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HELLO ALBERT, HELLO SPION KOP!
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HELLO ALBERT • ISSUE 27

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Editorial
Is Rock 'n Roll The New Football?
KR's Tuesday Night Deva Jinx
View From The West Stand
Archaeology Corner
Manic Moment
Home Thoughts From Abroad
Book Review
Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire


BOOK REVIEW – MANCHESTER UNITED RUINED MY LIFE
By Colin Shindler published by Headline £5.99 paperback.

You might expect from the title of Colin Shindler’s book that this would be an unexpurgated diatribe against the team in red from Old Trafford. Fortunately or not depending upon your perspective and your personal red bile count – Manchester United Ruined My Life is no such thing. Shindler is even open minded enough to confess that he used to visit both Maine Road and Old Trafford in his younger days and would think nothing of it. He does, however admit to waving the Portugese flag when Manchester United played Benfica in the European Cup Final back in 1968.

This is a highly readable autobiography against the backdrop of the fortunes of Manchester City. There are other themes too. Perhaps the largest is that of being an outsider – to success in the case of City. Shindler’s Jewish upbringing in Prestwich (Mark Guterman territory) also looms large. Lancashire Cricket club also predominate in the author’s list of sporting interests and occasionally football and cricket combine.

One treasured memory is recalled from 28th July 1971. Shindler tells us that he watched a friendly between Chester and Man City that day which the latter won 4-0. I can find no trace of this match. Certainly there is no mention of it in Chas Sumner’s comprehensive history of Chester FC. Even my Adrian Mole-like adolescent diary for that year makes no mention of it. The point is that on the way back to Manchester, Shindler gets the bus driver to drop him off at Lancashire’s Old Trafford for the conclusion of the Gillette Cup game with Gloucestershire. He witnessed that famous occasion when, in the gathering twilight, David Hughes thrashed twenty-four runs off one over to snatch an unlikely win for the Red Rose County. Even my embarrassing diary records the cricket match – can anyone else remember the football?

Chester fans are given tantalisingly small glimpses of City stars who went on to become regulars at Sealand Road. Alan Oakes is described as “A quiet unassuming figure with only one leg.” Cliff Sear’s legs are described as being akin to Bambi’s. Football fans will understand what he means though the more literal minded might be slightly baffled.

This is a balanced book by a sane and warmly human individual who has known the joy and pain of following Man City but not the bitterness of detesting United despite the book’s title. For Shindler, you get the feeling that football, though passionately important to him, is not more important that life and death.

Albert


ISSUE 27 Editorial
Is Rock 'n Roll The New Football?
KR's Tuesday Night Deva Jinx
View From The West Stand
Archaeology Corner
Manic Moment
Home Thoughts From Abroad
Book Review
Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire
 
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