Brief encounters – August 1999

WSC readers keep spotting players in the unlikliest places…

I was humbled when Archie Gemmill spotted me driving into the Forest car park to fetch some tickets, at what he regarded as an excessive speed. Before I had had a chance to park and get out of the car he ran over to me, told me to wind down the window and called me “a bloody moron”, before turning and walking away. James Crosby

During one of the many five-minute breaks from the intense concentration that is required to inch along Baker Street’s free-flowing highway I happened to notice the colossus known as Martin Keown striding purposefully along the opposite side of the road. It was obvious his mind was on greater things because he suddenly appeared surprised to find himself in the middle of a side road without having first observed the Green Cross Code. After briefly looking lost and bewildered he checked for any immediate danger before safely proceeding. It was reassuring to know that some players take their work home with them. I saw him again a few weeks later at an Oxford speedway meeting where he looked far more at ease circumnavigating the oval race track. Colin Smith

My mate and I were playing snooker around eight years ago. On the table next to us were the deadly Sheffield Utd strikeforce Peter Beagrie and Tony Philliskirk. After several loudly whispered comments such as “And Philliskirk misses another sitter” and “My Gran could have done better than that”, the two players quickly finished the frame and left the building. Unfortunately, Peter was not in a backflipping mood, choosing to shuffle his feet instead. Mark Crossley

I was in my local McDonald’s in Glasgow recently and found myself sitting at a table next to Gabriel Amato, the inexplicably popular misfit Rangers striker. He was enjoying a nice family afternoon out with his typically beautiful model wife and his young son. (Sixteen grand a week and he eats in McDonalds ?) I tried to listen in just in case Mrs Amato was deciding which country she’d like to live in next. The Daily Record pays well for transfer exclusives like that. Amato junior was obviously getting bored by now so he burst into song at the top of his voice. So, you ask, what songs has he managed to pick up during his short time in Britain? Maybe a traditional nursery rhyme? Maybe even a catchy Spice Girls number? No. Instead the little rascal charmed the “restaurant” with “Hello, Hello, We are the Billy Boys”. Thankfully, his embarrassed dad managed to keep him quiet before he got to the line about being up to his knees in Fenian blood. It’s good to know the Rangers nursery is doing its bit encourage religious tolerance. Barry Leathem

Back in the days when footballers opened boutiques to occupy thir spare time, Terry Cooper bought a sports shop by Leeds bridge. Requiring a red football shirt for my school house, my elder sister insisted on dragging me to Terry’s shop. Somewhat surprisingly, the great man himself was behind the counter that day. Terry had a particularly pathetic range of red shirts, in fact he only had one which was way too small. Overcome with lust and with a funny look in her eyes, my sister insisted I buy anything with red on it. I ended up with an Ajax shirt, ie mostly white, and unmercilessly got the piss taken out of me by teachers and kids alike every time I turned out for the team. Thanks Terry. The shop closed a matter of weeks later. Garry Brogden

Despite being a Liverpool fan, I despised the little bastard from the moment we stepped on to the first tee for the Captains Junior competition at Curzon Park golf club in Chester, in July 1996. The prick not only annoyed me with his tales of Lilleshall for most of the day but proceeded to give me a two-shot penalty for supposedly moving the ball after I had adressed it. The fact that he was about 75 yards away didn’t do my argument much good and I ended up in second place instead of first. I then met Michael’s Dad, Terry Owen, in the clubhouse, who accused me of trying to intimidate his son into changing my score. Bob Barker

On holiday in Lisbon a few years ago, my girlfriend bumped into an old school friend of hers. We were invited back to her flat for a drink. She said her boyfriend, who was “involved in football” would be there. I was half expecting to come face to face with a Benfica squad player but, bugger me, it turned out to be Malcolm Allison, sitting there with nothing on but a pair of shorts. Disappointingly, he didn’t want to discuss tactics. Richard Shinn

From WSC 150 August 1999. What was happening this month