Category Archives: Manchester


Today is our birthday. The 30492 – London Celtic Punks blog was born today on the 7th July, 2014 . It’s been an enjoyable slog I must say and it’s been an pleasure to meet so many like minded people. There is plenty more to come from us and we just hope that we can continue to introduce you to good music and good craic for many years to come. 


One thing that we have been asked more than any other is how is the word ‘Celtic’ pronounced. For us over here in England it seems pretty natural but I can see how it can be a bit confusing if you are from overseas. During the so-called Celtic Twilight period in the late 1800s and early 1900s both hard c (‘Keltic’) and soft c (‘Seltic’) were used. The word Celt is derived from Keltoi, which is the name the Greeks gave the ‘barbarian’ tribes along the Danube and Rhone rivers. The Romans borrowed the Greek name, but spelled it ‘Celtae’, and the word entered French in the form ‘Celtes’, from which the English derived Celt. In French the soft c pronunciation is standard for ‘Celtique’, following standard French pronunciation rules. The Irish (‘Ceilteach’) and Breton’s (‘kelt’-ethnicity and ‘keltiek’- language) both use a hard c sound. Modern Breton also has a word ‘Keltia’, meaning the Celtic world.

Dewsbury Celtic

Dewsbury Celtic

The Celtic Twilight period was also around the time when many sporting organisations were springing up with the name Celtic in them. Most were based outside of Ireland and were formed either by first or second generation Irish immigrants. The most obvious being of course Glasgow Celtic in 1888 but their are many other great examples. Dewsbury Celtic Rugby League Football Club (1879) are the oldest Irish sporting organisation outside Ireland. Formed in 1879 when the Irish escaping post-famine poverty and hunger arrived in Yorkshire to work as labourers and in the local mills. They settled in the Irish ghetto of Westtown and formed a rugby club which soon after changed to being a football club before changing again shortly after and returning to rugby. They began life as Dewsbury Shamrocks and changed their name in around 1910 to Celtic. The club today are based in Irish National League Club in Dewsbury and play in the National Division of the Rugby League Conference. The club field a dozen or more youth teams and are doing an absolutely amazing job of keeping alive the ‘Celtic’ spirit and traditions in West Yorkshire.

As more and more Irish flooded into England and Scotland football teams like our very own (1888) and Stalybridge Celtic (1909) or Farsley Celtic (1908) in the north of England were established and then later in America the Boston Celtics Basketball Club (1946). These are all referred to with the soft c pronunciation and the modern convention is to keep the soft c pronunciation to refer only to sports teams.

The use of the hard c version in cultural matters indicated, until recently, that the user was somewhat knowledgeable in these matters. This has changed since Riverdance, Titanic, etc., and also the use of the term ‘Celtic Tiger’ to refer to the improved economy of Ireland and Scotland. Personally I would use the hard k when talking about Celtic culture, language or traditions except when talking about sporting clubs but to be honest both can be ‘korrect’!!

ALBUM REVIEW: DANNY DIATRIBE- ‘Elevation Illustrations’ (2016)

Elevation Illustrations is the second album release from Danny Diatribe aka Irish rapper Danny Lynch originally from Derry City but based in Manchester.

Danny Diatribe

Now first things first. What I know about hip-hop you could write on the back of a postage stamp to be honest but I do like music of the Irish diaspora and I do own the House Of Pain discography and that has made me the most qualified out of all the London Celtic Punks reviewers to take on the new Danny Diatribe album for you! Danny was born Danny Lynch in Derry city in the occupied north of Ireland but emigrated to Manchester as a young ‘un ten years back. Danny may not be the first celtic-rapper (see our article The Top Seven Celtic Hip-Hop Artists And Bands here) but he is one of only a small handful waving the tricolour in England!

Danny Diatribe 3

Elevation Illustrations is Danny’s follow up album to 2013’s Information Age and though musically a hundred miles away from what I usually listen to I found myself getting proper into it… so i did! With a whole host of guest artists appearing Elevation Illustrations is like a who’s-who of the Manchester rap scene but is most definitely Danny’s work. Kicking off with ‘Towards Balance’ which was released as a single from the album.

Followed by ‘Encounter Philosophical’ and another great video goes with the song this time filmed in Reykjavik, Iceland. In fact one of the things most impressive things about Danny Diatribe is the quality videos that accompany pretty much all of Danny’s songs. ‘Magum Opus’ features Conor McGregor giving out on what is the Irish way while ‘Roses’ features Wile Man. The nightmare of alcoholism is the feature of ‘Ten Green Bottles’
“Emerge from buried history, i never speak in novel tones,
Never do I grovel thrones, I hobble down the cobble stones,
Sunken in the drunkin groans, my thoughts are dim lit alleyways,
Drown my screaming ego, I escape from my reality.Fall into the gutter on theses doom stilts,
Calls for help turns into a spludder as the room tilts,
This is the life for me, cos there is no life for me,
I drown the fuckin sight i see”

and more nightmarish visions follow in title song ‘Elevation Illustrations’ featuring Herrotics and Misc Jockey. ‘South Manchester’ is a gritty slowed down diatribe on an area of Manchester that goes from the footballer-belt right up to the inner-city. ‘Boneshakers’ features Dubbul O and ‘The Vagabond of Babylon’ features Danny in the video wandering round his native Derry.

