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ARE FOOTBALL REFEREES UP TO SCRATCH? MM takes a look at the men in black @MM_newsonline January 2017

Chinese New Year hits Manchester

Grab a G&T at annual gin festival

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Q+A with Ensemble Pamplemousse

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Scorcher! Airport has record year By Ben Cartwright

MANCHESTER Airport is celebrating a record-breaking year after 2million more passengers used the airport last year compared to 2015. It was a busy time throughout the year as 25.6m passengers passed through the airport's three terminals during the 12 months, with 1.8m jetting away in December. The Northern Powerhouse’s primary airport saw an increase of 10.8% more customers when compared to 2015, whilst 20% more people used the UK’s third largest airport last month. Amsterdam and Dublin proved the most popular European destinations for Mancunians whilst Dubai came out on top for longhaul flights. Most travellers from the largest UK airport outside of London hoped to find some heat with Alicante, Tenerife and Orlando also featuring in the Top 10. Ken O'Toole, Manchester Airport’s CEO, said: “Last year was

Departures 1. Amsterdam 2. Dublin 3. Dubai 4. Tenerife 5. Alicante 6. Palma 7. Malaga 8. Paris 9. Faro 10.Orlando an historic one that saw a number of major milestones celebrated at the airport. “Passing 25million passengers in a year was a huge achievement and we also saw the launch a number of key long haul services to the likes of Beijing, Houston and Los Angeles commence.” Of Manchester Airport’s over 210 destinations, journeys to

Spain and the Canary Islands boasted the biggest growth in passengers with an extra 1.1m people searching for some Spanish sun via Manchester’s airport. Travelling to the US also proved popular with an additional 175,000 passengers making the journey over the Atlantic. The increase was thanks to increased services to New York and new services to Boston, Los Angeles and Houston. O’Toole predicts another stellar year for the global gateway with plenty additional routes to come: "We expect continued growth in 2017, with route launches to San Francisco, Boston and Muscat to come in the spring. “Looking ahead to the rest of the year we continue to look at expanding our route network to ensure we connect the North to the rest of the world." Manchester’s long-haul catchment area places around 22 million people within a two-hour drive time, so plenty of customers for the latest batch of new routes.

Jazzy Jools to light up Wigan Festival

Outrage amongst commuters after ‘stealth’ rail fare price hike

By Amber Thiara

FURTHER increased rail fares have left commuters outraged with protesters gathering at stations such as Manchester Piccadilly to demonstrate. The protest against the new unacceptably high train fares

were organised by campaigners Action For Rail and took place at over 100 stations across the UK. Fares were raised on Monday January 2 by an average of 2.3% since last year, almost four times the rate of inflation. However this figure does vary considerable between operators,

and some unfortunately commuters on Virgin Trains East Coast services face a 4.9% rise in ticket prices. Regulated rail fares, which include season tickets and most other commuter tickets, will have risen by 27% on average between 2010 and 2016.

The average commuter is now paying £2,788 for their season ticket, £594 more than in 2010. Amongst the Manchester protesters was Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth who has made lobbying for fairer trans-Pennine train fares a priority.

With increasing passenger numbers stations such as Greenfields, frequent overcrowding only adds to the frustration of train delays as peak time commuters pay more for a substandard service. Abrahams said: “I am contacted on a daily basis about train delays

or cancellations of trains without any notice. It is just not good enough. “I have regular contact from constituents with their concerns about the low number of trains running each hour, the frequent overcrowding, the quality of the Continued on Page 2

Rail price complaints to MP on daily basis


January 2017

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THE UK’s biggest Gin Festival is bringing the G & Ts for two weekends instead of one when it returns to the Victoria Baths this year. Described in Timeout last year as one of the "Top 10 things to do in 2016," the event will showcase over 100 craft gins. The grade II* listed swimming baths will be filled with four gin bars, a cocktail bar and food stalls as well as live music. Bottles of all the gins behind the bar will also be on sale to take home from the festival’s own offlicence. Any budding cocktail connoisseurs heading to the festival will be treated to new brands of gin to try as well as masterclasses from industry experts. The Manchester festival runs from Friday March 24 to Sunday March 26, and then from Friday March 31 to Sunday April 1. Tickets cost £9.50 and include entry to one of the sessions, a Gin Festival Copa Balloon Glass and a brochure that tells you all about the gins on offer. The Manchester visit is part of a country-wide Gin Festival tour that starts in London in February and finishes in Newcastle in June.

I am contacted on a daily basis about train delays or cancellations of trains without any notice. It is just not good enough. Debbie Abrahams - MP for Oldham East &Saddleworth

£14.20, but to travel from Marsden the fare to Leeds is only £5.80. The six mile journey between Greenfield and Marsden costs £8.40, more than the entire cost of the 27 mile trip to Leeds. Other journeys to Manchester show a similar difference in price. With a weekly wage of £538.70 in 2016, 8.06% up on 2010, commuters

First ‘food waste’ restaurant smashes crowdfunding goal

UN-FARE PRICES: Debbie Abrahams campaigning with constituents against the up in rail fares.

Where did the gin go? Manchester

rolling stock and the ever increasing cost of tickets. “There are also the ongoing issues about the station’s (Greenfields) lack of accessibility to people with mobility issues, such as wheelchair users and parents with small children.” Although most major stations do have suitable accessibility, some smaller stations such as Greenfields are not as accommodating for all commuters. In some areas across the UK commuters are paying 43% more after the bump up in ticket prices. Fares have risen more than three times faster than wages and passengers on some routes have also been hit by ‘stealth fare rises’ of up to 162%. Rail passengers have previously been told that the higher fares were necessary to fund investment. Despite this there have been delays to vital project by year and essential maintenance works have been put on hold. The heavily fragmented railways mean that it often takes much longer and costs much more than it should to

deliver basic improvements. However without a reform in the railways it seems like the on-average-21-year-oldtrains and their high fares are here to stay for some time. Looking further into train ticket pricing it is clear that cost for a given length of journey isn’t consistent even along the same line. For commuters travelling from Greenfield to Leeds, it cost

By Ben Cartwright

THE REAL Junk Food Project has raised nearly £40,000 in preparation for the first ever ‘food waste’ restaurant in Manchester. After breaking the original target of £20,000 last week the project decided to bump up the target and use any extra funds to offer free cooking lessons for Manchester residents on low or no income. The exact figure on the crowdfunder (correct at publication) was £38,582 including a generous £10,000 donation from Santander. The first benchmark was set to pay for a permanent home after several successful pop-up events organised across the city last year. Like those events last year, the restaurant will operate on a pay-asyou-feel basis, with donations ranging from 50p all the way up to £200 for a meal. The site for the permanent home is to be announced shortly and Corin Bell, director for Real Junk Food Manchester, hopes that they will be able to open in six weeks’ time. Corin said: “We have all been

messaging each other so much, just going: “Oh my God have you seen it? Oh my God someone has just donated £250! Oh my God, oh my God!” “When it tipped over (£20,000) we had a couple of minutes of jumping up and down and making squeaky noises.” The Real Junk Food movement hopes to tackle a national shame where eight million people in the UK live in poverty and hunger, yet 15m tonnes of food is wasted each year across the country, according to one survey. When the restaurant opens Corin will hand over the reins to two chefs, Mary-Ellen McTague and Deb Burton, to use the waste food to cook up awesome meals and serve it to anyone and everyone. Aside from using the money to open a restaurant, Corin has always had her eye on teaching cookery skills to the people of Manchester. Corin added: “This isn’t about food poverty it’s about the fact that we have all lost confidence with food. The difference is if you are above a certain income you can basically buy your way out of that problem.

