Seeing the time is coming where normality is hopefully going to resume, although my first experiences of being welcomed into certain pubs is not a sign for the better.
In other words they ‘suits’ and managers have had ample time to sit down and make their “Pleasure Places” as Bertie Mee called it to Alan Ball, a far better place than before the pandemic.
No such luck.. ..and it seems that my loving my own company and enjoying entertaining myself in my wee flat and my American experience has stood me in good stead.
I’m disappointed to say the least yet not surprised with people’s attitude, people – dare l say it? – who should not be allowed to both work in and manage a Public House. That’s it!
On the football front l was surprised to read that Frank has done a U-Turn with the Crystal Palace managerial job. It seems he has learned that my initial feelings about the Chelsea job have finally sunk in to him and l believe he now feels he should have seen out his contract at Derby County – I hate saying ‘I told you so’ but I did and Frank should have stayed at Derby and seen out his contract. I am certainly one who has been cheated by football clubs(Chelsea, Stoke City and Seattle Sounders) but I suppose living in a different era I stuck with my contract, did I have any choice?
The truth of the matter is I sometimes think about when Oz and I were abused by Chelsea had it been boot on the other foot and it was today on Bosman’s World. Oh my goodness, as Del Boy says “Lovely Jubbly” as was it Joe Fisher in the Lion? We would have refused to leave and said, ‘We have contracts to honour so you honour your part of the deal.’ It would have been great fun jumping in our helicopters to Windsor, or wherever, although Alexandre was unbeatable! Having lunch in the finest eaterie and sat with the finest wine, port and brandy, planning our next move. I most definitely would have bought myself, meaning buying my contract from Chelsea who wanted £240,000. I would have said that’s ten days work, I’ll train till the middle of next week and I’m off to Spain to see my mate George (Best) of course, where he’ll be sitting with a bevvy of bevvy and girls and talked of joining him at Barcelona or Real, if not I’ll take the low road, just play for fun, who needs to bow down to the clowns “suits.” Or maybe buy that team Jeunesse Hautcharge in Luxemburg and start up there, I loved that team so very sporting in defeat. Play for fun having saved up my fortune, like Fergie bought my own wine store (vineyard) bought my own restaurant and bar, in fact two, one for business and one for friends, everything free, but that’s okay because I only have a few but that’s better much more intimate and they can bring their friends. I think you’d like it. I can dream, but those dreams came true for so many inferior beings, but I look back at Baxter, Shackleton, Carter, Finney and dream of having them there working for me as waiters, only not waiting. I’d put them on top money, the money they never got while entertaining millions of decent hard working folk. They could start a little band, Slim Jim could “jog” with the ball on his knee like at Wembley in 1967, Shack on the harmonica, Tom on the fiddle, no that was Sir Stan, and Raich on the Joanna, my restaurant would need to be extended the length of the street, what a dream. The dream never ends!
He, Frank, has, between the lines, kind of said, “once bitten” by not taking a Palace job which is so much like the Chelsea job without Roman Abramovich’s financial clout and the fine job he did with bringing through those youngsters has come back to bite him as Palace want him to do that over in South London. No chance!
It is like my jigsaw puzzle only his pieces are all over the place and when that’s the case both life and the game becomes complicated, whereas a few months ago things were so very close to simple for Frank. But he was at his lowest ebb at WHU like me before joining Stoke and I helped him move not to Chelsea but the Moon and Stars – I should have been his agent, the wrong people again earned out of my work, I was the one who talked Frank out of joining Leeds, therefore…..
Onto a more positive note with the 50 years of Stoke City’s League Cup success approaching there is a lot of good memories about to flood back. If l have anything got do with it it will be making certain you-know-who gets the credit he has not been given since the move from the Victoria Ground to the Britannia Stadium by those ‘suits’ that continue to aggravate me.
Before the turn of the year l look forward to an Evening with Terry Conroy to talk of such times that turned and changed my life both socially and professionally under the Man.
Terry and l have spoken many times about what the evening will be all about and it’s something that excites me in times where excitement is at a premium.
I’m very fortunate to have the ability, because of my times with Tony, to make a grey sky blue – although our night will be far more red and white. Mr Waddington will be present on that night in Stoke-on-Trent and I think I’ll ask Terry if we can open the show with his Simply Red song HOLDING BACK THE YEARS, I never knew he could work a jukebox but ma and my friend TD caught him in Abersoch playing this song and it all made sense.
I hope that a few old faces, like say Nick Hancock will make an appearance as he has some extra gems to add to our already diamond memories brought to the table by the manager who was so harshly treated – something l know a little about – when the roof caved in, literally.
I have used many a term and song to try to explain such hurt but it is a simple matter of something along the lines of Matthew Harding and Tony Banks at Chelsea, and l know we all lose loved ones but it was the timing of such devastation.
What would have been even more hurtful, unlike with Leicester City winning the FA Cup for their saviour, had Stoke had won the FA Cup ten years ago, when losing 1-0 to Manchester City, my Man would not have been mentioned.
Again, l’d have found my very own personal way to celebrate something that would have thrilled him do very much, involved or not.
This is the time of the year of celebration and disappointment with a sprinkle of dreams that might have been, with promotions, relegation’s, and cup winners and losers, something again l know a little about.
But in the end winning will never be the be all and end all as l see it looking back at my times in a red and white striped shirt more a real case of what might have been, so close yet so far, clichés l could ramble on about forever.
But the simplicity of my time was it was such a special period of my life where coming of the field having played for the Man at the highest level something that lifts my spirits through such times if coming out of a coma being the highlight of what might have been something where the Bee Gees sang: This Is Where l Came ln.