LATEST ISSUE OF TURNSTILE BLUES NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE

19/10/2014

TB6 cover

In this issue: True Faith: an interview with Terry Butcher by Susan Gardiner; Working Overtime: Nigel “Needles” Nosworthy gives the low-down on his career as ITFC’s tattoo artist by Gavin BarberWilderness: what it was like for Coventry City fans to have to play at another club’s ground. Two articles by CCFC supporters, Tom Murden and Sam GaytonTransmissionEmma Corlett wonders if she’ll be able to pass her love for Town on to her daughter; RegretRob Freeman on the Ched Evans case; Special: an interview with George Burley by Gavin BarberHere to Stay: further memoirs of our nineteenth century correspondent, Peregrine CuttlefishFine Time: memories of Wembley 2000 by James Scowcroft, Tony Mowbray and fans; Sub-culture: a brief history of ITFC fanzines by Susan GardinerLove Will Tear Us Apart: why we produce Turnstile Blues by Gavin BarberTemptation: a new app for finding non-league matches; Unknown Pleasures: non-league football by Alasdair Ross.

Turnstile Blues 6 costs £2.50 (sent by First Class post) or £1.50 to download, please click on the cover image or download button below

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Who sent out an ITFC steward to try and move us on when selling Turnstile Blues today?

18/10/2014

I was selling Turnstile Blues on the public highway out the back of the North Stand this afternoon, and after a few minutes was approached by one of the ITFC senior stewards from the North Stand.

He told me I couldn’t sell there, and asked me if I had a licence to sell. I replied that I didn’t need one.

He said “Yes, you do, you need a licence to trade on the street”.

“Who from?” I replied.

“The council,” he told me.

“I don’t. You’re mistaken. But, if that was the case, it would be the business of the council. I wasn’t aware ITFC stewards had council enforcement powers.”

I pointed out that the selling of newspapers and pamphlets is exempt from needing street trading consent. The steward only gave up when I called over another TB seller who happens to be a Ipswich Borough councillor, who reiterated what I told him.

Another of our sellers on Portman Road was asked by a steward what he was doing, and kept a close eye on him for five minutes before he lost interest and wandered off.

Contributors to this fanzine who have been involved in editing and selling other ITFC fanzines report never having been bothered by or attempts made to obstruct their sales by ITFC staff or stewards previously. We will leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Thanks though to the several stewards who bought a copy of Turnstile Blues today . We hope you enjoy reading it.


Roy Keane: the only interview you need to read

12/10/2014

14_Page_31_Perry When former Town manager Roy Keane released his new book this week, there was frantic media attention. Peregrine Cuttlefish, society columnist for the East Anglian Daily Times from 1871 – 1903, occasional Turnstile Blues contributor, and the only man to have spent three solid hours flicking rubber bands at Charles Dickens’s nose, instantly recognised the potential for a meeting of wizened minds, and was first in the queue for an interview. We are proud to present the full text of what can quite literally be described as a historic encounter. Transcribed by Gavin Barber.

Peregrine Cuttlefish: Thank you, Mr Keane, for agreeing to an interview. When I read your book I realised that we should meet. We have each spent our lives at the very forefront of history: living and shaping the moments that define our respective eras.

Roy Keane: You say that. I could agree with it or not agree with it. It doesn’t matter.

PC: One notices straight away your antipathy towards Sir Alex Ferguson, a man whom you chastise for being distracted by horses. This instantly reminded me of Thomas Hardy, who was notorious for tearing up drafts of his latest novel if he saw a moth in the room. A little-known fact is that Far From The Madding Crowd was only completed because me and a troupe of jobbing performers from the Lambeth Music Hall were on a 24-hour patrol outside his study, swatting moths with our banjos lest any should disturb Hardy’s concentration. Did you ever meet him?

RK: Thomas Hardy? Aye, a miserable fuck. Sure he could pull a sentence together but why be so bitter about everything? I look back on what I achieved as a footballer and see no acknowledgement of that in Hardy’s work. None at all. That to me seems disrespectful. I’ve no time for the man.

