15th of December 2012 - 17th of December 2012
Manchester United - Sunderland
score: 3-1 (16' min van Persie 1-0, 19' min Cleverley 2-0, 59' min Rooney 3-0, 72' min Frazier Campbell 3-1)
Pre-trip fun is always a big item for the Sunderland trips. Also for this Manchester 2012 trip I was looking to organise something special apart from the football match. This started somewhere in August. We had been to Manchester before (April 2006) but this was a short stay (just one night) and the day after we were travelling back to Sunderland for the next game. I never had a good feeling about that trip. I thought Manchester should be more worth it. And with our experiences of the Beatles tours in Liverpool there must be something like that as well in Manchester with this Music history.
After a couple of nights browsing the internet I found the website of Manchester Music Tours and contacted them to see what the possibilities were. They had “Oasis-tours”, “Smiths-tours”, “Joy Division tours” but we prefered a mixture of all of these tours. I got a reply from Craig Gill (who is also the drummer in the Inspiral Carpets) and he mailed me that he would make a nice 6 hours tour so we could enjoy all of it.
That was something to look really forward to. But I also was aware that we still had to do some homework. So I invited the Lads that were planned to go on this trip (Frido, Peur, Nilis, Tim and Drew) to my house to watch the “24-hour Party People” film. This was a 2003 film all about the Madchester Music Scene, Factory Records and its owner Tony Wilson. It was exactly what we needed. Everybody enjoyed it and a lot of details from this film would be in the Craig Gill Tour. But you can read all about it in the next part of this review. After the film we also had the draw to see who willl be in which hotelroom. In the end it was: Room 1: Tim, Nick and Peur. Room 2: Frido, Nilis and Drew.
We head for Saturday the 12th of December. The car positions are the same as the hotel rooms. So San and Frido pick up Nilis and Drew while Nienke and Tim pick up Nick and Peur. At 8.00 AM we are at Schiphol airport. The check-in was already done on-line, so we could go directly through customs. And after that we are excactly one hour too early for boarding. No problem, the Irish pub is always open, so we had some time for a couple of early pints. At 9.40 we took off and about 15 minutes later we land at Manchester airport. We jumped into a taxi that dropped us off at the hotel for the weekend. The Stay-inn in Salford. We arrived way too early and our rooms were not ready yet. After a quick discussion we decided to drop off our bags and come back later that night for the hotel check-in. We had to go to the Moon Under Water Pub where we would be welcomed by Mark Isherwood. Mark had lived and worked for a couple of years in Hillegom. We knew him from the Kleine Beurs, Murphy’s Law and our local football club v.v. Hillegom. Last time we were in Manchester he also spent some time with us and he wanted to do this again. Also the last time he had a surprise for us as another English guy from Hillegom (Neil) was over for the same weekend. But this time he really amazed us. When we walked into the pub we saw Mark and next to him was Murphy’s Law owner Bart and with him was Robin, a huge Manchester United fan. Our amazing was even bigger when Bart told us that he and Robin were in the same plane as us. But we didn´t notice. Our Sunderland friend Jonathan was also in this pub and the pints kept coming in. We decided to head for the ground a bit earlier than normal to have a bit of a relaxed feeling. A taxi took us to Old Trafford.
After we had left the taxi the hamburgers were eaten in two different shifts. This all in good company of the 'United Trinity' (statue of Best, Law and Charlton). When everybody had enough to eat for the next couple of hours we went to our seats in the away area in between the East Stand and South Stand of this impressive stadium. On our seats we noticed that these weren't made for healthy Dutchmen. There was no other option than just stand up for the full 90 minutes.
Manager Martin O'Neill had decided for a solid back line and this meant we had a good first 15 minutes. Sunderland even had more possession. But after 16 minutes it was 1-0 for United. Skipper O'Shea could not control the ball and RVP finished it cool off. Within the next five minutes we also conceded another goal after a wonderful United move. There goes our idea of getting a good result. It was because of 'our Belgian keeper' Mignolet and some shots wide, over or on the crossbar that we managed to get into half time with a 2-0 score. Nilis analysed this as a good typical style of reaction football that we had witnessed in the first half. Peur and Tim agreed with this analysis. Mark and Sam were also in the away end. We talked to them for a while and halftime went very quick.