“We decided to specifically focus on people who are on low incomes, not because we think people who are on low incomes are any worse at cooking but because the health inequalities of being on a low income means that if you don’t have skills you don’t have the money to buy your way out of the problem. “I would still like to raise awareness with everyone and anyone about how you can cook from scratch rather than constantly buying into products that are more processed, more wasteful and more expensive.” The restaurant will not operate like a conventional restaurant – the menu will completely depend on the waste food that comes in on that day. “The specifics of the menu will be designed around what we get but the aim is for the style of food to have real astounding quality restaurantstyle food.” Corin also had a top tip for anyone who wants to reduce their food wastage: “Buy less. If in doubt just buy less. “Come home, look in the fridge, work out what is going to go off first and play Ready, Steady, Cook at home.”

are facing a large hole burning through their wallets as the latest increase in fares comes after a 5% increase between 2011-2014 and a 162% increase in metropolitan areas on the Northern franchise after an evening peak period was introduced back in September 2014. New figures show that some commuters are paying over £2,000 more to travel to work than in 2010. The highest increase in rail fare was found on a Virgin Trains season ticket between Birmingham and London Euston which has risen by £2,172 since 2010 and now costs more than £10,200. The biggest percentage increase has been between Thame Bridge Parkway and Nuneaton, where the cost of an annual season ticket has risen by 43% since 2010. Looking across to Europe, Manchester’s twin city Amsterdam enjoys much lower fares with the average Netherlands return ticket for all journey lengths being approximately half that of those in the UK. France’s fares are lower still.

CORIN BELL: Director for the Real Junk Food Project in Manchester organised the crowdfunding event PICTURE: The Eating and Drinking Club


January 2017

Work starts on Trafford tramline By Will Shillibier

ALL ABOARD: New line is part of a £1.5 billion expansion for Metrolink

THE BUILDING works for a new tramline which will run from Pomona to the Trafford centre has started. The 5.5km (3.4 mile) line, which will cost £350m, will go from the Pomona stop through Trafford Park to the shopping centre. The line will call at six new tram stops - Wharfside, Imperial War Museum North, Village, Parkway, EventCity and the Trafford Centre. Trafford Park itself is the largest major employment zone in Greater Manchester

outside the city centre and is home to over 1,300 businesses and more than 33,000 jobs. Transport for Greater Manchester had consulted on the plans for the new Trafford Park line during a 12-week public consultation in summer 2014, with 89% of comments in favour. Back in October, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, welcomed the news, saying: “Today’s announcement is another big step forward for Greater Manchester. I’m delighted that our long held ambition to build a new Metrolink line through Trafford

Park is now about to become a reality. “This new line will boost our economy and bring us closer to our goal of a world class transport system for Greater Manchester.” Trafford Council Chief Executive, Theresa Grant, said: “For the borough to continue to grow and provide opportunities for education and jobs for our residents we need investment and having excellent transport links makes the borough even more attractive to those who want to live, visit or invest in the area.”

ICONIC: Salford’s famous hotel has played host to a number of celebrities, including current Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho

The Lowry Hotel: Where “luxury” meets a 3-star rating By Ben Cartwright

PART of The Lowry Hotel kitchen described as “visibly black” in Food Standards Agency report which gives the five-star hotel a “generally satisfactory” rating. The swanky hotel’s website describes itself as a place “where luxury meets style”, unfortunately there were many areas of the kitchen that did not meet the Food Agency’s standard. The minimum price for a night at the Lowry Hotel, where Jose Mourinho is reportedly living at the moment, is £139 which apparently pays for long term dirt on paper towel dispensers and a 3/5 Food Standards Agency Rating. The website adds that the hotel is “where things happen for the modern luxury generation”, it does not state that these “things” include cross-contamination of ready to eat and raw food equipment. The Department of Health

describes cross-contamination with this example: “Before cooking a fish which is contaminated with salmonella bacteria, a person uses a knife and cutting board to cut it up. Bacteria from the fish will be left on the knife and cutting board. The person slices cooked ham using the same knife and board without washing them first. The bacteria are transferred to the ham.” The report describes equipment, including bowls, was used for both raw and ready to eat foods and chopping boards were stored

There are issues with your cleaning and this should be addressed.

Food Standards Agency Report

together, including the raw blue fish board which was stored directly adjacent to the ready to eat board during preparation. The Department of Health website says that poor food handling practices in the home or in food outlets can cause salmonella food poisoning. “You’re putting yourself at the centre of the action”, the website claims, it doesn’t say the centre of the action could result in ending a trip to the Salford hotel with a holiday in the toilet. The Food Standards Agency makes use of a piece of machinery which they use to swab areas within the kitchen to assess cleaning. The machine then gives a number which tells the FSA how clean something is, the pass mark for a food contact surface is less than 20 and for a hand contact less than 50. Wash hand basin taps in Man-

chester’s first five-star hotel were found to be at 479, almost 10 times the limit, whilst the walk in chiller handle was found to be at a similarly unsatisfactory level of 403. Even after having been cleaned a knife used on ready to eat food gave back a 79 rating, which is on the borderline of the pass mark. The report does say that these swabs are just hygiene indicators however they found the results to be very concerning. The report states: “They suggest that there are issues with your cleaning and this should be addressed.” Other areas for concern included staff washing their hands without using their elbows or paper to turn off the taps. The report adds: “They were then observed washing equipment (a knife) in the wash hand basin. This suggests that further training on company policies is required.” The Lowry Hotel promises to be a

unique experience delivering luxury, the uniqueness being that the wash hand basins, ice machine, leg supports to equipment and trolley, dishwasher and even the ceiling in the walk in chiller, are all dirty. “Since opening this iconic hotel in April 2001, there have been many Lowry antics. We won’t tell you about them, not just because we’re discreet about those who stay, but because The Lowry Hotel is less about history as it is about you and the city’s present energy.” The Lowry Hotel probably won’t tell you about the state of the kitchen and it might be wise that it spends more times on its hands and knees cleaning and less time finding different ways of calling itself a luxury hotel. A spokesperson for the Lowry said the hotel had been re-inspected and that a new score was to be published 'imminently'.

Certain vaping flavours worse than cigs

By Ben Cartwright

ELECTRONIC cigarette users face a higher risk of lung damage if they use certain flavours, a study by the University of Salford has revealed. Vaping flavours include toxins that are not inhaled by users of standard tobacco cigarettes. Menthol and butterscotch are amongst the most harmful flavours and University of Salford scientists say the e-cigarettes are exposing users to unknown risks. Previously, studies had shown that vaping liquid contains aldehydes, compounds that damage lungs, but this is the first to test the impact of individual flavours. “We still don't know how safe e-cigarettes are, some of the ingredients are toxic on cells such as butterscotch flavouring diacetyl - so we can see they are not healthy,” explains University of Salford Biomedical Researcher Dr Patricia Ragazzon. "When inhaled, some of the flavours we tested proved to be substantially toxic, with prolonged exposure killing bronchial cells completely." The experts, who publish their findings in the journal Scientific Progress, studied 20 liquid refills in nine flavours cherry, strawberry, ice-mint, menthol, tobacco, blueberry, vanilla, bubble-gum and butterscotch - bought from shops, chemists and over the internet. The Salford Biomedical Research scientist recalls the early days of tobacco cigarette history: “At its beginnings, they were recommended as healthy and many decades after the evidence came for them to be responsible for many cancers. “We have had e-cigarettes for a short time, we take them as safer than cigarettes but the evidence shows they are not completely safe. Many groups in universities in the UK as well as the NHS are working on this topic, hopefully the combined evidence will shed some light on it.” However, Dr Ragazzon has some advice for those looking to vaping at the start of 2017: “I would suggest to anyone smoking traditional cigarettes that switching to e-cigarettes as a method to quit. My advice to anyone not smoking is to not start.”


