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Monday, November 05, 2007

Since you asked


I have been asked regularly why, as a Jock, I support Chelsea FC. Reasonable question.

Actually, there's a good story as to why. Honest and it's true.

Read on and you will understand.

It's 1968 and I'm sat watching the newly acquired TV (Black & White) in leafiest Buckinghamshire. I'm watching Manchester United win the European Cup and a darn fine game it was. I'm nine and a little impressionable, you might even call me a glory hunter and Dad has already bought me, and the ickle bruvver, a Mank strip for Xmas. Well they were the only one's available at the time. Little did he know, but within a year, I'd be sorely embarrassed of the Chrisy pics of me and the wee boy imitating Georgie Best and Bobbie Flickover. Come to think of it, the ickle bruvver also dumped the Reds in favour of the other lot from Manchester (bit of a mistake there too, loon) a short while later.

A little over a year later and being as we were so close to the 'Smoke', and my uncle was on one of his annual visits from Toy Town
to the Ideal Home Exhibition at Earl's Court, where he was exhibiting on behalf of his plumbing business, we thought we'd pay a visit.

My aunt and uncle were staying at the Waldorf (posh in those days before the Hilton's got hold of it) and we joined them for breakfast in an imposing room.

Repast over we grabbed a lift up to their room. At the time the Miss World contestants were also staying there. OK, I was only 10, but being crammed in with the olds, and three very (better get my spell check out here) exotic Misses, is something even at such a tender age you don't forget. The ladies were wearing their countries' various names on sashes (and not much else as per linked group photo above) and I distinctly remember Miss Venezuela (she came 5th). She was very close and it's such a long word. I got stuck somewhere about the 'Z' as it crossed her frontage, which was about eye level at the time!

I know my very jealous Dad had to have a cold drink when we got to the room.

The day was looking up.

Off we toddle to Earl's Court. As a 10 year old, with ickle bruvver in tow, we weren't too interested in what was on show, but managed to purloin some free snacks and drinks at various displays and, as I recall vividly for some reason, clamber about on some rather large motor yachts (Ideal Homes for the ridiculously rich).

I digress, getting bored and back at Uncle's 'stall', this rather rotund gent, an associate of my uncle, who was puffing on a huge cigar, asked my old man if the boys would like to go to a football match in the afternoon. Now, the old man wasn't the most adventurous of types in those days and swithered, but the wonderful man, who went by the name of Sidney Popper, insisted. When he mentioned it was a game involving the aforementioned Manchester United, the interest level rose. Apparently they were playing some outfit nearby at a place called Stamford Bridge. Didn't mean much to me at the time.

Anyhow, time comes to leave and we are escorted out to our transport. Well, does Sid not have a chauffeur driven Roller waiting for us. There's obviously money in 'u' bends. The day was looking even better and off we go.

As we arrive at Stamford Bridge, we drive up to the iron gates at the back of the old main stand and a gatekeeper resplendent in bunnet and white gloves heaves it open with a cheery wave for Sid.

Disembarking, we are led into a plush (for the time anyway) private box in the stand. Sid instructs us to help ourselves to fizzy pop and crisps - anyone old enough to remember those days will know that was a rare treat - and down we sat to watch the game. Sid goes over the team sheets and the programme, educating me into the outfit in blue. He tells me all about 'the Cat', Ossie, Charlie Cooke (a personal favourite, whom Sid told me was a Scot and had played for the local outfit in his time), 'Chopper' Harris, Davie Webb etc. etc. He glossed over the array of talent in red, which included the aforementioned Best and Charlton. It was a good game, but in the mind of a ten year old, the numerous 'Cokes' and packets of crisps with the wee blue twisted ended sachets of salt and the ride home up to the Waldorf in the Roller were better.

Oh, I forgot - the result: 1-1 and a life long CFC supporter spawned.

Many years later, standing in The Shed, I realised just what it meant to be 'Forever Blue!' If you were there, you'll know what I mean.

It's all true, just ask the ickle bruvver.

Now aren't you glad you asked?

p.s. the photo is random and purely for the girls and might get them interested!

© Noddy
Published by Toy Town™ Times

1 comment:

Fitaloon said...

Amazing how memories are slightly different.

a) The Man City team was staying at the Waldorf Hotel as well and then included such notables as Colin Bell, Frannie Lee, Mike Summerbee and my Hero Joe Corrigan before going off to play (and beat) Arsenal. I spoke to a few of them though they were obviously distracted by the better viewing available.

b) I had Roast Duck in Orange Sauce at a Kensington Hotel prior to the match. Mmm. Luxury.

c) Apparently we watched a football game at some backwater in London. I just remember the crisps and coke!

d) The Miss World contestants were all exactly the right height for my face to be at an extremely useful distance up their bodies. I couldn't read the sashes as they were to close to my eyes which were in any case rather glazed.

Eventually I grew up and started supporting a proper team.