‘Paddys Cure’ follows and begins with a blast of the Dubliners and is as good a song about Irish emigration as you’ll hear. The song is featuring fellow Manchester Irish rapper D’Lyfa Reilly and the pride and the sadness of leaving Ireland and being Irish is clear.

‘The Void’ features Tony Skank, ‘Bun The System’ features Bill Sykes, Black Josh & Cheech and we’re coming to the end of the album and the last two songs sum up the album perfectly. ‘The Fractal Mind Of Diatribe’ is an extended rant giving Danny’s main philosophies on life.

“I’m Danny Diatribe, chillin on a manny vibe,
The chillin Irish guy that keeps it lit just like a fire fly,
Got more juice than 5alive, but never on the flyer I
Think promoters sleep they’re counting sheep and rapid eye
movement, showing improvement, I’ve been rhyming for a decade,
from mind to pen to tongue my lungs expand under my chest plate,
the Derry native gets creative with his intake
breath controls the central role for meditating stressed states
rippin the microphone cos its the dopest thing i know
gathering up my thoughts and then express it in a flow
I’m academic when i said it and it shows
I kick enlightened poems if you don’t know well now ye know,
but some dont comprehend so they need to be told again
the universe extends every time i hold a pen
don’t follow trends but ye can catch me at the bar with cats
spittin raps till another celebrity star collapse
off the beaten track, only reaching those that’s seeking facts,
leave that heathen chat, your teeth’s in that and what you speak is wack,
no-one believes in your mc-ing get your reason back,
im a seasoned cat, your a cell inside a semen sack,
must be fuckin dreamin, black Irish and we’re up north
the catechism causes craniums to contort,
futuristic, my target market’s unborn,
I speak the celtic flow that makes you want more,

cause an uproar”

The song ends with the great line

“so thanks for listenin, grab a tin with me next of kin,
grippin them and sippin them up on a roof in Withington”

and finally ‘Elevation Illustrations’ comes to an end with ‘Astral Journey’ featuring Legion and the curtain comes down.

The album was produced by Pro P who has been tipped as one of the top 10 UK hip hop producers to look out for in 2016 by the highly influential web site UKHH.COM. Fourteen tracks that nicely bring up both The Clash and Public Enemy in describing Irish immigrant life while raging on the attacks on our civil liberties, Palestine, imperialism, the working class and the gritty side of Manchester life. All are in his cross-hairs and the execution is pure brilliant. Backed by a varied and excellent sets of beats from trip-hop to jungle, to electronica and back again Danny has delivered something that takes the idea of celtic-punk and brings it much much closer to modern culture than we could ever do. Sharp tongued and finely distilled Danny Diatribe is set for important things. Buy the album and tell your friends you got your finger on the pulse of underground Irish immigrant hip hop. You will sound cool as anything!

(you can listen to  by pressing play on the Bandcamp player below before you buy. Go on it’s only a fiver!)

Danny Diatribe 2Buy The Album


Contact Danny Diatribe

Facebook  Bandcamp  Soundcloud  YouTube  Google+  Twitter

Interesting story regards the old fashioned gent on the album cover. It is not as originally thought Danny pre-beard but his Great-Grandad James Lynch in 1890. He was a protestant that converted to Catholicism to marry and had to be sneaked into church on the quiet. Both him and his brother played football for Ireland and he was given an award by the Royal Humane Society for saving a drowning woman’s life by jumping in the water, punching her unconscious, swimming back to shore with her and resuscitating her on land!


Fearless and uncompromising Ewan MacColl’s influence is still felt far beyond the folk world. We owe him a lot… more than we can ever imagine.

Joy Of Living

Regular readers of the London Celtic Punks blog will all know how much we like Ewan MacColl and we have regularly featured him within these pages. Though long gone Ewan’s massive volume of work lives on and only the other day were we raving about the Irish-American celtic-punk band 1916 and their amazing version of another Ewan song (sadly not featured here) ‘Hot Asphalt’. Ewan’s songs were uplifting whether proclaiming love or war or peace. He wrote about things that would now be forgotten about and has kept their memory alive. He gave birth to a folk revival that continues to this day, many years after his passing, that remains in great health. The songs he wrote and championed are still being played and explored and adapted and still being made great. Ewan MacColl’s musical legacy is, to put it simply, just out of this world. We owe him a lot… more than we can ever imagine.

Ewan was the Scots-born son of a Gaelic-speaking mother and Lowland father from whom he inherited more than a hundred songs and ballads. He worked as a garage hand, builders’ labourer, journalist, radio scriptwriter, actor and dramatist. After the end of World War II Ewan wrote and broadcast extensively in Britain about folk music. He was general editor of the BBC folk-music series, ‘Ballads and Blues’, and frequently took part in radio and television shows for the BBC.

Ewan MacColl 1His folk song publications included ‘Personal Choice’, a pocket book edition of Scots folk songs and ballads, and ‘The Shuttle and the Cage’, the first published collection of British industrial folk songs. Eventually he was ousted from the BBC due to his socialist beliefs. He wrote many songs that have become folk (and celtic-punk standards) the most famous of course being ‘Dirty Old Town’ popularised by The Dubliners and then The Pogues. It is wrongly assumed to be about Dublin but it is in fact about his home town of Salford in Manchester. He is also famous for writing one of the greatest ever love songs ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ which he wrote for his second wife, the influential American folk singer, Peggy Seeger. He was also the father of Kirsty MacColl who of course guested on The Pogues enormous Christmas hit ‘Fairytale Of New York’. After many years of poor health Ewan died on 22 October 1989 but it can be safely said of him that his songs and influence will live on forever. Comparable only to Woody Guthrie in more than one way.