Manchester set for Year of the Rooster

January 2017

By Amber Thiara

THE CHINESE New Year Manchester celebrations are the perfect way to wash away the January blues with the Chinese lucky colour of red. The Chinese national colour of red represents happiness, beauty, success and good fortune, precisely what one would wish for at the start of the New Year. From Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 January locals will be treated to some of the brightest celebrations as the Year of the Rooster is welcomed to Manchester. All are invited to enjoy the celebrations and feast at the many street food market stalls. A huge marquee is to be set up in St Ann’s Square and will serve up some of the best Chinese food and drink. Traditional festive foods such as Yang Sang and Dim Sum Su will be available as well as delights from Mei Mei’s Street Cart and Tampopo. There will also be a whole host of events going on around the city centre

Exchange Square to host Terracotta Warrior Lanterns A MUST-SEE: The dragon leads the festive parade at the heart of the Chinese New Year revelry

By Amber Thiara

THE MOST anticipated part of the Manchester Chinese New Year celebrations is The Lantern of the Terracotta Warriors exhibition. The exhibit will be situated in Exchange Square outside the Corn Exchange 10am-9pm from 26-29 January. The Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors is a travelling art exhibition that features a collection of 40 brightly coloured, illuminated replicas of the famous Terracotta Army. The 40 warriors are exact copies of some of the 8,000 clay statues that make up The Terracotta Army which was first discovered in 1974. The clay guards surround the tomb of Xi'an, the first Emperor of China and date from around 210BC. Each of the exhibits stands more than 6ft 7in high and were originally commissioned for the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games by artist Xia Nan. Since then the lantern warriors have travelled all over the world and have been visited by thousands at the Sydney Harbour, Central Square in Zagreb and Hradcany Castle in Prague. The colourful Terracotta Warrior lanterns are to be the centrepiece of the Manchester Chinese New Year celebrations and will also be their first appearance in the UK. The lanterns will light up Exchange Square marking the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of London’s Chinatown. The exhibition has been made possible by the

Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester and Manchester City Council and Confucius Institute. Manchester’s Business Improvement District Initiative chair, Jane Sharrocks said: "Securing this world class exhibition is a major coup. The Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors are breath-taking and visitors can walk amongst them offering a truly immersive experience." As well as the towering lantern warriors outside the Corn Exchange there will also be more than 6,000 traditional red lanterns adorning the city’s streets. Another must see festive attraction is the giant Golden Dragon that can be found in Greengate Square, opposite Manchester Cathedral during January 26-29. This 50-foot spectacle is the ideal spot to take some New Year snaps as the giant Golden Dragon will provide the perfect photo back-drop alongside the River Irwell. The 2017 celebrations with the Terracotta Warriors at the heart of the festivities YEAR OF THE is set to be the biggest ROOSTER: People the city has ever seen. born in this year are The four day procharacterised as gramme will not only be being hardworking a celebration of the new and confident, year but also a celebracourageous and honest. tion of the very best of traditional and contemporary Chinese culture.

throughout the four days of celebration that are a real must-see. The famous traditional dragon parade will start its route from Albert Square making its way to Chinatown down Portland Street. Thousands last year watched the 175-foot dragon followed by lion and unicorn dances. There will also be stage performances, acrobatics and fair ground rides to keep all entertained before the grand finale. A spectacular firework display will end the week’s festivities, kicking off the Year of the Rooster with a bang. The run-down for the day’s events: Stalls at Albert Square and in Chinatown: 11am- 5pm Stage performance: 12pm 5:30pm The Dragon Parade starts at 12pm in Albert Square and arrives in Chinatown at 1pm Lion & unicorn dances & other shows: 1:30 pm – 5pm Fairground rides in Chinatown: 12pm – 5pm Workshops featuring a Chinese Handicrafts Exhibition at Albert

Square: 12pm– 5pm Firework Display over Chinatown: 6pm Celebrations from January 26-29 also include the Terracotta Lantern Exhibition in Exchange Square daily 10am-9pm , and Street Food Markets at St Ann's Square 11am-7pm. Raymond Chan who is the chairman of the Manchester China Town Business Association and son of the founding father of Manchester’s Chinatown said: “I am especially excited about this year’s celebration as it promises to be the best Manchester has ever seen. “Apart from activities in Chinatown the whole of Manchester is celebrating too! The Terracotta Warrior Lantern Exhibition is to be on display for the first time in Manchester in Exchange square, a definite must see!” Manchester City Councillor Kevin Peel tweeted: “This is going to be FANTASTIC! Get yourself to #Manchester for @CNY_MCR people!” It looks like 2017’s Chinese New Year celebrations are shaping up to be the best yet.

EXHIBITION: The Lanterns of the Terracotta Warriors look set to light up this year’s festivities


Lidl to create 500 jobs

January 2017

By Fiona Tomas

SETTNG UP SHOP: German supermarket giant Lidl

SUPERMARKET giant Lidl will create 500 new jobs in Bolton this year after the supermarket giant revealed plans to build a new regional distribution facility. The German firm has snapped up a large plot at the Logistics North industrial estate in Over Hulton and joins a growing list of major international companies to launch at the former Cutacre mining site near Junction 4 of the M61.

Planning permission will be submitted later this year and it is understood the supermarket chain will work closely with Bolton City Council to develop the £22.5 million purchase. Adrienne Howells, Lidl UK’s head of warehouse expansion, said: “With more British customers choosing Lidl as their family supermarket we are focused on the sustainable growth of our business. “Once again we are delighted to reveal plans for another Lidl distribution centre in Great Britain, bringing investment to

Bolton, new jobs and additional support to our existing and future stores in the north of England.” Cllr Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council, welcomed the plans as another big boost for business in Bolton. He said: “This is great news for Bolton as another wellknown name signs up to Logistics North. “Through this latest multimillion pound investment we are pleased to have secured 500 new jobs in addition to the 1,200 already employed on

the site. “We remain committed to continuing to work with all our partners to bring more tenants jobs and investment to the site in the near future.” Cllr Morris also highlighted the importance of the new investment ahead of forthcoming changes about the way in which the Government will fund local authorities. It is expected that other major names will announce that they will set up shop at Logistics North over the coming months.

Bolton girls spellbound


TWO young bright sparks from Bolton have made it through to the next round of The Big Spell – the new game show hosted by Joe Lycett and ex-Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins. Kate Hackney, aged 13, and Jasmine De Goede, aged 10, were in the winning teams during the first episode, which was broadcast last Saturday on Sky 1. Both girls escaped through the tough spelling bee round which sees contestants eliminated. Jasmine impressed by spelling every word correctly and was in the top performing team.

Bury racks up the fines

Determined entrepeneur sews his life back together By Fiona Tomas

A FORMER Bolton inmate has spoken of his gratitude after embroidery helped him discover his inner entrepreneurial self – and completely transform his life. Javed Ali, 22, spent two and a half years behind bars from January 2014 to July 2016 after “making too many mistakes” and landing himself in trouble with the police after being convicted of a blackmail offence. He spent most of his sentence at a young offenders’ institute, HMYOI Deerbolt, where he worked as a team-leader in a print workshop Monday to Friday, earning £8 a week. Mr Ali, of Deane Road, said he was immediately drawn to the idea of embroidery – despite having never undertaken such an intricate activity before. He selftaught himself how to create

“People usually like to acknowledge all the bad stuff but I hope my story gives other offenders hope.”

personalised mugs, build canvases, design websites and banners and was even nominated as the shop’s team leader, managing 12 other people on a daily basis. He said: “After years of being in trouble with the police, I realised that I desperately needed to do something that I could be proud of,” Mr Ali learned how to digitise a design into a sewing pattern without the help of a tutorial and started developing embroidered badges for customers who told him how they wanted their logo to look like. Mr Ali, who is now a free man, described his experience as one of the greatest opportunities he has ever received. “Embroidery was something I was good at and really enjoyed. I was immediately drawn to it when I started,” he said. Mr Ali is planning on opening his very own ‘all-round embroi-

dery business’ from his home, called Doodah Embroider. He will aim to use the skills he learnt at Deerbolt to digitalise and print logos for local traders and companies or for individuals who want patterns embroidered onto clothes such as polo shirts and high visibility vests. Mr Ali is currently searching for a part-time worker to help him with the start-up, which he is planning to launch by the end of March and insists he wants to employ someone who has had a similar experience in the prison system. He is adamant on challenging the stigmatisms often attached to young offenders released from prison. “I want to give back really, and help other people,” Mr Ali said. “Many employers don’t think that offenders coming outside of jail can change, but I want to change these perceptions and

maybe you’d get a lot less of reoffending crime.” “People usually like to acknowledge all the bad stuff, but I hope my story gives other offenders hope.” Mr Ali also spoke highly of the vocational work he did in prison, adding,“Most of the time it’s down to lack of education or lack of activity.” Once his business is up and running, Mr Ali has big plans for it and is setting himself no limits. “What I hope for the business is that it becomes a fully functioning one,” Mr Ali said. “I want to be able to live off it and depend on it, but from there I’m hoping to open up a new store – or a small factory. “But I want to take everything one stage at a time.” More information about Doodah Embroidery can be found on social media by typing in ‘Doodah Embroider’.

