Memories · Sport

Good Friday 1972

We got up really early in the morning. It was still dark. We were going to West Ham, almost as far as you could go on the District Line. Leeds United were playing and the game started early, 11 o’clock or something. Dad, Jim and I travelled all the way to East London and when we got there it wasn’t even 9 o’clock. There was a big queue. We stood for ages. More people came and stood behind us. We moved slowly but I was sure that we would get in. I’d get to see all my favourite players, Allan Clarke, Eddie Gray, Billy Bremner.

We saw the Leeds coach arrive and I saw some of the players get off. I could only see Jack Charlton and Paul Madeley. I couldn’t see the rest of them.

Someone at the front of the queue started counting down how many tickets were left. 200 tickets left. 140 tickets left. 32 tickets left. There were still hundreds of people in front of us. Dad said “Come on, we’re not going to get in, we might as well head back”. I had bought a programme already. I was sure that we’d get in.

We got the train all the way home again.

We went to Woolworth’s to buy Easter Eggs, like we always did. We met Mum and my sister on the High Road.

Later that afternoon Dad took me and Jim to the Regal in Hammersmith and we saw Zulu.

One of the actors was shouting out orders. “Rear rank! Fire!” He opened his mouth really wide and I could see all his fillings.

“Did they have fillings in those days Daddy?”

Dad just laughed. He didn’t say yes or no.

While we were walking home he repeated it, putting on an English accent, making fun of me. “Did they have fillings in those days Daddy?”, and laughing again. He didn’t answer the question though. I knew it was an actor and he had fillings. I just wondered if people had fillings a hundred years ago.

He was still repeating it, making fun of me, weeks later.

[Taken from “1000 Memories”, available as a Kindle book here (UK) or here (US).]



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