Newsletter #1878

Super Sunday awaits us tomorrow with two critical games taking place. It should make for a tense afternoon with the Boys in Blue looking for their first League victory away to Arsenal since a 3-2 win in 1975 – that is a long time!

For the 2,100 of you who have had to take a mortgage out to attend the game then make sure you get your money’s worth, sing your hearts out and hope that the tide of history can be turned.

Next Game: Arsenal, Emirates Stadium, 13 January 2013, 16.00


Ah the romance of the FA Cup, form book out the window, giant killers, the goalie is a postman you know (cliché number 7 please) etc.

Congrats to Macclesfield who in romance terms got a church wedding and a honeymoon in the Maldives.

Congrats to Luton as well I suppose (he says reluctantly, still unable to forget they relegated us one year and Raddy Antic scored the winner and David “kerb crawler” (ED – allegedly!) Pleat danced a merry jig on the hallowed Moss side turf), but we move on and try to forget our troubled past – as my shrink tells me – nurse nurse.

But as for Mansfield, not so much romance as instead of flowers, candle-lit dinner, Michael Buble (c*ck) and champagne, the poor old slapper from North Notts got treated to a quick knee trembler in a back alley behind the chippy after the pub had shut and without so much as thank you or a phone number as they were unfairly dumped out of the tournament.

Shame really as I think they deserved a draw at the very least and had their goal made it 1-1 then, who knows.

In the year we won the Cup (2011 still sounds good), ITV followed us around like a lost puppy with Adrian Chiles willing the minnows to knock money bags Man City out of the famous tournament: “We’re here at Meadow Lane to see if the oldest club in the league can knock out the richest club in the league” – not now though: we got 25 seconds TV coverage of the 3-0 against Watford.

It got me thinking (dangerous) as the “Suarez handgate” has now gone into media overdrive as more column inches and Talk Sport minutes have been dedicated to this event more than any other coverage (except for Balotelli in the Spurs game) and has instigated more discussion than JFK’s assassination conspiracy theories. Even ESPN have been cited.

For me, Gordon Strachan (who I am warming to) summarised it completely with a perfect analogy. “It is not the job of the player to police his own actions and point out to the referee he has broken the laws of the game”. For argument’s sake GS continued: “If you go to your nearest town and park on double yellow lines and take that risk for 10 minutes, go into the shop, come out and drive away and no one has noticed, then do you ring up the council and say sorry old chap, I parked illegally yesterday could you send me a penalty ticket for £85?” You don’t.

Suarez did hand ball, he did gain an advantage (à la Thierry Henry and Lurch) and it shouldn’t have counted but I do believe he was just waiting for the whistle to blow and walk away with a free kick to MTFC. And that’s why he absolutely blasted the ball into the net with near reckless abandon, he was so sure it would be a free kick. I bet he couldn’t believe his luck. Look at Peter Crouch and his double hander last year that robbed us at Stoke, and then listen to what Pulis said: “Well I didn’t see it myself but if it gained an advantage for the little guy over the big team then I am happy with that.”

The mood of the nation is now to win and if you play fair then great but it’s no longer a requirement.

If you saw Ian Hislop’s TV programme (Stiff Upper Lip) on how we were once a nation full of restraint, backbone, spine, character plus, a nation of Mister Cholmondley-Warner complete with Stiff Upper Lip with an over-whelming sense of fair play. He took us on a journey of the UK character and then fast forward to us now as a gushing nation that celebrates people like Ryland, floral tributes every 20m on the nation’s B roads and of course we now have grown men crying like 8 year old girls on reality TV.

He showed a clip of Clement Attlee talking to parliament, then cut to a scene from 60 Minute Make Over where this chap was bawling his eyes out of the effect of what £100 can do to his kitchen. A big change, tipping point was Diana’s funeral. We’ve changed, we’ve developed public tear ducts (Italian style) and restraint and fair play have given over to winning at all costs. Gaining an edge is more important than playing the game.

