans who couldn’t see what was happening, back into the Stretford End….. Chelsea fans in the Scoreboard End, (locked in waiting for an escort) saw fans pouring back into the Stretford and came up with the Myth, this honest account of events dispels once and for all.

So giving a Definitive   FACTor FICTION   to this rumour ……FICTION

I mean literally, it’s up there with Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny.

Some classic photos of the Stretford End in all her glory!… And no matter what the club do, they can’t take away our memories, and unlike all our Counterparts during that period  we STRETFORD ENDERS can go to our graves knowing nobody has ever taken The STRETTY!

 

(of course neither myself or Red News condones violence at football matches, this is just an account written for true historical records)  

 

 

Its a Conspiracy

Thats right its a conspiracy United have got the FA in their pocket, and all the Referee’s on the payroll…..After the last 48 hours blanket coverage on Sky of Fulhams non penalty…..Thats the only plausable conclusion i can believe, i mean Adrian Durham from Talksport says so, it must be true!……..We have to accept that mans knowledge of the game is undisputable, he keeps ranting on about Gerrard being better than Paul Scholes, It must be heatbreaking for Scholes’y having such a professor of the Beautiful game doubting his ability when clueless nomarks like Zinidane Zidane, Iniesta and Patrick Viera have all waxed lyrical about the midfield genuis of Paul Scholes all saying he’s the best they have played against…So really was anyone shocked when that cretin on Talkshite jumped on the ABU bandwagon, quoted as saying “the referee has decided the premier league” …..Nobody doubts it was probably a penalty, but i think we had as much of a penalty, as City had got against Chelsea last week for Handball, but was it mentioned, of course not…..But you know if both decisions on Monday night were the other way round, We had the trip in the area and Fulham had the handball, you can gaurentee sky sports news would have shown the ‘HANDBALL’  so much on Tuesday, that it would hard to believe they hadn’t just signed a massive contract with the NBA to show Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls…So don’t tell me, they and other media outlets don’t have a Bias against Manchester United….Is it any wonder though with the amount of Liverpool Connected pundits influencing the sports entertainment industary..Like viralent woodworm eating away your most prised peice of furniure.. The thing is most of them spout this ‘The Ref’s are bent, and nobody gets a penalty at Old Trafford bullshit’ without statistics or facts to back up their nonsense….

The facts  say differently, and its actually more unlikely the away team will get a penalty at Craven Cottage, the home of monday nights opponents Fulham than at Old Trafford. .Penalties conceded at home by existing Premier League teams since August 2006 (teams must have played over 50 games during that time)

Team / Penalties conceded / Games / Penalties per game

 Blackburn Rovers     18     110     0.16
Wolverhampton Wanderers     8     53     0.15
Wigan Athletic     16     110     0.15
West Bromwich Albion     7     53     0.13
Sunderland     11     91     0.12
Arsenal     11     110     0.1
Newcastle United     9     91     0.1
Manchester City     10     110     0.09
Stoke City     6     72     0.08
Manchester United     9     110     0.08
Everton     8     110     0.07
Bolton Wanderers     8     110     0.07
Tottenham Hotspur     8     110     0.07
Fulham     8     110     0.07
Liverpool     7     110     0.06
Aston Villa     6     109     0.06
Chelsea     6     110     0.05

So guess what? our biggest accusers, and loudest Conspiracy theorists… LIVERPOOL have conceded less penalties at home than us…..and while i mention them, can some someone answer this Trivia Question: WHEN DID UNITED LAST GET A PENALTY AT ANFIELD?  Seriously i need to know!                                            Whereas at Old Trafford they have had at least four in the last three years alone………And to keep any City fans quiet, just let them know Last Season and this to date we had been given fourteen penalties to City’s fifteen, and had nine given against us to their six…HOW THE FUCK DOES ALL THIS ADD UP TO THE REFS AND FA BEEN BENT?  

So remember what a pillar of respectability and seeker of truth and justice Adrian Durham on Talksport really is…. the guy purports to be a Peterborough supporter, when he is so obviously another eighties gloryhunting out of towner Liverpool fan. I dont know why he doesn’t ‘come out’ (of the drain that is where most vermin can be found)…….   

COME ON YOU REDS!

                

Gloryhunters! Are you Having a Laugh?

