Turn Right at Mottram Roundabout - the finale

Thu 18th May 2017 | General
By Stewart Taylor

As said, the final Episode of Turn Right at Mottram Roundabout was a bit of a tease but, far more importantly, a way to look forward – the sign of things to come as it were.

We were visiting St Helens Town and the photo shows the cricket pavilion at the Ruskin Drive Sports Complex – an impressive multi-sports facility which we should all be able to get to visit for a Hallmark Security Football League match next season.

The quick link asked what links a famous painting, valued at over £7 million, in the Ashmolean in Oxford by the artist John Everett Millais with this club?

The painting is of the leading Victorian art critic John Ruskin and St. Helens Town will play at Ruskin Drive.

Way back in August, we began the journey which started at Stockport Town and finished, as we have just seen, at St Helens Town. Around 4000 miles of travel which, save for the inevitable traffic jams, has been both pleasurable and memorable.

The motive for writing these short pieces came directly from an understanding of the rich culture which surrounds us all and how that can be represented with reference to our member clubs.

Having decided what to do the next question is how? Here we took inspiration from the BBC. Formed in 1922, the British Broadcasting Company, with John (later Lord) Reith as General Manager, followed the Directive to “inform, educate and entertain”. Note that at this point the BBC was Company, only becoming a Corporation in 1927.

The inclusion of “educate” in the so called Reithian Directive seems now to be somewhat patronising. What we need to recall is that back in 1922, remarkably, almost a century ago, universal education was not really in place and the use of the BBC as an adjunct to education was considered to be very valuable indeed.

How effective it was was brought home to me many years ago when I met a Norwegian who spoke perfectly good English but had never left Norway. He came from a generation of Scandinavians educated before it was the norm to study English Language in schools. From this comes the obvious question of how did he learn English? The answer, he told me, was from watching TV programmes on the BBC.

From this overall context comes a consideration that historical events should be judged using the mores of the time and not with 20/20 hindsight trying to apply the sensibilities and sensitivities of today to historical events. Something which certain groups of students at certain universities might like to ponder on for a few minutes.

Having decided all of this, the only remaining part was to consider in what style to write it in. Writing styles are very rarely unique. More, they are formed by assimilation of previous experiences and this is what has happened here. Long tortuous sentences, featuring slightly affected punctuation, mingle with asides and diversions to, hopefully, come together into a coherent whole.

Whilst claiming no equivalence whatsoever, readers might like to consider the long sentences in the context of John Le Carre and the frequent digressions as invoking the spirit of Charles Dickens. As said, I claim no literary equivalence to these two fine exponents of the written word but I think you get my drift.

What I hope that this series has done is to encourage us all to spend a bit more time than we normally would in the cities, towns and villages we normally visit simply for footballing purposes. If you follow your team at away matches, get there an hour earlier and spend that time just soaking up what the place has to offer.

Chances are that many places will appeal in such a way that a repeat visit, outside the context of football, will recommend itself. Our region has a great deal to offer in terms of its history and, hopefully, its future. We hear lots of words about the Northern Powerhouse but have yet to see much action. All we can hope is that the promised re-generation of our region comes to pass and that we can all remain proud of both our heritage and what is yet to come.

So, for the moment, thanks for reading these pieces and we hope that they have been both informative and entertaining. Enjoy the summer and it won’t be long before the football season is once again with us.


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