I’ve recently been thinking about my early football memories. These thoughts were sparked by reading about sporting reminiscence therapy. According to the Sporting Memories Network website there is evidence that remembering stuff is good for all old folk and not just for those with dementia.
I’m not one of those fans who have detailed memories of the first football game they saw. I think my dad first took me down to St Andrews around 1950 but I can’t remember any details of the games then. What I do remember is how going out with Dad was completely different to going out with Mom. Mom told me never to get off a bus until it had come to a complete stop (buses had open platforms back then). Dad taught me how to jump off a moving bus: land on your outside foot and keep running in the same direction as the bus. When I was with Mom I never had to worry about getting lost; she would keep an eye on me. When I went to the football with Dad he walked so fast I sometimes had to jog to keep up with him and he never seemed to look back to check that I was there. When we got to the ground we went in through different entrances; Dad’s was labelled ‘Men’ and I went in through the ‘Boys’ one. Although I don’t remember the details I do remember the excitement when Blues scored and the noise of the crowd. Dad didn’t make any contribution to this; he remained silent for most of the time but occasionally muttered, “Rubbish” when the standard of play was especially bad. On the way home from the game he didn’t walk so fast and if we’d won and were happy we’d zigzag along the pavement shoulder charging each other.
If my memories do start to fade I do hope that someone will help me hold onto them, including my memories of supporting Birmingham City. I hope someone will remind me how big Gil Merrick’s hands were, that we won a cup in 2011, played in Europe and kept right on to the end.