Manuel the Magnificent – MAN CITY 2 WEST HAM UNITED 0

The comfortable Premier League title deciding fixture originally scheduled for May 13th 2012, finally arrived at the Etihad Stadium just shy of two years late.

The incredible unscripted, once-in-a- lifetime, nerve shredding rollercoaster ride culminating in the Aguerrrrroooo moment was replaced by a controlled and utterly predictable stroll in the park, as Manchester City claimed a second PL crown in three years.

Champions - not quite the same climax but title winners all the same. Courtesy @MCFC

Champions – not quite the same climax but title winners all the same. Courtesy @MCFC

Palpatations, a sense of foreboding and the tightening of backsides was replaced by steady breathing, serenity  and a loosening of inhibitions, as goals from Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany delivered  a polished and thoroughly professional performance.

Having beaten West Ham three times already this season by a cumulative score line of 12-1, every ounce of commonsense and iota of logic said this was a home banker.

Haunted by how close City came to throwing it all away before eventually winning the 3-2 cliff hanger with QPR, the City fans, weaned on decades of under-achievement and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, had that niggling fear that ‘Typical City’ could yet re-appear.

We ARE the Champions -what a beautiful sight. Courtesy @MCFC

We ARE the Champions -what a beautiful sight. Courtesy @MCFC

Such apprehensions were groundless.

Typical City – TC – is no more. TC now applies to Top Cats, the cream of the crop and with a sage like Grey Owl as leader, Manchester City are going to keep feathers flying for countless years to come…but for all the right reasons.

Forever grateful to Roberto Mancini for FA Cup and Premier League successes, breaking 35-year and 44- year trophy and title droughts, the Blue Mooners now know that the move to replace him with Manuel Pellegrini was the right one.

Big smile - Manuel Pellegrini has delivered City's most successful ever season. Courtesy @MCFC

Big smile – Manuel Pellegrini has delivered City’s most successful ever season. Courtesy @MCFC

The manner of City’s two Premier League title wins personifies the characteristics of the respective City bosses. With Mancini it was a managerial reign based on volatility, unpredictability, abrasiveness, cliques, discord, division, hostility, poor man-management and a ‘bad cop’ approach.

Sergio’s last minute strike took City supporters from the nadir of despair to the dizziest levels of euphoria.

As fans, we were largely ignorant of some of Roberto’s everyday working traits and how he seemingly ostracized players and staff alike.

Fight to the End #Together - Kompany's message to the fans was clear. Courtesy @MCFC

Fight to the End #Together – Kompany’s message to the fans was clear. Courtesy @MCFC

Contrary to what it might appear, this isn’t a have-a-go at Roberto contest, but by highlighting life under Mancini, it helps to showcase why, this time around in 2014, City is a much happier and contented work environment.

Pellegrini is a man who keeps things on the level, an even keel, always consistent in both the approach to, and achievement of, Manchester City’s objectives.

Behavioural spikes which meant City’s boat was constantly rocking, be it for good or bad under Mancini, are not for him.

Let's get the party started - #TOGETHER at kick off.

Let’s get the party started – #TOGETHER at kick off.

The Engineer charts a steady course, one that encompasses attractive entertaining football, a man-management style that is inclusive, transparent and breeds contentment – no mean feat in a squad where everybody wants to play, but only so many can.

From the outset City looked relaxed and focused. They were going to end the day with a nice, big shiny trophy and it wasn’t going to be the ‘Cup for Cock Ups’, as former City chairman and legendary striker, Francis Lee, once opined many years ago.

It wouldn’t be City if there wasn’t a healthy – or should that be unhealthy – degree of scepticism and anxiety within the massed ranks of the Etihad support, but it never transferred to the players or coaching staff.

Exocet - Nasri's 39th minute missile had City zeroing in on the PL title target. Courtesy @MCFC

Exocet – Nasri’s 39th minute missile had City zeroing in on the PL title target. Courtesy @MCFC

Big Sam Allardyce was sporting a snazzy line in microporous tape on his jabbling jowls – the gob as big as the Mersey Tunnel – which had blathered how he was going to help deliver the title to Liverpool. As usual, he was a huge irrelevance.

His Hammers had all the impact of a warm beer on a hot summer’s day.