PC: There’s a passage in the book in which you say that Sunderland chairman Ellis Short spoke to you “like you were something on the bottom of his shoe”. I remember Queen Victoria herself saying this after an unfortunate encounter with the King of Norway. What are your views on the dowager empress?

RK: Queen Victoria? Ah, listen. She’s achieved a lot, there’s no doubt about that. But I don’t get the need to be flouncing around with the big black dresses and the moody face. OK, so the guy with the knob-ring died. Get over it, move on. The way I see it, you look back over some of the proper monarchs, your Henry Vs and what have you, and they never saw the need for that sort of showboating. They just got their heads down and got on with the business of oppressing people. I just don’t get why Victoria had to show off like that. Why the flouncing? Can’t be doing with it.

PC: Thinking back over my own time as one of the leading lights of the literary circuit, I recall a cocktail party in Woodbridge in which Lady Login-Error of Shotley caused quite the stir by reading to the assembled company from her diaries. She shocked the guests by revealing that she had tapped a servant-girl across the ankles for insolence. Your new book reveals several such confrontations. Is this a regular feature of your life?

RK: Listen, I’m no different from anyone else. People think I’m this kind of monster, always getting wound up and fighting people, but I’m just a normal guy. Yeah, I’ve had a few rucks. Jon Walters and Pablo at Ipswich, that’s in the book. Schmeichel at Man United too. And yeah, it happens occasionally. I was in the hotel this morning and there weren’t enough hash browns at the breakfast buffet. I don’t even like hash browns. It shouldn’t matter to me. But it’s about standards of professionalism. So, yeah, I smashed up the kitchen and pinned the chef against the wall. But it’s just part of life. Happens to anyone.

PC: You’ve said in the book that when you were a player you had a ‘character’ that you got into, and that all sports professionals are, to an extent, playing a role. I was fortunate enough to spend some time in the company of your fellow countryman George Bernard Shaw. Like you, he was perceived by some as a troublemaker: in reality he was studious and diligent, but with a playful side. I remember one occasion when we were dining at White’s with Horry Walpole: Shaw carefully arranged all the peas on his plate into a perfect pyramid, then toppled it just as the Prince of Wales walked past our table. The bumbling royal lost his footing amidst the leguminous sea, and clattered face-first into the Duke of Fife’s sherry trifle. Shaw was roaring with laughter. Which of the classical thespians did you follow in developing your role as a footballer? I thought I could see Stanislavski’s influence in the fight with Alan Shearer in 2001 which got you a red card.

RK: Sure, there’s an element of acting there. Stanislavski is nonsense though. Method acting? Don’t give me that. You’re either in character or you’re not. What business do you have calling yourself a professional if you’ve got to immerse yourself for hours? Get in there, do the job, get the fuck off the stage.

PC: And finally Mr Keane: a contemporary of mine was Charles Darwin, who like you attracted disdain, opprobrium and horror in his own time, only to be regarded as a visionary in later years. What are your views on human evolution? Have we reached optimum physicality or can we adapt further? Do you think it will ever be physically possible to…

RK: Stick it up your bollocks.

Roy Keane’s new book, Stuff That Makes Me Cross When I Think About It, is out now. Peregrine Cuttlefish’s memoirs are due to be published just as soon as he remembers the details of that hilarious thing that Edward Elgar once did with a goldfish. In the meantime, an excerpt can be found in the new issue of Turnstile Blues, on sale at Portman Road next Saturday or via this website soon afterwards.


Roy Keane Ha Ha Ha (or The Snapper)

07/10/2014

 

gloria

Roy Keane has written about his time at Portman Road. Susan Gardiner took a quick look and these are her first impressions.

I did wonder whether Roy Keane would say very much about Ipswich Town in his new autobiography, The Second Half, co-written with Irish novelist, Roddy Doyle. I enjoyed his previous book with Eamon Dunphy (with whom he later fell out. Obviously.) and I felt some sympathy with him when he came to Ipswich – here’s a man who will never be able to build a career away from the cameras, journos and their tiresome ringing mobile phones, and keyboard warriors high on male pheronomes – but that has been severely strained by a quick glance at the relevant chapter of the new book. Given that I don’t have the context of the entire book, it wouldn’t be fair to comment too much on Keane, the man – although it’s hard not to.

