It was a grim winter day, the skies were grey and the birds had even stopped singing. We trudged reluctantly past the black, foreboding gates of the Victorian park. A thin line of frozen schoolboys. Heading out for an afternoon of football.
This was my first experience of school football. I’d seen Leeds United play and so I had a good idea of how the game was played (a la – 1970 Leeds style.)
During that winter my bedroom had ice on the window (on the inside). Linoleum on the floor and duvet was just a French word. So football boots were not an essential item. But there was hope!
Anyaways… back to the plot. Upon arrival at our destination our hardened PE teacher told us to get changed while he checked the boiler room (cigarette break!) As I say, mam and dad couldn’t afford football boots, but my brother-in-law, who was in the army came to the rescue. He gave me some boots. His old rugby boots! Not quite the ones I wanted…
This seemed like a good idea, except they were size 11. There may have been some confusion with my age and boot size. So, out I trumbled looking like Co-Co the clown, with a scrounged, football shirt that was three sizes too big. After the joviality had ceased and I managed to hold back the tears, the game started.
I volunteered for the position of right back which, to the un-initiated is a defender. This was, in part, because my best friend was in goal and I thought we could have a chat. When the first attacker bore down on us I immediately ran out and kicked his legs from underneath him. The whistle blew!
“Who the bloody hell do think you are, lad?” Came the voice of our irate teacher, ” Jack Charlton?”
“No, Sir, Norman Hunter,” I replied innocently.
“Off, off, get off my pitch.”
He appeared visibly distressed. this was one of our first encounters. I have written about our relationship in a previous post, here.
My football days were obviously numbered and to be honest I spent most of them on my own in the shower.
And that my friends is how I became a runner. Have a good week and remember, love the one you are with (at any given time 😂) ❤️