The Arts

Hughsie’s Gonna Step on you Again!

A short story by Brendon Batchelor

Manchester, circa 1991

The Baggy indie/dance revolution has swept England’s third largest city, spearheaded by the likes of the Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses. Also, Manchester United were a resurgent force under Sir Alex Ferguson, having won the FA Cup the previous year and were on their way to the European Cup Winners’ Cup glory this season (1990/91). Meanwhile, in Salford, a Man United and Happy Mondays loving 19 year old girl called Lisa Grimshaw is a shop assistant having a good time – attending raves, United games at Old Trafford and grooving to her favourite music. Her hero is the United and Wales forward, Mark Hughes.

One evening at home, Lisa was in her bedroom hanging out with her boyfriend Jimmy and her best mate, Sally. The three of them were listening to the recent hit Step On from the album Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches by Happy Mondays. “I just love this one!” said Lisa. “Yeah, just champion, innit!” replied Jimmy. “It’s alright,” Sally chipped in, “but I prefer t’e Charlatans meself!”

“So, you think United will win the Cup Winners’ Cup this year?” Lisa enquired. “Yeah, no sweat!” boasted Jimmy. “Hughie’s gonna step on you again!” yelled Lisa, who then turned the stereo up to full volume.

Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes

“Lisa! Turn it down, you daft ‘apeth!” screamed her mother from downstairs. “Sorry, Moom!” said Lisa, and, on focusing her attention back to her companions and the song, “I just love that guitar feedback part – you know, that ‘arrghoooooagghooan!’ reminds me of Mark Hughes’ growling after scoring goals for United!” Lisa and her two pals then burst out laughing.

In May of that year, Lisa watched her beloved Manchester United defeat Barcelona 2-1 on TV to lift the European Cup Winners’ Cup winning their first European trophy since 1968, with Hughes scoring one of the goals. When the team paraded the trophy on an open top bus tour of Manchester city centre a few days later, Lisa was there among the many United fans to greet the triumphant squad. She was even lucky enough to meet Mark Hughes and collect his autograph!

PS The characters of Lisa, Jimmy, Sally and Lisa’s mum are purely fictional. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely co-incidental.


Brendon Batchelor

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