In the second half Connor Wickham came on for the injured Fletcher. It gave us more strength and pace up front and for a while it looked that we could get into this game again. We had some chances. Gardner had a poor shot with his weaker left foot and a strange moving ball from McLean (who played a terrible game) hit the post. This little bit of pressure that we had on the United goal gave us some hope that we would witness a Sunderland goal. But it was Dutchman Robin van Persie again who moved through two Sunderland defenders and gave Wayne Rooney an opportunity that he couldn’t miss; 3-0. Who would have thought that the Sunderland fans would be in ‘bag and ash’ after this goal are completely wrong. The songs that were around since the start of the game about the United Supporters and a winning City goal of Sergio Agüero at the end of last season became even louder. But in the away end the story was also going about the prescence of Nil-Nilis, so there were some mixed feelings. O’Neill decided to bring Frazier Campbell, another attacking player, and this resulted in the moment we’ve all been waiting for.
Manchester, 15th of December 2012, 20 minutes past 4 local time; Stephane Sessegnon decides to chase a lost ball that everyone had missed from a Seb Larsson low cross. He crosses the ball high to the far post where Frazier Campbell will become the hero and makes the away-end shiver and shake with one man as the centerpiece of all interest. He travelled to Sunderland, Liverpool, Amsterdam and Mönchengladbach. He experienced 611 minutes of reaction football. Some called him the jinx and he even had bought a red and white scarf. Just at the moment when he doubted if it was all due to him, it was a complete chaos around Nilis. He was congratulated by well known and not known Sunderland supporters in the away end. It felt like the winning goal in a world cup final. Not expected anymore, but here it was. When everything turns to standard again it is five minutes later and the score is 3-1.
The rest of the game didn’t matter. Even with the fact that if we had a bit more luck (and finishing off the small chances that we got) there would be a frantic finale couldn’t change the mood when we left the ground.
After the match we met Ishy, Bart and the others again at the same statue. And just the same as in Liverpool, it was time for the hardest part. Walking, walking and more walking. Old Trafford is also way out of the city centre. And when there's 75.582 people getting out of the ground at the same time, it is not a good idea to get a taxi. The pubs close to the ground are packed and it's almost impossible to get in as an away supporter. We didn't have a choice, just start walking. About one hour later we found a pub underneath a bridge. Let's give it a try. It was a nice pub and they had some lovely ales. We managed to sit at a long table within a couple of minutes so we had a good time. But we still had to do the check-in at the hotel, and we didn't have had something to eat. This was all unimportant according to Ishy. So bring in another round. Some Dutch Mackems decided to go and search for a take away by themselves. But in the end it was 9.00 PM when we got out and walked in the direction of the hotel for the check-in. Ishy, Martin, Bart and Robin walked with us, because we promised them to get back to a pub after the check-in. No problems at the hotel. We collected our keys and could drop our bags at the rooms. And back outside again we decided that we had walked enough, so the first pub would do it for us. It was the Kings Arms. Not very crowded and of more importance they had a fantastic ale on draft. It was the band Elbow's very own ale. The pub looked arty and also the people inside was like that. The music they played was good, but we noticed there were a couple of songs from the Housemartins that were played (different songs, but the same band). But the musical highlight of this night was when they played Stone Roses "I am the resurrection". But time went fast and it was time to get back to the hotel. We walked through the corridor of the pub and heared live music from upstairs. Shall we have a look? No, we were too tired. Outside Ishy and Martin were helpful to a car driver who asked for some help to get out of his parking spot (BAAAAAAM!). We said goodbye to them and decided to get into bed. We needed a good rest for the next day.