BURY Council makes more money from parking fines than any other Greater Manchester borough. Parking charges and penalty notices racked up over £1.23m in Bury last year – without running costs. Bury’s surplus was significantly greater than in neighbouring boroughs Bolton and Rochdale, who collected £518,000 between them, whilst Manchester recorded a surplus of £8.92m. But Bury residents need not worry – revenue from parking charges and fines are ringfenced, meaning that the council will reinvest all the money on transport services in the town.

Police look for gunman

POLICE have launched an investigation after gun shots were fired at the window of a house in The Haulgh on Wednesday night. The area was quickly cordoned off by officers who were called to Ashbourne Avenue at around 7pm after reports that a man was seen armed with a gun. When officers arrived at the house, the front windows had been shattered by the gunshots and the area remained cordoned off until midnight. Nearby residents reported hearing a loud bang, before police arrived on the scene. One neighbour described the noise like a firework, adding,"I went out for a couple of hours and when I came back there were police cordons up. A police spokesman said: "An investigation is underway and enquiries are ongoing."


January 2017

Jazz king Jools set for Wigan Festival

By James Cunliffe

Teen in plea after Xmas ecstasy trip

GETTING JAZZY: Jools Holland set to light up the Wigan Jazz Festival for the second time

BANDLEADER and television presenter Jools Holland is set to headline the 32nd edition of the Wigan Jazz Festival this July at the Robin Park Leisure Centre. Jools, 58, will bring his rhythm and blues orchestra to the borough for the second time after they performed to a sell-out show in 2014. The well-known host of the annual ‘Hootenanny’ on New Year’s Eve and ‘Later with Jools Holland’ is confirmed for the Thursday night of the 6 July. The show, sponsored by Manchester Airport, will also feature Gilson Lavis, Ruby Turner, Louise Marshall, Beth Rowley and other special guests. This year’s festival will also launch in spectacular style when top US saxophone player Eric Marienthal, who performed at the 2016 jazz bash, returns as part of the UK debut for the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). Organiser Ian Darrington said:

“We’re delighted that Jools Holland and his guests are coming back to Wigan for what promises to be another weekend of top class live entertainment. “Tickets sold out at incredible speed last time, so I’d encourage fans to book their tickets quickly again for such a popular act.” The night boasts another star-studThe Wigan International Jazz Festival is an excellent event in our calendar so to kick it off in this way again will certainly be a crowd pleaser

ded line-up as original Squeeze band drummer Gilson Lavis will join Jools and the orchestra as a special guest and vocalists Ruby Turner, Louise Marshall and Beth Rowley will all perform. The other gigs for the festival are yet to be confirmed but the organis-


By James Cunliffe

WIGAN schoolgirl Leah Robinson admits that she is lucky to be alive after an ecstasy pill put her in a coma on Christmas Day. Leah, a Pemberton 16-year-old, said she had been out with friends around Marsh Green and Norley on the night of the 25th when at one point she was handed her first ever “e” pill. After taking it, she collapsed and was immediately rushed to hospital. Doctors at Wigan Infirmary’s intensive care unit put her into an induced coma and told her family to prepare for the worst. The drug caused her body temperature to drop to hypothermic levels – at one point it was just 26 degrees Celsius, which is significantly lower than the norm of 36 to 37. Her petrified mum, Kerry, published shocking pictures (right) of her lying motionless in a hospital bed as she battled for her life. Kerry was praying for her daughter’s recovery while at the same time using her experience as a warning to other youngsters about the use of drugs. “There is so much of what happened that I can’t remember but I know I have been very lucky and I won’t be trying drugs again,” Leah said. Thankfully with the treatment she received and through her own constitution, she fought from the brink of death to make a full recovery. But the youngster, studying for her GCSEs at Abraham Guest Academy this summer, admits she had a very close run-in. “Everyone, including the doctors said that I was very lucky. They did not think I was going to pull through. But fortunately there are no long-lasting effects. I am very grateful to the medical staff who were all very nice.” Leah was kept in intensive care for three

ers have already decided to branch out into the big city to get the show on the road in June. Top US musician Marienthal will be back in the UK after appearing alongside Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra in 2016, bringing his ensemble of superstar jazz musicians across the pond for the first time for an exclusive oneoff gig. The festival is being put together by Wigan Jazz Club and Inspiring healthy lifestyles in partnership with Wigan Council and is once again sponsored by Manchester Airport. Paul Kenny, portfolio holder for leisure, client and resources at the town hall, said: “To welcome back a world-renowned act like Jools Holland is a real indication of the calibre of entertainment being attracted to the borough.” Tickets can be bought online or over the phone for prices starting from £35.50, with VIP packages including a four course meal and drinks available for £81.50 – call 01942 828508.

days before she was allowed home. A friend of Leah was also taken to hospital as a precaution after also taking an ecstasy but did not have the same bad reaction. A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police, said: “A 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a class A drug and has been bailed until February 20.”

Kerry, who has three other children and lives in Kirkby, said: “It was a terrifying time. At one point I thought we had lost her. I think she has learnt her lesson and I hope other young people learn from her mistake too.” Proffesor Kate Ardern, director of public health for Wigan Council, said: “The exact contents of any ecstasy tablet are unknown and can cause dangerous side-

effects such as severe illness, admission to hospital and in some cases even death. “I would advise all young people to stay safe and keep away from taking such drugs.” Ecstasy is dangerously common type of simulant drug among young adults, last year alone 279,000 of 16-24 year-old reported ecstasy use, which equates to around 4.5%.

IN A scramble to prop up hard-hit social care services, council tax is set to rise by five per cent in Trafford this April. The news comes in light of scrutiny councillor’s concerns about a £2m hole in the council’s budget plans less than two months before swingeing cuts of £22m have to be finalised. Council chiefs across the country have to set their budget for this year by the end of February and committee members have worries about the £2m budget gap at this ‘late stage of the process’. Tory town hall bosses say they received a decent funding settlement from the government and are confident the £2m gap will be covered without extra cuts to services. However, council tax in Trafford is expected to rise by five per cent from April as part of a new government plan to tackle the country’s social care crisis. School crossing patrol officers could suffer from a funding axe as council bosses are said to be asking schools and community groups to find the cash to keep them in their new plans. There is also a worry about the impact on parking fee increases on town centre footfall and plans to charge people for green waste collection. Trafford’s opposition Labour leader Andrew Western said: “It’s really worrying that we still don’t have any concrete details about how the council will fill this shortfall in the next year’s budget. “The Tories really need to get on top of this as a matter of urgency.”

Hundreds protest against Rochdale greenbelt plans


January 2017

By Scott Sumner

LOCAL citizens have come out in their hundreds to protest against huge proposals to build on greenbelt land in the western suburbs of Rochdale. A colossal 100-acre site to the west of Norden Road in Bamford has been targeted for 750 new homes under the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) draft plan. Organised by ‘Save Bamford Greenbelt’, residents and councillors marched around the site through fog and rain last weekend, before taking on refreshments at Bamford Chapel The rally followed a similar protest earlier in January, when Milnrow, Newhey and Royton residents marched to the monument at the top of Tandle Hill to demonstrate opposition to proposals in their respective areas. According to the GMSF plan, there is a need for an additional 227,000 new homes across Greater Manchester by 2035, which inevitably will hit the region’s suburban areas hard. Leaders have drawn up their proposals for the unprecedented building programme in order to tackle a predicted housing crisis and they see the use of protected greenbelt land as a necessary

PASSIONATE: Bamford residents show their objection to the plans evil. The Bamford site – owned by land and property giant Peel – is expected to be developed

into luxury dwellings with the aim of attracting highly skilled professionals to the area. This will be at the expense of public playing

fields and historic footpaths, with a cricket club and tennis courts also under threat. Rochdale Councillor Neil Butterworth has blamed the government for allowing such schemes to gain traction. He said “Following a change in the law under David Cameron’s Conservative Government, greenbelt land can now be built upon. “This change has made it very difficult for councils to stay within the law without allowing development on greenbelt land.” Over £1,300 has already been pledged towards a £2,000 crowdfunding target to help lodge Save Bamford Greenbelt’s legal objection to the GMSF plans. A spokesperson for the group said of the protest: “It was a fantastic turnout, a really good day and there’s been a massive buzz during and after the event.” The GMSF plan has been put forward by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority – the organisation run jointly by the leaders of the ten Greater Manchester councils and chaired by Interim Mayor Tony Lloyd. The consultation period for the draft GMSF has been extended to Monday 16 January 2017, with a second draft expected later in the year and government review in 2018.