This fantastic double album marks 100 years since Ewan MacColl’s birth and the album has been produced by two of Ewan’s sons, Calum and Neill, and features a wonderful bunch of diverse artists from right across folk, rock, pop and celtic music. Disc one begins with, for me, one of the stand out tracks with Damien Dempsey singing ‘Schooldays Over’. The only song here we have heard before nevertheless it is more than welcome. Made famous by the late great Luke Kelly’s version with The Dubliners Damien is no stranger to Ewan’s work and does him truly proud.

This is followed by a track from one of the most influential figures in folk music today, Martin Carthy and is the first of several and several individual contributions by the Waterson-Carthy family. He performs the unlikely tale of a fish delivery man in ‘I’m Champion At Keeping ‘Em Rolling’. The Unthanks may sound like a rock band but are in fact two sisters (Unthank is their great surname) who perform a gentle lullaby ‘Cannily, Cannily’. Tracks from legends old and new follow from Seth Lakeman and Marry Waterson and Bombay Bicycle Club are up next, BBC famously include one of MacColl’s grandchildren, Jamie. They contribute a moving version of ‘The Young Birds’, a song written back in 1961 to commemorate a tragic plane crash that killed 34 London children of whom some were known to MacColl’s oldest son, Hamish. Another artist we are familiar with here is Dick Gaughan who contributes ‘Jamie Foyers’. Dick is an influential Scottish musician, singer, and songwriter who was a founding member of the famous celtic band Boys Of The Lough. Martin’s daughter Eliza Carthy, ‘Thirty-Foot Trailer’ and Chaim Tannenbaum, ‘My Old Man’, are up next before honorary Irishman Steve Earle presents a new take on a song that needs no introduction ‘Dirty Old Town’, except to say that it does sound like the spirit(s) of Shane MacGowan were present at its recording.

The first discs last song is from Jarvis Cocker and the erstwhile Pulp front man gives us a amazingly beautiful whispered version of  ‘The Battle Is Done With’. I am sure it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but its great to hear something that just isn’t a straight cover of Ewan’s work.

Ewan MacCollDisc two begins with the most famous of Ewan’s compositions and Paul Buchanan vocalist of 80/90’s Glasgow indie band The Blue Nile croons beautifully through the ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’. Ewan wrote the song for Peggy Seeger and it became an international smash hit in 1972 sung by Roberta Flack. On hearing this version it made me wonder how Shane MacGowan would have mastered it. Paul Brady will be a name known to many and his version of ‘Freeborn Man’ shows Paul to have lost none of his talent in a career that spans right across modern day Irish folk music. Another travellers song follows and Norma Waterson provides us with a fauntless rendition of the gypsy’s plight in ‘The Moving On Song’. Karine Polwart’s version of ‘The Terror Time’ is again beautiful, and Martin Simpson, The Father’s Song, is up next before the ultimate Irish living folk legend, and former band mate of Paul Brady in Planxty, Christy Moore appears with ‘The Companeros’. Again yer man has lost nothing and its a stunning version. Now there’s one name missing from this album so far and he’s up next. It must be written into law that Billy Bragg must appear on any folk compilation and whatever you think of him he gives us a really nice but angry copy of ‘Kilroy Was Here’ which strips Billy back to those early days when he was at his best. Folk siblings Rufus and Martha Wainwright play the magnificent ‘Sweet Thames, Flow Softly’. A small gentle snapshot of life before Kathryn Williams, ‘Alone’, and David Gray brings the whole project to an end with one of Ewan’s best but sadly little known songs, and album title, The Joy of Living.

As you may expect traditionalists might not appreciate some of the versions here but this enhances, rather than detracts and all the various strands of Ewan’s political and musical life is represented here. This double album does not pretend to be the ‘be-all-and-end-all’ as with an artist with such a massive repertoire it would be impossible to please everyone but it does provide a gateway. Collections like this serve only one purpose. That is to steer listeners away from the modern day versions to the original source and with Ewan their is plenty to catch up on. We have included some links at the bottom where readers can find more information and free downloads so I hope you take the opportunity to. It is impossible to calculate the range and influence of this remarkable singer and song-writer but we can rest assured his memory lives and this album is a great testament to him.

“My function is not to reassure people. I want to make them uncomfortable. To send them out of the place arguing and talking”

Disc 1
1. Damien Dempsey – Schooldays Over
2. Martin Carthy – I’m Champion At Keeping ‘Em Rolling
3. The Unthanks – Cannily, Cannily
4. Seth Lakeman – The Shoals of Herring
5. Marry Waterson – The Exile Song
6. Bombay Bicycle Club – The Young Birds
7. Dick Gaughan – Jamie Foyers
8. Eliza Carthy – Thirty-Foot Trailer
9. Chaim Tannenbaum – My Old Man
10. Steve Earle – Dirty Old Town
11. Jarvis Cocker – The Battle Is Done With

Disc 2
1. Paul Buchanan – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
2. Paul Brady – Freeborn Man
3. Norma Waterson  – Moving On Song
4. Karine Polwart – The Terror Time
5. Martin Simpson – The Father’s Song
6. Christy Moore – The Companeros
7. Billy Bragg – Kilroy Was Here
8. Rufus & Martha Wainwright – Sweet Thames, Flow Softly
9. Kathryn Williams – Alone
10. David Gray – The Joy of Living

Buy The Album

Here   CookingVinylRecords  Amazon

Official Ewan MacColl Sites

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For more on Ewan MacColl the internet is awash with sites but trust us and head straight to the official sites but also to Wikipedia as well as this tribute from the Working Class Movement Library here. You can listen to some of his music for free here on LastFm.