His captain, Kevin Nolan – a Scouser – had been running his ‘north & sarf’ all week saying how, in one last dramatic twist to the season, he could be the man to score the goal to hand his boyhood heroes the PL crown.

Andy Carroll, the £35m Liverpool misfit who Brendan Rodgers had so unceremoniously shown the Anfield door last season, was for some perverse reason, threatening to do his ex-employers a favour.

The Fat, The Sad and The Ugly failed to deliver on all three counts.

Ooh la la - Samir celebrates City's 101st PL goal of the campaign. Courtesy @MCFC

Ooh la la – Samir celebrates City’s 101st PL goal of the campaign. Courtesy @MCFC

Nolan and Carroll were substituted having achieved nothing as City made merry through the rain and the shine of a blustery Mancunian afternoon.

A mention in dispatches however about the magnificent travelling West Ham support. They’ve suffered four defeats against City, seen their team stuffed 14-1 and yet still cheered them, indulged in self-deprecating humour and even stayed behind to applaud the new Champions of England.

A truly class act – unlike their manager and a number of their witless players.

S-E-R-G-I-O - Aguero holds the PL trophy aloft. Courtesy @MCFC

S-E-R-G-I-O – Aguero holds the PL trophy aloft. Courtesy @MCFC

Speaking of class acts, Kompany, Yaya, Silva and Aguero had that rarest of occasions…they all got to play in the same City starting line-up.

Along with Pablo Zabaleta, the quartet are all ‘world class’ and had only mustered 216 on field PL playing minutes, as a collective unit, all season. They managed another 76 before Silva went off to a standing ovation, with James Milner coming on.

West Ham surrendered to the inevitable when Man of the Match, Nasri hammered home a low 20 yard drive in the 39th minute.

It's coming home - the PL Trophy was already on home soil. Courtesy @MCFC

It’s coming home – the PL Trophy was already on home soil. Courtesy @MCFC

West Ham keeper, Adrian, in an orange jersey that wouldn’t have gone amiss in a Tango advert or a high-visibility road safety campaign, was slow to react and the Frenchman crowned his own personal renaissance with his 11th goal of the season.

Allardyce’s bus-parking master class wasn’t looking so masterful as City booked a one-way fare to glory.

Goal 102 of the PL season – just one shy of equalling Chelsea’s record – came courtesy of  Captain Fantastic Kompany, back to his best after the injury and jitters of April.

Kompany man - Captain Fantastic hit the last goal of the season as City swept to the top. Courtesy @MCFC

Kompany man – Captain Fantastic hit the last goal of the season as City swept to the top. Courtesy @MCFC

Displaying the predatory instincts of a striker, the skipper whipped the ball home from within the six-yard box to calm even the most extreme of Doubting Thomas’ in the Etihad.

City were home and hosed in a way that had been envisaged 728 days beforehand!

The ease of the final three points and the feeling of inevitability were in stark contrast with the frenetic and unpredictable nature of the preceding weeks.

Liverpool, Chelsea and City had all juggled with the PL leadership like a hot potato doused in double Piri Piri sauce. It was the cool, suave sophisticate from Chile who eventually froze out City’s opponents with five straight wins to see out the season.

May Spray - The bubbly flowed as Liverpool's bubble went pop. Courtesy @MCFC

May Spray – The bubbly flowed as Liverpool’s bubble went pop. Courtesy @MCFC

The after match celebrations spoke volumes of the unity and the togetherness of the team and Manchester City as an entity. Pellegrini was hijacked from an interview with Sky and thrown into the air half-a-dozen times by his players – with beaming smiles from everyone involved.

When City last won the title it was supposed to herald the dawn of Sky Blue domestic domination. Alas, Mancini unfortunately found reverse gear and City immediately surrendered the title to a sub-standard Manure.

It all feels so different this time around.

Happy Beast - Alvaro Negredo is a Champion in his first season in England. Courtesy @MCFC

Happy Beast – Alvaro Negredo is a Champion in his first season in England. Courtesy @MCFC

Expansion work at the Etihad is well underway and the sprawling expanse of the adjacent Etihad Campus becomes ever more breathtaking.

A summer transfer window will enable Pellegrini to make a good thing better, strengthening key areas of his high achieving squad. His transfer dealings have so far been exemplary with all five signings from 2013 proving successful, albeit to varying degrees.

