Town Hall Tavern. 5th November 2003. Beers on the table and Whitehead’s proposed name of River Plate Reds wins by 5 votes to two. Lahcen looks like he means business (as always) and suggests he heads up Corporate Affairs Division. Permission denied. Raftery arrives late to become the last of the eight founder members and seems scarily keen to be involved. Mike Hulse has his say in the running of our club. Whitehead In. Club crest designed and approved. First sponsorship deal. Airtube Group. Skipper is proud to be your club captain. Kit launch evening. Tiffany. Grif absolutely loves it. Pre-season training. Sgt Slaughter on Platt Fields with bibs and cones. Injury-free happy days.
Tuesday 3rd August. David Gray Day as fate plays it’s hand at the Woodstock. First match hype. Four in Hand Rangers aka Brewers Arms. Pre-match butterflies. Colonel first ever RPR goalscorer. The Barleycorn. Stockport scallies. Fiddlers in the Fog Lane mud. The Parrs Wood. Leeds away. Dreadful results. Whitehead out. Wondering if we’d ever win a match at 2-0 down to Motown after 10mins. DP as captain for one game only. 6-2 and RPR bandwagon starts to roll. FC Real and Motown first ever cup draws. MPSL League meetings bringing a real meaning to the first Tuesday of every month. Daz Willoughby, unfortunately turns out to be no relation to Holly. Hang on, too many scousers here.
First league match. Glorious sunshine and Raftery on the motorway. Domaldo arrives in the MPSL with a sizzling winner against Moss Vale. 3 points never felt so good. Toblerone. MA Lions hammered. David Gray hat-trick. Motown madness. Adam the Ref under attack. Rattles and prams. Whitehead’s ice-cool penalty. Siege mentality. 13 goals in first round of the cups. Awesome football by now. Top of the league. Pin Badges. Dirty Inter Didsbury. Old House 3-3 classic match. Skipper resigns as club captain and takes Daz with him. RPR – scouse free zone. FC Real smashed again. Matt Boland sending his best wishes from Sydney. Reds are here, reds are there….Extra time win in the cup against Brewers.
Where’s Whitehead? 1-0 down at half time to Sale and heading out of the cup. Worst ever University pitch. Domaldo free kick and second half masterclass in finishing from the gaffer fresh out of the nick and stinking of ale. 4-1 and through to the next round. Surely the first hat trick ever scored in the MPSL within two hours of prison release? Whitehead goes AWOL again as FC Real are destroyed by Lahcen and Dom. Whitehead out. Whitehead apologises but gets 2 match ban. Ten men Vine humiliated as RPR go 6 points clear and tighten their grip on the title race. Paul Cook volley and even the Bigheads score.
RPR Xmas Do. Dom McClellan walks on water. Rain Bar. Carl Miller. Twelfth day of Christmas…42 Bus Journey. Eleventh Day of Christmas…Jabez Clegg taken over. FIIVVVEEE DAVID GRAYS….New Year but old habits as we struggle to get to grips with MA Lions who played the better football. Frozen pitch against the might of Arches. Big M on the sidelines. Big Wes on the pitch. 2-0 down and struggling. Big Ric comes on and starts to ruffle some feathers. A Whitehead double later and we’ve made our mark on the top flight going down 3-2 to the champs. Immense pride. Revenge on Inter Didsbury. Raftery may have curled one. No one remembers and no one cares.
Hale Barns Utd. Awful performance, worse pitch. Roy Keane. Konrad’s injury. Ambulance taking ages. First female tears ever at an RPR match. Tom’s first email bollocking of players. Loads would follow. Revenge mission on same pitch produces one of the performances of the season. Drinking in Corburns. Chairman and manager enjoy full roast dinner in Bulls Head. More of the same as we dominate Old House for 90mins and put them out of the promotion race. Benchill hammered again in the second “away” match.
Whitehead for United. VIP friendly. Great win against champions elect. The Hulk becomes primary summer transfer target. Squeeze past The Vine before a belting quarter final win over Manchester Rovers, our first match at Hough End. Injuries start to take strain on squad. Motown beaten again.
O’Neills in the semi. Pre-match banter and mind games. Get Millican! Magnificent support. Dodgy penalty. Scent of victory but the taste of defeat is bitter as we are comprehensively outplayed. Now for the title. Must win match. Talk of play offs and potential for trouble. Trip to Turn Moss. Wafer thin squad. Anthony Judge. Great start. Domaldo 1-0. Nightmare match. One terrible refereeing decision and we crumble. More injuries. Hammered. Chants of Easy ringing out from Moss Vale sidelines.
Choking back the vomit. Such high standards set that even promotion feels disappointing. Chairman and manager discuss summer transfer targets. Just wanted the summer to start. AGM. Rain Bar again and then back to our spiritual home at the THT. Tom voted player’s player of the season. David Gray manager’s player of the season. David Gray delivers Oscar winning speech. Cue songs, misty eyes and a great night. That was the season of 2004/2005. Apologies to anyone we offended but we’re (mostly) United.