It’s quite obvious that Keane regards his whole time at Portman Road as a mistake. He claims that he and Ipswich were a “bad fit” and the omens were there from the start: hardly anyone came to his first training session which was open to the public, he says. Oh, and he hates blue: “I don’t like fuckin’ blue. City were blue. Rangers were blue. My biggest rivals were blue? Is that childish?”

Yes, Roy. It is.

I’m quite glad that I was unaware of that level of irrationality when he was our manager. Although this book was written with hindsight, it’s a curious method of self-justification and that particular bit doesn’t ring true. I wonder why he says it. It’s not particularly edifying. He goes on: “I couldn’t feel it. Me and the club. I get annoyed now, thinking that. I should have been able to accept it.”

This is the tone of the section I’ve read: slightly regretful, mea culpa, I should have accepted the situation and have done my best with it. But I don’t buy it. It seems to me that, at Ipswich, he felt like Gloria Swanson, playing the ageing Hollywood star, Norma Desmond at the end of Sunset Boulevard (“I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.”) He moans about his office, “like a school prefab,” and it makes me long for the humility of an Alf Ramsey or the pragmatic cheeriness of a Bobby Robson (“good fits”).

The question springs to mind: why was Roy Keane appointed at all? What was in Marcus Evans’ mind when he (presumably) decided to sack Magilton and replace him with this man? Magilton was not doing particularly badly. In retrospect, it seems very harsh that he was sacked and, although we’re happy to have Mick McCarthy, I do wonder how well Magic Jim would have done, had he had the time to build a team. The only explanation that I can come up with for the arrival of Keane is “publicity.” And he definitely created huge opportunities for a certain grey and white logo to be displayed all over Britain’s press and TV screens.

Keane is certainly self-deprecating at times: “I made another mistake. I should have looked at the bigger picture.” He writes of what he describes as “the dreaded conversations with the owner” during the close season. It’s interesting to see that, for all his anonymity, Evans is not averse to interfering with managerial decision-making. Perhaps Town fans became too used to the completely hands-off approach that the Cobbolds took for decades, although it seemed to work for us. I was most surprised by the picture Keane draws of sitting with ME discussing tactics, with a tactics board. Perhaps this explains a lot:

ME: “Well, why can’t he play there?”

RK: “Because he’s this and he’s not that.”

ME: “Let’s go with the younger players.”

So, according to Keane’s book, he was told to go for youth rather than experience against his better judgement. “The average age of a promoted team is twenty-eight or twenty-nine.”

Keane puts the failure to recruit (33-year-old) Sean Derry firmly at the feet of the club. He wanted an experienced pro, which is understandable, but whether Derry was the right “fit,” we’ll never know. He’s respectful towards Town fans, says some kind words about Connor Wickham but what he says about some of his other players demonstrates an absence of rapport to say the least. When shaking their hands and wishing them luck going on to the pitch “sometimes I’d wonder what they were putting into my hand.”

He wanted to physically attack Pablo, and his bust-up with Walters is the stuff of legend (vomit selfie, anyone?) but what he says about selling Rhodes is interesting, at least to me because I always suspected that was a club decision rather than Keane’s and he confirms it.

Most interesting of all are his revelations about CEO Simon Clegg. And that there was never an occasion when he, Clegg and Evans were ever in “the same room together.” His comment on Clegg (“This is the face you have got”) being answerable to Marcus Evans rather than working with the manager rings true and it’s perhaps one thing that we can be sympathetic with Keane about.

While I find him surprisingly unanalytical and lacking in self-awareness (that ego gets in the way too often), I think he’s right about not being a good fit with this club. I despair that he compares us unfavourably to Sunderland and even more when reading these words: “Chris Kiwomya was there, and Bryan Klug, and Steve McCall was the chief scout. They’d all played for Ipswich. It has the feel of a family club that didn’t need breaking up. But that was exactly what it needed.”