We have a regular series ‘Classic Album Reviews’ where we feature records from the past that have had influence far beyond their years. Ewan (of course!!), Leadbelly and several compilations have featured so far and all come with links to free downloads. You can check out the full series here.

(Just to prove Ewan’s work lives on here’s the aforementioned 1916 from New York with their recent  version of the classic Ewan song ‘Hot Asphalt’)


heartfelt congratulations to our footballing comrades FOOTBALL CLUB OF MANCHESTER or better known of course as FC UNITED. Ten years after Malcolm Glazer completed his unwanted hostile takeover of Manchester United, FC United have risen from nowhere to the brink of the Football League. The supporter owned club is truly a part of its community and is an inspiration to us all. Modern Football is shit but their are glimpses every now and then of a better world…


by Jonathan Allsop

FCUM6I reckon Odysseus had it relatively easy. Okay it took the Greek ruler and hero of Homer’s Odyssey ten years to return to his Ithaca home following the Trojan war, battling various cannibals, witches, ghosts and six headed monsters along the way. But it pales a little compared to the story of FC United of Manchester’s ten year journey home. Ten long years it’s taken us but on Friday 29th May 2015 the Northern Premier League champions welcomed the Portugese champions Benfica to the opening of Broadhurst Park, our very own Ithaca. What an epic journey it’s been for those seeking asylum from the Glazer regime, grafting relentlessly to raise the small matter of the £6.3 million needed to build the ground at a time when the economy is on its arse, dodging the slings and arrows of the planning process and coping with other obstacles like having to find another site for the ground after Ten Acres Lane fell through, the judicial review, contractors going out of business and Japanese knotweed. Finally though we’re playing football in Manchester and have our own ground, somewhere to call home. And we moved in one day short of ten years since the public meeting at the Apollo theatre when the idea of FC United was discussed. Odysseus? Pfffftttt. For FC United it all began at a venue named after a Greek god no less.

There must have been around two thousand of us at the Apollo on Ardwick Green on that warm, sunny bank holiday Monday. I’d been to Chester for the weekend and the street stalls flogging t-shirts celebrating the “miracle of Istanbul” had done nothing to improve my mood. May 2005 had been a thoroughly dismal month to be a Manchester United supporter following the hostile takeover by the Glazer family. The rather forlorn looking red wristband on my left wrist said, incorrectly, “not for sale”. Yet somehow I’d convinced myself that all was not lost and that with a concerted “fight from within” we could still send the Glazers packing. The protests, flash mobbing and boycotting of sponsors would have to continue and surely we’d have to boycott games too. It wouldn’t be easy but if any set of fans could do it it had to be us. Love United Hate Glazer. The FC United breakaway club thing sounded like a good idea but it probably wasn’t for me.

FCUM5I’d gone along to the meeting at the Apollo primarily to find out what the plans were for the next stage of the fight to get rid of the Glazers but something changed for me that afternoon and I’m not sure exactly what it was. Maybe it was those ace t-shirts with the fist and the “our club, our rules” motif. I’m always a sucker for a political slogan or two. Maybe it was hearing Kris Stewart from AFC Wimbledon describe forming your own football club as “the best thing you will ever do”. Or maybe it was re-reading the photocopies of that stirring “think about the future” article about FC United that appeared in Red Issue back in February 2005 as the Glazer takeover loomed large.

The meeting got me thinking, like perhaps never before, about what a football club actually is. Is it the team and its players and manager? The football ground itself? The directors and shareholders? Or is it something less tangible than that? What is apparent is that without supporters football is nothing. Take away that passion and noise and colour and all you’re left with is twenty two people kicking a bag of wind around a patch of grass. So, if that’s the case, surely the best way to secure the long-term future of any football club is to entrust the ownership and running of it to the very people without whom it would be nothing; the supporters. Maybe, just maybe, something beautiful could emerge from this wreckage. More than one thousand signatures of support for FC United were received from that meeting. Mine was one of them.

So it was that on a muggy August day I found myself on a bus to Leek heading to FC United of Manchester’s first ever league game against Leek County School Old Boys in the North West Counties League, six divisions below the football league and ten divisions below the Premier League. Me and a mate arrived early to watch United in the lunchtime kick-off versus Everton at Goodison Park in a back street pub. The place was rammed and as more fans drifted in during the first half one of them glanced over at the screen on his way to the bar and said something, not too complimentary, about “the other lot”.

It caught me by surprise and it took me a few seconds to realise that “the other lot” were in fact our red shirted heroes on the telly. As an out-of-towner I’d been spared much of the pain and acrimony of the split in United’s support that summer as groups of mates who’d been going to the match together for years went their separate ways. Emotions ran high and that split in our support in the summer of 2005 was perhaps the single worst aspect of the Glazer takeover, one barely mentioned by the media. For me it was a huge wrench to stop going to United after twenty eight years. The decision mangled my head for weeks but I was relatively lucky, at least I hadn’t suffered the jibes of being a “splitter” or “Judas scum”. The worst that got chucked my way when mentioning FC United, aside from “who are they?” was the old missing-the-point chestnut of “why don’t you go and support another non-league team instead of forming your own?”

