This is now an edited version of the original blog… you can read the full one by downloading my Football Neutral 2013/14 season review on Kindle. Well over 300 pages of daftness. Less than £2! Thanks!
…Then came time for the football. Quick tube journey and a bit of a walk and I was bearing down on Brisbane Road with enough time to spare to actually have a wander around the ground. What was odd was the tube journey in; even for my trip to Dagenham and Redbridge the tube was busy with fans on the way in. For this match, 40 minutes before kickoff… nobody. The odd early Christmas shopper, but no fans of either team. Was most bizarre.
Walking down the main street from the station towards the ground, fans of both sides mingled perfectly, the police keeping a watchful eye but with smiles drawn rather than batons. It all felt really pleasant, and the pavements were packed with fans hurrying through the chill air to get the stadium and grab a bovril. This wonderful atmosphere was shattered briefly by cries of “BBC” from a cab carrying five youths from Sheffield. BBC, in case you were wondering, stands for “Blades Business Crew”, the firm of United hooligans. Rest assured, your license fee does not fund them and pay for their Stone Island and Aquascutum.
Thing is, I doubt that these chaps had anything to do with said collective. Why, do you ask? Let me list my reasons.
(Before I do, may I say that I know a few, shall we say, “naughty” chaps who may have misbehaved at football matches in the past. I definitely don’t condone what they’ve done, but I know enough about this subject to pass the comment below)
1: These lads were honestly, 16 or 17. Whilst they may have said they were in a taxi to the ground to make out they were flash, it’s infinitely more likely that they were in the cab because one of their mums gave them the money so they wouldn’t have to take the dangerous old tube.
2: If you’re a member of a group of genuine football hooligans, do you think shouting out the name of said group from the window of a taxi that is stuck in traffic, in front of the police, alerting them to your presence, is the brightest thing to do?
3: When the taxi went past and they shouted out said phrase, two very hard looking thirtysomething lads next to me looked at each other and, in broad Yorkshire accents, said “stupid fooking kids, making us look like twats.” I suspect these two gentlemen may have been real members of the BBC. They were not happy at all.
Instead of the fear that I think these kids thought their shouting would instil in the Orient fans, they drew laughter from fans of both sides, and a roll of the eyes from a policeman who radioed for his colleagues further down the road to “have a chat” with these boys, delivered with a tired sigh….
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