23 March 2010

From Stockport to Spain in a battered Cortina.

The 1982 World Cup, Espa├▒a'82. Kevin Keegan, Brian Robson, Trevors' Brooking and Francis, Kenny Samson, Bulldog Bobby et al. A World Cup with such illustrious fellow finalists as Honduras, Kuwait, El Salvador and New Zealand, a World cup featuring Scotland and Northern Ireland too.
A world cup which also saw participating teams of the now 'defunct' combined states of The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia taking part. And a World cup where England fans were still very much happy to be 'British' flying the Union Jack, during a time of huge British patriotism, not a year after over six hundred thousand people lined the streets of London, with street parties in the suburbs, to wave the said flag at the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana. Not to mention a certain conflcit with Argentina in The Falklands starting the same year.
The England kit had as much bright red on it as it did royal blue, this being before the very noticeable shift to the exclusive St George transition which we are used to now.

The journey begins leaving Stockport, Cheshire. England, in an already battered Mark 3 Ford Cortina in a lovely 1970's shade of shit sage green. The boot's lock is secured by string and not a key, the front wing's been obliterated by Calais. A road trip to Spain and back, hundreds of miles via the English Channel and the whole of France. Five lads in a car is a tight squeeze, so I'd imagine just getting there in one piece was high on the agenda far more importantly than getting there in comfort.

Five Stockport County fans set out on the long journey across Europe, including the eccentric 'Captain Beefheart', a real character at Edgeley Park, no longer with us and now part of fan folklore, whom I remember myself from the terraces of the Popular Stand and Railway End. Tales of his travels and table manners leave a lot to be desired, but that's another story, for another time.
Dressed in typical teacher attire, tweed coat, shirt, trousers, specs and shoes, and huge sideburns not unlike oddball racing pundit John McCririck. The captain travelled everywhere with club and country, in a time when there was no real segregation, everyone was lumbered in together, and it was mostly young men, and most with a penchant for hooliganism. Not your stereotypical England fanatic, and certainly not one to delve into seat throwing territory, obviously, but there is an old chant at our place about him 'kicking a copper' at Barnsley. So who knows? an unlikely rebel if ever there was one.
The captain can be seen in the pictorial book A Casual Look stood in amongst England's heritage check and designer labelled real hardcore at a midweek trip to Warsaw in the late 80s.

I don't have a story to go along with, but shamelessly borrowed these photos from Facebook and thought they'd be worth sharing, I'm sure you can imagine what sort of trip this was, the height of summer, alcohol, heat, blood, sweat and tears and a knackered car on the road for hours upon hours. England were as usual, in time honoured fashion eliminated too early, after victories against France, Czechoslovakia and Kuwait. Ron Greenwood's England side were typically denied a place in the Semi's by those pesky Germans. And yes, the battered Cortina made it back in one piece.
England 2 Czechoslovakia 0

Bilbao, and one of the most polluted rivers in Europe (then)

car problems.
...more car problems.


  1. Boss pics, la.

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