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Ian Curtis: An unlikely Manchester City supporter


The first time I heard about the movie Control, about the life of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis, was three years ago after I just finished “Touching From A Distance,” the excellent book by his widow Deborah Curtis.

When the movie was finally released in 2007, I agonized over the fact that it was only shown on a limited release to cinemas nationwide.

So when I finally got around to watching the DVD of Control earlier this week, I was delighted and surprised. Delighted because the biopic was exactly what I expected and made even better by the excellent brooding soundtrack. But surprised because of one scene in the film where the actor portraying Ian Curtis talked about his favorite color being blue because it was the color of Manchester City FC.

To me, Curtis would be an unlikely Man City supporter. The lanky singer who grew up in Macclesfield struck me as one of those mad music fans who never had time for such trivial matters as football. But with Macclesfield Town playing non-league football in the 1970s, City would be a more likely choice for Curtis than United. The Maine Road club was less flashy and more working class than the red half of Manchester.

The irony is that Manchester United fans sometimes sing a song about Ryan Giggs to the tune of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” The song? “Giggs Will Tear You Apart.”

Joy Division would later morph into New Order, the band who has the honor of creating one of the best soccer songs ever, World In Motion, for England’s 1990 World Cup adventure.


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  1. Nick Midgley

    September 16, 2015 at 4:55 am

    Perhaps unsurprisingly for a contradictory figure such as Curtis, his football allegiance is actually something of a mystery – quite possibly deliberately so. Several sources have him as a United fan, including committed blue Paul Morley, who covered Joy Division quite extensively and wrote Curtis’s obituary in the NME.

  2. ayax

    September 6, 2010 at 12:32 am

    confundimos chuuras con merinas y creemos conocer a alguien al cien por cien cuando eso es del tipo de cosa que no se pueden saber nunca por que uno ni si quiera se conoce a si mismo.
    Que alguien sea artista,depresivo,trendy o cualquier apelativo del conglomerado alternativo no significa que a alguien le pueda gustar algo trivial…
    A todos nos gusta algo trivial,cualquier cosa puede llegar a serlo en un momento dado,ya sea el futbol,la pesca o mirar las nubes con las manos en los bolsillos.

    Por que Ian Curtis no va a ser seguidor del Segundo Equipo de su ciudad en contraposicion de la mayoria del United?

    Ademas que el concepto de hincha en inglaterra es distinto al Español,alli hay una camaraderia y una fidelidad a unos colores que es desde que naces hasta que mueres mas teniendo en cuenta que convertirse en capitan de X equipo te convierte en jugador de por vida de esa escuadra para las buenas o las malas. Si sigues con esa etica,claro.

  3. Andy

    September 19, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Im a Blue who lived next door to Debbie Woodruff in Macclesfield, who later became Debbie Curtis, no big deal but just thought i would share it with you.

  4. Jon

    September 19, 2008 at 4:19 am

    Joy Division/New Order drummer Stephen Morris is a blue as well. Remember an interview where he was saying that Barney and Hookie were typical rags as he couldn't remember them being interested in football at all until United first won the Premier League :o) The late Rob Gretton was a massive blue as well so the band and those around them split down the middle football wise (if you include for Tony Wilson).

  5. Travis

    September 18, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Great post – thanks. Your comment about 'World in Motion' made me think that 'Best Soccer Songs Ever' would make an excellent post…

  6. Mike

    September 18, 2008 at 6:55 am

    Naturally he was a Blue, he was born in Manchester for a start (near Old Trafford unfortunately).

    To add other musical creative geniuses to be Blues ; Billy Duffy ; Johnny Marr ; Liam and Noel ; Damon Gough ; Mike Pickering and many more…

    Celeb ManUre fans Eamon Holmes ; Rod Hull & Zoe Ball . Nuff said

  7. chrissmari

    September 18, 2008 at 6:23 am

    that said, it's been said that Joy Division was “a brilliant lead signer and a bunch of Manchester United fans” basically any time Barney or Hooky does/says something stupid.

  8. chrissmari

    September 18, 2008 at 6:22 am

    Kevin Cummings (another blue) would have done a better movie!

    was going to say what Jon said, but don't need to now.

  9. Paul Calf

    September 18, 2008 at 4:56 am

    The book is called “Touching from a distance” (just for any that may be interested in reading it, i'm not being anal!)

    Fookin love Joy Division

  10. Jon

    September 18, 2008 at 3:05 am

    There was an article about Ian Curtis a few years ago in one of the MCFC publications. Is daughter is a big blue and they were saying that Curtis himself was so obsessed that when they were looking at houses he was judging them on how far away from, and whether they were facing, Maine Road!

    • Mark

      May 18, 2019 at 1:48 am

      Would be so cool if he’d lived in my house on Maine Road.

  11. Blue Order

    September 18, 2008 at 2:07 am

    No wonder he topped himself! Lol.

    (And don't get upset Blues, I am one!)

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