Cotton Mill blaze was arson, police confirm By Scott Sumner

AN ENORMOUS fire which ravaged Oldham’s Maple Mill in December is now being investigated as arson, police have said. About 80 firefighters tackled the blaze while 100 homes in the surrounding area were evacuated. Witnesses said that flames leapt as high as 60m into the air as the six-storey red brick building was destroyed. The blaze – on Cardwell Street in Hathershaw Moor – was still burning seven hours after it first started at around 4.30am on Thursday 15th December. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have confirmed that the fire was started deliberately and are calling for anyone

with information relating to the blaze to come forward. Although no-one was injured in the devastating incident, the 112-year-old former cotton-spinning mill was left beyond repair. It was designed in 1904 by Chadderton architect Sir Philip Sidney Stott as a double-mill and the fire has resulted in the majority of Maple No.1 being demolished, with only a tower now remaining. The incident follows previous fires last September and in April 2009, the latter of which destroyed Maple No.2 after a two-week firefighting effort. Spinning ceased in the 1990s and the mill was bought by the controversial Rochdale entrepreneur Vance Miller, who used to it to manufacture and fitted kitchens and furniture.

In one of Tradings Standards' biggest ever operations in 2006, the mill was raided and four people, including Miller, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. After passing on ownership, the mill had been left unused and it is believed that it was being used as a refuge by homeless people over the last few years. A spokesman for GMP said: “A number of people had to be evacuated from the immediate area whilst Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service carried out an investigation into the disused mill. No one was injured. “The fire is now being treated as arson by detectives and enquiries are ongoing. “Anyone with any information should call police on 101 quoting incident number 626 of 15 December 2016.”

Oldham hit-and-run: Crown Court date set By Scott Sumner

THE MAN charged with killing two Oldham cousins in a New Year’s Eve hit-and-run incident is set to appear in Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court on the first day of February. Gabor Hegedus has been accused of causing death by dangerous driving in the accident which claimed the lives of Helina Kotlarova, 12, and Zaneta Krokova, 11. In the preliminary hearing at Tameside Magistrates’ Court last week, the 38-year-old also heard charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, driving without a licence, failing to stop

after a collision and failing to report a collision. Three other men have also been accused in relation to the incident. David Orsos, 18, Zoltan Peto, 49, and Janos Kalanyos, 50, appeared alongside Hegedus in front of magistrates on charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The four men – all from Oldham – have been remanded in custody until the Crown Court date. Helina and Zaneta were holding hands as they crossed Ashton Road – a major A-road out of Oldham town centre – when they were hit by a car at around 7:15pm. Helina died at the scene, and Zaneta two days later passed away in hospital. TRAGEDY: Cousins Helina Kotlarova (left) and Zaneta Krokova

Tributes paid to ex-mayor

RESPECTS have been given to Rochdale’s former mayor, Norman Smith MBE, who died aged 84 earlier this month. Smith passed away at Rochdale Infirmary following a long battle against Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. The Liberal Democrat politician represented the town from 1973 to 2004 and was made a Freeman of Rochdale when he stepped down. Smith leaves behind wife Shirley, son and daughter Craig and Christine, five grandchildren and eight greatgrandchildren. He was the younger brother of the late MP Sir Cyril Smith, who he stood by despite the longstanding child sex abuseallegations against his sibling.


Rochdale ICU open day

ROCHDALE Infirmary has said that they will be hosting a free “talk and tour” of their new Wolstenholme Intermediate Care Unit. According to Unit Manager Karen Archibald, the tour will give the public and trust members an opportunity to visit the the unit, chat and meet the staff, and see for themselves how fantastic the unit is, and what is being offered. The unit is part of a new service launched in September 2015 which aims to reduce unnecessary admissions to hospital, and to ensure that people can leave hospital more quickly by making care more easily available in the community. Treatment and care is then provided either at home, a community setting or at one of two specially commissioned enhanced bed units - including the newly established Wolstenholme Unit at Rochdale Infirmary. They can also be accessed by patients who have been treated in hospital but still require nursing or therapy to maintain rehabilitation or recovery. The tour on Wednesday 18 January 2017, and will be held at the Wolstenholme Unit, Level B, Rochdale Infirmary. To book your place, email or call 01706 517302.


January 2017

Backpacker bride due to wed again

THE JILTED bride who went viral last year after blogging her one-woman journey around the world is ready to tie the knot once more. Katy Colins, 31, had her wedding unexpectedly cancelled back in 2012, which prompted her to trade Edgeley, Stockport, for south-east Asia as she embarked on a colossal overseas journey. Now, five years later she is due to get married again, to the journalist who first interviewed her about the story, and is expecting a baby in the coming months. Her time in Asia prompted her to pen a series of travel books called ‘The Lonely Hearts Travel Club’ which went straight onto the bestseller list. Known as the ‘back-packing Bridget Jones’, the former PR worker has signed a three-year book deal with Harper Collins. Announcing her engagement on her blog ‘Not Wed or Dead’, Colins wrote: “In a plot twist that could have come from one of my novels, I’m marrying the journalist who broke my story with the world. I feel like I’m living in a real-life romcom! “The biggest life lesson I’ve learned along the way? You’re given what you need when you least expect it.”

Tameside care service slammed by CQC report By James Mutch

AN ASHTON-BASED home care service provider for people with learning difficulties has been heavily criticised in its latest inspection. Tameside Link has been given a rating of ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after announced inspections were conducted on September 29 and October 10. The CQC monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety. They inspect both NHS trusts and independent hospitals as well as care homes, residential homes and nursing homes. They work closely with members of the public, other organisations in order to make sure people are kept safe from harm, abuse and neglect Major faults highlighted include the lack of staff training and the incorrect usage of medicine for their clients. The report stated: “We found the administration of people's medicines to be unsafe. Staff had not received up to date training in medicines administration or had been assessed as being competent to give people their medicines. “We found gaps in people's medicines administration records and could not be reassured people

had been given their medicines as and when they were prescribed or needed them.” It also became clear that staff had not received full inductions when they started working, and that reviews to monitor their performance and progress

“We found the administration of

people’s medicine to be unsafe.”

CQC report

were not frequent enough. Another area that was identified in the report was that the provider had no risk assessments in place and that staff had no guidelines on how to provide safe care. It was also apparent that there were no care plans available for patients and records that were on file were outdated. This point was consolidated in the report which mentioned: “professionals connected with the service raised concerns with us about care planning for people.” The lack of organisation in the firm was also present in the fact that safeguarding incidents had

not been sent to the CQC which is an obligatory requirement. There were some positive comments made by people receiving care who remarked how they felt staff were ‘nice’, ‘kind’ and ‘caring’ to them, but this aspect of the service was let down at times too. Inspectors mentioned one occasion in which “we observed one staff member on the phone talking loudly about a person and another staff member spoke to us about the person in front of them without including them. We found this showed a lack of respect.” Due to the poor score of the inspection, the care service has been placed into ‘special measures’ meaning it must make the suggested improvements and changes or they will risk further action taken in the next six months. At the time of the inspection, Tameside Link supported 13 people in their own flats and homes including three people who live in a block of flats as well as two people who share a house together. Tameside Link has been contacted about the inspection but has declined to comment.

