By Robert Nichols
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…There’s Madness In His Method
An autobiography by Chris Joseph
Published by Austin Macauley
You may well have heard of Chris Joseph. Do you remember the story about the man so annoyed about the high price of Boro cup ticket prices that he bought hundreds of them to give away to kids? And then was sectioned for it?
You might have thought it was apocryphal but it was real alright. Chris Joseph handed over his credit cards and cash and bought 200 tickets for Boro v Blackburn Rovers in the F.A. Cup and then walked into McDonalds and tried to give them all away.
This was one incident in a quite incredible incident-packed life story of a Norton man who as it says on the cover, “lost an arm, lost his sanity – but never lost his sense of humour.”
At times his life could be bleak, how on earth did he rebuild it after losing an arm in a horrendous industrial accident at the scandalously dilapidated and slipshod Head Wrightson works? It could also be euphoric. This man took on the major banks, vested interest and big institutions and was able to come up smiling if not always (but often) victorious.
Many years after his disabling accident Chris was struck down with mental illness. This has led to him suffering some dark times but also instigating some sensational and at times quite crazy antics. You won’t feel bad about laughing along at some of Chris’ manic excesses but you will wonder about how he has been able to think so far outside the box so often. Both symptoms he reckons of having to use the other side of his brain after the loss of his right arm.
From tales as a doorman at the Club Fiesta, to being the boss of a glitzy Soho advertising agency. From joining a Scottish monastery to being interned in an asylum in Morocco. Chris has lived so many lives.
Oh and how on earth did he manage to get George Best signed up as a ringer for his works Five-a-side team?
It was Chris that pounced upon Graham Kelly’s throwaway remark, “If he returns, I would walk up to Middlesbrough to see Juninho play.” The ad man made the former FA secretary stick to his promise and walk 184 miles from his home in Peterborough to the Riverside raising money for mental health charities under the banner of Football Crazy.
I’ve met Chris countless times on the road to Boro matches even this week to Old Trafford. A long time season ticket holder he gets to as many away trips as he can; in fact we have met up in a fair few different corners of Europe following the Boro.
Until reading this book I didn’t know the full story of a man always packed with ideas but someone so down to earth that we have paused to chat about Boro on countless occasions.
I think like me you will find Manicdotes to be an inspirational biography. The way Chris always bounces back from the real depths will give so many people strength. His incredible sense of humour and unbuckling spirit makes it an uplifting rather than harrowing read.
Manicdotes gets inside mental illness and throws off the stigma attached. Chris Joseph has suffered more than even the average Boro fan, far more in fact but his story is a triumph of cup winning proportions. Not to be missed.