Sunday the 16th of December
And we needed a good sleep, because this would be a busy day. It was the day of the "Craig Gill Music Tour". At 10.00 AM Craig arrived at our hotel to pick us up. We got in a nice almost brand new 8-seater and arrived at our first stop. It was Peter Street. On this spot we found the famous Free Trade Hall. Famous because of the "Judas" shout from the crowd to Bob Dylan when he played a gig there with electrical instruments. But for us more interesting because this was the start of the film 24 hour Party People. In 1976 there was a gig of the Sex Pistols in a not-too-crowded "Lesser Hall". Now a days thousands of people claim that they were there, but in fact it was only around 40 people including Morrissey, a group of guys who would form the Buzzcocks and a group of guys who would form Joy Division. Six weeks after this gig, the Sex Pistols performed there again and this time it was more crowded. Including a guy named Tony Wilson. At that time he was a reporter for Granada Television, but after this night he decided he wanted to get into music business. He started as a band manager (one of them was Joy Division) and in 1978 he started the music label Factory Records which became hugely important to the Madchester Music Scene. Names on this label were Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays, James, OMD and many more.
The next stop was Manchester Central Station. This used to be a train station, but was rebuilt as a conference centre. In 1986 it was Factory Records who hired the venue for a music festival. Acts like New Order and the Smiths were on the bill and the festival got the catalogue number FAC 151.
After this we went on to Little Peter Street. We stopped at the spot where "the Boardwalk" used to be. This used to be a small venue for live music, but it also had basements that were used as rehearsal rooms for Manchester based bands. The club opened in 1986 and on this opening night there were live performances of the Stone Roses, the Charlatans and James. Craig also told us the story that this was the venue where Oasis had their first live show. And he also mentioned that the bandname of Oasis came from an Inspiral Carpets tour poster. Liam had noticed that one of the venues where the Carpets played was "the Oasis Leisure Centre" and he thought Oasis was a great name for a band. Noal Gallagher used to be a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets. Across the road of the Boardwalk there was a building that got our attention. It was "the Loft" and the former owner of this building was Tony Wilson. He had huge plans with this building to make appartments of it. It didn't work out because it was too expensive.
Then on our way to the Haçienda. This was also a legendary club in Manchester history. It started on the 21st of May 1982 with Tony Wilson and New Order as directors. The club got catalogue number FAC 51 and was used as live venue and nightclub. Of course local heroes like the Smiths played there, but it was also there on the 27th of January 1984 the first time that Madonna performed in England. But it was a club for the happy few. A small group of artists and comedians were regulars and at one time there was even a hairdresser located inside. The club got there big status from around 1988 when rave and acid house found its way to Manchester. The Haçienda had a DJ (Jon DaSilva) who was extremely good with this type of music and the place was loaded every night. But with success there will also be problems. In 1989 the Haçienda was the first club in Britain with an ecstasy related death. This resulted in criticism and they had to close the doors to install a new security system. This didn't help and some more problems (fights and shootings) resulted in a definite closing in 1997. The new building has appartments but it still has a lot of memories to the Haçienda. They've even used the traditional yellow/black colours for the interiour of the underneath car parking.
After this piece of history we stopped on Charles Street. We stopped in front of catalogue number FAC 251 also known as Factory Records Headquarters. In this building was the meeting with the Happy Mondays and their recorded tape as also is mentioned in the film. The Happy Mondays were one of the most exciting artists on Factory Records. They got an enormous budget to record their new album and they decided to do this on Barbados. The band returned with the recordings but singer Shaun Ryder only wanted to hand over the tape when Tony Wilson gave them some extra money (all the money from the budget was spent on drugs). After Wilson had done this (even after a shooting incident in a pub where we also made a stop) he noticed that there were no vocals on the tape because Ryder wasn't able to write material. The album "Yes Please!" was eventually released in 1992 (FAC 420) but it was the beginning of the end for Factory Records.
Back in the 8-seater to the Epping Walk Bridge. This bridge became famous in black and white because of a Joy Division band photo that Kevin Cummings made. This photo was used as an album cover for the best of Joy Division in 1979. Of course we posed for our own Dutch Mackems best of album and Craig tried to set us in almost the same setting. Unfortunately there was no snow on this day.
