Unprofessional Foul


January 9, 2012

A lot more than a Spectator

Winners. There she goes.

With our final guest post of the day, we present Spectator.

You know that scene in 24 Hour Party People where Peter Saville finally shows up with the Hacienda flyers, but it’s after the club has actually opened, and Tony Wilson/Steve Coogan says something to the effect of, “To be fair, it’s a beautiful flyer.” I always felt, nay, strived for that to be my role here at UF.  In fact, the whole Factory Records ethos of making big, dumb artistic statements that fail horribly is a good rule of thumb. Success will only lead to selling out your soul. With failure, at least you retain control.

And so here I sit in my job in my pretty office with a nice view, bored out of my skull, deadlines looming, still struggling to find time to write something that I had long promised to write for UF. It is as though the last four (five??) years never actually happened!

And so it was also with the FA Cup of British Rock, a long (LONG) competition that pitted 16 teams represented by a musician or band who happened to be a supporter. I vividly remember the hours needed to set up and maintain the Polldaddy polls. I also remember most of the pairings… John Lydon for Arsenal, Ian Dury (very underappreciated in the States but heard often in hotel lobbies whilst in England recently) for West Ham, the Stone Roses for Man U, Watford and Elton John, West Brom and Eric Clapton (the apocryphal story about how he would check into hotels using the name “West Bromich Albion”), QPR and the Clash, Aston Villa and Black Sabbath, Man City and Oasis (natch!). And Norwich and the Darkness, which was truly a crap band, and yet somehow thanks to some key ballot stuffing by a then-unknown Bigus Dickus and his Norwich cohorts were walking away with the competition.

The FA Cup of British Rock made it as far as the semifinals before running out of steam and with a Norwich victory seeming inevitable, the competition was never resolved. So, let me now say that the winner of the 2008 FA Cup of British Rock was Lee Mavers of the La’s and Everton. That’s because he was the subject of my favorite story that intersects football and music, the one where an interviewer finally tracked down Mavers in Liverpool for a long-promised interview. They agree to meet again on another date, and Mavers reaches behind his sofa to pull out what the interviewer assumes is a day planner, but instead is the Everton fixture schedule—a lesson in priorities from a mad genius. That’s my favorite story, second behind the one where Mani from the Stone Roses was seen on TV spitting on players whilst seating in the front row at Old Trafford. That story I probably read in an ancient copy of Mojo magazine, because I have never been able to find it again anywhere, so perhaps I made it up. Like Tony Wilson/Steve Coogan via John Ford said, “When forced to pick between truth and legend, print the legend.”

Well, it has been a wonderful ride for this here UF megaship. If you will allow me a moment of nostalgia, I have to say that my proudest “accomplishment” has been meeting so many friends along the years, both fellow writers and readers (especially Georger), all friends who I know I will keep in touch with long after UF morphs into that great Internet Wayback Machine in the Sky. Football has always been the great uniter: 22 men (and sometimes women) on a football pitch trying to kick a round ball into a goal. Same as it ever was.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to blather and delay and obfuscate and bicker and complain and ultimately produce a thimble’s worth of writing that I am proud of, and in the process have so much fucking fun. See you down the line!

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The Stretford End