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Music therapy column: Kicking off with comedy pop

Mossley AFC.

Tune in from 9pm every Sunday on Tameside Radio 103.6FM to catch up with Michael and Neil, but for now read their latest column here...

We played a bit of what I would call comedy pop on our show last week.

It was a South London pub band called I’Ludicrous and a track they first recorded in 1995 called We Stand Around.

It’s a tongue-in-cheek tribute to nerdy football fans, which when it was released was made single of the week in NME by guest reviewers New Order.

They were very much in the tradition of cult Manchester band The Fall, sharp, deadpan, knowing and bitterly acerbic.

Possibly their best-known song is Preposterous Tales, about that bloke who you meet down the pub who’s been everywhere, has a story for everything and if you’ve been to Tenerife, he’s been to Eleveneife.

The reason I played We Stand Around was that I’m on this half-cocked plan to watch every round of the FA Cup this season, starting, randomly, at the ground closest to home that was hosting an FA Cup First Qualifying Round tie, that I hadn’t already been to. So me and a pal headed to Radcliffe.

Readers of this newspaper will appreciate the role that non-league football plays in our community and our culture.

Curzon Ashton, Ashton United,  Hyde United, Stalybridge Celtic and Mossley all represent an oversupply of semi-professional clubs in Tameside, more than any other part of Greater Manchester.

It wasn’t inevitable, but certainly possible, that at some point we’d land in Tameside on this journey.

So last weekend Radcliffe were the visitors at Seel Park in Mossley, possibly the most picturesque ground in the whole of non-league.

Don’t tell my new mates, the directors of Radcliffe, who all work in the security industry, but I was a bit disappointed that Mossley were knocked out, denied an opportunity to revisit this tidy little ground, nestled on a hillside.

But back to the music, We Stand Around perfectly captures not just the nerdy, obsessive and competitive side of football fans, particularly of non-league sides, but a little of the menace you’d face going to bleak towns back in the 1980s and 1990s.

That football didn’t feature too much in culture until the World Cup in Italy in 1990 shows how uncomfortable we had become even admitting it.

There were a few bands that lobbed in the odd lyric, reference or had it built into their identity, but it was rare. The Fall was one. The late great Mark E Smith, God rest his soul, wrote Kicker Conspiracy in 1983 with four minutes of bile directed at the stuffy football establishment.

Another was Half Man Half Biscuit, the Wirral trio who declined to appear on Channel 4’s The Tube in 1983 because it meant they wouldn’t be back in Birkenhead on time for a Tranmere Rovers match.

For those of us obsessed enough to care, those three bands often get lumped together as post-punk, observant geeks.

I’m just hoping that this Radcliffe to Wembley odyssey doesn’t require me to go to Macclesfield, because I really don’t want to have to tell you all I know about the Macc Lads.

You can listen to Michael Taylor and Neil Summers on Music Therapy on Tameside Radio 103.6FM on Sunday evenings from 9pm to 11pm. Click here to subscribe and catch up on previous shows.

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