The First Time I Ever Saw The Reds – #4

The First Time I Ever Saw The Reds – #4
December 12, 2012 Chris Rowland

By Alex Tate (Tattva).

On the far side of my primary school was a field. It marked the end of London Transport’s Zone 6 in North Kent, so it was an easy train ride from Meopham to Wembley. The Wembley I grew up with no longer exists, there are a few photographs and some tucked away memories. You know the Wembley I mean, the one with Kenny Dalglish jumping over the hoardings. I was too young to remember that. Apparently I watched it, aged four. My old man and me did lots of things together. And my first trip to Wembley was no different. It was also my first Liverpool game, the 1982 Charity Shield.

Back in that North Kent school, one kid supported Chelsea, the others supported Spurs – the Ricky Villa and Glenn Hoddle inspired Cup winners of the previous two years. Then me, Liverpool. Title winners, European Champions three times in six years and Milk Cup perennials. But to the many eight year old voices of reason it didn’t count, the F.A. Cup was the one to win.

I read Shoot and Match, got the News of the World Football Annual with all the facts and trivia, I knew all the home grounds, so also knew they were wrong.

Come  21st August it was the Charity Shield both teams wanted to win. As Champions, we faced off with Tottenham Hotspurs in the football league curtain raiser, the first meaningful match since Rossi, Tardelli and Altobelli helped Italy romp past West Germany in the World Cup Final only 41 days earlier.

So I was off to Wembley, unsure if my knees had gone all trembley, but I was certainly excited. My father’s secretary seemed to have football connections, she gave me a Panini sticker album with a huge box of stickers, I got West Ham memorabilia – Dad worked in Stratford, east London in a building that also no longer exists. She may not have been responsible for the tickets, but I recall some sort of conversation.

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