His target of five trophies in five years is off to a flyer, but City and Pellegrini know that such a target was a base minimum.

Premonition - Read But Never Red tweeted in June 2013 that City would be PL Champions in 2014 #TrustOurMP

Premonition – Read But Never Red tweeted in June 2013 that City would be PL Champions in 2014 #TrustOurMP

With victory comes an opportunity to be magnanimous to the vanquished…but the hell with that.

Manchester City had fallen foul to a gut-churning Liverpool media love-fest, one in which Pellegrini was denigrated as lacking charisma, while we were all supposed to suck up to Saint Brendan of Anfield.

That’ll be the same perpetually whinging Rodgers who, rather than sticking with the fine achievements of a very progressive Liverpool team, just had to moan about City’s money, the transfer budget, the wages ad nauseam.

Get the celebrations swinging - Joe Hart had the bottle to come through a tough time. Courtesy @MCFC

Get the celebrations swinging – Joe Hart had the bottle to come through a tough time. Courtesy @MCFC

The hypocrisy was truly staggering. City had demonstrated massive respect, sympathy and empathy for Liverpool as a club, and as a fan base, during the 25th Anniversary of the Hillsborough Tragedy.

Rodgers could and should have reciprocated, rather than deflect his own shortcomings on to the perceived affluence of others. Doubtless it’s controversial and inflammatory, but Rodgers has been, and will doubtless continue to be, guilty of conduct most unbecoming wherever City are concerned.

Title winner - Fernandinho is one of five succesful Pellegrini signings. Courtesy @MCFC

Title winner – Fernandinho is one of five succesful Pellegrini signings. Courtesy @MCFC

Let’s see how Liverpool squirm and try and wriggle around the fatuous Financial Fair Play rules when they come under UEFA’s scrutiny next season.

Rodgers will be singing a different tune if Sheikh Mansour takes on Le Prat Platini and destroys the ill-conceived FFP laws.

As things stand, Liverpool would be one of the main beneficiaries, but doubtless Brenda will forget to mention it whilst harping on about Yaya’s take-home pay.

Challenges abound for City both on and off the field, but if ever a club was equipped to optimise its good fortune and opportunities it is Manchester City.

Just in case you missed it - MAN CITY CHAMPIONS 2014 #TOGETHER. Courtesy @MCFC

Just in case you missed it – MAN CITY CHAMPIONS 2014 #TOGETHER. Courtesy @MCFC

Pellegrini is the embodiment of a club that oozes integrity and ambition – a rare and laudable combination in a sport that seems to thrive on the spite and malice of miscreants.

Manuel didn’t sign up for that – he’s one of the good guys and good guys sometimes come first!



By David Walker





Paul Glennon a true blue Manchester City fan, wife Aileen and five Junior Blues #TeamGlennon were MCFC VIP Guests with Manchester City Club Ambassador Mike Summerbee for a truly memorable day, one that will provide treasured memories for years to come. Paul has an incurable medical condition and City’s win over West Ham was his last opportunity to see City play live at the Etihad…and he witnessed a Champion Show.

True Blues - Team Glennon went pitchside with Buzzer and Sky Pundit Niall Quinn.

True Blues – Team Glennon went pitchside with Buzzer and Sky Pundit Niall Quinn.

Read But Never Red was privileged to help make it happen and meet up with a very special family on a very special day.

What's The Story... - Paul Glennon and City mad Jessica met Noel Gallagher at the Etihad.

What’s The Story… – Paul Glennon and City mad Jessica met Noel Gallagher at the Etihad.



 Read But Never Red and Campo Retro have come together to offer fans a fantastic opportunity to win a unique and personalized Campo Retro shirt plus free delivery.

Welcome partner - CampoRetro are teaming up with Read But Never Red.
Welcome partner – CampoRetro are teaming up with Read But Never Red.

Campo Retro have a wide range of Man City retro shirts and track jackets ranging from the 1950s to the 21st century . Not only that, but Campo Retro will also print the name & number of the winner’s choice on the shirt, to make it a little more extra special.

