Cruyff, Cliftonville and The Ketchup Song

Another exciting and hectic week awaits.

It starts with an interview with Jordi Cruyff on Friday, who lives in Barcelona, before a flight to Liverpool. ItâÂÂs with Ryan Air so they will have worked out three new surcharges to extract coins from customers since my last flight. Maybe there will be a credit crunch tax or a new tax for each wing.

TheyâÂÂve additional fees for everything else. TheyâÂÂll charge me for checking in at the airport later as IâÂÂll commit the heinous crime of carrying baggage. Where else am I supposed to check in? The pet shop?

After doing an interview with a Norwegian magazine in a greasy spoon café tomorrow morning, IâÂÂll watch the mighty Tigers play at Old Trafford at 3pm. ThatâÂÂs only Manchester UnitedâÂÂs second 3pm game so far this season and clashes with, my brother, JonathanâÂÂs game.

Now 32, heâÂÂs been labelled âÂÂthe non-league gypsyâ for his attempts to play for every semi-professional club in the north-west before he retires. HeâÂÂs only got about four to go.

'Non-league gypsy' Mitten (L) in action for FC United vs Leigh RMI

On Sunday morning, IâÂÂll drive my little brother Sam - another centre forward - to Lilleshall for Stockport County vs Shrewsbury Town at Under-14 level. After, weâÂÂll go and see our grandparents. GranddadâÂÂs brother Charlie was the family star, but granddad played professionally for Ballymena in Northern Ireland.

While on a job at Cliftonville four years ago, an elderly Cliftonville director told me that heâÂÂd played against my granddad half a century ago. âÂÂHard bastard. Centre forward,â was his description, which threw me as IâÂÂd only ever known him as someone who watched horse racing and gave me sweets.

I called granddad and handed my phone over. The elderly pair chatted for 15 minutes about a game 50-years ago when they were on opposing sides. It was lovely to watch and there was a tear in Mr CliftonvilleâÂÂs eye as he handed the mobile back.

âÂÂLovely fella,â said granddad. âÂÂHavenâÂÂt got a clue who he is though.âÂÂ

"Who's that? Is that you young Andrew?" 

Monday morning means the United debate show on Channel M. The Manchester Evening News bigs it up on the front page, listing the showâÂÂs participants⦠everyone except for the small-time no-mark that is me.

WeâÂÂll then drive north, to Gary PallisterâÂÂs house in Yarm for an interview. I say âÂÂweâ because the girlâÂÂs coming along. ThatâÂÂs partly because Michael Martin, the editor of the Newcastle fanzine True Faith, told her about the virtues of his city and the north-east when they met.

He didnâÂÂt tell her it will be freezing and the opposite to the Brazilian summers she is used to this time of year. So itâÂÂll be Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne then⦠after interviewing Nicky Butt on Tuesday morning.

What I wonâÂÂt tell Nicky is that I invented the song Manchester United fans sang for him, the one to the tune of KC and the Sunshine BandâÂÂs, âÂÂBaby Give It Up.â ItâÂÂs the only chant IâÂÂve ever started and it caught on after Peter Boyle, the lad who starts a lot of the chants at Old Trafford, put it on one of his CDs of United songs.

A lot of the Manchester grafters are going up to Glasgow a day before Celtic play United to work the Oasis concert and one has invited us to go along. HeâÂÂs known the Gallaghers since they were kids and, despite being United, he likes them.

FalkirkâÂÂs mighty Arnau Riera â who lists his favourite song as Las Ketchup â The Ketchup Song , is coming too. HeâÂÂs back from injury and ready to storm the SPL. After watching Oasis.

Riera celebrates scoring at Ibrox... and getting Oasis tickets 

A day of meetings and greetings in Glasgow will be followed by Celtic playing United on Wednesday. United no longer have Louis Saha to miss a penalty in GlasgowâÂÂs East End, so we should do alright. IâÂÂm looking forward to the atmosphere as itâÂÂs superb for big matches and that new Celtic song sounds brilliant.

A night train from Glasgow will deposit us in that London the following morning. IâÂÂll never tire of arriving in London, but IâÂÂm always happy to leave.

The editor rang earlier to sound me out about interviewing a Spanish speaking Arsenal player down there. If I do, I will attempt to sow seeds of self-doubt into his mind ahead of their game at the Emirates against the champions of Europe next Saturday.

And after that, itâÂÂs back to Spain for Barca vs Valladolid. Oh, and IâÂÂve got to find time to edit the next edition of United We Stand. IâÂÂve already sent the designer a dozen pages, but thereâÂÂs still 32 to go.

Good job the internet exists...

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