I was there in ’79. At Wembley I mean. Arse-nil v Man U in the cup final. The first half passed in a haze, well those were the days when I could still stomach a whisky on the 7pm train to the smoke. Not to mention the beers on the tube, or even the beers and sandwiches before the game from friends who we met on the car park outside.
Wembley was an awful place. I’d been there before in ’68. How the hell we’d got the World Cup two years before is beyond me. Just look at the hoops you have to jump through now just to be considered as a bankruptcy looking to happen.
But back to the plot. I was rather more compis mentis by the second half and a dreary game lit into life near the end. We pulled a goal back. Then that slow-motion monent as Sammy Mac danced into the box.
“Shoooot!” we shouted as he took yet one more step after another. (We were right behind the goal.) Then he did and the net was rippling. We were bouncing and I fell on top another Red, well you could stand in those days.
By the time we’d made it back onto our feet Alan bloody Sutherland had scored the winner for the arseholes.
We wandered out of the ground in a daze and managed to miss the 8.30 train home. But we were happy (and pissed) and landed at Piccadily in the early hours worse for wear. And picked up friend’s car for a belt up the Hyde Road.
A police car picked up our traces. Blue lights were flashing behind. Friend’s reaction was to hit the metal and we whizzed through Denton at 60mph+, eventually caught at the lights where stood the King’s Head, the sign having once been Denis in red and then in blue.
It was about 2am. Lads in blue asked, “Where’ve you been?” “Wembley,” we said. “Oh well, on your way then, and slow down a bit. You’ve had a hard day.”
was meant to be payback. And should have been. Twebty-six years of grief to hand back.
But it wasn’t. I dare anyone to explain how Arse-nil won and ManU didn’t (apart from the obvious.) I’d love to see the foul-count. Bastards.