Sat in that pub in Leek town centre I still felt like a United supporter and when “we” eventually ran out 2-0 winners that felt like the main event of the day. If FC won as well that would be great, but I wasn’t going to lose any sleep over it. It still felt like a protest. As hundreds of us walked through the rain from the pub to the ground, singing anti-Glazer songs, it wasn’t unlike that pre-match march before the AC Milan match six months before.

FCUMAnd for much of those first two seasons in the North West Counties League it continued to feel like a protest. We carried on singing the songs about Glazer, Gill, Fergie and Rio and what happened on the pitch was, at times, almost incidental, the noise of the crowd often not matching the ebb and flow of the game. At some point though this changed. The third round FA Vase tie against Quorn in December of the second season was undoubtedly a turning point for many as an FC side down to nine men with half an hour of the game to go battled valiantly and unbelievably took the lead with only a few minutes left. The Manchester Road End went bananas. This, all of a sudden, was a football club, our football club not just a protest movement. “We” eventually lost 3-2, cruelly in the last minute of extra time but it was a seminal moment nonetheless.

There have been some great memories on the pitch that have been wonderfully documented by better writers than me elsewhere but some of my proudest moments of the last decade have occurred off the pitch. Pay what you can afford season tickets. The vote to ban Sky and any other pay per view broadcasters from a future ground. The refusal to speak to strike breaking BBC journalists the day after the FA Cup win at Rochdale. The continued principled stance taken against shirt sponsorship. Being recognised as community club of the year in 2011-12. Raising more than two million pounds in community shares. The annual Big Coat Day. The recent vote to choose not to work with any organisations who operate the government’s shameful policy of Workfare. Boycotting the Curzon Ashton game in December 2007 after the kick-off time was moved for television purposes. Becoming the first football club in the country to adopt the Living Wage. The assistance and advice provided to other supporter owned clubs (as AFC Wimbledon did for us). And, of course, the wonderfully irreverent pre-match Course You Can Malcolm nourishing us with music, poetry, comedy, theatre and fairly priced food and ale.

FCUM2On that Friday evening against Benfica, there was a tear in my eye as I stood on that magnificent terrace behind the goal. After years of pound for the ground draws, standing orders for the development fund, sticking loose change in barrels, community shares, crowd funding and the rest we finally have a place to call home. It’s wonderful that something so beautiful and so positive has emerged from the years of protesting and being told to “sit down and shut up” and that “it’ll all be over by Christmas”. Broadhurst Park is a monument to Mancunian defiance and a reward for the assorted oddballs, subversives and “real ale hooligan socialists” who had the courage to stand up and prove that there is a better way for football. It felt apt too that Benfica, with the largest number of supporter members of any football club in the world, were our guests for this special occasion. Like Broadhurst Park, their original Estadio da Luz home was built primarily with funds donated by their fans.

As I tucked into a bottle of Two Hoots in that lovely, make-do-and-mend space beneath the St Mary’s Road End before kick-off I, strangely, found myself thinking back to the summer of 1991 when Manchester United were floated on the Stock Exchange. Arguably the very beginning of a timeline that has brought many of us to Broadhurst Park. It was a few weeks after Rotterdam and having recently shelled out for a season ticket for next season I had to borrow some money from a mate to scrape together the minimum share investment of £190.

Despite the cost, it felt great to buy those fifty shares and have a stake, no matter how small, in the football club I loved. Somewhat naively I thought that this could be the start of something beautiful; a Manchester United owned by its supporters. I didn’t realise at the time that the primary motive for floating the club on the Stock Exchange was to raise money for the redevelopment of the Stretford End, to transform it into an all seater stand following the Taylor Report. It was reckoned that the rebuilding would cost around twelve million pounds with roughly £6.7 million to come from the share issue.

FCUM3That figure is uncannily similar to the cost, twenty four years later, of the entirety of Broadhurst Park. When the Glazers took over in 2005 I got a cheque for my United shares. Unbelievably those shares purchased in 1991 were worth a staggering three thousand pounds by 2005. Usually I’d be delighted to be sent a cheque for that much. But this felt like a kick in the teeth. A recognition that my stake in Manchester United was no longer needed, no longer welcome. A symbolic moment. In that summer of 2005 I gave some of that money to FC United, one of thousands to do so, to allow the club to get through its first season. Since then we’ve all invested our time, our skills and our hard earned cash to get us this far safe in the knowledge that this time no one with a big wallet and a smart-arse business plan can pinch it off us. This is ours. This football club. This ground. It’s ours. It’s been a remarkable ten year footballing odyssey.

re-printed from the excellent blog ‘NOWT MUCH TO SAY’. head over there now by pressing here to find more from a London based politically and footballingly red and founder member and co-owner of FC United of Manchester.


Easily the best political rock band of the 80s with jangly guitars and leftist politics!
Through my teenage years my choice of music was pretty much an exclusive diet of fast and noisy hardcore punk rock… but there were a handful of exceptions. I loved a bit of folk music. My Grandads Wolfe Tones albums I still cherish along with my Mammy’s Johnny Cash ones but I also fell in love with bands like The Kinks, The Band Of Holy Joy and New F.A.D.S who i just liked the music. One band though that has been a constant for me throughout my life has been Easterhouse. Virtually unknown to the outside world their brand of cool indie guitar rock and absolute unashamed working class communist polemic as well as support for the Irish republican movement reached to the very core of me and I’ve been listening to them ever since and I hope you will too after you have read this.


