Sunday, 30 January 2011

How do we get into to Football ?

My first game was a Belfast Derby match at Windsor Park i remember going with my sister and dad (less said about him the better) i recall seeing the whole street going toe to toe with each other and the sound of bottles and glass smashing all over the place and yet we just carried on walking into the ground crushed right at the front.

It was the first time i seen the Glens up front and personal  green red and black all around me my scarf (which i still have)  round my neck and my specs with one patch on an eye and there i was god showed me the light and the way and off i was.
The roar from us when the Cock N Hens took to the pitch was mad for a young child and then came the bricks and bottles again from the Linfield fans my sister by this time was a mess in tears and in full panic attack.

A man next to me took something in the head and blood was coming out of his head and he said and i recall this so well i am not leaving i am staying. I looked up at him and thought hope they miss me anyway i am too small and it was Belfast we had the troubles and we could face anything.

I do not recall the score we scored a couple and they got more as the shouts of our fans turned into crys of “same old Glens,Build you up to let you down”.
I also seen George Best play for Northern Ireland Vs Holland and the mighty Juventus at the Oval.
For years of my early life it was Glentoran and Northern Ireland games home and away well as long as it was in Northern Ireland easy jet was still a few years away.
I like many kids kicking a ball about to be the next Best or Caskey Belfast as a town was just normal to me like i am sure London was we moved around a lot from East Belfast where i came into this world to all over Inc Rathcoole, Donegall Road and many others and in the end Whitehead.
Being a Glentoran fan saved me from thinking of what was going on at school i was hopeless dyslexia and had to live on a Gluten Free diet and half blind,what a case and also the only Glens fan in the area so many a day i would go to school in my glens scarf and get the shite kicked out of me only to do it again the next i was not for giving up.sad thing was nor was they.

Now it is funny is it not how life chucks something at you one day a man who was a friend of my family came to the house with a huge grim and a football programme it was the brother of Alan McDonad a kid from Rathcoole who just signed for us along with Ian Stewart and one more lad i think called Fullerton And there it was Blue and White with McCreery on the cover and it was Charlton we played.
Then a few years later we moved to London after the vileness of homeless  families and the wonder life style of bed and breakfast that a rat would send back to the kitchen.
we found  ourselves homed at long last in the Brunel Est Westboure Park.

A few  tube stops away from the bush and how that short ride and walk up the Uxbridge Road came to mean so much over the next twenty five years god is is that long.How many times i went there to forget things that were always going on and also i was young had no friends spent most of my time hanging out with my sister that is never cool.

Rangers saved me i know that sounds bizarre and stupid but it is very true.
I aways recall the buzz i got from seeing them floodlights as you come in to the bush and even now on match days and non match match days the young teen in me still looks at them and thinks back it never mattered who we were playing it could be Man Utd,The Scum (chelsea) or Mansfield Town the buzz was the same.
i will never forget either as a sixteen year old how QPR fans looked after me i was on my own most of the time if i went on the Supporters club coaches the much missed  Daphne Biggs would put me on seat with someone and tell them to talk to me as i was shy,me shy i know,but it was true in some ways i had a real thing about my accent no one understood a word i said.
i had a dodgy goth haircut and  i was just away from Belfast and this city was so strange wonderful and yet i knew nothing about it.

on other away days i would get the train and get talking to other fans often older in truth when i was at the train station i would look out for other fans in hoops in them days we had the now famous Guinness shirts so it was always easy to spot  fellow fans, anyway they would talk back and i would end up with these people till i got back to London and sometimes even get a lift home.
The warmness and kindness of Queen’s Park Rangers fans never shocked me we really were a family club and to be part of this band of fans as a young teen and even now is so humble and something that words could never do justice.

But i thank god or whatever is above us or maybe just even the sky that Queen’s Park Rangers and Glentoran exist my life was also born out of them.

Sometimes i look at this saying and it takes me back to them days of a lost Irish kid in London.
Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.

Chief Seattle, 1854

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