11 Mar 2005
New Order on football on sofoot.com 
New Order recently talked to French football website sofoot.com about which football teams they support. The full article is reproduced here in English with many thanks to Marc @ sofoot.com for permission and Nick Mackenzine for translation duties.

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New Order is without doubt one of the greatest English groups of all time. And that didn't stop them from writing the theme song for the England team in the 1990 World Cup, World in Motion. The song is an ode to ecstasy. Just to put you in the mood…

Around the table in a hotel room near the Champs Elysees, we almost have the dream team. Phil Cunningham, Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner are there. Peter Hook will be speaking to the press tomorrow. The Mancunian group is promoting the new album, Waiting for the Sirens' Call. Smiling and chatty, they're obviously happy to be here. We talk about football, and the natural hierarchy of the group is respected. Cunningham, the newcomer, sits on the bench and listens without saying anything. Stephen Morris supports Sumner the star, full of verve and stories, talking about Giggs in the toilets and the Gypsy Kings on the turntable.

"New Order and Football"

Which teams do you support?

Stephen Morris Macclesfield Town

Bernard Sumner Manchester Utd.

SM I'm from Macclesfield originally. It's a dirty little town south of Manchester. The team's in the Second Division, and frankly they're pretty bad… they even have an Iraqi player in the squad. Not that it means anything, mind you. Last year, they had a good spell. Four or five victories on the trot. The fans were chuffed. I can hear the stadium from my house, and they never stop singing. The media talked about us a bit then, and especially when the Iraqi arrived… But since then it's been calm. Life has gone back to normal in Macclesfield… sad.

BS Me, I grew up in Salford, a suburb of Manchester.

SM Wow, yet another United supporter who doesn't come from Manchester…

BS Salford-Manchester, it's ten minutes, Stephen. Ten minutes on foot! Salford is Manchester. And, if you really want to know, I was born in a hospital in the centre of town. We've got to kill this myth: there are as many United supporters as City supporters in Manchester. People from the north of the town support City, and those from the south support United. It's as simple as that, the division is historic… Salford is north-west of Manchester, so I support United. It's easy…

SM And China, that's north of Manchester? They all support United over there. It's nothing but a commercial undertaking, that club… It's more interesting to support a club in the lower divisions.

BS At Macclesfield, you might get a thousand in the ground. They all tell you "Division Three is real football, it's authentic," etc. But the players all dream of being in the Premier League and playing in the European Cup. They'd give anything for that opportunity… I find this conservative attitude boring. Me, I'm happy when my team wins and I don't have to be ashamed about it.

Do you watch from the stands or on the sofa?

SM When I was a kid, I was traumatised. My father knew a guy who could get tickets for all the England games. One day, this guy gave my dad two tickets for an England-Scotland match, up in Scotland. I was six years old and it was hell. Stuck amongst thousands of supporters, lost in the crowd. You couldn't move and if you wanted to pee, you had to do it in a bottle. Also, there was a real tension, a latent violence. You can't understand just how much the Scots and the English hate each other. I begged my father to get me out of there. We understood from the faces of the Scots that we saw on the way home that England had won. Ever since, I've been afraid of football grounds…

BS Sofa for me, too. But when I was a kid, I went to watch the team play. I discovered football at the time of Best… The atmosphere was fantastic, that was a few years before the match that Stephen's talking about. There were two kops, the Stretford End and the Scoreboard End. A superb time for football, before the hooligans took over. Before it got watered down, as well. You could go to the ground without feeling any danger and without feeling like it was just an expensive fairground… I loved that. I remember that I went to the city centre with Hooky to celebrate the European Cup victory in '68. Charlton was captain. Matt Busby was trainer. There were hundreds of thousands of supporters around St Albert Square. I was twelve and I was overwhelmed by the crowd. In fact, I don't think Hooky was there… In any case, I was literally carried by the crowd. At one point, I couldn't even feel the ground. Incredible!

So when did you stop going to the ground?

BS Something changed very quickly. In 1968, in fact. A few months after the European Cup victory, we played in the World Club Championship, against a South American team, from Argentina, I think, called Estudiantes. Two-leg fixture, away and then at home. I remember watching the first match, in Argentina, on a really old TV. The father of Juan Sebastian Veron was playing for the opposition, but I really remember the referee. The bastard completely ruined the match. A thief, completely corrupt. Everyone who saw the match will tell you that. That day, I understood that there was something wrong with football. After that match (won 1-0 by Estudiantes), I went back to the stadium a few times, but something had changed. I realised that in football, like everything else, there was injustice and cheating. And what happened after that didn't really take away that impression.

