Friday 23 April 2021


 Jeremy Corbyn provides the commentary on a DoubleDown video, available on Twitter, that has been issued to celebrate the collapse of the plan for a European Super League. "Created by the Poor, Stolen by the Rich" is a title that nicely encapsulates what has happened to association football. The proposed European Super League with its no promotion/no relegation structure would have killed off the English league system in the interests of the big money men. 

The fans protest - 'MUFC we adored you and you sold our souls'.

Football was not created by the rich. Our football teams were founded in working class communities. Arsenal began life in the 19th century as a team made up of workers in the arsenal in Woolwich where ammunition was made and stored. When my team, Manchester United, was bought out between 2003 and 2005 by the late Malcolm Glazer, an American businessman, part of the fan base protested by exchanging their red scarves for the green and gold colours of Newton Heath, the team of railway

workers which later became known as Manchester United. "Green and Gold until Sold" was now the new chant echoing around Old Trafford, the Man U ground.  

Clubs belong to fans. They provide an important meaning in the lives of millions. I live a full life yet there has always been an emotional space for Manchester United, Glazers or no Glazers. 

My love affair with Manchester United started at the tail-end of 1957 when the Busby Babes were becoming the glory team in the land. I had just turned 9 years old in September 1957. Four months later, I started my Sports Scrapbook - No 1. 

Sport Scrap Book - No 1 - started in January 1958

There are four more such scrapbooks on a shelf in my room, still - but they are all devoted to Manchester United, as indeed was my first scrapbook by the time I got to page 6 and 7.  

First, though, a glimpse at p.5:

Man Utd beat Arsenal at Highbury by 5 goals to 4 on February 1, 1958. I recorded the event. It was to be the last game those Busby Babes ever played together in the English league. 

On Thursday 6 February when I returned from school, news began to come through of the Munich air crash. The plane carrying the Manchester United team had crashed in icy conditions at take-off. Death entered my world on an unparalleled scale. 

Pages 6 and 7 in Scrapbook No 1 - The three survivors at the bottom of page 7 are Billy Foulkes, cameraman Howard, and Harry Gregg. Above that picture, Harry Gregg is consoling the injured goalie, Ray Wood - and to the right, Billy Foulkes, talks to the injured Ken Morgan. On page 6, there is a picture of Molly Leach who flew out to be close to her boyfriend, Duncan Edwards, who was fighting for his life. Duncan did not make it. He became the eighth fatality.

From now on, my scrapbook was dedicated to my team, a devotion sealed by the passing of my heroes. Here is my first page, with the image of my dead hero, Duncan Edwards, a later addition on the back of the front cover. The tears form, unbidden. 

The start of my first sports scrapbook - I had already begun my other scrapbook series featuring the adventures of Rupert Bear, cut out from the Daily Express, the family newspaper.  

              How dare the fat cats steal our souls in the hunt for more filthy lucre.   

To close, a final image whose inclusion all Man U fans will understand: 

Eric Cantona, Alex Ferguson, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer in 2010

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