Ultimately, it was the wrong appointment at the wrong time and for questionable reasons. Keane clearly found it onerous to “discuss mobile phones for hours” when Wickham has been thrown out of his digs. I was struck by the comparison with our great managers of the past, Ramsey and Robson, who patiently performed far more menial administrative tasks for the club and had a genius for good relationships with their players and other staff, well documented elsewhere. As Kevin Beattie recalled of Bobby Robson: “It didn’t matter if you were the best player in the team or the worst player, he treated you the same and got the best out of you. He could make an average player into a good player and a good player into a great player. It was uncanny ability and that made him stand out as a manager. Wherever he went, he seemed to get the best out of his players. I know at Ipswich, we all just wanted to play for him.”

Roy Keane wasn’t blessed with players of the ability of Beattie, Mariner, Wark or Mills, and it’s arguable that things may have been different if he’d had a different kind of owner and chief executive to deal with. In many ways, Keane was a symptom of the changes made to our club’s character in recent years rather than the cause of our problems. Let’s hope that in Mick McCarthy we now have someone able to deal with that, yet retain respect for the nature of our club.

 

The Second Half by Roy Keane and Roddy Doyle (Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2014). Borrow it from your local public library, they need your support.


Wrong place, right time: Blofield United Reserves vs Freethorpe, Non-league Day 2014

08/09/2014

Blofield 2

Emma Corlett ventured into unknown territory on Saturday as it was Non-league Day. This is her report.

Non league day. We hardly ever get the chance to watch football together as a family.  I have a season ticket at Portman Road and my partner has a season ticket at Carrow Road.  Non league day provided the ideal opportunity to take our eight-year-old daughter to a game, without any underhand or subtle attempts to sway her one way or the other.

She’s an eight-year-old who hates mushrooms, so the lure of a free punnet of the things for everyone attending Bungay Town was never going to do it for her.  Lowestoft was tempting, but at the last minute we realised Norwich United were playing Ipswich Wanderers at 3pm.  Perfect.  Or it would have been if I hadn’t left it until the last minute, and relied upon  “the internet,” according to which Norwich United play at Plantation Park in Blofield.  So off we headed to Blofield – it’s a small village so how hard could it be to find?

Very, it turns out.  We still have no idea where Plantation Park is. But we saw a pitch with a match taking place, so went for that.  It was free to get in.  One team in yellow, one team in green *sighs*.  Blofield United Reserves (green) versus Freethorpe (yellow).  The match had kicked off at 2.30pm, and a quick count of both teams revealed that we’d missed a bit of action as Freethorpe had already had a player sent off.

The kiosk selling tea and sausage rolls was better staffed than match day at PR.  Tea, made in a pot was served with fresh milk in a proper mug for 50p.  Sausage rolls that looked like they had proper meat in them rather than the scrapings off an abattoir floor on offer at most football league grounds were £1. Oh, and you can drink within sight of the pitch from a patio outside the bar (selling cheap local real ale). Blofield 1

The half-time whistle blew just as we made it to the touchline, and we were informed that Blofield were winning 1-0.  Who needs half time entertainment when there are two children’s play areas to chose between?

So on to the second half.  The Freethorpe goal keeper was a bit gobby, and his inspiring words of encouragement included “pick ‘em up early,” “get some chat going, we’re too quiet,” and  “these lads are dog shit, let’s lift it”.  His motivational yelping paid off, and Freethorpe equalised on (about) 75 minutes with a brilliantly curled free kick from about 25 yards that dipped under the bar.

Apparently a rule change has this season allowed for rolling subs, so there was a fair bit of coming and going that was tricky to keep track of.  This also applied to who was running the line for Blofield.  A replacement lino approached the task in the slacker style.  When asked why he didn’t raise his flag to signify a throw in, he shouted back: “It was such an obvious decision I didn’t think I needed to bother”.  This prompted the ref to come over and check that he actually knew what he was doing.

A bold double substitution by the Blofield manager, resplendent in his proper manager’s coat, complete with initials, on around 80 minutes, paid off quickly, and Blofield scored what turned out to be the winner with a 12-yard skilful turn and low shot from their number 9 striker.

It all looked like a bit of a slog for most, and players heading the ball out of defence made grunting sounds more usually heard from the tennis stars at Wimbledon.  The pass completion rate was low, I suspect no more than 12%. Some clearly took it more seriously than others, and I wouldn’t have wanted to get in the way of the Freethorpe captain as he stormed off at the end, shirt in hand.