So we as Manchester United Fans are forever having to explain ourselves and warrant the fact we support UNITED! why is it wrong to support United living in London, Bristol or Birmingham, and God forbid they have the audacity as a red  to ring a radio phone in and then sustain snidey comments by the ill informed host, You can imagine the presenter’s face (oh here’s another gloryhunter) and yet on the other hand  if a Liverpool fan rings with an arcitypal cornish accent from Newquay, he’s welcomed like a long lost Scouse Cousin… WHY! is it a crime to support Manchester United?    

When acutally the fact is, history shows nothing can be further than the truth. Most people outside of Manchester  picked up an affection for Manchester United because of the horrific consequences of ‘The Munich Aircrash’ and that support was then passed on down the family tree, whereas Liverpool’s out of town support is purely down to Gloryhunting, you don’t need a history lesson from me, about their success in the seventies and eightie’s..The Fucking BBC and Sky do that on a daily basis…The latest Trophy they have won, just the this afternoon You Won’t belive it! I could hardly believe my ears…They have won more ‘Corners’ this season than anyone else 243 whereas we have only just reached the 200 mark… WOW WEE  How sad are these Pricks! clutching at the slightest glory….But don’t forget you heard it here first when you have the misfortune of having to converse with one these Blame Everyone, know Nothing Cu-nts…

Anyway here is a newspaper article from February 11th 1974 which should help dispel this Gloryhunters tag United’s worldwide support continues to endure…A 60,000 sell out to see United go bottom of the league…. Liverpools nearest home game to this fixture was a ‘home’ League match against  Coventry City unfortunately they won but attracted a whopping 21,656 ….I have it on good authority the crowd was only that low because they had only got 3 corners in their previous game!

 

I hope that gives some of you a different perspective on things!

Funny Tales from UNITED ABROAD

One the funniest incidents I’ve  had supporting United: Five of us drove to Barcelona away in the Champions League when we lost 4-0 in 1994…No excuses really but the ‘three plus two’ rule for non english players didn’t help that night, no Eric Cantona or Peter Schmeichel is going to affect any team.. after a hiding like that we definately needed something to make us laugh. We’d spent a miserable night in Barca drowning our sorrows after the match and set off the next morning  driving up through the Pyrenees heading for Toulouse where we were to catch the French Autorail train to Paris.We loaded on the car and settled into our ‘Six’ birth couchette (three bunk beds on each side), My twin  Paul and I both baggsied (shotgunned ) the top bunks.. unfortunately as there was only 5 of us, and the train being full the spare bed had to be taken…. so in there wisdom the french railways gave the spare bunk to some French bird, she was a real fitty..But made out she couldn’t speak English. You can guess what happened!  we are all saying  “Oh its me she fancies”  the silly childish chat and ribaldry continued with the odd grunt followed by giggling, sad behaviour for five middle aged men but its got to be done.

Eventually the lights  were switched off and we  started to drift off to sleep.. Well into the middle of the night  I’m awoken by the sound of my brothers voice and the light going on,    “ Oi whats your Fucking Game”  he shouts, I look across at his bunk only to see some seventy year old bloke in his pyjamas  trying to get into his bed, It still makes me smile when I think about it now, the silly old git had been to the toilet and come into the wrong compartment. We asked him  why he’d let the bloke actually get into bed, he says he saw someone climbing the ladders in the darkness and thought it was the French bird.

Tight Bast-rds

How low can they get?                                                                                                          Anyone lucky enough to have got a Blackburn ticket in the ballot, has to pick it up by hand from the ticket office, with photo ID… The Club say its because Blackburn don’t have a duplicate system for Lost tickets.

WHAT  A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS

Its simlpy because we have been allocated 6,500 tickets and those penny pincing Glazer’s need to save as money as possible to help pay off THIER DEBT!.. Saving £3,500 on stamps doesn’t seem much, i know….But it shows how tight the purse strings are…Expect a few big name Departures in the Summer, so we can help prop up the parasites failing American Business’s                                                                                 ONLY ONE MAN HAS THE POWER TO RID THE CLUB OF THOSE LEECHES!          And unfortunately he’s just sat on his hands and watched them Rape us!

