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February 01, 2008


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To think the world has had to do without Randall Air! Free Sunderland programme with every trip.....

Pete Sixsmith

The problem with being a business success is that you either end up as a boring squillionaire like Bob Murray or a complete t*** like Mike Ashley so my mothers view of our business enterprise probably saved both of us from a life of excess. Who wants a helicopter and a bath full of champagne?
We had a load of Watford programmes as well. They had a bright yellow cover and contained no pictures. We shipped a few out but the world was not ready then for bumper bundles of Watford, ES Clydebank and Aberdeen programmes. Don't suppose it ever will be.
Being Colin's business partner meant that I had to fiddle even more money from my Sunday paper round. Jimmy Wilson, the shop owner, could never understand why my collecting book failed to balance but he worried me once when he suggested that he would get his stepson to go over the book. His stepson was George Reynolds. I reckon Colin could write a few memories of him.
Now, after 35 years at the chalk face (now the Electronic Board face) I often wonder what would have happened if we had been able to challenge the titans of the football programme world like David Stacey and Steve Earl. I rarely buy one now and even gave my Sunderland ones away to a mate - who promptly (and with my blessing) made a few quid out of flogging them on e-bay.

Bill Taylor

Now tell us about those feeble attempts to attract girlfriends: "Wanna come back to my place and see my Partick Thistle collection?"


Colin has been a friend for many years. Unfortunately I never knew him when he was attempting to be a football programme entrepreneur. Had I done so, I would have been in a position to advise him that anyone prepared to part with his hard-earned to watch Sunderland play was probably not well qualified to judge what would and would not sell in the programme market.
PS I might have a few Chatham Town back numbers I can sell if you ever consider relaunching the venture

Bill Taylor

I have a couple of programs stashed away somewhere from the heyday of Aycliffe Stock Car Stadium. I'd willingly part with them to help Colin get back onto his entrepreneurial feet.


I think Bill is on to something there. We could form an organisation, perhaps called Friends of Colin, turn out our lofts and send him all the collectables we could find. I might even be able to lay my hands on some Kent League back numbers featuring giants of the game such as Sheppey United, Whitstable and Crockenhill. It would surely then be only a short step to the creation of Air Randall

Dr. Jules

"Hello, this is your captain Colin welcoming you aboard Randall Air. We hope you have a pleasant . . . oops, don't like the sound of that. Um, please fasten your seatbelts as I think we about to go down just like Sunderland FC....."


Hmm. Maybe Air Randall is not such a good idea. It's not that I don't wish Colin every entrepreneurial success. It's not even that I'm too worried he might turn out to be the pilot on my flight over the Bermuda Triangle. It's just that he comes from oop north and I fear that he might install outside lavatories on his air fleet

Bill Taylor

Given the boyhood elocution lessons that he's hinted at, not to mention (and I'm sure he'd rather I didn't) his origins in Hove, I expect Colin would be a very well-spoken captain: The plane in Spain flies mainly down the drain.... Speaking of which, instead of outside toilets -- and conventional seating -- perhaps Air Randall could feature rows of the two-holer netties that may well have been a prominent feature of his formative years.


Am I to believe after all these years that Colin is a faux Northerner? Hove? Surely that's not true. It's like finding out that Terry Wogan isn't Irish

Colin Randall

The skeleton in my cupboard is not only visible but rattles. The very first posting on this site told the story. Born in Hove,(was)moved to Shildon in the first few months of my life and stayed there until my early 20s.
Keith may be excused a spot of mirth at his belated discovery. As a Yeoman of Kent, he suffers merciless ragging for being one of Man Utd's more typical "supporters" (or brand followers as I like to call them). He has tried to make up for this gap in his quest for glory by visiting Manchester and other parts of the NW Midlands whenever he can get tickets.