Blofield 3The attendance (as counted by me) was 72, plus 17 children and 1 dog. There was the customary ball stuck in tree incident, which was solved by kicking another football at the stuck ball, resulting of course in two balls stuck up tree. [Ed. The highlights of this incident can be watched here.]

I hear that the ‘respect’ agenda is heavily promoted at grass roots level football.  It wasn’t much in evidence today.  It would be quicker to list the players who didn’t call the referee a c*nt than those who did.  No one was booked for dissent, despite the steady flow of criticism directed at the referee throughout “ref watch the f*cking ball, you twat,” “ref, you’ve ruined this game, you better f*cking apologise to our players”.  Maybe he’d made a heinous decision for the first half sending off we’d missed, but he had a fairly uncontroversial game from my perspective.

It was fun though, the sun was shining and for me there is just something great about watching people running around playing football whatever the level.  For each wayward, out for a throw in pass, there was a little snippet of skill from someone. And the eight-year-old got to watch the game from the top of a climbing frame.

 

Blofield 5


Non-league Day on 6th September 2014

03/09/2014

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Gavin Barber would like you to think about going to watch some non-league football on Saturday – and we at Turnstile Blues agree.

This Saturday, 6th September, is Non-League Day. The idea is simple: the teams in the top two divisions aren’t playing, so if you’d normally be watching your team play in the Premier League or Championship, go to a local Non-League ground instead.

Or, just go to a game at a local Non-League ground because, well, because it’s fun.

The point of Non-League Day is not to be “worthy” or touristy, or even particularly serious. It’s about enjoyment: the simple pleasure of watching a football match because you want to watch a football match, not because it has a multi-million pound outcome riding on it. The pleasure of discovering a ground that you’ve never been to before – chances are it’ll have more trees than corporate hospitality tents. The pleasure of being able to have a beer while watching the game, and of hearing some new songs being sung.

There’s a serious side to it – grassroots football has massive social benefits: it enables people to participate and play and socialise, and provides community cohesion in these difficult times. So, it needs your support.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to wear your Guardian Columnist face on Non-League Day. Just turn up and enjoy it. Chances are, you’ll want to come back.

*     *     *     *     *

You can find a non-league fixture near to you by using the “Find A Match” function on the Non-League Day website. Whitton United and Woodbridge Town, for example, are both at home. Or if you fancy a Ryman League game you could head for Leiston United. And there’s some Conference North (yes, Conference North – I don’t make the rules up) action on the coast at Lowestoft Town.

Alternatively, download the Non-League Fixture Finder for your smartphone and let it work its location-based magic.

logoPhil Porter explains more about his Nonleague Fixture Finder app:
I’ve been attending nonleague football matches pretty regularly for a few years now. Last December during a period of wet weather a number of matches for my club – Cambridge City – were postponed and I started the hunt for other matches to attend.This was a more laborious process than it should have been. I couldn’t easily find a suitable website with all the nonleague fixtures displayed – and the official websites of the various nonleagues are hard to navigate and entirely separate. Further, none of them take any notice of my location to inform me what matches are close to me. It struck me that an iPhone app (I have an iPhone) could have taken the list of fixtures and displayed them in distance order from me. Surely someone had written one? No. They hadn’t. I’m not blessed with ideas that could be turned into interesting apps, but this one seemed promising. I’m technical enough to figure out how to write one. I’d also be an active user of the app, so I’d be able to tune it to show me exactly what I wanted and so I’d have a better idea of what should be in it than most other people. Finally the nonleague fixtures aren’t copyright, so I’d be able to create this app without the need to license them from the various leagues (an unofficial Football League app couldn’t be created for this reason). I’d be able to write an app (for a nerd like myself this seemed quite cool) and people may actually like having it! So I did.

It is in the Apple store now (http://www.tinyurl.com/NLFF-app).

It contains the fixtures for the top 4 steps (that’s 12 different leagues) of the nonleague pyramid, and sorts them by distance from where the user is. The fixtures can be displayed in a list or on a map and you can filter them by nonleague level and how far you want to travel.

