To my astonishment one morning it was top beating by just one forehead a Rooney book. And this was with little or no press coverage either nationally or locally, or promotion by the club. Neither had local radio showed the slightest interest. And yet this was Jimmy Adamson, one of the club’s greatest servants, a legendary player and one of the finest ever coaches, a title winner, Cup Finalist, Footballer of the Year 1962, manager of one of Burnley’s finest ever teams, and the man who said no to England.
Meanwhile back in Kindle-land it dropped to second and then back to first again and then for much of the week, there it was up in the heady heights of number one. The last time I felt as proud was a year ago when the Paul Fletcher book was top of the charts for a week in Bacup.
|Kalcan - sunshine here we come|
On the 10th it slipped to 3rd overtaken by Rooney and a Bradford at Wembley book that went top. And then along came the Clarke Carlisle book extracts in the Daily Mail.
Some while back I’d had lengthy conversations with him when writing Entertainment Heroes and Villains, had interviewed him in his home and then in a subsequent phone call had offered, if ever he was interested, to help with any book he felt like writing. I actually said that tongue in cheek. It was obvious way back then that he would be a prime candidate for adoption by a big publisher; he had a huge story to tell, and that was even before he became Chairman of the PFA, a TV pundit, appeared on Panorama, and was making acclaimed documentaries.
He was erudite, ultra professional in all he said, and highly articulate. It was therefore with some surprise that in the extracts I read, I found he had fallen into the trap of using foul language and crude sensationalism in his book. As soon as you see a book described as ‘blistering’ you know dammed well what kind of book it’s going to be. The excerpts were indeed blistering – and then some. This was not the Clarke Carlisle that I had talked to at some length. This was not the Panorama Clark Carlisle, and I couldn’t help thinking that here was the Chairman of the PFA, respected in the media, but was now reduced to writing a book that seemed to be a vehicle for settling old scores , one being with Kevin Blackwell, and calling other people “shithouses.” Mind you, on Countdown, you could make a 9-letter word with those letters.
Maybe his book will top the footie charts. I’ll be buying it for sure. I don’t doubt it will be a ‘good read’ in the same way that Stan Ternent’s book was a ‘good read’ and Peter Swan’s SWANNY. It will undoubtedly tell it like it is and fly off the shelves. But I do hope he hasn’t shot himself in the foot.
I’ve ghosted four books and in three of them I’ve held back the people involved from going overboard when writing about people they wanted to slaughter. If you have a copy of the Harry and Margaret Potts book, the background to that is that all Margaret wanted to do was have a go at her mother-in-law at every opportunity, on every page if she’d had the chance.
A libel action is only ever a careless sentence away if the target is alive and well. To me, it just isn’t worth the hassle. You don’t have to call someone a “shithouse” in print. The facts always speak for themselves; let them tell the story, let the narrative do the job and it’s soon clear if someone is a “shithouse.” You don’t actually need to say so. I’ll guess that the Ferdinand brothers and others will be straight on the phone to their advisers and lawyers. Clarke had better get his tin hat out.
I bought the David Peace tour de force Red or Dead a few weeks ago. It took two postmen to carry it up the steps and we had to take the door off the hinges to get it in. It’s unconventional.
Bill opened the book and began to read. Bill finished the page and turned to the next. Bill read that one. Bill got up and made a pot of tea. Bill walked to the cupboard and took the jar of tea down. Bill got the spoon and spooned three spoons of tea-leaves into the teapot. Bill walked to the kettle. It had boiled. Bill turned off the gas. Bill picked up the kettle and poured hot water into the pot. Bill let the tea-leaves settle to the bottom of the pot and flavour the hot water. Bill put the lid back on the teapot. Bill walked to the pantry and got the milk. He put the milk bottle down. Bill picked up the teapot and poured the strong tea into the cup. He let the few tea-leaves settle to the bottom of the cup. Bill poured milk into the cup. Bill added two spoons of sugar. Bill sat down with his cup of tea and with his little black book. His book of names, his book of dates, his book of results. He looked at the names and the results and the dates. Then Bill closed the book. Bill took a sip of the tea. Bill put the cup down into the saucer. Then Bill opened the little black book again and studied the names and the dates and the results. His book of names and dates and results.
A publisher friend of mine gave up the effort of reading it. But he said how much he enjoyed hearing it read aloud at an authors’ luncheon when it came across as a sort of intense literary rap. I managed to get to the end of reading it. After about page 520 it livens up a bit when Bill lays the table for breakfast and cleans the oven.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a monumental work, but you’ll either become addicted to it, or not get past page 30.
