The Tale of the Southern Meat
Firstly, let’s deal with the question I posed last time - how far is it to London from Stockport Town Hall? The answer is - 182 ½ miles. If you don’t believe me, check the sign outside.
Your question this time is - name the 7 items that a referee always takes with him onto the pitch every game (cards count as 1 & no duplicate items allowed).
Once upon a time, I was the Away Match Travel Organiser (AMTO) for the Hyde & District Branch of HISC & documented all of our adventures. I’ve been asked to regale some of these tales via this blog. Apologies if the following article makes no sense - I guess you had to be there? However, I hope it at least serves to remind as to how enjoyable following County is & may also take you back to happier times.
So, without further ado, let me attempt to delight you with the tale of southern meat......
Saturday 31st August 1996 - Bristol Rovers. Our Chair was driving & we’d arranged to meet 2 Bristol Rovers supporters before the game (Mick & Gaz).
We encountered Mick & Gaz in the Florist towards the end of the previous season (County won 2-0). They were staying overnight in Stockport, with the intent of treating the local female population to some “southern meat” later that evening.
The Florist on Shaw Heath.
The Florist on Shaw Heath.
To cut a long story short, we got them onto Old Tom, & Gaz confessed that he was actually a Bristol City fan - news that Mick didn’t take too well (not surprising, bearing in mind that Rovers fans’ are convinced that it was City fans’ who regularly burned down Rovers’ ground, resulting in their move to Twerton Park in Bath. Mick then fell asleep & Gaz began to fret that he may have forgotten his favourite “pulling shirt”.
Anyway, over the summer, I found Mick’s phone number on a beer mat & hence we arranged to meet. As luck would have it, County would be the first to play Rovers back in Bristol, at the Memorial Ground. We were to meet at the Wellington pub nearby.
Aside from our Chair & myself, making the trip were Fat Boy Palmer & Stevie B. We arrived at the Wellington to find about 200 Rovers’ fans enjoying the summer sunshine, with no County fans in sight. We purchased our beers (£2.30 each!) & waited patiently outside for Mick & Gaz.
Upon their arrival, we relived our encounter last April, & as I’d suspected, thanks to our efforts (& Old Tom), the daughters of the Borough of Stockport had been spared exposure to “southern meat” & the “pulling shirt”. Mick & Gaz then set about repaying our hospitality & we headed off to the match, which was a sell-out.
The match was fairly forgettable, ending 1-1. Both goals were scored at the end where it was later discovered that the cross-bar was 4 inches too high. Had the goal been the correct size, neither strike would have made it to the net. County’s “goal” was a 25-yard screamer from Jeffers (SCAN 1037). Singing “you’re supposed to be at home” & “how high do you want the goal” struck a particular chord that day.
After the game, the caterers were giving away free pasties & very nice they were too. On the way out, some friendly Rovers’ fans politely enquired of us as to whether all County fans were so fat, ugly & of questionable parentage. We responded that as beer in Stockport was half the price of that in Bristol, we ended up drinking twice as much, leading to obesity in some cases.
By 8pm we were back in Glossop, pint in hand, providing our driver with the opportunity for a well deserved beer or 3. We never saw Mick & Gaz again...............
Let it be known that these views are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the collective views of Help the Hatters.