Now the first thing to say about Easterhouse is that they actually come from Manchester, Stretford in fact, and took the name of the massive Glasgow housing estate for poetic license. The vast Scots estate was built for the people bombed out of the old Gorbals and houses around 30,000 people. The band are another in the long list of Manchester bands with Irish backgrounds and with The Smiths popularity in the 80’s booming, and Morrissey himself helping, Easterhouse were signed to London Records in 1986. Under the misguided impression they had signed a standard ‘Madchester’ jingle jangle baggy jumper band what they had in fact got was a forceful political rock band led by the brothers Perry. Andy on vocals and Ivor on guitar.
Easterhouse- 'Whistling OIn The Dark'Their first single. ‘In Our Own Hands’, also led to being their last on London Records and afterwards they signed to the famous indie label (and home of The Smiths) Rough Trade Records where they released their second single ‘Whistling In The Dark’. To the untrained ear it could sound like just like any other well played “jingle jangle baggy jumper affair” but the song is actually about getting working class people to turn away from the Labour Party that had betrayed them all their lives and stand on their own feet.
Easterhouse- 'Inspiration'After this is where my relationship with the band starts. On a regular weekend trip to the local record shop with a couple of mates we were flipping through the new single releases and suddenly “BLOODY HELL THATS BOBBY SANDS” I shouted at the top of my voice. Yes sitting there was a single with a picture of Westminsters greatest ever MP on the cover as bold as brass. Well we were straight off to the counter to buy the only two copies of the single as well as the only 12″ in the shop and then rush home to play it not knowing exactly what we had got our hands on. The EP was called ‘Inspiration’ and is indeed a tribute to Bobby Sands the famous and legendary Republican prisoner who died on hunger strike fighting not to be labelled a criminal in 1981. He became a MP while on hunger strike and was also famous as both a poet and a writer. Other songs on the EP paid tribute to the 1916 Easter Rising and ‘Nineteen Sixty Nine’ was, and still is, the most virulently anti-Labour Party song I have ever heard. Callling out the party of the working class for defending the Union and sending in the troops to the north of Ireland.
“The savage beat of soldiers feet. Streets of broken glass.
That crushed the lie of justice that England brings to foreign lands.
The truth came out without a doubt in 1969.
How many must have thought that things would work out differently.
Labour men in government, the workers own party.
Who brought out their true colours and nailed them to the mast.
Served the Union Jack as they always have in 1969.
You have to draw the line sometime.
And I draw mine”
The EP’s remaining track ‘Johnny I Hardly Knew You’ is not the anti-war version made famous by the Dropkick Murphys but a song telling of meeting a Irish born British soldier “along the road to Wexford town” and extolling the virtues of fighting for Ireland and not for Britain.
“you’re worse than famine in the land”
It may seem strange in these days where X-Factor rules and processed pop starlets on a conveyer belt have their five minutes of fame before disappearing into oblivion (with nothing to show except the money in the pocket of the ‘svengali’ who invented them) but for a while in the mid to late 80’s the UK charts were awash with revoulutionary socialism and left-wing politics. The Redskins and The Housemartins regularly dented the Top Twenty and other bands aligned to the pro-Labour Party group Red Wedge like Bragg and Weller also troubled the top ten and outside the charts bands up and down the country played left wing music whether soul, punk, reggae, folk, indie, metal like it has never been before or, sadly, since. Of course some of these have gone onto obscurity while those who sold out their politics continue to gain applause from those they once declared their enemy but as the amazing Redskins said themselves
“Take no heroes only inspiration”
Easterhouse- 'Contenders'So it was then that our wee gang awaited their upcoming debut album with baited breath and boy when it came out we were not disappointed! Just a few years after and with the scars of the Miners Strike still vivid here came an album that seemed to talk to our merry band of 2nd gen Irish kids. The album kicks off with the explosive ‘Out On Your Own’ and their hatred of Labour continues
“A Labour party man comes knocking at my door
around election time, once more he’s counting on my loyal support
there’s changes needed he agrees, and there I have his sympathy
but we must think of unity get the party on it’s feet
What did his party ever do for me?”
Years before Blair finished off anything that was good and decent in the Labour Party Easterhouse could see them for exactly what they were but nowhere on the left do they see anyone worth while
“Where is the man who is speaking up for me?
Community leaders want more black shop keepers.
The unions a say in the jobs thrown away.
And I’m told that my home’s in a nuclear free zone.
But that ain’t much help when there’s bills to be paid.
‘Police accountability’ ‘No-nuclear defence strategy’
This foolish ideology has made our fight a mockery!”
The rest of the album is quite simply outstanding. Bold and brash and unapologetic. Music with balls for those who hadn’t fallen for the pomp of what had become U2. The band manage to have a clear and distinct lyrical content that could, but doesn’t, veer into sloganering and feels 100% natural… probably because it was. The bands involvement with the, now defunct, Revolutionary Communist Party is not often mentioned but their working class and Irish backgrounds made it inevitable that they, like many of that time, would involve themselves in some sort of left organisation. The amount of 2nd and 3rd generation Irish in the left at the time was incredible and many a organisation, especially the RCP, courted those disaffected and of Irish descent to join. Following is ‘Whistling In The Dark’ and ‘Nineteen Sixty Nine’ the polemic keeps up before the beautiful ‘Cargo Of Souls’ slows the whole thing down with the tale of the Irish escaping the so-called ‘famine’ of the mid-1800’s and flowing into the great cities across the world to work themseleves into early graves. Led by
