The Bells Are Ringing


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Memories of 1982

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Memories of 1982

Post by Guest on Wed May 21, 2014 4:15 pm


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Re: Memories of 1982

Post by The Great white walnut on Thu May 29, 2014 9:26 am

Fantastic, great spot mate!
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Re: Memories of 1982

Post by De Kuip on Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:29 pm

Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but mods feel free to move if not. I thought I'd bore everyone with my own EC memories - yes it's a long post, so don't flame me for that, just don't read it if you don't want to. For anyone who does, I hope it's of mild interest - I thought I'd commit my memories to words once and for all - I'm sure there's loads I forgot, but for anyone who did go, perhaps some of my observations will ring a bell.

One day in May, 1982 – a story of my trip to the European Cup Final

I was a Lucas apprentice, and we used to attend day release at Erdington Technical College. Most of the lads in the class were Villa, and when we got through that troubled semi against Anderlecht (remember the Sun cartoon with Argentinian General Galtieri shouting “run, they’re parachuting Aston Villa Hooligans in” – it was the height of the Falklands war) it was a case of “how are we going to get tickets to the final?”
I think there were supposed to be sanctions against the club after the semi, and only fans that were part of the official Lion’s club were supposed to travel/get allocated tickets.
I had a mate called Simon Burns – everyone called him Robbie, naturally. He used to drink at a pub called The Buccaneer over at Streetly (I think it’s gone now) and he reckoned that tickets were easy to get, was I on for one – of course I was.
Anyway, it turns out that a couple of the pub regulars were over in Germany doing building work, and they’d bought tickets – apparently there didn’t seem to be any control, so they’d block-purchased around 50 odd (of course, we didn’t know at the time but these weren’t in the Villa part of the stadium – more on that later) which made a mockery of the sanctions.
Anyway, we all convened at the Buccaneer around 7pm on the Tuesday evening, and the way it worked out, we were sailing from Dover to Ostend the next morning early doors, so the coach was due to pick us up from the Buccaneer at 10.30pm – can you imagine the state everyone was in by closing time (which 10.30 was in those days!?). I remember an older bloke called Johnny Ray (like the singer I guess) and a couple of others, but it wasn’t my part of town (Castle Bromwich was where I lived at the time) so I didn’t know many faces. I do remember one guy who’d been forbidden by his missus to go to the Final, and he’d concocted some plan that he was going down the off licence (he’d sneaked his passport/some money, but – and this is absolutely true – in order she wasn’t suspicious, he come out in his slippers. So basically this bloke went to Rotterdam in his slippers – never did find out what happened to him when he got home.
I remember the coach journey was brutal – everyone smashed and singing Villa songs, and there was NO toilet on the coach, so not only were we stopping every 30 mins so people could pile off and piss on the M1 hard shoulder, but in between, people had decided to pee in the empty beer cans – a delicate operation if sober – God knows what injuries were inflicted in the state most people were in. The beer cans were then carefully put into bin liners, ready to take off at Dover. Of course, it took about 5 mins before the bin liner was kicked over, so the coach was now awash with piss. The only thing giving us hope was that we’d take all the bags off at Dover. We get to Dover, a bad tempered Customs Officer jumps on board and says “right all of you off with your passports, and I don’t want to see as much as one beer can come off this coach”. Oops, again, can’t remember how that one got resolved, but we must have been bunging the driver a fair bit for him not to go mental.
I was sobering up on the ferry, I do remember there almost been some trouble – there were a few lads from London going across for other reasons, and I remember hearing two Villa boys deciding whether to start on them or not – I’m glad they didn’t though, so the rest of the journey passed pretty uneventfully, if a little tense.
We got to Rotterdam and were dropped off outside the ground, sometime in the middle of the day – it was a sea of Villa – claret and blue everywhere. The pub outside the ground was called The Cup, which pleased the lads from Sutton who drank in The Cup back in brum – a home from home. I remember there being lots of Bayern fans as well, and I could speak a little bit of German so I basically spent my whole time being called over by different groups in the pub to translate. It was a really superb atmosphere in The Cup, the German fans were really generous, insisting on keeping buying the rounds. I swapped my shirt with a Bayern fan (I still have it at home) and spent the rest of the time in Bayern colours (oh dear!).
I remember some of the old Dutch people who lived around the area egging us on to start trouble against the Bayern fans – they knew we had a reputation, partly from all of the “English Disease” prevalent in our football at the time, and more specifically because of the Anderlecht game. I couldn’t believe how much these old people hated the Germans – a legacy of wartime occupation – but they looked genuinely disappointed that we didn’t start fighting with the Bayern fans.
