A Nice Day Out...34 Years Ago
Vital Manchester City newest signing, bigblue sent us the following.
Up at 6am, met at The Longsight, a pub next to Belle Vue and usually full of very sharp Donne players. Sparkling white Minibus hired for the event, ready and waiting for us. We couldn't wait.
Twelve lads, aged 14 (in my case) to 50, packed into it like sardines ready for a four to five hour journey. The driver and front passenger were lucky; they got seats facing forward. The rest of us were on two benches, facing each other like special ops guys in the transporter planes about to be dropped somewhere nasty. I was tucked in next to Arthur, lovely fella, all 25 stone of him - I was 10 stone then and we kind of balanced the load for our side.
I don't remember the journey but do remember getting off in Harrow to take the train to Wembley. Also remember getting on the train full of big lads with black and white scarves; remember chanting in turn and shouting good natured obscenities at each other. Good atmosphere between two good sets of fans out to enjoy themselves.
Best part of the match was the Dennis Tueart goal, an over head kick, sheer class and voted by many since as the best City goal ever. I recall the happy feeling that was so much in contrast with the misery of two years before against Wolves whose ungracious fans were itching to fight at any opportunity.
After the match, we found a Berni Inn somewhere in London and strode in with our smug grins and I remember being the first through the door. I looked around in shock when I saw what must have been 100 or 150 Newcastle fans in this enormous pub. I tried to walk backwards but my mates were still coming though the doors unaware of what they faced. Their forward momentum took into the middle of the floor and then it happened; a huge zebra bloke came over and.… asked us what we were having! I couldn't believe my luck and I know for a fact that those brilliant fans wouldn't let us dozen City fans buy a drink all night. We had a great time and got slaughtered, all except our poor driver who stuck to his shandy.
We got back to the minibus in Harrow and our luck ran out; our driver somehow managed to slice off the passenger door against a wall. I don't why it happened but perhaps those shandy's had some beer in them.
My most vivid memory of the slow journey home at stupid o'clock Sunday morning in the middle of freezing February was the howling wind through the non-existent passenger door. We couldn't cheer ourselves up by singing on the journey or even stop at the services because we didn't want to draw attention to the minibus. The only good thing was that I was behind big Arthur - I was the warmest lad on the bus!
A nice day out...34 years ago...here's to a few more in the coming seasons.
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