“hunger that drives like a whip”
Its the knowledge that while millions starved to death, and many more left on coffin ships to try and escape that death, tons and tons of food was being exported under armed guard out of Ireland to feed the English ruling classes. That knowledge has always been there. Although referred to as a famine it was infact an attempt to wipe out the Irish Catholic and has led to a rebellious streak in the Irish ever since. As unlikely a story as you would find on an indie album comes next in ‘Lenin In Zurich’ and tells of the Russians exile in Switzerland. An incredible story of commitment. So ended Side One (this is vinyl I’m talking about kids!) and Side Two begains with ‘Get Back To Russia’ and shows their ability to change from bile to beauty in the same line. The boot goes into the Labour Party and the boys take the famous slogan shouted at all left wing paper sellers and turned it into
“England made me
And here I’ll stay
England made me
Let England deal with me”
This was during the cold war where any sympathy toward the communist state was simply unheard.
“At least the Russian working man knows exactly where he stands”
“you can’t get Levi jeans or pictures of James Dean
but these things i have seen and they don’t mean that much to me”
‘To Live Like This’ is probably my favourite track of this album as hard as it would be to choose one. Working as i was in a job for £50 a week while every single one of my mates languished on the dole the song hit more than a chord with me.
“We’re running to stand still”
The music is proud
“If I was to think I was wasting my time
I think it would drive me out of my mind
If I should live to see the day
when all of this is wiped away
Dead and gone and seen no more
Then its worth it”
and the lyrics prouder. ‘The Boy Can Sing’ is another album highlight and in an album where every track is superb then you know it must be good. ‘Estates’ ends the album and both jangly guitars and hard edged rock combine with the haunting lyrics to bring down the curtain.
“were we not born to free?”
Despite its hardline politics ‘Contenders’ was well received by press and public alike and reached No 3 in the UK Indie charts in July ’86. Back then I think the music press were a bit better at spotting fakes and phonies and could see Easterhouse for their sincerity.  ‘Contenders’ is a fine album and still sounds great today and its politics are as relevant as ever especially in these times where the working classes are vilified everytime they try to assert themselves.
Easterhouse- 'Waiting For The Redbird'Nothing more was heard after until the time of their ‘difficult’ second album in 1989. Easterhouse had virtually imploded and Andy Perry was all that remained of the original band. the brothers famously tempestrious relationship had seen Ivor leave the band and the other members (Peter Vanden, Gary Rostock and Michael Murray) follow him soon after. ‘Waiting For The Redbird’ was not quite what we were expecting and to be honest it took me a few years to really fully warm to it. The music was much more radio friendly and the politics, though there, were much more subtle and the whole thing seemed to be aimed at breaking through into the American scene. I nearly spat my cornflakes out one saturday morning when the video from revolutionary communist band Easterhouse appeared on kids telly with ‘Come out Fighting’ which did eventually chart in the lower reaches of the American Billboard Hot 100!
“Oh well there never was anything in my life
That I got just for asking
And I never heard of anything
That was won without a fight
Now I’m in another corner
Only the times have changed
A new page is turning over
But the book is just the same”
Sadly the band came to an end shortly after the album’s release but again with the album opening title track, the single ‘Come Out Fighting’, the sad yet poignant, ‘Stay With Me (Death On The Dole)’ the music had changed but the LP’s final track ‘Sweatshop’ shows the spirit of that debut album and is the closest to their oriinal incarnation. A record deal with Columbia Records should have opened up a bigger audience for Easterhouse but the anthemic ‘America’
“Who will protect us from our protectors?”
wouldn’t have done much to impress their new label bosses as well as those who controlled the country’s airwaves! The sleek production, catchy tunes, synthesizers, the danceable bass lines, the subtle politics should all have seen them break through. These were the most commercial songs to be recorded by the band and there is no doubt that it was Andy Perry that carried the songs it was not meant to be and Easterhouse split soon after. ‘Waiting For The Redbird‘ sounded hopeful and inspiring, as it should be being a call to arms to a lethargic populace that needs to stand up and be counted while there is still a chance. Many bands have climbed on board the ‘safe’ leftie bandwagon. Where politics are meant to only appeal to middle class students who will have no real interest in social change rather than to effect a different persona to their tory voting parents. Very few have ever had the bottle to put real authentic left wing politics forward even when, like with Easterhouse, it has cost them dearly.
No more has been heard from them, apart from a small reunion in 2005 with Andy Rourke from The Smiths joining them live, so I suppose their legacy is one great album and a bunch of unmissable EP’s and another album that is quite simply out of this world.
Easterhouse should have been huge but the odds were always stacked against them. They put their ideals first a rare enough thing in life let alone music but their music is still as fresh and as relevant as it was twenty years ago.
Buy The Album
the re-release of Contenders is available direct from Cherry Red Records here with additional tracks.
a download of ‘Waiting For The Redbird’ can be had here. It hasnt been re-released and is impossibe to get hold of so get it free here.
*would appear the link to buy Contenders has gone so anyone know a safe download link please share in comments,


