Wednesday 30 January

The plug is pulled on my three-day bathe (yes, I am on leave this week) – the hot water has run out on me again!

Luckily, at a night time game of floodlit footer nobody notices you smell, provided your musk is of testosterone mixed with hops & barley, and you can mime convincingly through all the various chants and songs involved (it's been a while since I saw the mighty Reds). The Portsmouth players traveled here by clipper before canoeing up the canal and it shows. That said, there is no mortal ‘pon land nor water ever to match Ronalgreaves who hits two scurvy-busting peaches tonight.

Afterwards the talk is of the foreign ownership of clubs and, more specifically, the Rochdale-based consortium that has recently tabled an aggressive offer for the Reds. It took a lot of contained and uncontained Salford stubbornness (incorporating knives, bottles and decommissioned weapons from the last French war) to persuade the businessmen to drop their interest and see the 10-year plan for a Newton Heath sporting empire (new woolen stand, changing hut, heated puddles – I wish!) back in play.

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