When Dermot Craven had his house turned over by the Special Police, reckoning he was washing dosh for the IRA, I was there in the American bar in Hale getting my round in and letting the world know it was all a load of tosh. I was there. I was by his side.
When Wrexham footy fans were scrawling paint on Mark Guterman’s house and calling him the penguin. Did I laugh at his misfortune? Well, just a bit, but I was there. I was by his side.
When Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy knocked Paul Beck to the ground, did I walk away, avoid BK’s steely glance and deny my friend? No, I did not. As Jehova is my witness, I picked Becky up and told him the truth; he nearly had BK on the ropes. I was there. I was by his side.
When they wanted to cancel Tommy McGoldrick’s membership of Mere Golf Club on the technicality that he’s been banged up in Strangeways for 10 years, who was the sole voice of tolerance for a good old boy? Who stood by a brief that stood his round on Captain’s Day more times than I care to remember? I did. I was by his side.
Which all brings me round to what’s happening to Mike Hanlon at the moment. Mike’s a top lad, looks a bit like Austin Powers – and he’s been no end of mither with the relic hugging so-called “heritage” lobby in the Capital of Culture. Some of Mike’s lads got a bit carried away with the sledgehammers and knocked out a few old bricks or something, I’m sketchy on the details. The council gave him the wink, but some local tourist guide got a bit uppity.
He sent the boy Hanlon a snotty email, calling him a disgrace and worse. Mike, quite rightly, told this herbert to stick his opinions in a nicely-worded reply, but of course this is and the emails concerned were soon all over the local rag. Where are cities going to be if they scare off developers who are prepared to take a risk and stick their balls on the line? What do you want, muppets? A city of the future, or a museum?
Anyway, I emailed Mike to tell him I’m there for him. I’m by his side, just like I have been for all these other lads. And do you know what he said? “Get stuffed, Roger, you’re a bloody curse.”