By Donal Fallon

Irish blood, English heart: second generation Irish musicians in EnglandSeán Campbell(Cork University Press, €39)ISBN 9781859184615

Irish blood, English heart: second generation Irish musicians in England by Seán Campbell (Cork University Press, €39)ISBN 9781859184615

In the recent excellent ‘Why Pamper Life’s Complexities? Essays on the Smiths’, co-edited by Seán Campbell and sociologist Colin Coulter, a recurring theme was the Irish heritage at the heart of the upbringing of members of the band. Those familiar with the politics and ideology of the band’s much-worshipped front man, Morrissey, were undoubtedly not surprised by a letter from the singer which appeared in Hot Press magazine just prior to the recent royal visit to Ireland. ‘The queen also has the power to give back the six counties to the Irish people, allowing Ireland to be a nation once again’, he wrote, in a letter that lambasted the institution of monarchy. He is one of many English-born musicians of Irish lineage to do so. Who could forget the reaction to Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s respective singles on ‘the Irish question’? It is fitting that Seán Campbell’s most recent work, Irish blood, English heart, should take its title from a song of Morrissey’s. When he opened that song with the words ‘Irish blood, English heart, this I’m made of’, he perfectly captured the dual identity of many in Britain. As Campbell notes in his prologue to the work, the book’s title serves to ‘invoke the dilemma faced by second-generation Irish people, many of whom locate themselves as “half-and-half”’.

One finds a generation who felt neither British nor Irish, unsurprising in the political and social context of the period under examination, which is 1980s Britain. Johnny Marr of the Smith is quoted as saying, ‘I feel absolutely nothing when I see the Union Jack, except repulsion . . . and I don’t feel Irish either. I’m Mancunian-Irish.’ The work focuses on three musical acts, analysing three very distinct styles, personas and backgrounds: the Smiths of Manchester; Kevin Rowland’s Dexy’s Midnight Runners from the Midlands; and the infamous London-Irish punks, the Pogues. Other high-profile figures of Irish lineage are mentioned, such as John Lydon of the Sex Pistols, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten. As an examination of British society in the period, the work provides excellent sociological insight into how the children of Irish migrants saw themselves fitting into, or not fitting into, British life. Shane MacGowan of the Pogues was of the belief that the second-generation Irish of late 1970s London had been ‘split down the middle, really heavily’, with one set of youngsters unashamedly Irish in outlook and culture, while others merely wanted to fit in to the native youth culture. Questions are raised around issues of assimilation or lack thereof, and it is clear that an overwhelming sense of ‘in-betweenness’ existed. As Campbell notes, terms and labels like ‘plastic Paddy’ became derisive allusions to the ‘perceived inauthenticity’ of the second-generation Irish. The second generation knew that they were very different from their parents and the native Irish. One of the strong points of Campbell’s work is his multidisciplinary approach and sources, and in a 1987 social geography essay on the Irish in London he finds a quote which perhaps best sums up the mentality of this second generation, alien to both the English and Irish: ‘Of course we know and enjoy Ireland, but London is our home, our city. We can’t recreate a lost Ireland in the middle of 1980s London.’ The book brings political events of the period into context wonderfully, showing the emergence of strong anti-Irish feeling among sections of British society in response to the rise of paramilitary activity in Britain and Northern Ireland. As Philip Chevron of the Pogues would note, ‘the only politics that counted in the London-Irish scene were the politics of being Irish in a place that was innately racist towards the Irish’. Following campaigns from red-top tabloids, and the implementation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act in the wake of the Birmingham bombing, for a period it appeared that the Irish community as a whole was seen as suspect. As one critic noted of Kevin Rowland’s attempts to ‘reconcile himself with his Irish roots’ on the band’s classic ‘Don’t Stand Me Down’ record, such out-and-out assertions of Irish pride or patriotism were ‘perceived in England as tantamount to wearing a balaclava and carrying a machine gun’.

Campbell has made great use of the archives of many influential music magazines, like Uncut, NME, Hot Press, Q, Melody Maker and other publications to the fore of youth and musical subculture in the UK and Ireland. It is within the pages of a much less mainstream publication, Sinn Féin’s An Phoblacht, that Campbell unearths a gem in the form of that publication’s praise for the Smiths: ‘With names like that who could doubt their antecedents?’ For a band often considered quintessentially British by many musical critics, Johnny Marr’s claim that ‘The IRA wanted to get up and make some speeches before we went on’ during a tour of the North is a surreal insight into how their anti-establishment ethos was viewed by some republicans at home. Migrant experience and feelings of alienation come to the fore in this work, a highly valuable study of the Irish diaspora and the often forgotten ‘second generation’ in England. The book makes a strong and welcome contribution to cultural history and popular musical history, of course, but it triumphs within the field of Irish studies. It is perhaps a quote from Q magazine’s ‘100 Greatest British Albums’ special in 2000 that best captured the unusual nature of the Irish community. Including the Pogues among those featured, Q noted that ‘being white of skin and Western European of culture, Britain’s Irish are the invisible immigrants’. When confronted by Melody Maker in 1985 on his Irish ethnicity, in response to the interviewer’s noting that ‘you were born in England’, Kevin Rowland retorted that ‘just because you were born in a stable doesn’t make you a horse’. Irish blood, English heart is a study of just some of the talented young musicians who emerged out of Britain’s largest migrant community yet lacked a clear sense of identity themselves. This sense of alienation and ‘in-betweenness’ was to prove central to the work, and appeal, of these great musicians.

Donal Fallon is one of the editors of the great blog ‘Come Here To Me’, a blog of Dublin life and culture. Literally tons to read so don’t delay and get your ass over to the site now. I cannot stress that enough, alright…

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