Friday, January 19, 2018
Men in White Suits: Liverpool FC in the 1990s - The Players' Stories by Simon Hughes (Bantam Press 2015)
Mangotsfield United saw enough in Tanner to ask him to training, where he first met the late Ralph Miller, a legendary non-league manager, who was a builder by trade.
‘I enjoyed playing under Ralph more than Bobby Gould, Gerry Francis, Kenny Dalglish or Graeme Souness,’ Tanner beams. ‘He loved players that got stuck in, and I was one of them. He was an old-school psychologist, a bit like Bill Shankly, I suppose. The funny stories are endless.’
Tanner recalls one.
‘There was a player that he desperately wanted to sign for Mangotsfield. Problem was, the fella lived in South Wales. So he drove over the bridge in his van with a bicycle in the back. He pleaded with the fella at his front door. “Look, I’ve cycled all the way over here from Bristol to sign you.” The lad looked at his bike. “Jesus Christ,” he said. “You must really want me.” So he signed the forms there and then. Ralph rode around the corner and chucked his bike in the back of the van before driving home.
‘When I was about eighteen, we decided to go on our first lads’ holiday to Magaluf. To prepare for the holiday I decided to get myself fit, so I went out running every day – did sit-ups, press-ups, the lot. It was the fittest I’ve ever been. After our first pre-season session back at Mangotsfield, I got out of the shower looking all bronzed. “Fuck me,” Ralph went. “You’ve got a body like Tarzan and a prick like Jane!”’
In the mid-eighties, Bristol Rovers were, as Tanner puts it, ‘in financial shit’ and needing players that would play for practically nothing, so manager Bobby Gould scoured the Gloucestershire and Somerset county leagues for undiscovered talent.
‘Rovers signed Gary Penrice, Phil Purnell, Gary Smart and myself from Mangotsfield, all for the princely sum of two floodlight bulbs. I can still remember Ralph turning up at Eastville Stadium while all of us were playing in a reserve game, shouting at the top of his voice, “Where’s my money, Gouldy?” That was Ralph all over. In later years he came to Anfield to watch me play and said how proud he was of me, which touched me, coming from such a hard man.'
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Saturday, January 13, 2018
At the moment I'm having to lie to Owen that I've seen Superbad so many times - I think I quoted the number 30 at him - that if he ever utters even the shortest of lines from the film, I will know he has watched the film on the sly, despite our strict instruction that he is not allowed to watch it on his kindle.
That Canuck fuck Seth Rogen has a lot to answer for. McHatin' at the moment.
Friday, January 12, 2018
Thursday, January 04, 2018
Lutonians talk about Hermsprong with a muted horror which is almost pride. Here is the original urban black hole into which all social subsidy and welfare work is sucked without trace. Perhaps the best account of the estate was given by its senior social worker on Radio Luton shortly before her breakdown.
‘Hermsprong is a truly organic community,’ she said in a very quiet, very restrained voice. ‘Here everyone has a place and a function. Here there are none so poor they cannot be robbed, none so insignificant they cannot be reviled, none so inoffensive they cannot be hated. This is the far end of Thatcherism. On Hermsprong they need no nanny state, they already take care of each other.’
Compared with this, Rasselas was a health resort.
Monday, January 01, 2018
One drawback of leaving stuff on your desktop that you were meaning to use in happier days is that if you leave it lying around long enough, it will come back to bite you in the arse. December 30th 2017 was not a good day . . . and nobody in green and white was laughing.
Granted, it could have been a lot worse. Can Dembele do an offski for a shedload of cash now? I fear my current hoops dream, Leigh Griffiths, will go the way of Riordan and McCourt. (I know, I'm stretching it a bit here.)
The above screen grab has been waiting patiently on the desktop since the 18th of August of last year. I really missed my punchline there, reader.
|Aston Villa's Nigel Spink.|
Don't mind me, I'm just clearing out the desktop for 2018. A cracking picture which, for some reason, gives me a warm glow. Of course I remember his appearance in that final. At the time, Aston Villa were my 'English team' . . . possibly still are, as I'm not sure I ever replaced them. (PS - don't watch the highlights of the final on YouTube. It will shatter old pre-pubescent dreams. Munich 'mullered' Villa that night, and Withe's goal was a bit of a smash and grab.
Before I get accused of glory hunting . . . in my defence: 1) I was 10 or 11. A funny age at the best of times. 2) I've always been a sucker for teams in claret and blue. Trabzonspor, here I come. 3) Not so much naked glory hunting per se, as falling in love with that Tony Morley goal of the season against Everton.
And, yes, I will get round to reading that Ron Saunders biography in 2018. Not in a million years would I have pegged Miserable Ron as centre forward in his playing days. That nugget alone is intriguing enough.