THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

25 January ~ I'll never forget the first time I spotted a genuine Cockney Red. I was at Loftus Road to watch QPR play Manchester United in early 1993. At the end of the game, which ended in a 3-1 victory for the visitors, a man stood up in front of a mostly home stand and shouted in the purest London accent: "Fanks QPR, you've dan' us a massive fakkin' favour tonight." To the credit of the QPR support, he was not immediately set upon and given a severe kicking. Which of course you wouldn't have condoned, but you might have understood.

Like head lice and replica Barcelona shirts, Cockney Reds turn up all over the world, and I've met many more since. The latest one, this past weekend, materialised outside a bar on Miami Beach, broadcasting unprompted what a great day he'd had because "United" had beaten Birmingham 5-0. When I (quite innocently, of course) asked him where he was from, he began to explain with some vehemence that although he'd grown up in Shepherd's Bush, and all his mates had been Chelsea fans, he'd been a Manchester United fan since 1974 (coincidentally, like every other Manchester United fan who's not from Manchester). First symptom of cockney redness – painting yourself as the free-thinking rebel who refused to follow the crowd to Stamford Bridge or Highbury.

He also went to Manchester University "just so I could go to Old Trafford every week". No southern Manchester United fan wants to be accused of never having ventured further north than Barnet to watch his team, or of not having changed the course of his whole life in order to cheer on those fabulous Devils in Red. Any reservations about the Glazer family? Like a Catholic convert unperturbed by a reactionary Vatican, Cockney Red waved away as heresy the idea of diminished loyalty on the grounds of a morally bankrupt leadership. "You can't just stop being a fan, can you?" he said, punching himself in the heart (not quite hard enough). Second and third symptoms of cockney redness – a trip to Manchester is a pilgrimage, and we're more loyal than your actual native Manchester United fans.

Now there's always been a certain amount of inverted snobbery among us small town supporters about people who back geographically unconnected teams, adopted for reasons that likely stem from the irrationality of pre-adolescence – shirt colours, a weird name, a particular player, or the fact that the team in question is eight points clear at the top or has just lifted the FA Cup. And I have to confess a certain hypocrisy here. I told Cockney Red that I was a Lincoln City fan, while failing to mention that for the best part of three decades after 1972 (ha, take that Cockney Red – beat you by two years!) Manchester United had been my "second" team. People who grow up in places like Lincolnshire are, it's generally acknowledged, allowed second teams, and there wasn't a single football fan in my school who didn't like a club from far beyond Gainsborough or Boston. It's just that you didn't mention it much. Gloating about a Lincoln win was fine. Gloating about a Manchester United win would have been unconvincing.

Even now, like my new friend lurching righteously on a Miami pavement, I can't completely disconnect myself from a vague desire to see United finish ahead of City, Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal. What grates about a bellicose Londoner, I suppose, is the chest-thumping defensiveness as he proclaims his human right to love a team that he really has no reason to be following. When you have so many teams across London to choose from, what's the attraction of supporting Manchester United when it will only invite the contempt of all right-thinking fans? Why did they never grow out of it like they grew out of wearing flares and platform shoes? Why do so few people in Manchester grow up loving Chelsea?

In the end, you can't help but feeling sorry for the Cockney Red. Reviled at home for leaving the pack, but never accepted by their adopted community, they scream for their team in a footballing no-man's land, cast out by the unflinching codes of the game's self-appointed guardians. It's as though they've been afflicted by a condition they are helpless to cure, and are doomed to wail in eternal protest from purgatory about the depth of their love. We must acknowledge the tragedy of their dilemma, and their perennial status as pariahs. And then, ask kindly if they could now just please shut the hell up. Ian Plenderleith

Comments (33)
Comment by lookingbusy 2011-01-25 11:15:01

The real irony in the abuse that Cockney Reds suffer comes from Reading based Arsenal fans, Stockport based City Fans, East End based Chelsea fans and so on and so forth.
Who has the right to tell someone what team they should support. Football is a 'love of your life' thing. Once you fall in love with a club they become your club regardless of where you are born and that is a love that will stay with you forever. Just because you weren't born in Railway Terrace or under a tree in Trafford Park doesn't mean you are any less of a fan.
Maybe the chap you met feels the need to defend himself because of the idiots who feel the need to ask him where he's from because of who he supports.

