Swindon Town – OFF the pitch and ON the pop
Renowned hedonist, Wild Al, has been a fixture of the local nightlife scene for two decades. His ‘peak pissheadery’ coincided with the golden age of the Swindon club, Cairo’s, on a Thursday night in the late 90s. Here he recalls his encounters with Swindon Town stars of the day at ‘the Shangri-La of Shaw Ridge’.
Every generation has one. A defining image that changes everything. For kids today it’s probably when Kim Kardashian broke the internet.
For many my age it was when Beckham wore that sarong. But for teenage boys in Swindon in the mid 90s, the game changing image came from a source a little closer to home.
The fabled day in 1996 when Wayne O’Sullivan modelled tartan trousers for Fosters Menswear in the ‘Adver.
The inspiration was Swindon fashion week and the effect was instant.
Immediately my teenage self and my young pals realised an important life lesson. It wasn’t enough to be able to sink 10 pints and still know chorus and verse to Gina G. To get girls we needed some style.
Thanks Wayne for that one.
So after splashing our hard earned Saturday job cash* on tartan trousers, just like Wayne’s, we paired our new togs with a freshly pressed (by mum) Ben Sherman shirt, liberally doused ourselves in Lynx Africa and CK 1, and hit the town.
Swindon management may have preferred other venues, Jimmy Quinn was a Po Na Nas man and Steve McMahon.. [SNIP_ LAWYER].
But the players, like us, knew there was only one gin joint in town…Cairo’s nightclub in Shaw Ridge. On a Thursday night.
For younger readers Cairo’s was like Pacha in Ibiza. Only better. You could get a pint of Diesel (half cider, half lager, splash of blackcurrant. A classic) for £1.50 before half nine.
Phillipe Cuervo would often be seen there, wearing white trousers, his smooth dance floor moves belying his injured status. And a particular player’s wife hit the local news for getting in a fight outside once.
It was THAT sort of place.
On this particular night, after hitting the bar and then hitting the dance floor to pogo to Reef, it happened.
The DJ dropped Puff Daddy (feat Faith Evans) ‘I’ll be Missing You’, and, despite the tightness of the tartan trousers restricting our moves, my mate Trev and I found ourselves slow dancing with two stunners!
The new look worked. Thanks Wayne!
After some brief introductions, sullied only by Trev belching the remains of his earlier tactical chunder, we went to buy booze for the new objects of our affection
It was now way past 10pm and all drinks offers were long off, so two Smirnoff Ices and two pints of Diesel were no small investment for young men of our limited means.
So you can imagine our disappointment when we turned round to see OUR two ladies deep in conversation to two other men. Two much older, better looking men.
Admittedly they weren’t wearing tartan trousers but still, we didn’t fancy our chances.
Our dismay turned to glee when, through a haze of dry ice and double units, Trev made a startling realisation. “Hey, is that ‘Certain Married Full Back’”
Indeed it was, only the girls introduced ‘Certain Married Full Back’ to us by a different name, it appears he’d told them he was a wine dealer and, was keen to keep his true identity, and married status, under wraps.
Keen to get my own conquest back on track, I blurted out “No you aren’t you are ‘Certain Married Full Back’, you are married and you play for Swindon Town.”
I expected the girls to thank me for ridding them of this lying lothario, who was nearly twice their age, but instead they took the expensive alcopops from our hands, smiled sweetly, and left arm in arm with ‘Certain Married Full Back’ and his mate.
As Trev and I trudged home in the rain in the early hours, sharing a bag of chips (our taxi and kebab funds having been well and truly eaten up by buying drinks for girls) we reflected on an important life lesson.
Some time, lying does pay, and tartan trousers alone don’t make a legendary lover lover man.
Thanks a lot Wayne O’Sullivan, thanks a lot.
(*look, to be honest there was a bit of shoplifting involved, but I’m not sure when the statute of limitations runs out so maybe we can include this? I often wonder if it was our light fingers that sent Fosters under)