Colin, I am indeed a Man of Kent (not a Kentish Man). For many years I thought the Earth was flat and that if one ventured past Watford, one would drop off the edge. Then came education and I discovered that there was a world beyond the M25, albeit a strange one. Having made the discovery and being a fan of fine football, going to Old Trafford was an obvious choice. After all, if you are going to spend vast sums of money on travel and tickets, why, why, why go to the Stadium of Blight? One might as well save the time and effort, make a neat pile of tenners and put a match to them.


PS. I have programmes for the 1985 FA Cup Final (United 1 Everton 0, Whiteside); United v Blackburn (final game of 92/93 title-winning season); United v Coventry (final game of 93/94 Double-winning season); United v Spurs (95/96 Double-winning season); and the 1996 FA Cup Final (United 1 Liverpool 0, Cantona). To name but a few. I think I might launch a programme business ... could be some money in it. What are the rates for classified ads in Charlie Buchan's Football Monthly these days?


PPS. An ignorant Southerner asks: Bill, what's a two-holer netty?


I'm a Kentish Man but I support Leeds United. At least I lived in Leeds for some of my formative years and the grit and grim and glory of the place has never left me. My dad was a Yorkshireman through and through so that also makes me half-Yorkshire.

Hove Man supports Sunderland;

Man of Kent supports Man Utd;

Kentish Man supports Leeds United.

Nought as queer as folk!

Bill Taylor

A two-holer netty was an ash or earth closet usually situated at the bottom of the garden for easy emptying by a night-soil collector. For convenience (no pun intended) or perhaps companionship, many had two (or even three) holes side by side. You were regarded as very posh (or, perhaps, very Hove) indeed if you had a one-holer.
It was an idea that crossed the Atlantic. The recent (and excellent) movie "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" has, of all things, a seduction scene in a two-holer. I doubt if they called it a netty, though.
Leeds need all the support they can get, including crutches all round. But Dumdad presents a reasonable perspective on the geographic idiosyncrasies of soccer fans. Colin, alas, while eschewing the usual "isms" -- racism, sexism, ageism etc. -- seems perilously close to inventing regionalism.


Good grief and I thought things were tough having to tiptoe out in the freezing cold to the outside loo in the council house where I was raised. I now realised I was nowt but a Southern softie. Night soil collector? Now that's an interesting job to have on the CV.

Bill Taylor

I'm hoping Colin will see fit to tell us about the knacker's yard he tried to run from his back garden until his mother (as opposed to Pete's Sixsmith's mam) stepped in. He had two business cards; one from the Despatch and one that announced him as "dead horse and donkey buyer. Fallen stock removed promptly." I think it took him all his time to keep them straight and not hand out the wrong one to people he was hoping to write about.


I look forward to that one too. Why am I not surprised that Randall Inc included an Abattoir Division? If he is considering a relaunch of that and the programme division he could do worse than combine operations at the Stadium of Light

Bill Taylor

He traded, if memory serves, as "Knocker the Knacker" Randall, "Knocker" being the nickname (as opposed to knackname) he won as a stripling by sorting out three tearaways at Shildon shows who had the temerity to poke fun at him as he lounged, trying to look cool, on the steps of the Waltzer.
But even without maternal intervention, the business was doomed to early failure. Colin's only vehicle was the clapped-out -- or knackered, if you'd rather -- Minivan that he wrote about here quite recently. With the best will in the world, there's a limit to the size of dead beast that could be stuffed in the back, especially after the onset of rigor mortis. There simply weren't enough calves, foals, lambs and piglets keeling over to make it financially viable.


Who'd have thought that the folk-loving, mild-mannered reporter we know and love once had visions of being the Slaughterman of Shildon?

There once was a knacker named Randall
When vexed he would fly off the handle
He'd roam in his van
Kill cow, sheep or man
And turn Bambi into a candle

Bill Taylor

Excellent! Had our hero only had you as his publicist back then, the venture may well have succeeded. Still, Shildon's gain would have been Abu Dhabi's loss.

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