Comment by domhinde 2011-01-25 11:16:30

That is nothing compared to the three-tier glory hunting developing in Scotland. Surprisingly large numbers of Chelsea tops in Glasgow of late I've noticed, and it seems quite ok to 'love' Ayr Utd, Rangers and Chelsea all at once. I do admittedly support four teams across Europe but as only one of them is in a top flight and making a good show of getting relegated I feel justified in my polysupporting.

Comment by mattmcf 2011-01-25 11:38:06

But this is just terrible. You can see why so few people in Manchester follow Chelsea: it's because when people of our generation were growing up Liverpool and Man United were the top teams. If Chelsea had been the titans of English football you can bet your life there would be people from Manchester supporting them.

What you have to understand is that successful clubs sprout large numbers of plastics. I'm sorry, but all I see here is that tedious, old-fashioned Northern dislike of Londoners. And misappropriation of the word 'Cockney', too, I should imagine. And the author is a pastic too, just a bit less of one. "I may support Manchester United despite having no connection to them, but that's OK because I only support them as my 'second team'". Second team? SECOND TEAM? Good grief.

Rubbish.

Comment by jameswba 2011-01-25 11:43:50

Was this article really written to tell us something new about the nature of football support or to give you the opportunity of casually telling us that you were in Miami Beach last Saturday?
I usually enjoy your writing but this piece is pure cliche. Elegantly phrased pure cliche though, I'll give you that much.

Comment by nmrfox 2011-01-25 11:58:14

The very worst cases of bandwagon jumping had to be those loyal Newcastle fans from the Keegan era (mark one). Had no problem with genuine Geordies of course, but always remember two blokes in my local in Leicester banging on about their love of the Toon in strong East Midlands accents. Don't think they ever went to a game and have often wondered over the past few years who they "support" now.

Comment by johntheface 2011-01-25 12:17:02

I'm a City fan and even I agree with most of the comments so far. I have no issue with people supporting teams from further afield. It's only a problem if they change their mind when another team becomes more successful and, even worse, claim to have supported their new team all their life.

(for the record I DO come from Manchester and I HAVE been supporting City for more than 3 years!)

Comment by Griff010 2011-01-25 12:18:45

The point is that traditionally, whatever corporate monoliths the football clubs now are, football clubs are community based institutions, so it's not just about football results but that fact if you're going to support Liverpool, you don't go saying scousers rob everything as I know some plastics do, or if you're going to support United or, if they get their act together, City, you want to be able to get past naming sites such as Old Trafford and Piccadily Station. It's the fact you know should United ever end up trophyless and in the relegation zone, the plastics will drop away so quickly. Fans should be supporting towns and cities they have an actual connection with

Comment by Broken Clock 2011-01-25 12:53:34

Aaaah but yer "cockney reds" destiny may have been as a Bristol City fan if Busby had managed there instead of Manchester. Deep down he/she will never know......

Comment by Harbinger of Hope 2011-01-25 13:17:40

Plastic fans have always been around, and always will be.
As said earlier, most people choose their team when they are about 7. Most 7 year olds aren't prone to logic, and a lot will base their decision on things like shirt colour, or who they first saw on TV.

If we were forced to wait until 16 to chose a team, then maybe the purists would get their way. But 7 year olds cannot appreciate the fact that a 400 mile round trip to a home game is a bad idea, and unbelievably costly over a lifetime, if they bother to go at all.

As social mobility has massively increased in recent years, the "ghettoisation" of football support has waned dramatically. So there will be people in London, who's dad spent his childhood in Manchester, but moved down south for a job. They will pass on the allegiance to Man U, though the child will have little or no connection to the place.

I am personally a Forest fan, who was born and has lived within 25 miles of Nottingham my whole life. Was geography a factor? Was it just because my father and grandfather are Forest fans? Probably a combination of the two. I do however, remember being at Farndon CofE primary school, at the age of 7, despairing at half the boys in my class who chose Liverpool purely cos "they were the best".

Reflected glory does have a great allure, but I feel I have got the better deal. I am a season ticket holder. I go to away games too. Most plastics will never have that. The shared thrill of a goal with 5,10,20 thousand fans, the exuberance of a derby win, or even winning a rare trophy or promotion.

When winning trophies is the norm, and you only ever see your team on the TV. I think it's the plastics who really miss out.

