Skip to main content

Peter Andre, Andy Cole and the case of the missing fanzines

The domestic league season finished on Sunday and we were scheduled to have our final edition of United We Stand on sale outside Old Trafford before the Stoke game.

The mags are printed in South Wales and usually arrive in Manchester at 9am on a Saturday morning.

By midday, theyâÂÂd still not arrived. By 4pm we were panicking as theyâÂÂd been despatched by a courier on Friday at 3pm. It doesnâÂÂt take 24 hours for a van to get from South Wales to Manchester â even with Icelandic Volcanic ash still lingering in the air...

The printers drew a blank, the couriers were shut and not due to open until Monday morning.

The printers warned us to expect the worse and I explained that not only would we be out of pocket, but I was reluctant to pay for something we didnâÂÂt receive on time. As it was the final day of the season, the mags would have been of no value if they were delivered after the game.

In the 21 years of United We Stand, weâÂÂve never had this. We were desperate and considering breaking into warehouses where we suspected the mags to be, before the lads who sell the mag were stood down.

Readers were going to go mad and IâÂÂd still have editorial bills to pay. Hundreds of hours go into every issue, with around 40 contributors from writers to designers and printers.

We were goosed.

An update arrived at 8pm on Saturday night.

Nobody was able to locate the missing pallets. So the printers called in staff to reprint the entire run overnight.

A director at the printers would go in at 6am on Sunday morning to oversee the final stitching (stapling to you and me) and a van would be waiting to leave at 7.30am to make the four hour journey to Manchester. Given that it wasnâÂÂt the printersâ fault, we couldnâÂÂt ask for more.

The mags were on sale before the Stoke game, with readers none the wiser at what had gone on. And if you see thousands of copies of UWS lying about, do us a favour and post them all to Liverpool Football Club where IâÂÂm sure theyâÂÂll be appreciated.

Eyes will now start to look towards the World Cup, though there are still issues to sort out in club football and IâÂÂll interview Diego Forlan on Monday.

He is, of course, preparing for the Europa League final, and interest in AtleticoâÂÂs opponents, Fulham, is also high.

Andrew Cole and Paul Parker, two former United players who played for Fulham, have been much in demand in the last week to talk about them.

Paul is living in New Zealand coaching at the moment, but will move to Singapore to work for ESPN (or âÂÂSPNâ in Facejacker talk) there.

Cole, meanwhile, is getting used to being accosted by my dad at Old Trafford.

"Christ, your old man is a bit angry," he said last week, probably following a rant which went as something along the lines of...

"What the f*ck is Ferguson doing? He needs to go and United need to get rid of Van der Sar, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Scholes, Carrick, Neville, Giggs, Park, Nani, Fletcher and Rooney."

Yes, he rates Berbatov.

I told Cole to expect more of the same. Dad once rang me to get a phone number for Mikael Silvestre  (I didnâÂÂt have one) because he wanted to meet him one-on-one and chin him for his poor performances in Red.

HeâÂÂs currently teaching his three-year-old (knocked out at the ripe age of 58) to say: "I donâÂÂt like Carrick" and "I donâÂÂt like City."

I suggested that he takes him for a day out in Liverpool and he told me that heâÂÂd never been to that city unless it was, under protest, to play against 'Scouse bastards'.

He does, however, respect Scousers as players "because they always give you a game and theyâÂÂre always up for it." Perhaps thatâÂÂs why Rooney generally escapes his unending fury.

He once admitted that the only person he respected in the world was Bill Clinton, on account of him being 'a good leader and top mingebag.'

IâÂÂm spending Tuesday with Lionel Messi in Barcelona at some event heâÂÂs doing. If I told my dad, heâÂÂd doubtless tell me to abuse him over the Falklands conflict, which came and went five years before Messi was even born.

And so to the World Cup and the annoying fan mania, marked by plastic George Crosses, set to sweep England.

IâÂÂve got no problem with patriotism and it certainly beats cynicism, but itâÂÂs that time when the tool in the office who hitherto had no interest in football starts talking about 'Fabio and the boys.'

By the time the News of the World have given away their exclusive England car kit â "two England flags, a giant magnet and a fuzzy dice to pimp your ride" â itâÂÂll have all become a bit cringeworthy.

More so when you see who that publication got to promote said kit.

Yes, that well known football figure, the man who has often queued overnight for tickets to see his team and knows The Shed from his shed, Peter Andre.

I was about to launch into 300 words hammering the smartie-headed-man-freak behind such forgettable noises as âÂÂFunky JunkyâÂÂ, âÂÂFlavaâ and âÂÂInsaniaâÂÂ, but made the mistake of telling my mother first.

"You canâÂÂt do that," she said. "HeâÂÂs had a rough deal with her." Her will be Katie Price (aka Lebanon, or something).

"HeâÂÂs doing a good job bringing those kids up," mum added, "donâÂÂt be nasty with him."

I sighed deeply, shook my head, wondered what the world is coming to and agreed to save my ire for whoever snaffled those copies of United We Stand in transit.

More Confessions of a Correspondent Features * News * Interviews * Home
Interact: TwitterFacebook * Forums

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Andy Mitten
Andy Mitten

Andy Mitten is Editor at Large of FourFourTwo, interviewing the likes of Lionel Messi, Eric Cantona, Sir Alex Ferguson and Diego Maradona for the magazine. He also founded and is editor of United We Stand, the Manchester United fanzine, and contributes to a number of publications, including GQ, the BBC and The Athletic.