No, we're not perfect. Far from it. And just to show how
fallible we are, here's an update of a piece we first ran in
our fifth birthday issue 021 in January 1995, highlighting
some of our more outrageous errors over the years...
SO HAUNT ME!
A selective history of the great gaffes, goofs,
Curiously enough, it all started reasonably well for we actually managed four issues without making any real howlers. But in no.005 (Dec 90) we received a letter from Carlisle supporter Richard Reardon attacking, among other things, our 'cheap knocking' of other clubs. In his reply, then editor Paul Clarke told him to 'grow up.' Sound advice? Not really, for Richard was only thirteen!
But that was nothing compared to the couple we dropped in 007's editorial. Writing at the start of a season that would see us relegated from the Conference we said 'we still have a squad that makes a top ten finish a real possibility.' But we did concede that 'the midfield needs the spark we lost when Kenny Lowe left. Maybe the talented Mike Ballantyne will be that spark.' Yeah, and maybe I'll win the lottery (And yes, I do mean the lottery and not the lottery jackpot. Another five years have passed since then and not a sniff of even a tenner for three numbers still! Online Ed.).
By November of that season the club was already deeply in the mire, but we were able to use that as an excuse for the poor print quality of that month's issue 008. A substandard printer ribbon meant it all looked very faded, but in our next issue in January we passed this off as being symbolic of our fading hopes of staying in the Conference. By then we were right in it but we were still publishing gems like 'We don't want to be having to travel to Colchester in May needing all three points to stay up while they need the win for promotion. But I'm sure we can pull away from danger before then.' By the time we reached Layer Road, of course, it was all over. But they still required the three points and we got panned 5-0, though issue 011 (Apr 92), which had come out the week before, included these words: 'I still don't think [Colchester] are anything special.'
Our first season back in the Northern Premier League coincided with the first of the smaller size Beans!, but the misses just kept on coming! In his preview of the teams we could expect to meet that season in 012 (Sep 92) Clint Wags predicted that we could 'look forward to six points [from] perennial strugglers' Gainsborough Trinity. We got one.
By 014 (Nov 92) Graham Murphy had joined our regular team of writers and showed he wasn't averse to putting his foot in it on occasion. '[Bones] knew that Barrow would go on to win the HFS Loans Premier League that season' he wrote in a light-hearted 'Star Trek' spoof. This unjustifiable optimism continued in the same edition when our Columnist With No Name indulged in some of our periodic Hereford United bashing. Commenting on their miserable fortunes since joining the Football League he proposed 'What price on Barrow v. Hereford in the Conference next season, anyone?', an error Michael Gibson was to repeat in his 'Revenge Could Be So Sweet' in 019 (May 94), though the meeting of the two clubs did eventually come about in the 1998-99 season, of course.
We staggered through 015 to 017 without anything too disastrous, but came back in some style with a couple of classics in issue 018 (Dec 93). 'The hitherto unsuspected man-management skills of new supremo Mick Cloudsdale have moulded the team into a unit to be feared' we wrote, totally failing to anticipate the immediate disintegration of that team with a run of appalling results. What little credibility we still desperately clung to was further undermined when we ran a picture of Paul Calf on the cover, only to confuse him with his creator Phil Coogan and caption him as 'Phil Calf'.
In fact, to detour from this chronological sequence for a second, names have caused us particular problems over the years. We don't often include the surname of our longstanding psychiatric practitioner, Dr Debbie, but in issue 021 (Jan 95) she was identified on one page as Edwards, and on another as Evans, a confusion that persists to this day. A Welsh name would again prove problematic in issue 032 (Nov 97) as FA spokesman David Davies became Dickie Davies for the purposes of a very cheap joke which we are not going to repeat here. But the crowning glory of our name shame came in issue 028 (Nov 96) with an interview with Accrington Stanley's Director of Football Brent Peters in our series of 'As Others See Us'. Though we got his name correct throughout the article its headline announced that the Accrington man was Brent Sadler, who was of course an ITN reporter on the old 'News at Ten'. Oops!
Meanwhile, errors of prediction and production continued apace. A review of the coming season in issue 020 (Aug 94) brought the immortal 'with Peter Farrell as [Tony Hesketh's] assistant things do look promising.' But Sir Peter didn't have much of a chance to even try and prove us wrong on that one, it seems, being frozen out just a couple of months into the new campaign.
Issues 023 (Aug 95) and 024 (Jan 96) both suffered from production problems, the former when Old Ed's computer crashed, somehow erasing the floppy disc that carried the final version of that edition. What hit the streets was a final dummy copy, printed in draft mode on his inkjet, darkened up on a photocopier and with as many handwritten amendments tippexed out as possible. Then some severe text reflows left vast areas of white space at the end of many of 024's articles, but since that edition was advertised as a 'Christmas Special' we attempted to pass off it as snow. A bamboozling back cover, which hasn't been properly explained until this site, also made an appearance in this issue.
Some errors defied all logic. In issue 025 (Apr 96) there was a reference to Barrow 'keeper Jason Pittman's resemblance to Brad Pitt in 'Reservoir Dogs'. It wasn't the resemblance that was in question, just that Brad was never in that particular film. This was later defended as a 'deliberate error' by the new Ed in a sporadic yet bizarre series of correspondence between himself and the previous incumbent of the Editor's chair.
Relationships between managers and players can be strange and fragile creatures and in issue 030 (Apr 97) we suggested that Mark Deegan's departure from the club may have come about through something as trivial as a disagreement with Owen Brown over the correct way to hang a toilet roll on its holder. But, not for the first time, we were also able to confirm another strange and fragile relationship, that between computer software and printer, when an illustration of the right and wrong way to hang a toilet roll made sense only as an illustration of the right and wrong way to hang a toilet roll in 37 dimensional hyperspace.
However, the same issue produced another error that we couldn't blame on the computer. One reason in a not at all convincing list of why we weren't bothered if Leek won the UniBond that year, was that we wouldn't have to play Altrincham the following season, failing miserably to anticipate their forthcoming relegation from the Conference.
Occasionally we publish articles on subjects other than Barrow AFC or football in general, but a review of Channel 4's Jo Whiley programme in issue 038 (Jan 99) demonstrated the perils of editing in stuff to pad a piece out to fill space. For example, Sophie out of the band 'theaudience' (one word; all lower case) mysteriously became Sophie from 'the allegedly live studio audience.' Still, this was nothing compared to the lapse of taste that would see the egregious Alanis Morrisette added to a list of bona fide rock greats that included Brian Wilson and Frank Zappa.
But finally, after all these years of trying we at last came up with something that was so good we printed it twice. Yes, we felt that our 'genetically modified' issue 039 was so outstanding we printed the same contents list on pages 4 and 30, backed with Dr Debbie and Dr Dick's insights into sex and computers on 3 and 29! See, though they may be expensive to maintain, it's still worth it to keep that Creative Excuses Department on a salary, just for times like these.
And, even as we put the finishing touches to this site, we can safely say that the curse of Beans! has struck again. Our spoof 'Pokemon' cover for issue 044 looked forward to Barrow maybe achieving a top six finish. Instead, the team immediately contrived to go for nine games without a win to end any hope of this particular achievement.
Thus it's hard to see how it could get much worse, but no doubt it will be as we look forward into a new millennium of goofs, gaffes, boobs and bloomers from your super soaraway (as Clarkey used to be so fond of calling it) Give 'Em Beans!
Updated from issue 021 - January 1995