Comment by hobbes 2011-01-25 13:57:03

Hah. I love the defensiveness of people calling out-of-towners "plastic" as if you can only be a proper fan if you grew up in the shadow of the stadium. What utter horseshit. What next? Government style immigration exams for tickets? Ritual self harm to prove that you bleed blue or green or barcoded or whatever?
It's Little Englander-ism writ small and it's all rather tiresome, frankly.

Comment by oleppedersen 2011-01-25 13:57:49

I'm a Norwegian United fan, supporting the team ever since my older brother chose Liverpool in the mid 70-ies. I've watched close to 250 United games (home and away) live over the last 25 seasons, including a few featuring legends like Ralphie Milne and Liam O'Brien.

I also coach an U15 team in Oslo, where every player has either an English team as their favourite, or Barcelona.

I mention this because the days when your team was decided by birthplace or heritage, is definitely over. English football has been a world wide phenomenon for 40 years, and still is. We will pick an English team when young. Some will lose interest, others will go to watch the team, read the history books and embrace the spirit of the club.

It is basically the same in England, though ancestry plays a bigger part. Manchester United have probably more local season ticket holders than most Premier League clubs have spectators, but with the history and success of the club - and the greatness of the city of Manchester! - it will attract more fans these days than Liverpool.

So what? I know Norwegians who are infinitely better supporters and ambassadors of United than many local lads, who are reveling in the Tony O'Neill culture and just looking to embarrass the name of the club.

I often feel the need to explain that I am a solid Red and not a glory-hunter, even to local Reds in Manchester, and this annoys me. If we take this line of thinking, that you really should be from the town where the team plays in order to support them, far enough - then you could never accept a team like this: Gregg; Carey, Evra, Vidic, Foulkes; Beckham, Charlton, Robson, Best; Law and Whiteside. None of them stems from Manchester, yet they graced the turf of Old Trafford in a way that endeared them to most Reds.

Comment by danhobbs75 2011-01-25 15:02:22

Why all the defensiveness and derision? Surely there's room in the world of football for all of us to be right?

For what it's worth, I'll come off the fence and say I'm with Mr Plenderleith (and not for the first time). I cannot understand following a team you have no connection to other than that you saw them on telly when you were a kid.

At the age of 7 you might like red, or not know how far Manchester is from your home, but you grow up and realise that you're trying to gatecrash someone else's party. I am actually slightly jealous of the denial that such gloryhunters (for the teams are invariably the best ones - show me a Bury fan from London) can continue into adult life. Of course it's because they're the best teams and they win stuff! Why pretend otherwise?!

As for the people who think the geography really doesn't matter, in that case why not just do away with references to a club's locality and call them Team 1, Team 2, etc...?

Comment by EIM 2011-01-25 15:36:05

I've only been an FC United fan since 2005. Gloryhunter and JCL.

Comment by hobbes 2011-01-25 15:57:57

Burn him!

Comment by reddybrek 2011-01-25 16:57:33

You have to ask yourself what connection do any fans have to the likes of city utd chelsea and liverpool? Theyre foreign owned and are funded by tv companies who sell the rights and merchandise to far away countries as their main sources of revenue. Harldy any of the players are from the local areas they represent let alone this country.

Its modern football people like several different clubs for a myriad of reasons, mixed nationalities, peer pressure. I see all these kids in barcelona tops these days. I can understand it why should they swear undying loyalty to some non-league club because its nearer to thier house or whatever?

Its not the 19th century we do have cars and planes we can support any team we like cant we?

Comment by danhobbs75 2011-01-25 17:25:10

@reddybrek: yes, of course anyone can support whatever team they like - I did say there's room for everyone to be right. I just don't understand why.

I have a car, and I've been on a plane loads of times. That hasn't diminished my sense of identity and pride in where I'm from. I can't imagine wanting to jump on someone else's bandwagon just because I can get to their ground.

The issue of journeymen footballers not caring about the club they're playing for sticks in the throat, but you can't say that about all players, and in any case it's just an excuse for gloryhunting fans to hang their lack of local loyalty on. IMHO. :-)

Comment by jameswba 2011-01-25 17:42:52

Well, for me, the article and the comments supporting it are illustrative of one small but rather sad thing. The British have a remarkable capacity for making judgements about others according to what football team they support. The article builds its whole case around one chance encounter (in Miami Beach - aren't we envious?) with a Man Utd fan from London. There are various prejudices expressed within it and the case itself is nothing new - it's all been said before.

Comment by HORN 2011-01-25 19:09:11

A compelling argument presented by oleppedersen up above. Well written, sir.