She met her fiancé, John, ten years ago when the pair were studying the same journalism course, but had fallen out of contact until he interviewed her last year. “As the year whirled on I fell hard and fast in love with him, we moved in together then he asked me a question and I said yes. “I wasn’t afraid that it was going to end up like last time. I was stronger. I was more confident and I knew that if I ever needed to I could pick myself back up.” The couple will marry next weekend in a small ceremony at their home in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. When she was left heart-broken in 2012, she thought that her hopes of a fairytale lifeime seemed destroyed, but it seems increasingly likely that everything she wants is within touching distance. “Marriage and kids, two things that had felt within my grasp before I was jilted, were replaced with hostel hangouts, jaw-dropping sunsets, iconic tourist sites and finding my feet as I flew around the world on my own.” Colins’ recent Instagram posts include teacups with Mr and Mrs printed on, and a positive pregnancy test next to an engagement ring and Scrabble tilest spelling out ‘Our Next Adventure’.

ManchesterUnited themedpop-upbarto opennearOldTrafford

A NEW Manchester United themed pop-up bar and music venue has opened near Old Trafford. The bar, which opens up every home match day, offers live music, food, and drink and has proved a hit with the fans. The centerpiece of the bar is the giant mural of former United fans’ favourite George Best, painted by graffiti artist Kelzo, which covers the entire back wall of the venue. Kay and Mark Ruby, who also run Kro Bar in Heaton Moor, Stockport, have combined with live events organisers Concrete Recordings to open the new venue in a converted warehouse near the stadium. Kay said: “A few of the pubs have closed around here so it couldn't have come at a better time for supporters. “It’s a brand new venue and it’s right across from the tram stop. Sometimes people are having to queue for two hours to get a tram after matches, so they are excited that it’s here. “We opened without advertising it and it’s been getting busier and busier each time through word of mouth.” The former warehouse can be found on Warwick Road South, just ten minutes walk from the Premier League side’s ground and opposite the Metrolink station. This weekend they wiill host up and coming Heaton Moor band Square One after United’s high-profile clash with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Depending on kick off time, the bar opens up between 11am and 8pm on the day of every home game. Co-owner Mark said: “We've successfully run popup bars at other events and think there is a real opportunity to provide entertainment as well as drinks and food to fans attending matches at Old Trafford.”


January 2017

Zesty experimental music on cards as New Yorkers hit city

TREAT: New York band Ensemble Pamplemousse are ready to bring their experimental sounds to Manchester tonight

By Kathy Giddins

Experimental music fans in Manchester are in for a treat at The Wonder Inn as the Weisslich concert series makes an appearance in the city tonight. Among the groups featured will be New York based Ensemble Pamplemousse – formed of flautist Natacha, drummer Andrew, cellist Jessie, keyboard player David, sound engineer Bryan and trombonist Weston. MM caught up with for a chat with cellist Jessie Marino ahead of their UK debut tomorrow night. Is there a particular reason why you're called Ensemble Pamplemousse? Is it because grapefruit can be an acquired taste in the same way that experimental music can?

As legend has it – the year that Pamplemousse was founded was a particularly great season for citrus fruits. Most people eat grapefruit wrong. You shouldn't slice it in half and dig out the wedges with a sharptoothed spoon. Grapefruits are supposed to peeled and eaten section by section. You peel back the first layer of skin, and you suck out the juicy insides. It’s hard work and that's how we like it. We wanted to have a group that was juicy and tart and occasionally sweet but always satisfying, plus Pamplemousse is a very fun word to say! How would you describe the genre of experimental music to someone who wasn't familiar with it? Experimental music is a way of approaching sound. We explore music in three differ-

ent ways: Firstly, exploring new ways to use traditional instruments Secondly, Exploring musical ways of using non-instruments (most often done with household objects and body movements) And finally, using electronics to blur the distinctions between those elements. That's the long version. We use sound to play with expectation. What's the experimental music scene like in New York? Fun, fun, fun and totally, totally serious. It is also always changing based on the economics of the city. We got a fantastic opportunity this year to team up with a venue called JACK Theater in Brooklyn – they usually put on experi-

By Ciaran Duggan VINYL has reached a twenty-five year record high in sales. The surge in sales has been showcased best with the increase in demand for vinyl of the legendary music icon David Bowie, who sadly passed away last January, as sales to the 3.2 million mark. 2016 marks the ninth consecutive year that the demand for vinyl has shown growth. Official Charts Company data has revealed a growing demand for vinyl LPs. Earlier this week Mancunian Matters spoke to Rae Donaldson at the Manchester Vinyl Exchange store. Donaldson has worked at the shop for 24 years, and we asked him about the surprising surge in vinyl sales. “In the past two weeks over Christmas it has been fresh in my mind just how much new vinyl we sell. Most of our stock is traditionally second hand, but we started to take in more

and more new stock in the last year to two years. Forty to fifty per cent of our sales over the Christmas period were new records.” Last year three million vinyl albums were sold and in the current audio streaming climate it is surprising that sales continue to grow. But why was this the case? “There are different theories to explain that. One of them as far as younger fans are concerned is that they have grown up with music being downloadable and if they’ve developed a serious interest in the physical format then that would be most appealing to them because that’s different from the one they’re used to. “Secondly, you’ve got the nostalgia aspect for middle aged and older people. They have subsequently responded to the cultural plodding that they’ve received in the news that vinyl is coming back and they’ve suddenly thought: “=’Oh I should start buying some

records again and get myself a record player”. Data suggests that over four million vinyl albums could be sold in the UK in 2017. However, this vinyl store worker does not believe that the growth will be sustainable.

mental music and theatre shows. This year we will work with JACK to host our first festival called the Chance and Circumstance Festival (after Carolyn Brown's book, which everyone should read!) and we will get to hunker down in a single New York Venue – which for any ensemble is a total dream! Over the years we have seen a lot of wonderful places change their programming scheme or shut their doors completely but something new always sprouts forward. Where do you find inspiration for your music? We get inspiration from each other, and sometimes from Beyoncé, and sometimes from Donald Fagen, but always from one another. Do you have any particular process you go through when you're composing or does it just develop organically? Sometimes we write things together and sometimes we do our own thing. We each have our own processes. Some of us like algorithms and some like improvising and some like watching YouTube. But we all work really hard and ask one another for suggestions. What would you like to achieve in the future? Is there any particular event/place you'd like to perform? The first item on the plate – and it's a big one, is to release our new music video project called This is the Uplifting Part: it's an album of pieces that each of the composer/performer members of the group wrote and we got the chance to record and edit actual music videos for each piece. But in general I think the idea is to keep going and to keep being curious. We are always looking for new groups to be fans of, new venues to perform at, new modes of media to produce, and new ways of collaborating with one another. Bryan's dream venue is on the moon. Example Paplemousse play Manchester’s The Wonder Inn tonight.

Brexit might slow current vinyl revival

“As with anything culturally, there’ll be a high point and then it will go down and then plateaux. It might happen when we end up leaving the EU. “Record and vinyl prices will go up because

they’re pretty much all pressed on the continent. They have to be imported and currently we don’t pay any duty on vinyl, but if we leave the EU then we will. “Leaving will trigger a fall in sales because it doesn’t seem like a reasonable idea if the cost, for instance, goes up 20% and then anything that they company has to import press records will be passed onto the customer.” In addition to this whilst sales in vinyls have increased, the juggernaut of online audio streaming still dwarfs physical format sales. Last year there were 45 billion streams on digital platforms, such as Spotify which makes it likely that long term vinyl sale growth will plateaux in the near future. The store remains fearful of its survival in the current music industry. Vinyl salesare key to the company’s sustainability. The ‘Vinyl Revival’ may be a lot more short lived than people realise.