Off to the Salford Lads Club. We got a complete tour inside. This boys club in a poor side of town was designed for young boys to play sport, make music and other activities to keep them off the street. But the club became most famous for the back of the album cover of the Smiths the Queen is dead album. The band is posing in front of the gate on the album and so did we. The club is also in the video's of "Stop me if you think you've heard this one before", "There is a light that never goes out" and the Dream Academy song "Life in a Northern town". Now a days this is a complete Smiths walhalla. Smiths/Morrissey fans from all over the world visit this place and there is one room complete full of Smiths memorabilia. Strange, because it has nothing to do at all with the Smiths apart from the fact that they decided to use it as a background for their album cover. We were aware of these historic facts but it became even more interesting when we were told that Graham Nash used to be a member of the Salford Lads Club. He also rehearsed there with his band the Hollies in the theatre hall. There were some photo's inside of various youth summer camps where you could spot a young Graham Nash.
There was more Smiths to come. Because our next stop was the Iron Bridge. This bridge was the inspiration for the Smiths song "Still ill". In this song is the line "Under the iron bridge we kissed" and it was under this bridge.
The last stop we made was at the Southern Cemetery. This cemetery is also included in a Smiths song. In the song Cemetry (indeed, wrongly spelled by Morrissey) Gates he sings about hanging round at Southern Cemetery and reading the texts on the gravestones. But for us this was a good end to a great tour because Tony Wilson is buried on this Cemetery. After seeing the film and having seen all these things today we admire all these things that he did and a good way to salute him. It made our tour complete. R.I.P. Tony.
We went back to the city centre and walked on the Manchester Walk of Fame with tiles of the Stone Roses, the Buzzcocks but also the Inspiral Carpets. Craig dropped us off for a couple of minutes at a record store, but there was too little time to have a good look. I managed to find some, and better for the money in my wallet that we had little time. During the drive back to the city centre, Craig asked us what we had done the day before apart from the football. We told him that we ended up in a pub with Elbow ale. He asked us where this pub was and what the name was and when we told him it was the Kings Arms he was surprised and told us we were really well informed. We asked him why and he told us that since a couple of months former Housemartins/Beautiful South singer Paul Heaton was the owner of the pub. He wanted to transform it into a real music pub and also that he sometimes plays live music on the top floor of his pub. Aaaaaaahw If we had known this before... Anyway, it explained the number of Housemartins songs that was played on the night. If you would like to see more photo's of the tour, click on the right side related articles to see them all.
Our next appointment was at 4.00 PM in Oldham. The other Lads didn't know anything about this and I had organised this as a surprise. Craig dropped us off at Stonerig Raceway. A big shed with inside about eight different Scalextric Racetracks. All complete with mountains, stands and lights. We couldn't believe our eyes and yes we could also play. They made a special tournament for us. We were allowed to try all the tracks and finally on two tracks we competed against each other. In the final it was Drew who was the winner, Nick as number two and Frido finished as third. Drew is crowned as the best Scalextric racetrack-driver of us all.
Craig picked us up again and took us back to the hotel. The records we bought, Drew's trophy and the tour books of Craig had to be dropped in the hotel room. We thanked Craig for a special and fantastic day out. We'd seen a lot and learned a lot. And we all agreed that Manchester has got a fabulous music history. We ended the day in the Black Lion. A great old pub and after all the music knowledge we had during the day this pub had a jukebox and it was begging to be filled with coins. Well, we did. The Kittie was a sad victim of this. But it still was a Sunday night, so at 11.00 PM they asked us to leave and we hope that the cleaning lady will have enjoyed the music up till 3.00 AM. We went back to the hotel to fall asleep as soon as we hit our beds.
Monday 17th of December
Time to go back home. We didn't have that much time because our flight was scheduled for 1.55 PM what meant that we had to be at the airport around 12.30. We decided not to hurry and have a last pint at the airport. Anyway, this has been a great weekend again. Another one for the memory and we will never forget this.
(written by Nick, match report by Tim)