United Abroad….St Etienne

European Cup Winners Cup….. 1st Round (First Leg) 14th September 1977

ST ETIENNE V MANCHESTER UNITED

Geoffrey Guichard Stadium

Not the Russians in Afghanistan, But UNITED in St Etienne

A DIARY OF MY JOURNEY TO CENTRAL EASTERN FRANCE 

Lots of people reading this article were not even born when this match was played and those of us that were around, Cor Blimey I suddenly feel old!. Its a struggle to remember everything that happened on this trip down memory lane, I’ll try to give you a perspective of what actually happened, and the story of my passage to the Loire region of France.                                                                                                                                                What Else Happened in 1977: Elvis Presley died; Jim Callaghan was the prime Minister, leader of the governing Labour party, with everybody going on strike at various occasions during the year, the country was in a right mess! Sound Familiar to anyone, even the old Bill (police) voted to strike at one point. The Twin Towers, World Trade Center in New York were finished and opened, but what will surprise most people is that!   And remember this actually happened on the 10th September 1977 the day before we set off for France, The Last person to be guillotined in France, had his sentence carried out. Hamida Djandoubi was executed for the torture slaying of his girlfriend, who he was trying to get, to go on the game. A doctor, who was present, reported that Hamida’s body was still responsive thirty seconds after he had been decapitated. So using the guillotine as a way to commute the Death sentence was replaced by more conventional methods.                                     Again I have to emphasize this was 1977 there was no Easyjet, Ryanair, FlyBe or any Budget airlines, it didn’t seem conceivable for us to fly, them days you went by train, or drove and if you didn’t have a car you Hitched!  I was lucky enough to have a twin brother who was kind enough to lend me his eight year old Vauxhall Viva with its brand new re-conditioned engine.

So on Sunday the 11th September, less than twenty fours after old Hamida had his head removed from his shoulders, Me, a fellow apprentice from work Moll (Maurice) and Gruff (Colin) packed the car with our Bell bottom jeans, Butterfly collar shirts and Platform shoes, we all brought baked beans, oh and the family tent, as much like Flying, staying in Hotels wasn’t included in our plans. Heading forDover, we stopped just outside Maidstone in Kent, to pick up a mate Phil (The Dill), the forth person in our party, who we’d got to know at Old Trafford on match days. Phil took us to his local working mans club in Teston for a few beers at lunchtime, before his Mum served up Sunday lunch.We caught a late afternoon ferry from Dover to Calais, setting up the tent in a camp site overlooking the Port of Calais, and after getting something to eat (Baked Beans) went looking for a bar.

                                            Monday 12th September, Up nice and early we all had a nice cup of tea and a cooked Breakfast of (Baked Beans) before heading south, taking the coastal road to Boulogne and Abbeville then onto Beauvais, on the outskirts of which we stopped for a brew and a quick snack (Baked Beans). And we found a bit of luxury in the towns toilets, some English style sit down one’s, so far we’d only come across the hole in the ground continental shitters, unfortunately the seats were in a right state though. Anyway we must have been short on conversation as we continued towards Paris, because I remember the chat soon turned to how we dealt with dirty toilet seats. I know its disgusting but when blokes get together after Football and Women, it’s not long before toilet habits rears its ugly head, one covered the seat in bog paper, one hovered without actually making contact with the seat, Phil cleaned it when he went in, and I lifted the seat, used the having a slash stance except aiming my backside toward the pan, it felt like I pissing out my arse anyway after only eating beans for two days. We reached the centre of Paris early in the afternoon, yes the centre, all I remember is Phil had said he knew the way, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’m certain Bonnie Tyler wrote her hit single in 1983 about our drive through Paris, it was called “lost in France” and we certainly were, on the plus side from now on, I could tell people I have seen the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomph, and Longchamp the famous racecourse, where we found a quality campsite and considered staying the night but decided against it, as it was still light and didn’t want to be driving out of Paris early in the morning, More with luck than judgement we managed to get out of Paris, heading south and even managed to end up on the road we required. Fontainebleau was the lucky town we decided to bestow our custom that night, setting up the tent, having our usual dinner, and finding a bar.

Tuesday 13th September, Much the same as the previous day really, apart from not getting lost that is!… As I have already mentioned earlier Flying and Hotels were not in our remit, I forgot to mention so were Toll Roads too much money! The route we went, took us through three of the most beautiful towns imaginable Nemours, Nevers and Roanne on route to Lyon all of which stand on the River Loire I think! Stopping for a quick beer in each of them. Just letting you know I have got a cultural side, which a lot of people didn’t think existed. In Lyon we found a campsite habited with loads of reds, so we pitched tent had some grub, changed into our best gear, yes Holmsie I have got some! John Travolta eat your heart out,Lyon lock up your Daughter’s we’re heading into town looking for a disco!Except we didn’t, the fucking car wouldn’t start. “All dressed up and no where to go” is the saying, apart from the dingy Camp Cafe that is, Shiny white suits weren’t really the attire for such a dump anyway, especially when the temperature dropped and I put on my Donkey Jacket, i never quite took off as a fashion guru!