Black Sabbath at MCR Arena

NEXT week is set to be a busy and exciting time for events at Manchester Arena, as two legendary musical artists are scheduled to play next weekend. The headline act of the weekend however is none other than Black Sabbath, as they open their final ever UK tour at Manchester Arena on Sunday 22 January. This will be the last chance fans get to see, arguably, one of the greatest metal bands of all time; the lineup will feature Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Lommi and Geezer Butler, live at Manchester Arena Donny Osmond’s The Soundtrack Of My Life tour is set to play at Manchester Arena on Saturday 21 January 2017. This will be his first solo concert tour of the UK in four years, as he celebrates 50 years in show business. Drake, Green Day and Jack Whitehall are also set to headline Manchester Arena next month.

Boe movie hits film fest

A DOCUMENTARY movie about Blackpool-born opera star Alfie Boe is set to premiere at this year’s Manchester Film Festival. The Manchester Film Festival (MANIFF) has entered its third year and celebrates the best in British independent film making, with the focus centred towards the North of England. The festival is highly regarded internationally and will run from March 2-5.The documentary focuses on a Tony Award singer who tours the UK and North America The film will also star North West actors Jack Shepherd and Olviia Cook. Festival passes are now on sale and have been priced at £27.50. Student concessionary prices are also available to purchase. The price for a full festival pass amounts to £66. Ticket holders will be given access to all screenings to both the opening and closing gala events at the festival. For more info, visit:


January 2017

‘C ele b refs’ a t cen tre of n ew storm AS OF wednesday morning, we can expect a World Cup of 48 teams in nine years’ time. That means 80 matches, and perhaps crucially, over 100 match officials. The standard of refereeing in this country has been under intense scrutiny over the past few weeks as figures such as Mike Dean have been lambasted for the inconsistency of their decisions and the perceived arrogance of their officiating. Dean’s Christmas period went about as well as Hull City’s, as every week came with fresh controversy over a dodgy decision and the manner in which it was delivered. The major criticism of the Wirral-based ref seems to be that he is a ‘celebrity ref’. Fans across the country hate the idea that any official may be enjoying their job,

C O M M E N T & A NA LYS I S b y S a n d y Th i n

let alone relishing any time in the limelight. And perhaps they have a point. Much of the bravado of refereeing comes across as pure arrogance, not a quality that goes down well at the best of times, but when matched with decisions that can cost matches, unforgivable. And a lot of the Premier League officiating this season has been dodgy this season. There is a wild inconsistency between the card-happy referees and those who are more lenient to the players. Mike Dean tops the list having given ten penalties and five red cards this season. No other referee has dismissed more than three players and seven have

gone the whole season without showing a single red. But all of this must be put into a wider perspective. While fans love to have refereeing decisions as a scapegoat, the standard in England is no worse than in any other nation, in fact it’s much better. It’s no coincidence that of the 18 referees at Euro 2016, England was the only nation to have two officials invited – Mark Clattenburg and Martin Atkinson. Indeed, Clattenburg, fresh from refereeing the Champions League Final was given the honour of refereeing the final, a similar feat to that afforded to Howard Webb in 2010, when he did the Champions League/World Cup double.

Richardson tips young guns to shine at National Track Cycling Championships

THE British National Track Cycling Championships take place at the National Cycling Centre later this month. With very few UK indoor sprint meets in the annual racing calendar which include all Olympic and World Championship disciplines, these are an important event for track riders from up and down the country. Mancunian Matters spoke to reigning team sprint and 500m TT title holder Eleanor Richardson. 2016 was a successful and eventful year for the MSc student at Manchester Metropolitan University. She received her first GB call-up in January, and later set both BUCS and Scottish national records. Richardson also won silver medals in the women’s sprint and 500m TT at the British and University & Colleges Sport Track Championship in November, but an ankle injury in December means that she won’t be able to defend her titles “I was on elbow crutches and in an air cast boot for 4 weeks,” said Richardson. “I'm rehabbing away now, but unfortunately I won't be ready to compete in two weeks’ time. “Having ridden personal bests in all the sprint

It is clear, then, that our best referees come somewhere near the top of the pile internationally and the problem now, as it has been for some time, is achieving that kind of strength but in depth. The mentality at the moment seems very much to be that becoming a referee is some kind of back-up after other failure. It’s a pretty thankless task. It can’t be done professionally; you are ritually subjecting yourself to the abuse of thousands; and even when you’re good at your job, it’s rare that anyone mentions it. Something more needs to be done, in this country and around the world, to incentivise this least desirable of roles. If things don’t start to change soon, the lower quality of football won’t be the only thing fans have to worry about in 2026.

disciplines this year I was hoping for much faster things at Nationals, but sadly things didn't go my way from an injury perspective this season.” We asked Richardson how important the National Championships are certain up and coming riders. “As this is a post-Rio nationals, it means that some events will have some podium spots wide open to the non-professional or semi-professional riders. “It’s amongst these group of riders that you’ll probably see the real fight this year!” “Obviously all the GB academy riders will be looking to step up and show that they can compete against the senior podium programme counterparts. You have double para-world champion Rachel James, who is 2016 Rio medallist Becky James’ sister, and the Australian junior national champion Brit Jackson who is moving from overseas to join the GB academy” “I think Scotland's ever impressive and tenacious Neah Evans will definitely be one to keep an eye out for - another late comer to cycling. She also holds down a job as a vet, and I think it's great to see athletes like this holding their own amongst the pros!”

Quidditch trials to take flight

TRIALS for The Northern Watch, one of eight regional teams in the brand new Quidditch Premier League, are taking place in Platt Fields Park on the Febuary 5. The brand new league, which runs from June until August, utilises rules adapted from the Harry Potter books and combines elements of rugby, dodgeball and tag to create a unique full contact mixed-gender sport. It’s this combination of elements that league director Jack Lennard says makes Quidditch so spellbinding: “It’s really got a lot going on and that’s part of the appeal to spectators and players.” According to Lennard, the trials are open to everyone from seasoned players to even the most inexperienced muggle: “Everyone with all builds can find a particular role that suits them, so it is a very inclusive game. For more information vist:


January 2017

City Women ready to spring into action


Giants look to bounce back to form

MANCHESTER Giants are looking to bounce back from their eight game losing streak and are hoping for a strong second half of the season, according to Guard Jerelle Okoro. The 25-year-old told MM that despite their eight game losing streak there was a good feeling amongst the team, adding: “I’m saying now watch out. I feel like we are going to turn some heads later on in the season, a lot of people are going to be shocked with what we do.” The Giants currently sit bottom of the British Basketball League at the half way point in the season, but are only 4 points away from a playoff place, and Okoro feels the team need to make a switch mentally if they are to challenge. “I honestly do believe that we can be a very strong team and the moment that we get that in our heads then we’ll start winning games and become contenders.”

By Ned Holmes

MANCHESTER City Women will kick off their Women’s Super League Spring Series campaign at home to Chelsea on Sunday 23 April. The opening weekend clash sees the reigning WSL champions welcome the 2015 winners to the Academy Stadium and the Sky Blues will be keen to continue the form which saw them go through the 2016 campaign unbeaten. According to City forward Nikita Parris the team must ensure their mentality doesn’t change on the back of their title winning season. Speaking in an interview on Facebook Live she said: “We still have to go into games with that underdog mentality even though we are winners. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves, we can’t get complacent. We’ve got to go into every game wanting to win.” The one-off Spring Series, which runs from

April until June, sees teams play each other just once and serves as a bridge between the 2016 season and 2017 WSL season which will be played alongside the tradition football calendar, between August and May each season. It is hoped the switch will help the league grow, increase attendances and improve player welfare, as well addressing issues over fixture congestion and planning. The change in format is also aimed at creating a better platform for national team success, and it is hoped the Spring Series will offer the league’s England international competitive playing time in the build-up to this summer’s UEFA Women’s Euros. A number of City players will likely be there in the Netherlands, and Parris says the England internationals are hoping to get their hands on both pieces of silverware by the end of the summer: “I’m also excited to see what will come up at the end of the season hopefully it will be trophies for both Man City and England.”

