“I’ll have a pint of Dark”

I remember the early starts for games at Doncaster and Barnsley. Usually one coachload with maybe another dozen or so by car. Always stopping off for a few pints on the way home at Derby or Birmingham. XXXX would sing in pubs before games to get people to buy him pints. The away fans were so few that we would often be handed tickets by the players outside the ground. We rarely paid. One Easter we left Swansea at midnight, drove to London to watch the morning kickoff on Good Friday at Brentford, then to watch Chelsea play Luton in the afternoon where my mate went to sleep on the Shed. A night out in the West End, then off to Watford for the game on Saturday afternoon. I think we lost both games and I had my scarf pinched by a Swans fan outside Vicarage Road. Hey ho. It seems extraordinary that we would travel the length of the country to watch division one games and just paid on the turnstiles. We never bought tickets. I remember the minutes silence at Anfield for Bill Shankly and how the Liverpool fans were outraged the Swansea support (10,000?) hadn’t respected it. What most people don’t know is that one nutter in the Swans support shouted out ‘Burn the Bastard” half way through and the sound the Liverpool fans had heard were the swans supporters rounding on the individual concerned. Unfortunate. I remember the disbelief at Toshack’s appointment. I remember the first time I saw Jeremy Charles play. How good was he? I remember being introduced to Mel Nurse in the entrance lobby at the Vetch minutes after he had signed from Swindon in 1969. It was very easy to be in contact with the players in those days. I even watched the reserves away once – at Reading. We won 6-2. One of my early heroes was Geoff Thomas. I met him at Mumbles Cricket Cub a few years ago. What a thrill. Although I never made it, whenever the Swans were playing near Leeds, the small band of away support would always make an effort to stop off at John Charles’ pub where he insisted on playing his own records (made when he was in Italy) which he had on the juke box. I’m told they were terrible. I remember the minute silence for Roy Evans and Brian Purcell at a game against Doncaster. There were 5 or 6 Doncaster fans on the North Bank who began to sing God Save the Queen during the silence. They didn’t get past the first few bars. Another world. I saw Kenny Morgans play in a Boxing Day friendly on Ashleigh Road about 10 years ago. I believe therefore I may be one of the last people to have watched a Busby Babe play a game. Kenny of course played for the Swans after Munich. There was a power cut in the supporters club at Somerton Park one year. All conversation stopped. For a moment the place went absolutely quiet in the pitch black and then a Swansea voice piped up at the back somewhere…. “I’ll have a pint of Dark”. You couldn’t make it up. I must write it all down sometime.

Anonymous, 55

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s