Friday, 12 September 2014

Dutch football magazine review of ORIGINS OF THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE

It got 5 out of 5! 

THE ORIGINS OF THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE
(THE FIRST SEASON 1888/89) AUTEUR MARC METCALF UITGEVER AMBERLEY PUBLISHING AANTAL PAGINAS 224
PRIJS £ 14,99 BEOORDELING
Voor de Anglofiele voetbalfan vormde zaterdag 8 september 2013 een historisch hoogtepunt: het was exact 125 jaar geleden (1888) dat er voor het eerst in competitieverband werd gevoetbald in Engeland, Home of Football. Voor de ware liefhebber eerst de uitslagen: Preston North End-Burnley 5-2, Bolton Wanderers-Derby County 3-6, Everton- Accrington 2-1, Stoke City-West Bromwich Albion 0-2, Wolverhampton Wanderers-Aston Villa 1-1. Notts County en Blackburn Rovers kwamen nog niet in actie. Dan zijn meteen de clubs genoemd die zich tot de Founding Fathers van de Football League mogen rekenen.

Er werd in Engeland al vele jaren achtereen vriendschappelijk en om de beker gevoetbald. Bestuurslid William McGregor van Aston Villa vond het de hoogste tijd een serieuze competitie op te zetten. Hij schreef vijf clubs aan (Blackburn, Bolton, Preston, WBA en zijn eigen club) en zo kwam het balletje aan het rollen.
De Britse journalist en sportschrijver Mark Metcalf greep de 125ste verjaardag van de competitie aan om het eerste seizoen zo minutieus mogelijk te reconstrueren. Hij verrichtte monnikenwerk voor zijn boek The Origins of the Football League - The First Season 1888/89’. Metcalf wist dankzij archiefonderzoek alle krantenverslagen van deze jaargang boven water te tillen. Bovendien herschreef hij de historie.
Tot aan de verschijning van zijn boek werd alom aangenomen dat Gershom Cox van Aston Villa het allereerste competitiedoelpunt scoorde. De eerste tragiek is dat het een eigen doelpunt betrof, nu verdwijnt zijn naam ook nog uit de geschiedenisboekjes. Metcalf ontdekte dat Kenny Davenport van Bolton Wanderers de eerste was. Gemeten naar het aantal speelminuten van de wedstrijd klopte het dat Cox de primeur had, de 30ste minuut tegenover Davenport de 47ste. Echter, uit research van de auteur bleek dat de wedstrijd Bolton-Derby een half uur eerder was begonnen; om drie uur in plaats van half vier. Het is een feit dat andere voetbalhistorici over het hoofd zagen.


Davenport scoorde dus om 15.47 uur. De own goal van Cox verdween om klokslag 16.00 uur tegen de touwen.
Het boek is eenvoudig van opzet: per competitierondje een hoofdstuk met daarin het verslag, de doelpuntenmakers en andere bijzonderheden. Aansluitend volgt het overzicht van de FA Cup, The Home International Championship (de interlands tussen Engeland, Schotland, Wales en Ierland) en - ook heel knap - portretten van vrijwel alle spelers uit het eerste seizoen. Het is fascinerend om te lezen.

Zo vernemen we dat Davenport een snelle linksbinnen was, international, goaltjesdief en geboren op steenworp afstand van Pikes Lane; de voetbalveste van Bolton. Cox passeerde tijdens zijn carrière (102x competitie en FA Cup) wel zijn eigen doelman maar nooit die van de tegenstander. (René Otterloo) 

International Brigade memorial plaque, Perth


The memorial plaque on Perth’s North Inch Close is was erected and unveiled by Perthshire International Brigade Memorial Fund on 5 June 2010. Ten volunteers from Perthshire – Eddie Brown, William Gilmour, John Gordon, Hugh MacKay, Robert Malcolm, James Moir, Annie Murray, George Murray, Tom Murray, and George Steele – volunteered to serve with the International Brigades in Spain. 

UNITE played a significant role in ensuring the original plan to mount a magnificent piece of artwork was successful. 

The inscription on the plaque is words by poet and son of Perth, William Soutar: “Even as blossoms fall circling about a tree our deeds within our world define our world.” 

