The real-life tales of a football writer
Fourteen things I’ve done in the last few days...
1) Visited a town in southern Brazil where German is the first language and all the buildings look Bavarian. I didn’t catch Rudi Voller quaffing fat-headed beers in a beer hall wearing lederhosen though.2) Bought Sexuality by Billy Bragg. 3) Got told off for singing it. I think the line: “I’ve had relations, with girls from many nations” caused the offence, rather than “I had an uncle who once played, for Red Star Belgrade.” Or maybe it was my dreadful voice. 4) Watched United win on TV against West Brom and Everton. It’s easier watching United on television in Brazil than it is in Burnage. Not that I’ve ever watched United on the box in Burnage.
Though between 1999-2001, I often used Burnage station as a starting point for my journeys as it was the closest to my flat. I can recall one particularly nervy occasion when I was with a fully laden mountain bike ready to board a train north to do the coast-to-coast ride.
The local scrotes weighed my bike up. Had the train not arrived, it could well have been ‘liberated’ next to be seen ridden on the streets of Moss Side by a young dealer.
That happened to me when I was 17…
5) Decided that I’m going to watch a Gremio away game in Novo Hamburgo. Alone.
6) Tried to work out the best way of getting to Punta Del Este from Montevideo this week. Uruguay’s most famous current export Diego Forlan told me that Punta is the best place in the world for girls and nightlife. That opinion should be set against the fact that he was listening to INXS’ Greatest Hits at the time and describing it as “the best album ever.”
While I’m dropping names of strikers excelling in Spain, Samuel Eto’o once told me that I have to go to Cameroon because the women have “fantastic breasts.”7) Finally got hold of Falcao’s number. I had intended to interview the brilliant Brazilian, the only one from the ’82 World Cup team who played in Europe. He was a bigger star in Rome than Cesar. I’ve run out of time in Brazil though so it will have to wait until next year. Shame - I was looking forward to that.8) Had a conversation with my brother Jonathan – aka the 'non league gypsy'. Aged 32 and about to become a dad, he’s just parked his caravan at Salford City, his 6th (sixth) semi-professional club in the last year.
“Where are you?” he asked.
“In a lounge at an airport,” I whispered.
“Does it have free beer?” he continued, getting straight to what matters to him.
“Why aren’t you drinking then?”
“Because I don’t want to.”
“You’re not right in the head,” he went on. “There’s free beer and you’re not drinking. I’d drink until the plane came and stuff my pockets full of peanuts.”9) Conversed with Andrew Dickman, a boss at Channel M who has a fetish for stadiums and a 4,000 strong football programme collection. He keeps a card with the exact figure in his wallet and warrants a blog alone for some of his stories interviewing the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson. I’m to speak to Mancunian expats on my travels.10) Emailed my other brother Sam, who is doing really well in Stockport County Under 14s. I’ve given him a job selling United We Stand and collecting the mail from the PO Box. He’s keen.
One of his jobs is typing out the names and addresses of subscribers and sending them to me to forward to the subscriptions man. Sam’s common sense has room for improvement and he’s managing to get the names wrong of subscribers. He listed a ‘Smith’ as ‘Smim’ last week and a ‘Robinson’ and ‘Robisn’. If they are actually called ‘Smim’ or ‘Robisn’ then I apologise.11) Did a 58 minute interview for an American website about Mad For It. They were in LA. We did it on Skype, which is the best invention since Anne Hathaway.
If I fail to convince Andrei Kanchelskis to meet me in Sevastopol in May, I’ll try and get him to do the interview on Skype. I’ll put 33 pence on him never having heard of it.
"You want to interview me with a what?"
12) Finished reading Best and Edwards by Gordon Burn. It’s one of the best books I’ve read about football. The sad chronology of Best’s drinking was not dissimilar to Brian Clough’s in the two excellent books about him by Duncan Hamilton and David Peace – the other British novelist in the class of Burn.
13) Paid my tax bill. I hope Gordon Brown (don’t mix him up with the writer Gordon, nor the Gordon Burn who used to present the Krypton factor from a moor near Bury) spends the money supporting those thoroughly likeable and underpaid hedge fund managers and bank bosses who now find their bonuses reduced after years of living frugally in Dickensian conditions.14) Had a nice cold glass of Shumpt, the Belgian soft drink advocated by Alan Partridge, who contravened BBC’s advertising protocol in the process.
The reason? To mark a year of doing this blog.
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Sevastopol is not the best place to visit in May, still its quite beautiful in spring) good luck
The great great Brazil of '82 had not only Falcao playing in Europe, off the top of my head I can think of Zico (Udinese), Socrates (Fiorentina), Cerezo (Roma) and Serginho (Avellino).
You are wrong AC Milan.At the time of the 1982 World Cup Finals, only Falcao played in Europe. Socrates was at Corinthians and Zico at Flamengo.Cererzo and Serginho were playing in Brazil.
"Finally got hold of Falcao’s number. I had intended to interview the brilliant Brazilian, the only one from the ’82 World Cup team who played in Europe"
If the article had had "at the time" at the end of the last period quoted, I would be wrong.
What about Junior at Torino and Pescara.
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