I only played at Blackpool for Chelsea and that was enough really for watching them last night brought back memories of a couple of quite extraordinary matches at Bloomfield Road, one where l was greeted by two policeman who ushered off those couple of steps of the team bus through the crowd and into that old falling apart dressing room. The other match was a nightmare for our goalkeeper John Phillips, the hero of our European Cup Winners Cup – in my eyes – when saving us in Belgium against Bruges.
Back to the most incredible experience of being marched through the crowds as if I was Mark Chapman, couldn’t be one/1971 was too early and two/I loved Lennon. Why then? I was going to be assassinated. So the police said. They had received a call to the Manchester Police HQ, and were told we’re going to kill the Chelsea number 10 at Blackpool today. I had to think quickly as to was I wearing my favourite shirt? Of course I was. The dressing room was fantastic and the worry none. I thought, who do I know up here? Who have I upset? Nobody, Manchester maybe, but no, that was George Best territory, and then I thought of our nights in Georges Night Club, no not me. I never got involved in any of the opposite sex in my days then, as I was too interested in enjoying George’s company and by the way I was labelled as the George Best of London – someone had to be and I was the one in the King’s Road, long hair, trendy clothes, in fact, way ahead of George as Liverpool and Manchester were second rate to the Chelsea way of life, and you never saw Bobby Charlton and Paddy Crerand out in all the new velvet suits. Keegan tried it in Liverpool and failed miserably. They come to London with these silly suits on and hair all over the place KK even got a perm, turn it in Kev. Once the police left telling me they had all parts of the stadium covered I put on Osgood’s Number 9 just before we left and left my shirt with no number showing hoping he wouldn’t notice. The jokes before leaving were up there with any of those in Bob Monkhouse book of gems. I knew one thing, I was taking no throw-ins or corners and was sticking to as close to the centre-circle as possible and for their corners I weren’t going to hold onto that near post. We won 1-0 despite being more under pressure from the shooter than those in tangerine shirts. The last thing I recall was looking out of the back window of our bus with relief then it hit me it was only 6pm and he might be at Manchester Piccadilly Station? This had actually happened before at Old Trafford, only this time they didn’t name the target and only the two Peter’s, Bonetti and Houseman, and the two John’s, Hollins and Dempsey were safe. Osgood was my favourite followed by Hutch, Webby and Johnny Boyle, as I say I was in no danger I was more interested in George’s stories of whatever Miss World he was escorting at that time?
I sometimes think of my time coming off that Life Support, but it could not have been that driver 25 years on? That mystery goes on and on and on…….