FA director of football participation and development Kelly Simmons said: “The move is designed to bring many benefits to the women’s game and we’ve worked closely with our clubs and other stakeholders in making this decision. “Player welfare is the prime concern of clubs and for us and these changes will allow more structured rest and recovery time, while fixtures will be more regularly structured with less congestion.” Before the WSL Spring Series kicks off, Man City face a tough test against Fortuna Hjorring in the Champions League quarter final. Though it has been an impressive debut season in Europe for the Citizens, Parris says they’re concentrated on reaching the semi-finals: “Everyone is absolutely buzzing that we’ve made it into the Champions League quarter-finals, but we can’t stop at that game we’ve got to try and push on.” “Everyone is just looking forward to what can come next for us.”

Should the Citizens defeat the Danish champions over the two legs in late March, their opening Spring Series fixtures against Chelsea and Bristol City will have to be rearranged.

City’s Spring Series Fixtures

Chelsea (23rd April) Bristol City Women (28th April) Birmingham (3rd May) Reading (7th May), Notts County (18th May) Yeovil (21st May) Arsenal (28th May) Sunderland (31st May) Liverpool (3rd June)

Former England manager Taylor dies, aged 72 By Scott Sumner

TRIBUTES have poured in for former England manager Graham Taylor who died on Thursday 12th January. A family statement said that the 72-year-old passed away at his home of a suspected heart attack. Taylor was in charge of the national team in an ill-fated spell between 1990 and 1993, but his failure in the biggest job in English football much overshadows the unparalleled success he had at club level. Taylor led Watford from English football’s fourth tier to the top division in five years and the Hornets finished runners-up in his inaugural First Division season in 1982-83. He then took them to the third round of UEFA Cup and the 1984 FA Cup Final, which Everton won 2-0. Singer Elton John – who appointed Taylor as boss during his ownership of Watford – said: “I am deeply saddened and shocked to hear about Graham's passing. He

was like a brother to me. I love you Graham. I will miss you very much.” Taylor also led Aston Villa to promotion to the top flight, before earning the England job but in his first major competition, the team finished bottom of the group in Euro 1992. He became notorious for the fly-on-the-wall documentary ‘An Impossible Job’ which followed him during England’s failed USA ’94 World Cup Qualifying campaign. In his second spell as Watford manager, he led them to play-off success for their first Premier League appearance in 1999. Originally from Worksop, his playing career included over 150 league appearances at both Grimsby Town and Lincoln City, the latter of which he went on to lead in his first managerial position in 1972. His final job as manager was back at Aston Villa for the 2002-03 season, before he continued his work as a media pundit and commentator. He leaves behind his wife Rita and two daughters.

Fixtures in bold represent home games


Odds for Rochdale to be promoted

Rochdale on the march

ROCHDALE’S remarkable rise up the League One standings has seen boss Keith Hill scoop the division’s Manager of the Month award for December. After not recording a win in the first seven matches of the season, the club has recovered with an extraordinary 14 wins from their last 18 games and they now sit within the play-off places. Manchester-born midfielder Matty Lund took the League One Player of the Month for his contributions to their current run of five successive league wins. After spending the majority of the last 40 years in the lower reaches of the Football League, the Spotland outfit are now in a strong position for promotion to the second tier of English football for the first time. The Dale have also set up a plush home FA cup tie against Championship side Huddersfield creating an opportunity for progression to the Fifth Round for only the third time in the club’s history. Hill said: "I know I've got a good, young, energetic side with some really good experienced players and if we all do the right things and continue performing like we are doing, then anything is possible."



Manchester and Liverpool gear up for biggest weekend of season

A tale of two cities By James Cunliffe & Ned Holmes

THE North West will be the centre of the footballing world on Sunday, as two ‘Manchester vs Merseyside’ derbies take place across the two cities. First off Everton host Manchester City in the battle of the blues, before Manchester United welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford for debatably the biggest derby in world football. The Manchester United manager described Sunday’s encounter as “a special match” but it’s more than that for Mourinho’s men, it offers them a vital chance to make a statement and to drag themselves firmly back into Champions League contention. A win for the Red Devils would take them to within two points of their North West rivals, and would be a sixth straight Premier League win and tenth in all competitions. Since the league run begun against Tottenham on 11 December United have only faced other team in the top half of the table (a 3-1 victory over West Brom), and so the Liverpool game will act as a benchmark to see whether the home side can compete with the best in English football. Jurgen Klopp’s side have shown just how dangerous they can be this season, leading the league in goals scored with 48, and their 1-0 victory over Man City on New Years Eve showed they could grind

out results in big matches. Honours were even when the two sides met at Anfield in October, with Mourinho’s team more focussed on stopping Liverpool’s attacking play than creating any of their own. United have discovered their attacking identity in the three months since then and Sunday’s fixture will likely see a different game plan from the ‘special one’. Zlatan Ibrahimović will be back after missing Tuesday’s EFL Cup game via illness to join Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan as part of an attacking unit which has scored 31 goals between them this season. Phillipe Coutinho is expected to be back for the Anfield club, but Sadio Mane, who has proved crucial this season since signing for £35m in the summer, will miss out due to AFCON duties. Fortunes differed for the two sides in their respective EFL Cup semi-finals midweek, United’s 2-0 win against Hull likely put the tie to be, whereas the Merseysiders will be looking to bounce back after their 1-0 defeat at Southampton. Across the East Lancs Road Manchester City visit Goodison Park for the other half of Sunday’s double bill. Guardiola will lock horns with his former Barcelona team-mate Ronald Koeman for the second time since his arrival into the Premier League - the two

sides sharing the points back in October. Koeman’s outfit go into game on the back of F.A Cup misery after losing to Leicester City on the weekend. But they’ve been hard to beat on home soil in the league thus far, only losing once there all season. While the last time City visited Merseyside, Liverpool ran out 1-0 winners thanks to Georginio Wijnaldum’s early header on New Years’ Eve. However, a Friday night thrashing in the London Stadium and improved league form will give the ‘Sky Blues’ confidence. John Stones’ return to Everton will grab a lot of the headlines ahead of the game; many will look to see what kind of reception the 22-year-old will get from his old faithful. The English international went on to make 77 league appearances for Everton before signing for City last summer for a fee reaching nearly £50million – making him the most expensive English defender in transfer history. Captain Vincent Kompany has encouraged fans in training recently but his return is doubtful for this weekend and recently signed Brazilian starlet Gabriel Jesus is still waiting on finalised paperwork to allow him his first taste of the Premier League. Everton v Man City (Sunday 13:30 Sky Sports 1 HD); Man United v Liverpool (Sunday 16:00, Sky Sports 1 HD)

Groundhog Day at Latics By James Cunliffe

JOHN Sheridan has replaced Steve Robinson as the new manager of League One side Oldham Athletic for the third time. Sheridan has been in a managerial merry-go-round at the struggling club since his inception at the ‘Latics’ in 2001. Sheridan started as the co-caretaker of the club in 2001 and then two years later stepped up to the caretaker role before becoming the full-time manager in 2006. The former-midfielder departed with the club for the first time at the end of the 2008/09 season after a disastrous final four months seen them drop from 4th to 10th. After venturing round the country at Chesterfield, Plymouth and Newport, Sheridan returned to Oldham for a secondstint in management in a bid to keep the club from relegation. Sheridan kept the ‘Tics eight points adrift of relegation last year but the Boundary Park faithful are less optimistic about his chances this time round.

The former-midfielder joins the club at dead bottom, with only three wins from 24 league games. The club confirmed their departure with Robinson earlier this afternoon, chairman Simon Corney said: “This is obviously a difficult decision. “Stephen is a talented coach who we believe could make the transition into a successful manager. “Unfortunately things have not worked out for him or the club and we felt that a change needed to be made.” Robinson, who was only given 6 months to impress at the club, hadn’t given Oldham fans a league win since October last year and clearly an EFL Cup third round defeat to League Two Mansfield on Tuesday night was the final straw. Following him out of the club is longest serving player Carl Winchester. The midfielder has joined Cheltenham Town on an 18-month contract after making 140 appearances for Oldham over seven years.

Mancunian Matters e-edition January 2017  

The January 2017 edition of the Mancunian Matters e-newpaper.

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