For the semi ‚Äì final, second leg at Loftus Road, my Dad took me and my Brother to the game on the Metropolitan Line. We had moved to the East End by then but I was born in Paddington. Anyway,we were all fully engrossed, talking away when suddenly my Brother pipes up, ‚ÄúWe Are Here‚Äù, so we all jumped off the train and as the doors closed behind us, we realised that we were actually at Latimer Road Station. As we waited for the next one, I remember seeing the floodlights away in the distance. We made the kick-off just in time and Dad says that I was sitting right behind Terry Venables.
The day of the Final arrived, Dad took me and my Brother again, I was nine and he was eleven. Mum made us some ham rolls and I remember that they were the soft ones and she packed them in a bread bag, don’t ask me how I remember that ! Anyway, we got to Wembley Stadium at about 1pm and as we were on the terraces that day, we made sure that we stood behind the goal and right down the front. It began to fill up after a couple of hours and I remember another kid trying to push his way in front of me. Dad says that I told him where to go as I had been there for ages and he likewise, told his old man ! All the goals were scored in the goal we stood behind, so I had a great view of them. The game itself is a complete fuzz now unfortunately but I’ve watched it a few times on DVD. The only other memorable thing that I can remember was that after the game my Brother started crying. A Policeman in the crowd saw him and asked him if he was ok and why was he crying ? His reply was, ‚ÄúBecause I’m Happy‚Äù, classic ! He later turned into a Tottenham fan by the way. My Dad always supported Arsenal although he did take me to Rangers when I was too little to go on my own.
In Alec Stock’s book, ‘A Little Thing Called Pride’, there’s a picture of the winning goal and if you get a magnifying glass, you can just make out my Dad, Brother and me in the crowd (if you know who you are looking for of course)
Talking of books, in his 1967 book, ‘Football Club Manager’, Alec Stock wrote about how irritated he was at the time with the Football League:-
‘The League irritated me too at the end of the match. It had been announced that a tankard would be given to the Manager, Secretary and Trainer of the winning club as well as the twelve players. A good idea but what happened ? I was down in our dressing room afterwards when in came what appeared to be a junior League official carrying a cardboard box. ‚ÄúAh‚Äù he said, ‚ÄúI’ve something for you‚Äù and pushed the box towards me. Inside were three brown paper parcels, the tankards for the Secretary, Trainer and myself. It hardly spoiled my day but there is an acceptable way and a wrong way of doing everything and this I felt, was the wrong way. Here again was an example of thoughtlessness that annoyed me because it seemed almost a slight to my profession.’