For more information see: -




Many thanks to Tippermuir Books Limited for sending in the photograph of the plaque. 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

International Brigades statue, Belfast

International Brigades statue, Belfast                      

The International Brigades who fought in Spain in the 1930s are commemorated with a statue in Writers’ Square Belfast. Designed by Anto Brennan, it was erected by the International Brigades Commemoration Committee and unveiled on 13 October 2007 by Bob Doyle, a member of the Brigades and a life long militant. Accompanying Bob was Jack Jones, President of the IBMT and former general secretary of the TGWU and who also fought in the International Brigades, and Jack Edwards, a Liverpool volunteer. 78 men born in Northern Ireland participated in the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War. At least 18 families of Irish veterans were present at the unveiling. 

For more details see: - www.irelandscw.com/org-Oct07-1.htm 

For more on Bob Doyle see his obituary at

Many thanks to Richie Browne, Unite regional co-ordinating officer, for this photograph.

Friday, 5 September 2014

The Diggers return to Wigan on 13 September

Original article is at:- http://unitelive.org/diggers-return/


An opportunity to discover a proud tradition of English radicalism whilst having fun is guaranteed for anyone attending the fourth Wigan Diggers’ Festival on Saturday 13 September. 

The Diggers sprang up around the English Civil War in the seventeenth century. They aimed to use the earth to reclaim the freedom they felt had been partly lost through the Norman Conquest. 

Seizing and owning land ‘in common’ could create a classless society where property and wages are abolished. 

In 1649, small Diggers’ groups defied landlords and the army by settling on common land and growing crops. Supporters travelled nationally attempting to rally supporters. 

The movement was ultimately defeated when violent opposition from landowners saw Diggers beaten, their houses burnt down and legal restraints applied to their occupation. 

The main Diggers propagandist was Gerrard Winstanley, born in Wigan in 1609 and who died on 10 September 1676. 

In 1621 Wiganers dug up common land in a successful access struggle and it is believed that this subsequently inspired Winstanley when he moved to London in 1630. 

Despite being one of the great English radicals, Winstanley was largely unrecognised in his hometown for many years. 

Inspired by hearing Billy Bragg sing The World Turned Upside Down, Stephen Hall, Leigh UNITE branch member, persuaded other local trade union activists to organise an initial Diggers’ Festival in 2011. Its success has been built on in each subsequent year. 

Six local UNITE branches as well as the North West region of the union are backing the 2014 festival. This will take place in the Wigan town centre Wiend area, where there are advanced plans to rename the garden area in Winstanley’s honour.  

On 13 September, actor John Graham-Davies will again perform as Winstanley whilst TV documentary filmmaker David Malone will talk on how the Diggers leader influenced the radical thinkers of the French and American Revolutions. 

There will be a puppet story show on the Diggers - described by Tony Benn as “the first true Socialists” – and an all day children’s arts and craft area. 

In addition there will be 40 plus food, book and other stalls along with the popular ‘Occu-pie Wigan’ beer tent. 

“We are very keen for as many people as possible to come along and join in the fun whilst commemorating a courageous man who influenced the later development of the labour movement in this country,” said Stephen Hall. 





All events are free and take place between 11.00am and 9.30pm in the Wiend area of Wigan Town Centre. 



The Diggers Festival Committee has awarded actress Maxine Peake this year’s ‘Gerard Winstanley Spade Award.’ She is the second winner with the first one presented to Tony Benn last year. “It is in recognition of never having lost touch with her working class roots, speaking out against the government’s austerity measures and supporting progressive causes such as the Peterloo Massacre Commemoration and the Working Class Movement Library in Salford,” said Stephen Hall.  

Power in the union and a picket line!

Optare workers in Unite were on strike in May and when a Unite member 
from Tyneside Safety Glass turned up to make a delivery he wasn't crossing any
picket line! A few weeks later workers at Tyneside Safety Glass were
themselves on strike and succeeded in winning a wage increase in excess of the rate of inflation. 
At Optare, strikers won concessions from management before returning to work. 


All photographs copyright Mark Harvey 



RESOLUTE IN PATIENT SAFETY FIGHT

RESOLUTE IN PATIENT SAFETY FIGHT
Intimidation will not stop ambulance members’ resolve 
Photograph is copyright Mark Harvey


Eighteen months since first taking strike action and UNITE members at Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) are refusing to be intimidated by their management in a battle over patient safety, union de-recognition and pay and conditions. 

YAS are making £46 million cuts over five years. Facing £300 a month pay cuts, trained support technicians who work with paramedics are being replaced with emergency care assistants (ECA) with just six weeks training. With patient care seriously compromised, Unite members took strike action in April 2013. 

Management reacted by re-employing previously fired employees, permitting the use of private ambulances with less qualified staff and de-recognising Unite despite the union putting forward a well researched alternative financial plan. 