Wednesday 14th September, Match day, but would the car start? Luckily for us some of the reds that had made it into town last night had returned safely, admittedly a bit worse for wear, but still more knowledgeable in motor mechanics than any of us. One lad diagnosed the problem straight away…” It’s Your Starter Motor”  He used all the old tricks of the trade, Rocking the Car, side to side and some other stuff, I can’t remember what, but it worked and the little Beauty started. We were in St Etienne before 10am, parked up just off the town square and embarked on a day of debauchery!                                                        The town square is slowly beginning to fill with fellow reds and a fair few locals who haven’t seen anything like it since liberation in WW2. The Testosterone is still pumping after last nights disappointment and it’s not long before me and moll have got a couple Mademoiselle’s in tow, taking us to the best bars, I must have exchanged addresses, but I didn’t remember doing it, anyway for weeks after, I kept getting letters written in Pigeon English from one of them. And I know is Maaauurrriiiccee  (Moll) That’s how they prounced Maurice, kept in touch with his bird for along while after.

                                      Everything seemed peaceful in the town square as United’s numbers multiplied and the beers started to flow, but by early afternoon the police presence was clearly visible and they seemed agitated. I know nowadays if you hang around the town centre, singing and jumping in the fountains you get labelled a barmy! But back then it was the cool thing to do. And with limited knowledge of European travel it was always the meeting place, nowadays you can plot up in a quiet boozer somewhere, and ring around your mates to meet up..

We are lapping up the French beer in all the café’s and Bars and as usual the licensee” likes our money but not our behaviour and end having to drink bottles in the square with the rest of the throng. The girls are suitable impressed when Gruff and I invite them to join us in the water fountain sat in there singing and drinking beer, what girl wouldn’t!  Well the old Bill didn’t and they suddenly lost it and started nicking everyone left right and centre. I saw them coming and tried to leg it but I got caught and ended up in the back of a van, Gruff got away and Moll was rescued away by the two girls, as I looked around Phil the Dil was already sat in there. The van started to leave the square to take us away, when the driver saw a group of Drenched united fans down some side street and took chase, the van screeched to a halt and all the old bill jumped out and chased them, everyone looked at each other in the van, I thought fuck it! Lets try the door, and it opened, I couldn’t believe it, so i am off, like a rat up a drain, down the road. Phil made his escape as well, but about six other lads just sat there like Lemons, and ended up missing the game. I never saw Phil, Moll or the girls again that afternoon, but found Gruff in some little bar well away from the Town Square; sirens were going all afternoon so we thought it best to keep our heads down in this Bar until kick off. We carried on guzzling and got absolutely blitzed until about an hour before kick-off, leaving the bar pissed and no idea where the ground is, I remember buying some Bread, French Sticks and savaging them, we sat down on the side of the road to rest. I honestly think at this point Gruff and I did not care if we got to the game or not, in fact we had even fallen asleep for a few minutes, when a car beeping its horn woke us up, some French bloke gesticulating something, I think he knew we were English and was offering to take us to the stadium. Our new-found friend dropped us at the stadium where unbelievably we meet up again with Phil and Moll who help us into the ground, Phil leads us to what was supposedly the United End, but it was packed in there, not just United Fans but French family type supporters’ so it was decided to go in their End, where it seemed quite lively, and they were booming out their song ALLEZ LES VERTE’S Allez..By the time the game started there must have been about two hundred United fans in their end, looking from the United End we are at the top on the right hand side. We have now adopted their anthem, and are returning song with ALLEZ LES ROUGE Allez. The French now started throwing chunks of French bread at us, not in an aggressive tone I admit, more Mickey taking really, as back home in England we were in the middle of a bread strike. But then Plastic bottles filled with Piss were being thrown, so we charged across the terraces and pushed them more than half way across the end, pass the goalmouth, As usual in the seventies a sort of no mans land appeared and both sets of fans bounced about inviting the other side to “Come On” suddenly this French Bloke stepped into no mans land waving his arms about telling everybody to “Calm Down” and “Cool it”