Comment by imp 2011-01-25 23:01:02

I'd just like to point out that I've been caught bang to rights - I went to the beach this weekend and then mentioned it afterwards with the sole aim of impressing West Bromwich Albion fan James. Now that I've succeeded, can anyone familiar with internet relationship protocol advise me on the next step to gaining his full admiration, with a view to a possible long term mutual commitment?

PS Luvaduck, we fakkin dan 'em norvern scum tonight, innit!?

Comment by ANB 2011-01-26 01:14:32

If you trundle up the left coast to VA beach you would have found another cockney red on the beach whooping it up after doing brum 5-0... This cockney red recalls quite vividly the 5-1 drubbing at the hands of trevor francis at st Andrews in 76 and took the revenge with much glee.
What you have to tie together when pointing out cockneys reds is that in the 70's there were thousands of us in amongst tens of thousands of reds.

two classic points to show that a 70's cockney did garner the camaraderie and kinship with our Mancunian brothers and...(sisters) the Den in 1973 and St Ettienne in 1978. Hoolie events (granted) lost to the sands of time. you may talk to a 40 something bloke with a cockney accent and you may bump into the likes of me or my mates(the london branch of the supporters club) who have been there and done that probably before most of the post 1993 crowd were born!

Comment by jameswba 2011-01-26 06:46:19

'Now that I've succeeded, can anyone familiar with internet relationship protocol advise me on the next step to gaining his full admiration, with a view to a possible long term mutual commitment?'

Imp, the answer is implied in my first post, I think. I usually enjoy your writing because you usually have something to say. Just not this time. 'Full admiration' and 'long term mutual commitment' are, of course pushing it a bit. If you're happy to settle for distant respect, we're fine.

Comment by reddybrek 2011-01-26 12:18:59

The phrase “jumping on someones bandwagon” is somewhat flawed. Certain clubs have huge out of town / foreign support and thus transcend regional identity. Celtic have huge Irish support for example so are they glory hunters? There’s massive Scandinavian support of Liverpool and Man U (such as the gentleman above). With all due respect to these nations their own leagues simply do not have the pull of British football. People all over Spain support Barcelona or Madrid as they identify with a regions politics, are they plastic fans too?

Theyre not so much jumping on a bandwagon, simply accepting an invitation golden ticket Willy Wonka style by buying a replica shirt, merchandise etc. It’s no accident that these clubs have fans all over the world, and yes I can see how this might debase the idea of true pre-war fan culture but not all of us identify with our local pub/semi pro team who play on a pudding pitch, personally I only have any business there if I’m actually playing myself. It’s a tall order for some to religiously attend matches like this no-matter how much someone loves football, although I take my hat off to those who do otherwise grass roots football would be stuffed.

It’s like old wives tale when the wind changes you pull a face and you’re stuck with it. You can’t just start supporting another club because you suddenly have a revelation that right minded people support their local team from when they can crawl until they die. Surely team hopping is the ultimate football fan sin, so don’t get all ‘Andy Gray’ on me.

The writer of this piece goes on holiday to Miami. Surely he should be looking no further than Skegness and stop basking in other peoples glory the bandwagon jumping traitor! I actually went to university in Lincoln and I attended a couple of the Imps games (they’re actually my 6th favourite team). I soon learned to stick to watching Liverpool in the pub…..

Comment by bangsection 2011-01-26 13:22:26

Maybe it's because most of the naysayers above support MASSIVE clubs but, as the supporter of a resolutely rubbish League One club (soon to be joining the Imps in League Two - as long as you stay up Ian, eh?) can I just say that I am four square behind Plenderleith on this one.

There are few real benefits to supporting a rubbish football team but the sense of superiority over the plastic fan is definitely one of them. Because we are superior. We are better people. We also have more success with women.

Even as a seven year old, the plastic fan is making a lifestyle choice. One guaranteed to artificially enhance their egos during a lifetime of league wins, cup triumphs and great European nights (TM). THIS IS CHEATING. Take the team life dealt you (i.e. the nearest one) and enjoy it for what it is. Or, on the other hand, get on with supporting Top Four Utd and accept that "proper" fans looking down their noses at you is part and parcel of the Faustian pact that you struck.

Your team is better than ours. We are better people than you. Sorry, that's just the way it is.