So why do you watch it on TV then?

BS You have to defend your colours. At home, I'm the only United supporter. My wife's father played for Manchester City in the 1940s. And my son, Dylan, the idiot, decided he had to support City. What a tragedy! For derby games, we have an agreement. Whatever the result, whether United or City wins, no-one crows about it. No screams of joy, no taunting. Obviously, when City win, this agreement doesn't stop the little brat from making me suffer for hours! But when United win, which is more often, I'm not allowed to do anything. My little lad starts crying! And I wouldn't want to add to his suffering… My daughter supports Arsenal. After United's last victory, 2-0 at Old Trafford, she was really sick. After the first goal, she went ballistic and kicked the TV set. We had to watch the end of the match on another set. At the end of the match, she jumped on me, she attacked me. But she's much better now. In fact, she changes club every week. She had her Liverpool period, and now she's changing her loyalty again. She went to the United training centre the other day with her school and she had the chance to speak to the players. When she came home, she said "Dad, I think I might support United now…" The only problem is that she's fallen in love with Wayne Rooney. Frankly, I don't agree with that!

Have you met Rooney, in town, in a bar or in a brothel?

BS No, but like everyone, I read the article about him and the prostitutes in the tabloids. Apparently, when he went to the brothel in Liverpool, he signed an autograph for the old whore that he had just had. He wrote Thanks for the fuck, Wayne Rooney and wrote the date. What an idiot!

Have you met many Manchester players?

BS Beckham lived in the same street as me. I met him several times, but we never spoke, he didn't know who I was. I could have punched Ferguson on the day he sold him. All of a sudden, his ego overtook his management skills. For his own pride, he ruined our season

Do you think Beckham is a maestro?

BS Of course! The guy is superb and he fights like a dog. In the media, he's shown as a bastard or an idiot, but in fact he's a superb guy. I don't understand how Ferguson can prefer Roy Keane…

Beckham's a boy, Keane is a man

BS He's just a wanker, that guy… he has a nasty side to him. But I must be the only United supporter who thinks that…

Have you met anyone else?

BS I spoke to Ryan Giggs one night at the Hacienda… He didn't make much impression on me. Giggs, he's a typical football player, talented on the pitch, but completely uninteresting off it. In his eyes, there was nothing there. No expression. Like a zombie… A few days later, I met him again in a bar in the city centre. I don't know if I should tell you this, it's a drug story… basically, he was there with a glass in his hand, with this same empty stare… me, I was completely out of it. I was with my mates and we had all taken a few pills. We took Giggs with us when we went into the toilets to have a couple more… and at that moment six bodyguards jumped on us and grabbed us by the shoulders to get us out of the bar. It was the first time I saw an emotion in Giggs' eyes: terror!

Did you ever meet Cantona?

BS I met him a few times, at parties. He even came to my place once. I was having a party and a girlfriend rang me, asking if she could bring along some guys she had met in a bar round the corner. I asked her who these guys were. "Eric Cantona, his brother and a couple of mates". "Shit, yeah! Bring them over!" I talked a bit with Eric, I got the impression that he was someone very… strange! Very intense, very thoughtful. Not like Ryan Giggs! We talked about a few things, and I remember we went into the kitchen, and he saw a photo that was on the fridge door, a photo of him. He looked at the photo, he looked at me, and then he looked at the photo again… it was only a few seconds, it was weird, I was a little bit scared, and I said maybe we'd better go back in the other room... I also remember that Eric, or his brother, I'm not sure, kept putting on a Gypsy Kings CD! Jesus, the Gypsy Kings in my house! And they all started dancing like Spaniards to this crap!

SM Fuck me, you've got a Gypsy Kings CD at home!

BS No, they had brought it with them, I swear it! They were mad! And then Eric was talking to a girl – a blonde, not bad looking. She was a friend of a friend. I don't know exactly what happened, but he stuck his finger up this girl's nose! Just like that! Paf! Up the girl's nose! I didn't know what was going on, I just pretended that I hadn't seen anything… and no, I don't have any Gypsy Kings CDs at home!

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Biting Tongues

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