 As predicted, working conditions and patient safety, which go hand-in-hand, have deteriorated since last year. Paramedics and technicians are regularly working in excess of 13-hour shifts without even having time for a meal break. 

“We are all exhausted. Last month I missed 20 meal breaks. Frequently I finish work an hour later than scheduled. Working with unqualified staff makes your job more difficult as you are not only working with the patient but their relatives in some very stressful situations,” explained paramedic Debbie Wilkinson, Unite YAS branch secretary.

No-one is blaming the ECA’s for the current situation and technician Les Muir, Unite rep at Willerby ambulance depot, is concerned that “Eighteen year olds with no life experience are facing some horrendous situations that may later come back to haunt them. 

“The fact they are being employed on emergencies - increasingly on their own without a lead technician - is scary.” 

With management having refused to engage in positive talks, YAS Unite members have continued their battle to maintain a top quality service by taking regular days of action over the last eighteen months. 

The latest was two six-hour walkouts on 29 August and 2 September. Prior to the action staff were told they would be banned from overtime shifts if they participated and also have double-time payments withheld from work already completed.

“They are trying to intimidate people,” said clinical supervisor Martin Dobson, the Unite rep at the Wakefield ambulance depot.

“And if they keep their promise it will make it doubly difficult for the trust to meet the eight minute response time for the most serious, life threatening calls especially as much of the service now depends on overtime work.” 

More than 30 per cent of seriously ill and injured people are currently failing to obtain 999 help within eight minutes across Yorkshire. 

Despite the threats, a large majority of YAS Unite members were on strike on September 2, joining the battle to preserve an essential service. At Menston, Bradford, just one out of the twelve ambulance staff in Unite stayed at work.

“You have to stand up for what you know is right,” said Debbie Wilkinson. “Management should admit their proposed redesign of the ambulance service has failed and come back round the table and negotiate properly.”

April 2013 was the first time UNITE members at YAS took strike action - photograph copyright Mark Harvey 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Giroscope spins on

From the Big Issue in the North magazine, please buy a copy when you see a seller 


Former prisoners who are rebuilding their lives by working at a Hull housing project are restoring rundown properties for those in housing need.
Now a charity, Giroscope began as a worker’s co-operative in 1985 with one of its founders, Martin Newman, still in charge. The ethos of buying up dilapidated properties, renovating them and renting them out remains the same.
There are nine paid members of staff and two apprentices working alongside volunteers, who get on the job training. Their efforts in improving Hull’s housing have recently been recognised with a Queen’s Voluntary Service Award.
Many volunteers are former prisoners. Nick Brackstone, aged 29, served six years before being released in 2013. He had previously worked as a labourer but found paid employment difficult to obtain. Keen to stay out of trouble, earlier this year he took up his probation officer’s proposal and volunteered to work three days a week at Giroscope.
“I needed to stop sitting at home, demonstrate my timekeeping is good and also learn things like painting, taking down walls and plasterboarding that will help me find paid work,” he said. “I am aiming to apply for my Construction Skills Certificate Scheme card to prove I have the training and qualifications required to carry out a certain job.”
After initially volunteering, former long-term prisoner Les Stratford has found paid work
with Giroscope as a site support worker. His recovery from drug and alcohol abuse means he can empathise with many of Giroscope’s volunteers. As a refrigeration and air conditioning engineer with plumbing qualifications he is able to pass on essential building skills.
“I am thankful of being given an opportunity to rebuild my life by working with and helping former prisoners like myself rebuild rundown properties that are rented out to those in need,” he said.
“I am now revisiting prison to speak to inmates and pass on the message that you can move on and have a good life when you are released.”
Giroscope has 80 properties on its books. It borrows money against its existing housing stock to buy new properties.
Giroscope rents are similar to those charged by the local authority. The organisation is keen to ensure no tenant has to supplement their rent from benefits.
Some have held tenancies for 20 years. On only one occasion has someone been compulsorily evicted.
Giroscope architect Caroline Gore-Booth said; “We have young families in properties, a couple from a hostel has just moved into one, migrant workers and volunteers. The main reason people apply is because their landlord refuses to undertake repairs.”
A tour of Giroscope homes in a city that has more 6,000 empty properties was enlivened by Newman’s enthusiasm. “Organisations that begin with a small group of radical people usually fall out or become part of a larger housing organisation,” he said. “Not so Giroscope.
“We are much more professional. We don’t call ourselves anarchists or organise demonstrations but I think we still have the same attitude of mutual support.”

Nick Branstone and Les Stratford