Comment by reddybrek 2011-01-26 14:52:58

I can understand supporters of smaller clubs becoming somewhat uppity about plastics like myself, however I cant help feeling superior myself about all this. As I was saying to one of my many many girlfriends last night, whilst on a Unicef mission, its probably the case that a lot of so called true fans from provincial towns need a strong sense of regional identity and so need to cling to nearbyish football team. In many cases of course this can also mean ignoring the nearest non-league club and driving 30 miles to the nearest Championship team. These people like to lecture the rest of us about loyalty and local pride but realise that the odd promotion and possibly a relegation battle victory is as good as life gets. A kind of living purgatory.

The only kind of football where region is important now is international football, but even this has eroded somewhat. Podolski could be called a glory hunting plastic German by your logic, just like John Barnes, Owen Hargreaves and Tony Dorigo are plastic Englishmen. You can be as churlish as you like but it does not make you uber fan

Comment by hobbes 2011-01-26 16:16:25

"That hasn't diminished my sense of identity and pride in where I'm from..."

Do what?! Proud of an accident of geography? How odd.
Where I grew up was a shithole. I go there an infrequently as humanly possible.

Comment by madmickyf 2011-01-27 05:01:57

I can sympathise with Mr Plenderleith as I myself had a brief flirtation with Man U at the age of 9 whilst under the influence of an older cousin who told me they were "the best team in the world". Luckily I lived within half a mile of Kenilworth Road and the lure of a real,live football team on my doorstep soon overcome any gloryhunting notions (Note to Man U fans, when I say "Luckily" I'm not being ironic, I really would rather watch a team 4 generations of my family have supported in the Conference than an EPL team I have no connection to.)

I now live in Australia and support my local club Adelaide United. Even here the ground is full of supporters wearing Man U & Liverpool shirts despite the fact they have have no connection to the UK let alone Manchester or Merseyside. I guess there will always be people who want to follow the big, successful teams so they can bask in the reflected glory (hence why as someone pointed out London isn't full of Bury fans) but at least we can get some amusement from knowing how shallow they are.

Comment by reddybrek 2011-01-27 09:50:30

I lived in Barcelona for 2 years so presumably by your logic I would be within my rights to suddenly support them but I dont because your only supposed to support one team and mine is Liverpool. This isnt being shallow its sticking with the one true love in your fandom, however bastardised it is.

The guy mentioned in the piece above was a man from London who actually went and lived in Manchester for at least 3 years presumably as a student. His connections to Manchester are every bit as strong as yours to this Australian team.

I think it’s a bit rich to support a team (to go with your other team) on the other side of the world while preaching the gospel of being true to your roots. Chortling ironically to yourself in a crowd full of Australians watching an Australian club just because a few of them follow top English football.

Comment by madmickyf 2011-01-28 03:34:20

Blimey, don't choke on your cornflakes reddybrek- I've obviously touched a raw nerve there. I never said there's anything wrong with supporting more than one team if they're from different countries, I just think following a 'big' team from the other side of your country when there's a perfectly decent football team on your doorstep is a bit shallow.

I also take issue with your assertion that the Man U fan's connections to Manchester are as strong as mine to Adelaide. Firstly I was born in Adelaide. Secondly it is pretty clear that he only went to Uni in Manchester "just so I could go to Old Trafford every week". That's hardly the same as moving to a new city for study or work and then deciding to follow the local team.

I would say I am being true to my roots as I support the team of the city I was born in and the team that my family have followed. The only team I follow to which I have no connection is Raith Rovers and you can hardly say I'm glory hunting with that one.

BTW you don't mention which part of Liverpool you're from, Surrey perhaps?

Comment by Efficient Baxter 2011-01-28 14:18:37

Plastics. The world's full of them. There's probably a good 5,000 down at Craven Cottage every match for the dislocated fans of other clubs who have adopted Fulham as their 'second team' in order to watch local (and relatively cheap) football.

I support Chicago Bears because they won Superbowl XX (and had the Fridge) when I first became aware of NFL. They've won nowt since but I guess I was still a glory fan, especially compared to my mate Rob who became a Minnesota Vikings fan because they were the first 'helmet' he got in those little packets that came with rock hard chewing gum.

Comment by reddybrek 2011-01-28 16:10:45

RIGHT! ME! YOU! OUTSIDE! NAAAAAA!!

