“I was having a lunchtime beer in Terry Neil’s bar in Holborn when in walked George Best. He went downstairs where he was waiting to be interviewed by Sky TV. Twenty minutes later, in strolled Rodney Marsh ‘Can anybody move my car for me, I’m parked on a double yellow line?’Several people pretended to be in deep conversation, others were gazing into their beer glasses but nobody offered to help. ‘Can somebody park it for me I’m late for an interview’ said Rod in a pleading voice. This time there was almost complete silence. ‘Please’ said Rod beginning to sound desperate. The tension was unbearable, somebody had to crack. They did – it was me. ‘Give us the keys I’ll park it round the back,’ I said.
When I took the keys back, George was tossing a football from hand to hand while chatting to Rod. He dropped the ball and it bounced towards me. Immediately, I trapped it with my left foot, and pushed it forwards with my right. George came towards me but I dropped my left shoulder and then swerved to the right and knocked the ball past him. Rod stuck out his right leg. I lifted the ball over his outstretched foot and rode over his poor challenge (he never could tackle).
Then I noticed Bob Wilson sitting on a sofa with a pint of beer in one hand and a cheese and onion sandwich in the other. Bob struggled to his feet, I was through with only the keeper to beat! I gave it everything I had. Beer, sandwich, cheese and glasses went everywhere as the ball thundered into Bob’s big gut. Rod ran in and hooked the rebound away to safety. My moment had gone! Only of course it didn’t happen like that. Really, I just gave Rod his keys back and went back to work.”
“Flying winger Ralph Milne blazed a trail down the right touchline of some of Europe’s greatest stadia during Dundee United’s awe-inspiring foreign adventures in the early Eighties. However, in a game of jerseys-for-goalposts park football, he was somewhat less impressive.
Some mates and I used to play every Sunday afternoon in a Dundee park. One day, young Ralphie wandered across, accompanied by a chain-smoking chum, and asked for a game. Obviously we said yes. While his mate stood on the wing and worked his way through twenty fags, Ralphie spent his time picking up the ball in midfield, taking one pace and shooting, no matter where he was. Predictably, this resulted in a of of very pissed off teenagers and bugger all goals.
He was painfully out of his depth with us seasoned park footballers, though to be fair this could have been due to the fact that he was wearing massive flares and platform shoes (in 1979, mind you).”
“As a starry eyed nine year old my loyalty to the cause of West Ham was severely tested when I was trampled on by Kevin Lock as he stumbled off a bus in Regents Street. No hint of an apology was forthcoming from the dainty number six – an action which probably accounted for a gradual disaffection with the Irons as I find manners so important – especially in supposed midfield hard men. I now go up to Highbury with my wife but that’s probably down to paternal alienation or fear of flying or something.”
“My friend’s Mum once snogged Roy Evans at a youth club disco in Knowsley. They were only 14 at the time and their relationship never went further because Roy was more into his football practices. Incidentally, she’s married to the manager of a sign-making company now and he’s got silver hair too. Spooky, eh? Must be in the kiss...”
“Alec Ashworth played for Preston North End in the 1960s including in the 1964 FA Cup Final. He laid our lawn. Bloody good job too. Had two sugars in his tea. However the tight fisted sod didn’t have the decency to have his butties in a tuppaware box but in an old stork margarine container.”
From WSC 131 January 1998. What was happening this month