This is hard for me to convey to my kids and I am sure it’s tough for teachers out there too…

If you don’t agree, then look at the Olympics. Oh well it’s the taking part that counts, plucky losers, well done, enjoy the bronze. Tell that to Bradley Wiggins and Jess Ennis, they would tell you to naff right off, but they would make sure there were no cameras in the room first.

I was watching Sky’s MNF review last week and Gary Neville (who has gone from pantomime villain to pundit hero in the last 18 months) remarked about one of the GB Olympic cyclists (Phillip Hinds I think); anyway in the final he got off to a bad start and was clearly not going to win his leg of the relay race, so he “developed a problem” with his bike and almost fell off “rather theatrically” and steered into the pits and asked the umpire for a re-start. A technical re-start was allowed (a bit dubious of how the technical fault occurred – spanner in the works hmmm).

So, the point is he got a re-start and guess what, 2nd time around it was a perfect run and the GB Relay Team won gold.

Did he cheat? Well, kind of.
Was it in the rules? Well, sort of.

This is what GN said, “What was the kid going to do – Sorry Chris (Hoy) I felt it was more important to waste 4 years of our lives training for this race, throw it all away and do the decent thing, forget the gold medal and what I really wanted was the fair play award, you know, let’s be British old chap.”

We got some pelters from some quarters for what RM did with the advertising hoarding being so close to the West touchline when Stoke came to play on NY Day, all with a ruse to make life difficult for Stoke throw-ins. Cheating, gamesmanship, gaining an edge… you be the judge. Look what they do at the Britannia: the ball boys lovingly pick up the ball, wipe it clean, breathe on it and polish it up, they virtually make love to the ball before gently caressing it with a nice easy lob for Rory (et al) to throw into the visitors’ box hoping to cause mayhem [Slight embellishment says Ed but you make your point]. When the visiting team have a throw-in, you have to fetch it yerself. Cheating or gaining an edge. It’s about points and then money. No real complaints from me.

Remember when we used to announce the guest of honour was Eddie Large and we used to win all those noddy awards, friendliest ground staff, widest pitch, most efficient under soil heating, tallest floodlights, nicest car park, best value for money for the programme, all gone. Now it’s Tom Cruise, Robert Duval and three pieces of silverware (and counting).

Stiff upper lip old bean, play fair or is it just win at all costs?

Happy New Year everybody.

Phil Lines <philipjlines(at)>


Happy New Year. Pleased to announce that King Of The Kippax City fanzine number 203 is at the printers and should be in the outlets Aleef (corner of Cross Street/Market Street) provided they pay me for the last 4 issues and the National Football Museum on Friday afternoon.

It’s another bumper issue, A4 size, 52 pages with a colour front cover taking the mickey out of Roberto and Mario’s little spat, which so excited the pro-Rag and anti-City media.

This issue includes player half term report, 93/94 season review, the derby, derby book review, accounts, FFP, and tons more.

It’s priced at £3 and can also be obtained from 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL, for £4.50 including P&P, cheques to King Of The Kippax, please.

Sue Wallace <dw001e8104(at)>


League table as at 11 January 2013

                    P  GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  21  26  52
 2 Manchester City 21  22  45
 3 Tottenham H.    21  12  39
 4 Chelsea         20  20  38
 5 Everton         21   9  36
 6 Arsenal         20  18  34
 7 West Brom A.    21   2  33
 8 Liverpool       21   8  31
 9 Swansea City    21   5  29
10 Stoke City      21   1  29
11 West Ham Utd    20   0  26
12 Norwich City    21 -10  25
13 Fulham          21  -5  24
14 Sunderland      21  -8  22
15 Newcastle Utd   21 -12  20
16 Aston Villa     21 -24  19
17 Southampton     20 -11  18
18 Wigan Athletic  21 -17  18
19 Reading         21 -17  13
20 QPR             21 -19  13

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1878