Confessions of: An Oxford United rosette wearer…
We continue our short series of confessions from Swindon Town fans. Quite frankly Brendan Hobbs’ confession really deserves a place in our Hall of Shame as he was ‘duped’ into wearing an Oxford United rosette…
I have a confession, a terrible confession, a really shocking admission that I’ve only ever shared with a handful of people. I did something you see, something so awful that I’m genuinely afraid of the consequences. So please try to remember this: I was very young.
Deep breath. Wow, here goes. (Downs a neat whiskey) I have worn an Oxford United rosette. (Glugs from the bottle) I’ll pause and let that sink in. At first you’ll be confused, a little upset but then you’ll be angry, so very angry, furniture breakingly angry.
So before violence ensues I’ll quickly garble something else out, because it gets worse. (Starts the car) I willingly wore it – for an entire 90mins of a football match. (Jumps in and wheel-spins off the drive).
Now before you grab a pitch fork, light your torch and place various snooker balls in a sock let me explain.
It was 1986 and my dad had managed to score a couple of tickets for the first ever Merseyside derby FA Cup final. So off to Wembley we both went and like all FA Cup finals that took place in my childhood it was a boiling hot day. The crowds were amazing, a huge thronging mass of humanity, red and blue merging together in one seething river.
There were thousands of food vendors, memorabilia merchants and purveyors of match day merchandise with not a whiff of any corporate or sponsor influences. No ‘Official <insert sponsors name here>’ scarfs, hats, pencil sharpeners, novelty hot water bottles or airport pillows.
There were a million other colours, smells and nises intermingling with the hot air, it was like being transported to a Moroccan Kasbah, so alive, so many cans of beer being drunk and dodgy looking coppers wandering around. My peripheral vision danced with images of cheap combustible flags, bobble hats and rosettes. Not once did I glimpse a half-n-half scarf or a Coca Cola sponsored foam glove. It was wondrous, just how I imagined it to be and more.
My dad offered to buy me a souvenir from one of the stalls, I chose an Everton rosette as I loved Gary Lineker plus we both knew we would be sat amongst Everton fans. It was a simple affair, a shiny two-tone ruffled blue ribbon circled around a white disc which boldly held the toffees club crest.
We entered the stadium, which was alive with a stereotypical marching band, standing fans, sandy dog track and noise, lots and lots of noise.
The game came and went in the blink of an eye; my adopted team for the day lost 3-1 and blew the chance of a historic double. But nevertheless it was an amazing day all round.
In those days I kept a journal, where I would write a brief couple of lines about each day. I filled an entire page with all my memories of that crazy occasion, meticulously cataloguing all the sights and sounds. I decided that I would pin my rosette onto the page also, to give it the journal some texture and some protection to my souvenir.
To make it stick I had to lift the white disc slightly, which I did and to my surprise the disc started to work itself away from the ribbon, revealing another disc hidden behind, a much yellower disc. Intrigued I worked it back a bit more allowing me a peek at what looked like a stylised Ox’s head. I recoiled in total horror. I was Stephen Rea gaping at Jaye Davidson’s slightly greasy cock n’ balls in the Crying Game, I was Ed Norton staring with total bewilderment at Brad Pitt in Fight Club.
I had to shower. I sat there in the tray sobbing big tears, whilst manically loofering myself until I bled.
With the sense of betrayal and disgust left gurgling in the plughole I returned to the scene of the crime. And it was just sat there, grinning with mischief – still where I’d lobbed it away in horror.
Eventually I plucked up the courage and snapped on a pair of mother’s marigolds to grab it, ready to give it a post mortem. After a full forensic inspection it appeared that my treasured rosette was in fact a recycled remnant of Oxford United’s League Cup triumph a month or so earlier. The cheap merchandise vendor had obviously overestimated the volume of Oxfords monster travelling support and overstocked a tad on merchandise. But being a Laaandon market seller I guarantee that he was a little bit waaaay and a little bit woooo so he simply stapled an Everton badge over the top of the Oxford one and hey presto, who would care?
Well I blimin’ did. And I still do. You bastard.