A still pissed Gruff stepped into the gap with him; I thought to mediate, Really! And just sticks the nut on this bloke and we charge again. Their fans panic and start trying to climb over the fence to take refuge on the pitch. In the meantime the Riot police come in and push us back, then squeeze us into, again looking from the other end, the bottom right hand corner, towards yet another line of Riot police, shoving us out the stadium but making us run a gauntlet of batons while exiting.    Manchester United fans were public enemy number one in those days, so as you can imagine the English press had a field day, and spent the next few days slaughtering United fans and labelling us Barbarians who have shamed the country.Incidentally no one was killed! But we then and still to this day are treated like Lepers’ unlike another unmentionable set of supporters who have been involved in Mass murder, but are permanently loved up! By the media.                                                                                 And this sort of headline was common place. It didn’t help our parents’ reading stuff like that, who were worried sick, and with No Mobiles, Internet, etc it was hard to let them know you are safe.  Anyway after our ignominious  early exit from the stadium, The match actually finished 1-1 and St Etienne, France’s premier team at the time, played some good football and United were happy to leave with a draw, so I am told, and with all hell breaking loose we headed back to town, jumped in the car and started to drive…Everyone is totally knackered, Gruff fell asleep when we set off and never woke again until the morning, ether that or he pretended to be sleeping so he didn’t have put the tent up.                 Nevertheless the first quiet spot we could find, north of St Etienne was chosen as a makeshift campsite, we were too tired to find a proper site. I just remember it been absolutely pitch black, and having to use our headlights, when we pitched tent, three of crashed out in the tent leaving Gruff in the motor. Anyway and god knows what time it was, but it was starting to get light, the three of were woken with a thunderous noise, Whoosh! The ground shuddering and the tent blowing from side to side, and then silence. We just looked at each and went back to kip, a few minutes later exactly the same thing again…Whoosh! Next minute the three of us are sticking our heads out the tent…..Like a scene in a carry on film, to see what the fuck! Was that?  In the meantime another Whoosh! And it’s then we realise we have set up camp, on the Hard shoulder of a motorway, it is Juggernauts driving by, gusting the tent away. It’s not long before we have all joined Gruff back in the car.

Thursday 15th September                                                                                              Due to last night’s disastrous navigation and campsite location, we have an early start and take the same scenic journey towards Paris; it never seems to looks as pretty second time around. We still have plenty of beans of left, so stop on route to have our fix and a cuppa. By late afternoon we have reached Paris, this time deliberately and have set up the tent in the campsite we found in our impromptu visit to the French capital on Monday, planning a night on the tiles in the iconic city of Paris on the river Seine. We weren’t the only reds here either, and during next few hours our numbers swelled to about two hundred, some battered and bruised courtesy of the French Riot Police, and even a couple of Dicks who stayed in the police van, when we made our escape, that’s how I knew they missed the game, some others hadn’t got in either, having arrived late at the ground, they were caught up in our unwanted evacuation. The bar on site was becoming really lively and you’d think it was match day, so did the old bill, our reputation must have preceded us, after last nights shenanigans. Everyone’s plans of a night in Paris were scuppered, when the Riot Police surrounded the campsite and would not let anyone leave. This campsite must have been two hundred and fifty miles from St Etienne, to have this many fans turn up unplanned like this just would never happen nowadays. We all got pissed anyway, and had real laugh with some of the lads on site, with me been so quiet and reserved all the non-English present wished they had stayed in a different camp that night.                                                                                                                             

Friday 16th September                                                                                                    Time to go home! We get up, pack up and go, well that was the plan, but the Vauxhall Viva decided to play up again, so we called upon the help of the still present united fans to give us a bump start, pushing on grass isn’t easy and we started with about five pushing us, but she wouldn’t start, eventually we had a crowd of about fifty trying to help, and when the engine kicked in everyone cheered and waved us on our way. We had one more stop to make before leaving France, and that was a visit to a boulangerie and stock up with sticks of French bread, because with the Bread strike back home, it’s a way for us all to get back in our parents good books after they have been having kittens, worrying about us for past four days. We dropped Phil off and headed home, I got home Friday night and managed to get the last hour in my local, to meet a few mates, and talk about tomorrows impending visit of Chelsea to Old Trafford, rumour has it they are actually  bringing a mob, but only if they get a police escort. That’s another story anyway. … Well that’s the story behind the 1977 Cup Winners Cup, 1st Round, First Leg    The repercussions that followed meant United Were Banned from the competition,But this was later overturned.Here’s a link to BBC nine o’clock news announcing the Ban…                   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=800TKQh2MoU