Ean Gardiner was born in Stockport in 1953. After leaving school aged fi fteen, potential careers both as a footballer and pugilist were tragically cut short due to lack of ability and he went on to study anthropology and philosophy in the public houses and night-clubs of Greater Manchester. A veteran of the Second Cod War, he has worked as a signwriter, muralist and scenic artist in television, film and theatre and, apparently, once appeared in Coronation Street as a Rovers Return barfl y. He describes himself as a tendentious red, a musical eclectic, a democratic socialist and a militant atheist who has never seen Star Wars, read any JK Rowling, held a full driving license or been a band member of The Fall. Current projects include a return to dry pastel portraits, the biography of another former United skipper, Frank Barson, and Five of Spades, a radio play about the 1950s glamour model, Sabrina.