A club directory is also provided showing complete fixture lists, ticket prices, address and a website link for each of the clubs in those 12 divisions.

 


Family entertainment

21/08/2014

 

Half Time

 After a short cessation of hostilities, the derby match is back at Portman Road this Saturday and we’re all excited about it – except for one thing…  by Susan Gardiner

Embarrassing relatives. We’ve all got them.

Whether it’s an uncle who makes off-colour jokes and is a little too free with his hands or the aunt who only drinks on Christmas Day and, after two sherries, insists everyone watches a war film instead of the great comedy show on the other channel, then promptly falls asleep and starts snoring at seismic levels… OK, this analogy might be getting a bit too personal.

I feel like that about some of my fellow Town fans sometimes. We all have the same interests at heart, but – naturally enough – have different views about how to go about achieving our aims. We argue, we fight, we agree to differ, it doesn’t last long, we argue again… . It was ever thus. In many ways, it’s that kind of thing that makes football supporters comparable to a real family, rather than the trite, happy-clappy, “football family” of the clichés that are trotted out by the media, Barclays ads and football club PR departments.

Perhaps the rivalry between the two major East Anglian clubs is a bit like a confrontation between the Montagues and the Capulets in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, except that fortunately, for the most part, the sword fighting has been replaced by verbal abuse and bragging in musical form.

This is clearly an improvement, and anyway the police will no doubt deal with anyone on either side who allows the rivalry to spill over into anything worse. However, there are aspects of some of the chanting that Ipswich fans aim at their rivals that aren’t acceptable. If they ever were acceptable – and I doubt it – they aren’t any longer. Stuart Hellingsworth wrote about that, with particular reference to the appalling Justin Fashanu song. I don’t know any Ipswich Town supporter who isn’t embarrassed and ashamed about that being sung and I hope that I never hear it at Portman Road again. It does, of course, contravene the law and our own club rules and anyone caught singing it will, quite rightly, be thrown out of the ground and banned.

There’s another song that crosses the line of acceptability though, and one of the Turnstile Blues group unfortunately heard about twenty fans singing it in the North Stand in the match against Fulham recently. It’s the one about Delia. I’m not going to quote the words as they’re well known. The objection here isn’t to “bad language” though. The issue is that people are singing a song that is intended to be offensive about the Norwich City “joint majority shareholder” (that’s what she’s officially called and that is silly. Perhaps someone could come up with a song?) They’re singing it for one reason alone, because she’s a woman. Whatever our views on Delia, her gender isn’t really relevant and shouldn’t be an issue. The only conclusion that anyone can reluctantly come to is that the song is sung because there’s a – hopefully small – element in the Ipswich Town fan base that is sexist and/or misogynistic and this is a manifestation of it.

Football has grown up a lot over the last few decades, but it’s quite clear from the revelations about TV presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray, Richard Scudamore, the Chief Executive of the Premier League, no less and – as recently as yesterday – allegations about former Cardiff City manager (and Norwich player), Malky Mackay, that there’s still a long way to go. Recent advertising campaigns by The Football Paper, and Conference sponsors, Vanarama, are depressing in their out-dated attitude to women. It all seems to be based on an outmoded view that “lad culture” is the norm and that this kind of thing appeals to most football supporters. That’s as insulting to men as it is to women when you think about it.

Look around most football grounds now and you’ll see lots of women, you’ll see families, you’ll see men with daughters (and sons) who don’t want to hear things like the Delia song.

It’s disappointing that sexism and misogynistic behaviour don’t seem to be taken as seriously as racism and homophobia, but it’s just as bad. Denigrating someone because of what they are rather than who they are, or because of a stereotype, is exactly the kind of thing that leads to worse: hatred, abuse, violence. Denigrating someone just because they’re female, apart from being quite weird and ridiculous, is pernicious.

We’re all hoping to see our status as the Pride of Anglia restored on Saturday. Whatever the result, let’s hope that the most embarrassing members of the ITFC family stay at home or keep their malignant songs to themselves.

You can report any offensive chanting or language using the Kick It Out app or the club’s STAMP IT OUT text number 07834 439429.

 

 


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