Sorry old chap I didnt mean to be quite come across quite that that aggressively Im just illustrating that people support clubs for all sorts of reasons other than i.e. I was born right by the ground so was my dad and my granddad and will support them evermore and so will my grandchildren .These days are long gone if they ever existed anyway. Your globe travelling experience of football support proves my point quite nicely perhaps. I take back the previous remark as you have roots in oz. It must be nice to suddenly have a shiny new club down there to support and it must be an infinitely more pleasurable place to be than Kenilworth road I imagine so frankly I dont blame you.

I was born and lived in Barcelona as a kid so the way I see it I traded down and glory shunned. I hail from different places and so never really felt attached to a London club even though I was spoilt for choice as someone put it above. I cant speak for the people that are born and raised in Surrey who choose to support Liverpool. Yes I can see thats ridiculous if theyve never been to Anfield but then its equally ridiculous for someone from London who professes to support West Ham even though Ive probably been to Upton Park more than they have. Maybe its not uncommon for Londoners to support a team from another part of the country because nobody knows what being from London really means anymore as its possibly the biggest mix of cultures & races in the world. I dont know I cant speak for 7-8 million people either so I wont even attempt to psycho analyse it any further.

I also support the English national team so I glory hunted particularly well there didnt I?

Im sorry friend but if you can support two teams either side of the planet Im within my rights to legitimately support one in the country that Ive lived in for most of my life. And no Im not from Surrey Ive heard its lovely bit if I was Id have more right to support Luton Town than you according to most of the posters above on account of your birthplace?

If all this still makes me a plastic then ok I will have to wear it. I only came on here because I wanted reassurance that Liverpool is indeed a massive massive HUGE club and not another Leeds or Newcastle so thanks really consider my plastic soul satisfied.

Comment by splottparker 2011-01-29 20:38:05

It could be said that the word "choose" is the word that seperates a plastic from a proper fan.I was born in Cardiff and choosing a side to support never came in to it for me,I just naturally went to Ninian Park with my Dad and brother,thank God.This choosing thing seems alien to me,did the plastics actually sit down on their own one day and have a little chat to themselves, "Now will it be Man U,Liverpool,Leeds,decisions,decisions,I know,eeny,meeny miny mo",like a lot of a fans I wonder why it wasn't a case of "Will it be Bury,Hartlepool,Southend hmmmmmm".It is out and out glory hunting and bandwagon jumping,that,in my opinion,if an impressionable child fell for it, by the time he's left school it should be dawning on him that supporting his local side is is right and proper.Would football have died on its arse if in 1888,everyone interested in the game would have claimed to be die hard Preston fans because of their fantastic unequalled double winning season,no,people had more regional pride then perhaps,I could no more than jump in Cardiff Bay than shout against Cardiff City,how do these people feel when their wannabe club play against their local side?

Comment by Scargutt 2011-02-01 09:07:22

I believe you are right about 'choosing' a team. But, originally when football was just a working class game, you'd have ended up supporting whoever your dad took you to see - which woudl have been the local club.

As a new generation of middle class supporters came along, whose fathers had only ever expressed mild interest in football, so they were faced with a choice: 'well, my nan once went shopping in Manchester etc, etc'

Presumably, once again the supported team will be passed down through the generations, so look forward to meeting many more Cockney Reds in future.

I have to say though I support Bradford City and i'm not from Bradford, so when people ask me about it, I just say i'm a glory supporter! Haha.

Comment by drew_whitworth 2011-02-05 12:50:20

My seven-year-old supports Morecambe (because of my in-laws) and Brighton (because of me), and we live in Yorkshire. There is hope... The Premier League/Champions League is not watched in our house, and he gets to go to live games featuring his two clubs about 6-10 times a season: to be honest I would be surprised if he ended up supporting Man Utd even though we live 25 miles from Manchester, about as near as I ever lived to Brighton in my life.

But say Brighton end up in the Premier League - and if Blackpool and Burnley can get there, most clubs can - will he suddenly become a 'plastic'? No. Unfortunately, though I am tempted to agree with Mr. Plenderleith on this one, my head says no. Sometimes it is just an accident.

Related articles

From David Beckham to Olly Lee – are goals from the halfway line over-rated?
Despite it boiling down to lumping a ball forwards 60 yards, the appeal of goals from a long way out to both fans and pundits seems to be endless...
The Man Who Kept The Red Flag Flying by Wayne Barton
Jimmy Murphy – the family authorised life storyTrinity Sport Media, £16.99Reviewed by Joyce WoolridgeFrom WSC 376, June 2018Buy the book...