The Co-chairmen’s open letter to fans was a nice gesture. It was general, wide-ranging and clearly from the heart. Of course it was low on specifics; how could it be otherwise in this first instance? The real worry that the chairmen could illuminate is the amount owed to directors (£6million+ I believe) and what happens should one or all of them need it back pronto quick.
The chairmen wanted to usher in a system of better communication and transparency but it coincided with the curious case of SaigonClaret’s wish to make a substantial donation to the club. This is the user name of a Clarets Mad contributor and on CM he posted that he had offered several weeks ago to make a fantastic £10,000 donation to the club in memory of his mother. This wonderful offer had been sent to the club but with the proviso that he wanted it to go to something specifically identifiable, such as the training facilities. It was sent to one of the Officers at the club who replied immediately that it needed time to consider the potential options. And that was the last thing that Saigon heard for weeks. It left him in a dilemma. Should he email someone else? Should he withdraw it? Should he donate it to the CM Youth Foundation? There was alas the faint possibility I suppose that the club saw it in the same way we view those letters we get from a long-lost Nigerian cousin telling us that if we get in touch we can share in the money he has discovered is owed to us by the Bank of Nigeria and all we have to do is send them our bank details.
As a result, Saigon again got in touch with the same Officer at the club who had indeed passed on the information and was surprised and apologetic that Saigon had received no reply from the management people further up the ladder. If I was Mike G or John B and heard about this, I’d have been none too impressed with what was going on internally. But there was indeed a happy ending when representatives of Clarets Mad met with one of the co-chairmen on behalf of Saigon and astonishingly the donation became £30,000.
And then it was the Blackburn game, the 100th meeting; the last game before me and Mrs T vanished to Kalkan thereby missing some corking games including Leeds. A beautiful day, win and we’d go top, and the Adamson book still top of its bestseller Amazon chart. Win and we’d have a bottle of fizzy I promised Mrs T in a moment of impetuous generosity. As we drove over the tops, the helicopter was buzzing around. As we drove down the hill nearer the ground the empty Blackburn coaches were pulling away. The club shop down to its last two Adamsons, the buzz outside tremendous, even the empty coaches were abused as they drove by.
The crowd disappointing: some had come from Sweden, some from Norway, the guy next to us constantly on his phone to his brother in Australia. But less than 16,000 there. The game on SKY but the ticket prices remained high when common sense said reduce them to the lowest category because of the TV coverage. How many casuals will pay the top price, well over £30, when it’s on TV and money is tight? This is Burnley not Barcelona. We shop at Tesco, not Harrods. In fact a lot of us shop at Poundstretcher.
With 15 minutes to go we thought we had ‘em after Stanislas had scored a contender for goal of the season, a marvellous shot, drilled low into the corner from 30 yards. It zipped across the ground like a missile. We really thought this was it after a non-show from Blackburn other than one great shot tipped round by Heaton and some vicious in-swinging corners. The first half was simply one-way traffic but at half-time no goals to show for it. There was nearly a wonderful start to the game when a goalkeeper clearance cannoned back towards his goal from 30 yards off a Burnley leg. It could have gone in, but was a few feet agonisingly wide. After that the Burnley approach play was a delight to watch, chances and attempts came and went, but just would not go in.
Blackburn more in it in the second half, a second half that was stop-start, niggly, more physical, no real moves of note, but just when you thought this was heading for a 0–0, up came Stanislas from the bench and smote his perfect strike. Turf Moor rocked round three sides with dancing, and singing and the hugging of strangers; but was mute on the fourth. Mayhem, euphoria, a crescendo of noise and pent-up passion released like the explosion of a volcano. This is it, we thought, this is bloody it, after all these years.
But football is cruel, unfair, unjust, and kicks you in the teeth. Arfield suddenly under pressure from a dodgy pass, he in turn, why oh why, plays a suicide pass back into the area; Jordan is lurking but Duff gets there first, phew sweet relief no danger; but then oh God smashes the ball into Jordan’s shins whereupon it loops into the net almost in slow motion.
A tale of two ricochets: the first for Burnley in the first few minutes so close but just wide; the second for Blackburn goes in. Other than the one shot and the succession of wicked corners, that was all Blackburn did all afternoon.
In the evening Arfield apologised to all Burnley fans, on twitter. Chin up old son; the goal was just one of those things, just rotten luck, misfortune, a fluke and we at BFC over the years have become well used to that. Jammy buggers, we moaned as the final whistle blew, especially as Ings, through on goal near the end, past his man, nothing but the green, green grass of home in front of him, was cynically brought down from behind; a red card for the culprit, but scant consolation for the goal and the win that was prevented.
We didn’t go top but at least the Adamson book was still there. Amazon Kindle, £3.82, not a penny more, not a penny less. And if the club shop has sold out, they only had two left; please ask them to order more for Christmas.
Ta ta for now, Kalkan here we come.