Champions 1968 - one of the City shirts up for grabs in our CampoRetro competition
Champions 1968 – one of the City shirts up for grabs in our CampoRetro competition

Whether you live in Moss Side or Melbourne, Denton or Abu Dhabi (you get the drift) you still have a great chance to win this super prize. All you have to do is answer the simple question below and email the answer to

‘When City won the League back in 1968 who was the Manager?’

Sweet memories - SuperKev and Tricky Dicky from 1999. You could win this beauty with CampoRetro and Read But Never Red.
Sweet memories – SuperKev and Tricky Dicky from 1999. You could win this beauty with CampoRetro and Read But Never Red.

The competition closes on 31st May 2014 and the winner will be announced soon after.

Blast from the past - City's Swedish beauty.
Blast from the past – City’s Swedish beauty.

The winner will receive an email from Campo Retro to request information on shirt size, personalization and delivery address. All entries will also receive an exclusive discount to use at GOOD LUCK.


  1. May 12, 2014  6:52 pm by Pete Lynch Reply

    Class David. Thats what we have.

    • May 12, 2014  7:17 pm by David Walker Reply

      In abundance!

  2. May 12, 2014  7:59 pm by Phil Taylor Reply

    A CHAMPION REPORT. I have enjoyed reading all your articles throughout the season, all good stuff. Thank you Dave.

      • May 14, 2014  11:16 pm by paulandailz Reply

        Great read yet again David I really hope you carry on writing.
        My family and I had a brilliant day and got to meet some great people and a few heros plus a true friend funnily enough I had never met before thanks David, Aileen hasn't removed the scarf yet lol.
        My good luck carried into Monday as well !!!

        • May 15, 2014  1:26 pm by David Walker Reply

          My absolute pleasure. It warmed my heart to see you all and City's title win meant all the more to because I knew it would mean the world to you and yours #MCFCBLUEBROS

  3. May 12, 2014  8:21 pm by DOUG HENSHAW Reply

    Great Dave just great. So glad that Paul & his family got to see his team win the title how good of you & city to make the day special for them hats off to you City & the Glennon family. What a day Dave what a day by the end i was lost for words & that doesn't happen often magnificent Manuel & his team did us all proud & in the process shut up Big gob Brendan & a lot of others that were just waiting for us to fail. I loved the Fat the Sad & the ugly summed them up perfectly, special mention for Javi Garcia, Martin Demichelis, & Edin Dzeko who came good when it mattered despite a lot of criticism. A wise scribe said at the at the start of the season #TrustOurMp & although some times this season i have had occasion to doubt the man you Dave have never wavered in your support for MP & i sir salute you for it. MANCHESTER CITY PREMIERSHIP WINNERS 2014 & CAPITOL CUP WINNERS 2014 the stuff dreams are made off. #Together.

    • May 12, 2014  8:29 pm by David Walker Reply

      You've said it all Doug. Seeing Paul and knowing it was such a special day for him and his family transcended anything and everything. Let's just enjoy these most wonderful of times, days I never thought we'd see not that long ago. Thank you for your feedback and support throughout the season. We'll have to see how RBNR evolves in the future because it does present challenges to daily life, earning a crust and getting out more ;-)

  4. May 12, 2014  9:13 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    Brilliant David as is the norm from your good self.You came up with #TrustOurMP and how right you were the man is a legend already for me. Champions 2014.

    • May 12, 2014  9:37 pm by David Walker Reply

      Makes a change for me to get something - anything - right, but #TrustOurMP ticked the boxes & stood the test of time.

  5. May 12, 2014  9:20 pm by John Evans TT Reply

    You've pretty much said it all there David.

    However, why us and not Brenda or Maureen? IMO it's down to Pellegrini. Not once can I recall MP losing his rag (if you will excuse the expression). No histrionics or passing the buck.

    With star players out for long periods (Nastasić, Kompany, Aguero and Nasri), Manuel the maestro of man management, got the best out of Hart, Kolarov, De Michelis, Garcia, Nasri, Dzeko. Only Micah Richards failed to perform.

    MP’s influence was apparent at Newcastle and Hull where we dug in and dogged it out. It could be said it was those displays, as much as the sixes and sevens, against Arsenal, Norwich and Tottenham, which won us the title, that plus the world’s greatest midfielder. Apparently this season YaYa took 13 set pieces and scored from 10!

