Course You Can Malcolm returns to the SMRE Bar on Saturday 15th December (12noon to 3pm) ahead of our Friendly Fundraiser match vrs Chadderton at Broadhurst Park, featuring a quiz, and live music from one of Manchester’s finest emerging young live bands Plain Navy.
Christmas tunes are mostly bobbins aren’t they. Wham, Cliff Richard, Mariah Carey, Shakin’ bloody Stevens, to name but a few, played on a seemingly never ending loop in shops, pubs and on the wireless from early November….pass the ear plugs. And then there’s the more obscure stuff like Chris de Burgh’s A Spaceman Came Travelling which regularly features in festive top fifties and was apparently inspired by the resemblance of the star of Bethlehem to a space craft (you might need a few pints for that one). Come on, seriously, when was the last time you saw a real life spaceman or woman wandering round town at this time of year? Or any time of year for that matter?
Well, had CYCM been around in the early sixties, we’d probably have been able to answer that question in the affirmative as a spaceman did indeed come travelling to Manchester. Only weeks after becoming the first human in space the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was greeted like a rock star on his arrival in town in the summer of 1961 by huge crowds of well wishers lining the streets, including United players taking a break from a training session, eager to catch a glimpse of one of the most famous men on earth. The Soviet flag was draped from the Town Hall and, to mark the occasion, the Russian was presented with a specially made gold medal by the Amalgamated Union of Foundry Workers (Gagarin was a foundry man before training as a cosmonaut) inscribed with the words “together moulding a better world”.
Fine words indeed and we reckon Yuri would have fitted in alright round here. And while, sadly, we can’t promise any visiting Russian cosmonauts or specially commissioned gold medals at this second festive edition of Malcolmses of the week we’ve got what we consider to be the next best thing in the form of a Russian-themed raffle novichok full of belting prizes including a couple of items our resident librarian brought back from her recent trip to St Petersburg/Leningrad/Petrograd (delete as appropriate), a bottle of vodka made in Yorkshire, a Torpedo Moscow Ultras pennant and a street map of Salisbury. You lucky people. We set the bar high with the festive goodies in last week’s Christmas present giveaway, including a copper-plated Hazel Blears MP intercom sign, but we think you’ll agree, we’ve cleared it like a vaulting Sergey Bubka with this week’s Russian-tinged offerings (yes, alright clever clogs, we know he’s Ukrainian but bear with us on this one).
Although, let’s be Frank Stapleton from the outset, clearing bars certainly isn’t the name of the game on Saturday, quite the opposite in fact, as we’ll be hoping for another packed to the rafters Course You Can Malcolm under the SMRE as this friendly match against close neighbours Chadderton has, of course, chiefly been arranged to give our coffers a much needed mid-month boost after being left with a free weekend following our early exit (again) from the FA Trophy. But it also provides us with an opportunity to dodge the gluhwein-sozzled masses in town and eat, drink and be merry with fellow Reds and enjoy some pre-match entertainment – not to mention some football too.
Food-wise we’ve got the welcome return of Westwell’s tater ash and cheese pies, plus slices of Mumbaievsky piev (that’s curry pie to you and me) lovingly prepared by our very own Peter the Great (or Vegan Ronay as he is now known) and possibly a cake or two to nourish you. Entertainment-wise we‘re confident that we’ve got another cracking line-up to sate your appetite. So read on to find out how it all might or might not pan out;
12:00 Doors open
Turnstiles will open at the St. Mary’s Road End at 12 noon for fans wishing to attend CYCM. So please use these turnstiles rather than accessing the ground via the main entrance.
12.45 Baz kicks things off.
Our usual compere Si is away but Baz has stepped in again as stand-in MC after his critically acclaimed debut in September.
Karl Ladley (aka George Irwell off the internet) has prepared one of his hard-as-nails quizzes, this time with a bit of a Chadderton theme. Whisper it quietly, we don’t want everyone hearing this - David Platt (the ex-England captain not him off Corrie) is a Chaddertonian.
2:20: Plain Navy
Music-wise we’re delighted to welcome one of Manchester’s finest emerging young live bands Plain Navy
to Course You Can Malcolm. They describe themselves as “a five piece indie rock band from Manchester with huge choruses, amazing riffs and brilliant lyrics”.
They’re influenced by the likes of Oasis, the Libertines and the Arctic Monkeys and, as they put it, will play “a set full of our own songs that we believe are timeless tunes”. They’ve just played a huge show at Club Academy, sold out their own gig at Hive and are set to headline the Emerging Indie Festival at Manchester Academy on 12th January. We think you’ll like them. The band includes a couple of FC United supporters who were once mascots for a match at Gigg Lane back in the day.
3.00: When FC United go out to play
Our red shirted heroes take to the pitch to take on Chadderton, a blast from the past who currently ply their trade in the North West Counties League Division One North.
Sounds alright doesn’t it? We’ll possibly have other stuff going on too and, like last week, we’ll also have some books on sale (Russians love their literature after all) including, we’re delighted to say, writer, historian and friend of Course You Can Malcolm Selina Todd’s ace bestseller The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010.
Malcolmses regulars will recall that Selina spoke at the first CYCM at Broadhurst Park back in July 2016 and she still goes on about Angry Bear to this very day. All proceeds from the sale of the book on Saturday (priced at £12.99) will, very kindly, be donated to the club. Jeremy Corbyn described it as “a great read” but don’t just take JC’s word for it grab a festive copy for yourself (or as a present for someone else) and help the club out at the same time.
Hopefully we’ll see you on Saturday comrades. Till then….
Just so you know: if you come looking for us in the St. Mary’s Road End, then, well, you’re in the right place, because that’s our permanent gaff, now. Just head to the turnstiles and make your way about two-thirds down the SMRE. You can’t really miss us as we have a big, dock off stage for a start, plus a flag with a massive caravan drawn on it. And as always: entrance to CYCM is completely freemans, with the usual rules applying: no divviness, nuclear weapons or anyone who used to sit in K Stand (about a third of the way up and just to the right of the goal) and, for the entire 1993-94 season, shouted “give it to the Russian” every time United got the ball. Refugees welcome.