I Was There When We Were Crap
This was Andy’s first published book. From an argument with an Everton fan came this, one of the very first “fan books” to hit the shelves. With a foreword from the Manchester United gaffer himself, Sir Alex Ferguson, this promised to be a great read and it does not disappoint. Here’s a brief intro:
When I took the decision to write this book, I wanted it to be as honest as it could be. There was no way I could write it other than from my own viewpoint as I wanted to tell my story, exactly as it was, when I was there. While my views on some matters may be a little controversial, I certainly don’t want to cause offence to anyone (who in my humble opinion doesn’t deserve it) and I pull no punches when talking about what I have witnessed. Over the years I’ve spent following United I have experienced devastatingly miserable lows and indescribably ecstatic highs, that said, without those low points there would be no perspective by which to measure those wonderful, euphoric highs.
I’m quite sure that for every point I make, someone out there will have an equally opposing and more than likely – in their opinion – valid view. I make no bones about the fact that my eyes may well be Red tinted but I have been as honest and objective as I can possibly be, bearing in mind the circumstances and the love I have for my particular team. You are just as welcome to disagree as you are to agree with my views and I don’t mind which stance you take. You will see I make some extremely harsh judgements towards some sections of fans both past and present and some of the figures who have represented (and still do in one form or another) United, though I believe everything I say to be justified and true.
If I upset you it is possible that you harbour perhaps a tad more than just a little guilt and I make no apologies whatsoever for my views. However, I must stress that these are my own personal opinions and should not necessarily be taken as the Eric’s honest truth. Everything I say I’ve heard so-called “Legends” say is true and though that will upset some fans, and some of those former players, it is absolutely true and I am perfectly willing to stand in court and swear by it. I have witnesses too.
When I first wrote this book, I’d been seeing a woman, Lorraine, for four years and she was about due to give birth to a daughter. I’m going to leave this part as I originally wrote it because it is true to the way I felt at the time. Since then we’ve had some terrible fallings out and I’ve had contact with my/our child stopped twice with court battles raging and hassles galore with my child’s school but hopefully, that’s all in the past now and we can move forward. Far better for children to have stable parents than having them at each other’s throats and trying to score points. Onwards:
We know the sex of the nipper as we’d been to Ysbyty Gwynedd (Gwyneth Hospital) and the scan has confirmed the female form inside the womb. Her name will be Alex, Anais, Ferguson, Eric, Cantona, Pacino and she’ll be known as Anais. Personally I hate the name Anais; I think it sounds totally pretentious and horribly chav-like but as we’ve already bartered over who is having naming rights and I’ve got the call on a boy, Mum won the rights to a girl and I have to abide by that. Maybe I’ll call her Annie. That’ll do the trick. I’d already said that if the scan had shown a boy he would get the full ’99 Treble winning squad treatment for his pains and as it is, I had to fight like a rabid tiger to get the United references for her and I’m still trying to wheedle Dangerous in at the end. I think Dangerous is a fabulous name for a little girl but I know her mum is never going to have it though, much is the pity. Mind you, I didn’t think she’d agree to any of my United references but she has relented and so I can consider my work a job well done and count my blessings. This birth will be my own version of the domestic treble. Three daughters. I only hope the feeling I get when she is born is the same as I had on that United Treble night when Ole buried the Krauts but more of that later.
As this is a very personal account, I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible for me to write it. Particular thanks have to go to my brothers, Rod and Gary, for all the memories and better match-going companions I could not have wished for while we were travelling to, watching and going home from the games. Also to my two most darling daughters, Cassie and Jenny, who are both magnificent Reds and two of the most beautiful people in the world, to my mum, Jenny, my dad, Eddie. Since the years I first wrote this I have split with Lorraine and have since met and married another woman, Joan. Special thanks go to her as she has been a tower of strength to me over the past decade or so. While I’m on the subject, Joan and I used to go out together while I was living in Scotland but we split when I moved to Manchester in 1989. As things happened we found each other again through modern technology and I’d like to thank the inventor of such for their help in our destiny: for destiny surely it was. We’ve been with each other for a good ten years at time of writing. Joanie, I thank you for putting up with the madness that comes along with the ride and hopefully it hasn’t been too boring for you.
A particular and massive thank you must also go to the Gaffer of my beloved Manchester United team, the magnificent Sir Alex Ferguson: the man who made it all happen and the man who had not only the vision to carry on where Sir Matt Busby had finished all those years ago where so many had tried and all had failed but also the strength to see it through. It was by no means easy for him in the beginning; with such a huge job on the cards, turning Manchester United back into the force majeure they once were was never ever going to be an overnight accomplishment. Some fans though, demand quick results and they would have some extremely loud voices when the going got tough. Sure enough, when the long and sharp knives were out and while his back was turned they prodded metaphorical blades between his shoulders, yet Alex Ferguson never gave up belief either in himself, his players or his methods. While hurricanes raged and could easily have snapped lesser trees, that man stood mighty as an oak. He is a giant amongst mortal men and I have the utmost respect for him. Finally, I have to thank the players and staff of my beloved Manchester United, who have given me so many of the wonderful memories I’ve relived during the penning and reworking of this book.
Many players have come and gone since I started following United and many more will come and go after I’ve long since departed this mortal coil but to those I saw and who gave me such wonderful memories, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s a funny thing, football; it’s the only game I know that can give the victorious fan a glow of self-satisfaction when he has no control over the outcome. A good result can make you tall and a bad one makes you feel small. Football gives you happiness one day and fills you with dread the next. Sometimes it’s difficult getting up in the morning if your team has done badly but that depends on the depth of love you have for it. Before I dive headfirst into the story itself, I have a word for the incredible amount of “fans” who leave the ground ten, sometimes twenty minutes before the end of a match. You are nothing but a bunch of part-time tossers; I despise you and you should give up your season ticket, every single one of you. Forgive my ranting, please, read on.