    As a final point, thank you David Walker for providing such a professional and amusing spot. A real gem!

    • May 13, 2014  12:03 am by David Walker Reply

      It boils down to excellent man management, a belief in a certain style of play, shrewd acquisitions and tactical nous. We lost games at the start of the season when MP was still acclimatising to the EPL. Proud to have such a man as our manager.

      Thanks for your support and constructive feedback throughout the season and, if time permits we might do it all over again next season. This blogging lark takes up the time - time that could be spent earning some dollars and getting out more - but it's all about choices.

      Cheers John

  6. May 12, 2014  9:46 pm by Susan richardson Reply

    The fat sad and ugly; genius

    • May 13, 2014  12:04 am by David Walker Reply

      It wasn't THAT good! Thanks for reading and commenting throughout this glorious period.

  7. May 12, 2014  11:40 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Been a wonderful season, hasn't it, with the type of finish I'd take every time.
    Very worthy champions, and the very best wishes to Paul and his family.
    Thank you for all your hard work during the season, it's been a pleasure reading all of your articles. Cheers, David!

    • May 13, 2014  12:07 am by David Walker Reply

      It's not been bad...not bad at all.
      Wonderful from a personal perspective to see Paul and his family at the Etihad and to know they had a complete and utter ball of a time. Thankyou for your support and for reading - it would be like a Michael Owen comment if I didn't have readers - POINTLESS.

  8. May 13, 2014  12:18 am by andrew mclelland Reply

    hello Dave very well wrote and delivered piece of our Manchester city.enjoyed the read mate ,carry on the good work ctwd

  9. May 13, 2014  4:34 am by Simon Wilson Reply

    There would never be Typical City on Sunday. The influence of MP was enough to see that off this season. He brought them together and developed a system of belief that defied the pundits. I was happy to watch (mostly ….). Thank you for a season of entertaining reading. I guess the Community Shield isn't that far off. Does that count as silverware? Everyone, enjoy your Summer!

    • May 13, 2014  10:13 am by David Walker Reply

      Bobby Manc always counted it as did Sir Baconface on his roll of honour, so why shouldn't MP. That said the media will say we've failed to win the 'Quin' if we only win four trophies next season ;-)

  10. May 13, 2014  4:53 am by Joe beauprez Reply

    Thanks David for the wonderful column it's been a joy to read and always a brilliant summary of my feelings - and much better than I could articulate them in any event :) as you said; I didn't think I'd ever see City do something like this once let alone over and over (and,god willing, many more times over). We're so lucky and I'm still smiling.
    Joe beauprez, MCFC Denver OSC

    • May 13, 2014  10:15 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for your generous feedback Joe - glad to have been of service. I really must get over to the States sometime, so many MCFC fans nowadays and the numbers always growing.

  11. May 13, 2014  7:00 am by Ed Reply

    Well written and for keeping the faith when others had given up. Enjoy the summer break.

    • May 13, 2014  9:09 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks - there was just something about MP that I identified with & thought he'd get the job done this season. Having acclimatised to the PL, plus the addition of some strategic signings I can only see City getting stronger & stronger.

  12. May 13, 2014  10:52 am by Eileen Fullen Reply

    A wonderful read and Thank you for your excellent pieces throughout the Season. You were right keep the faith in our MP he delivered when others just turned bitter. Here's to 2014/2015 great football and of course your blogs.(I'm still in detox haha)

    • May 13, 2014  11:29 pm by David Walker Reply

      Having researched our MP, his methods and his track record I thought the guy was a winner and a classy guy to boot, It's great that he's put one over on Jose (Maureen), whereas Rodgers (Brenda) how the hell his peers gave himthe Manager of the Year Award beggars belief. Manuel rose above all the crap and bile beign chucked around and emerged victorious with his dignity intact. Thanks for all your supportive comments through the season.

  13. May 13, 2014  11:04 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    As always "spot on " with your report David
    To be brief :-
    Great Club
    Great Manager
    Great Team
    Great Day
    To quote a line by Tom Petty :-
    "Some days are Diamonds"
    Am sure you will be commenting on the FFP ruling sometime. To me it is a rule overburdened, badly thought out idea that should go straight to Room 101

    • May 13, 2014  11:32 pm by David Walker Reply

      Bit of research to be done but I have a grasp of the fundamentals of FFP and sincerely hope that Sheikh Mansour is the man to bring UEFA to book and smash FFP to smithereens in the highest courts in Europe - not the kangaroo court over which Le Prat Platini presides. Yes, it will be the topic of an article in the not-too-distant future.