I remember about 25 people steaming into an off licence and whilst it was mayhem in there, a few of us (and I’m not proud of this) draped a union jack over a full crate of wine and just walked out with the whole crate. I remember it was sweet white wine and warm, and we had to force the corks down into the bottle as no-one had a corkscrew. That ruined us really, so much so that the actual game was a bit of a blur, which I regret as I would have liked clear memories of the match, oh,  and I had a weapons-grade headache later on.
I do know that the tickets we had were supposed to be for the Bayern fans, but we weren’t alone – I shudder to think how many black market tickets were purchased, because it was massed ranks of Villa all around, with a few pockets of Bayern fans looking pretty nervous about being swamped in an area they thought would be red and white.
As I said, I don’t remember much about the match, other than when we scored I fell down about 5 rows of seats – it was really steep, and also the overwhelming noise of the Villa fans – in what was an open air stadium.
One strange near-event happened to me as I exited the ground. I could sense someone walking towards me with intent, just out of the corner of my eye. It was a bloke in a Villa shirt and I said “alright mate”. He said in a cockney accent, you lucky bastard, I was just about to fill you in (I still had that Bayern shirt on). He might have been London Villa, but there was a lot of talk of London firms going over for trouble, and they’d bought Villa shirts to blend in – never really did find out whether he was genuine Villa or not, and he wasn’t the type of bloke I could ask – proper scary!
Job done, we headed for home on the coach. I remember somewhere in Holland we stopped for a van of Villa fans – the van had broken down, the driver was happy to stay and get it fixed, but asked if we had any room for the 4 lads with him, as they had work the next day. We piled them onto our coach, but they had to sit/lie on the (dry, thank God) floor. We crossed into Belgium and suddenly we were being waved down by a police Porche and told to pull in. They got on the coach and started kicking the lads who were in the aisle. A few people jumped up to have it out with them, then realised they were armed with machine pistols – I’ve never seen people sit back down so fast. The police said a coach fitting our description had people on it who had stolen footballs from a display at the previous services. Well it wasn’t any of us thankfully, so they had to let us go as there were no footballs on board. We all reckoned it was bullshit, and a bit of payback from the Belgian police for the Anderlecht troubles.
One great memory I have is that as we passed through London (and some of the lads on the coach had taken out the skylights and were sitting on the roof with their legs dangling through - I said that coach driver must have had a fantastic tip from us!), loads of people were clapping us and giving the thumbs up when they realised who we were and where we’d come back from – I thought that was great – it almost felt like we’d won the European Cup, not the actual team – it was nice to feel a bit of hero worship.
I got dropped off at Erdington around midday – and this is absolutely true – I walked straight into class (day release was a Thursday), and sat a couple of my second year engineering exams that afternoon – with no voice, a massive hangover and still wearing that Bayern Munich top – now that, my friends,, at 18 years old, in Erdington, was kudos!
The only real regret other than being too drunk to remember the game very well, was that when we’d got back to Dover and got taken off the coach whilst Customs searched it, I stupidly left my programme on the seat, and when I got back, some shithouse – either Customs or fellow traveller, had knicked it.
So there you have it – not a remarkable story, but it is a first-hand account of my journey to see the greatest day in Villa’s history – warts and all! If you’ve read this far, thanks, and I hope I haven’t bored you too much.
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Re: Memories of 1982

Post by Guest on Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:17 pm

Great post !

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Re: Memories of 1982

Post by De Kuip on Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:52 pm

Cheers Eastie, I'm amazed I remember anything nowadays lol
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Re: Memories of 1982

Post by Green Villan on Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:00 pm

Shame that I wasn't even a sperm let alone living and breathing at this time of our history.
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Re: Memories of 1982

Post by De Kuip on Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:33 pm

GV - tell you what, I'd take a birth date later than 1982 anyday now - I'm only 21 until I pass a mirror......................... affraid affraid affraid
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Re: Memories of 1982

Post by Guest on Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:54 pm

Loved reading that De Kuip, thanks for sharing it.

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