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A bonus blog, bought to you courtesy of the damaged overhead cables that left TLF with a bit more time on her paws than usual when trying to get home from the Big Smoke. As the saying doesn’t go, “the rambling devil finds blogs for idle foxes.”

I wasn’t that keen when I read about Marvellous, the Beeb’s biopic about Neil Baldwin; clown, unofficial Keele Uni employee, Stoke City kitman and friend of Ken Dodd, Robert Runcie and Tony Benn. Too high a risk of sentimental mush for even one as soppy as me. Plus Stoke did feature a lot. I’ve got mixed feelings about Stoke.

On the one hand it ain’t the most picturesque place in the world AND it is the scene of (one of) Lesta’s darkest days when for the first time ever we were dropped out of the Championship to Division 1 (division 2 in old money).

On the other…well I have roots. My great-grandma, was from there and worked in the potteries; hence her very blasé attitude in later life to chucking any bit of pottery that was even vaguely cracked or chipped – Minton, Doulton, Wedgwod. You name it; if it were expensive she chucked it. My first boyfriend at Uni was a Port Vale fan who used to drop me at his nan’s before a game (enuff said). And then there is Lou Macari, one time manager of Stoke and who, thanks to one of my dad’s work colleagues was the first footballer’s autograph I ever got.

Once I stopped all that Staffordshire meandering and got back down to it I decided, “nope can’t be arsed…it’s quite long as well. Not for me.”

All the newspaper reviews and quite a few football correspondents however indicated that TLF was a Wrong TLF. So tail between my legs I fell upon the good nature of Mr I Player who furnished me with said programme.

Was it sentimental? Yes but not in a saccharine, ten sugars kind of away.
Was it clever, funny and engaging. Yes.
In short?
Catch it if you can.

Nello Fox

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