  14. May 13, 2014  11:19 am by John Evans TT Reply

    'This blogging lark takes up the time - time that could be spent earning some dollars and getting out more'.

    Nearly 2,000 words twice a week + Photo's (and putting it to bed). Then you go to the trouble of answering nearly every post. That's more than any full time journo, and you accuse me of lineage!

    David you are in danger of burning yourself out and then what would we do?

    Out of curiosity I looked at an older post match (#78 West Ham coincidently), that was a mere 800 words!! It was good, very good.


    ‘Paranoid? Maybe, but if so, with damn good reason.

    A 0-0 draw in the East End against Sam Allardyce’s stoical side is not the worst result of the season – not even the worst result of the weekend – and yet the media indulge in vitriol and lies against City.’

    Plus ça change! Cept we’ve moved forward and fat Sam has been left in the slip stream.

    Nice to see the young ‘Crown Prince’ at the game. Booted, suited and as neat as nine pence. Bad news for those hoping our owners will get bored and walk away, junior blues don’t do that!

    • May 13, 2014  11:37 pm by David Walker Reply

      Junior Blues - by golly, those were the days, the days of denim jackets covered in MCFC patches. My poor old Mum's fingers must've been sore sewing the buggers on. It's funny looking back at my initial forays into football 'journalism/blogging' two years ago - they were nowhere near as confident or opinionated. Or maybe I have just become increasingly delusional with age.
      Twice a week wouldn't be so bad, but it was running at a rate of 6 p/w - but I had choices...nobody made me do them.

      Is that the smell of burning martyr?


      • May 14, 2014  9:47 am by John Evans TT Reply

        No! It's Ferdinand burning his jock strap.

  15. May 13, 2014  2:10 pm by guy Burke Reply

    Everything superb David , your blog , the whole City staff and our fantastic fans. Spent most of yesterday in town and was actually moved to tears with the fantastic turn out young, old and 99% local (there's nothing for you here) have a Great summer, the very best is still to come !

    • May 13, 2014  11:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      Couldn't get back to Manc for the parade but managed approx 40+ games over the season. Every home game is 250+ miles but it's a small price. It didn't feel that way though under Stuart Pearce - came close to chucking the season tickets, but then came Sven #eventful

      Thanks for feedback.

  16. May 13, 2014  5:54 pm by Mark Turner Reply

    Brilliant, witty, incisive and perfectly balanced with justified digs at those whom our media seem to judge as being above the law.
    As always this was a pleasure to read and its heartwarming to hear that Paul and his family had a wonderful day.
    I can fully appreciate the sacrifice you make to producing RBNR and hope that this dedication does not impede or get in the way of more important things like your own family.
    On a personal I hope you enjoy a very well earned break in the close season but will always look forward to your next production.
    Best Wishes always.

    • May 13, 2014  11:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      Many thanks Mark - trouble is RBNR can sometimes be a pain in the arse - not just to read ;-) - but to research and write etc. I love doing it but we'll have to see it is sustainable at this level. I need to get out more!

  17. May 14, 2014  10:08 pm by Blue inc Reply

    Milk Monitor here!! A great ending piece to mark a great seasons end Dave, Many thanks for your precise and none blinded view on all the games through the season. You sir are a very talented Man and have my up most respect for what you put into RBNR.
    Is it alright if I get off this Bouncy Castle now :)
    Till next season Dave, take care, all my best to you and yours.

    • May 15, 2014  1:28 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks fella - let's see what MP does in the summer to make us even stronger next season. Thanks for reading.

  18. May 16, 2014  9:38 am by simon hancox Reply

    Well my friend its took me all week to get round to reading it but as always bang in the money brill mate ... what a season ,what a team ,CANNA WAIT TILL NEXT SEASON cheers dave

    • May 16, 2014  11:02 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for reading Simon, glad you enjoyed the blog but more importantly the season - cracking double - and hopefully even bigger & better to come.

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