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!

About the Author

The Stretford End


  1. MightyMightyDR

    I’m headed out to the garage…anyone else need a beer?

  2. @MMDR: I just cracked one open. Being in the navigator’s chair for today has been eventful to say the least.

    Two more posts after this.

  3. mountainwag

    I was always bummed that Spectator stopped posting around the time I started lurking. I secretly wonder if his WAG-dar had anything to do with it. I hope not, as I’d hate to be at blame for losing gems like these.

    In the days to come, if you (all) haven’t discovered the “random” or “shuffle” button for the articles on the far right side of the main navigation, USE IT. I hope to start randomly reading all the posts from way-back that I missed. There are three years to catch up on, and some of the best years, as I’ve realized today. Thanks Spectator for finding the time. We appreciate it.

  4. Yea I’ll take one, or two

  5. Norfolk Ned

    This is bullshit! Norwich are the true cup holders of the British FA Cup of Rock and you know it!

    /dancing angrily –like Bez from the Happy Monday’s but with Neil Warnock’s face.

  6. Andrew

    @TSE: I hope it’s high gravity. You all deserve it. If we can both make it to the future, yet-to-be-determined Foul Up, I’ll actually get you a beer. Note: I say “get”, not “buy”.

    @Ivy: That kind of day, huh?

  7. Precious Roy

    Didn’t I sub out the La’s when I took over one of the late rounds? I think that’s what got Spectator pissed at me. How can someone who was taken out of the game score the winning goal?

  8. @Andrew: Deal. I’m always up for a reason to drink. Besides, I still owe Brian a beer.

  9. I think back to the 36 hour trip I took to NYC for a Red Bulls game. I still have the pic of Original Ian in his No. 11 “Henry” shirt (pre-transfer), Spectator, Ned, mini-Ned and me. A great time.

  10. ivy

    Between the goings on here and Edgar Martinez not making the MLB HOF, yeah. I’m bummed.

  11. Outside Mid

    I have no ideas who any of these bands are. If they didn’t sing with the Osmonds, Carpenters, or Bread, I’ve no clue.

  12. @OM: You and TFA. We used to have e-mail “who’s the biggest hipster” discussions. The consensus was likely Spectator, with Precious Roy and me not far behind, though PR and I have TOTALLY different musical tastes.

  13. Precious Roy

    Not even close. Spectator lives in Brooklyn.

  14. @PR: Agreed. Spectator could out-hipster us without having a sip of his chai latte

  15. Spectator

    The FA Cup of British Rock is just like the real FA… The rules are undefined and, in any event, they change throughout the competition!

    Also, my hipster cred died when I turned 30. Now I’m just a has-been hipster, which is 1 million times worse than real hipster.

  16. Spectator

    Also, I was never pissed at PR, more pissed at myself for creating an interminable ongoing post that I lost interest in doing. A common theme for my time at UF!

  17. WhoNeedsForwards

    I dunno, Portland gives Brooklyn a run for it’s hipster money.

  18. @WNF: TFA is the farthest thing from a hipster. He often will send an e-mail about going to some concert that his wife has gotten tickets for, asking “uh, who is this?”

  19. WhoNeedsForwards

    Very disappointed by this.
    So, totally unrelated note, I’ve been an extra on Portlandia due to facial hair.
    But yeah, no skinny jeans. Ever.

  20. I’ll always appreciate Spectator (and original Ian) for waiting outside of the stadium at the Baltimore Foul-Up to give me my tickets when I was running late, causing them to miss the beginning of the game. Least favorite part of that trip–the 3 hours it took to get out of the parking lot compounded by my then 3-year-old screaming because he wanted to take a shit in the parking lot porta–potties. He kept saying he wanted to poop in Baltimore and even though we told him our hotel was in Baltimore he kept screaming “but I want to poop in *that* Baltimore” (meaning the porta-potties). Kids are a joy. Anyway, thanks, Spectator.

  21. Actually, he was only 2 then. Damn I’m getting old. And I can’t sleep.

  22. Spectator

    @Goat — To be fair, who HASN’T wanted to poop in Baltimore?? And we lived by the motto of no man or pooping child left behind! Cheers!

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