Liverpool: Over paid, over sexed and, briefly, over here
Swindon Nightlife Legend Wild Al managed to shake off his hangover and make it to the County Ground for the Liverpool game. It may have only been a friendly, but unlike a night at Cairo’s, there were a few unhappy punters.
Liverpool rocked into Town last Sunday, and the County Ground was full, literally, of suspiciously accented Liverpool ‘fans’, and Premiership players.
It felt like Town fans were in the minority. And those that did squeeze into the few places unadorned with ‘supporters’ as plastic as the seat beneath their posterior, were understandably, eyeing the interlopers with the sort of thinly veiled hostility not seen round these parts since the influx of American Servicemen during the Second World War.
Half-and-half scarves, half-and-half kits, and I only had time to sink a half due to bar queues* there was much to antagonise.
But really, much of it was jealously dressed up as distain.
It reminded me of the night that my mate, DJ Trev was booked to play a rum old squady boozer in Aldershot in 2002. From the moment we arrived we sensed trouble, maybe it was our pedal pushers and spiked bleached hair, maybe arriving on fold-up scooters was an error, or maybe our custom t-shirts (Trevs accurately adorned with ‘SuperStar DJ’, while I had ‘DJ Trev is my homeboy’** emblazoned across my Joop scented pecs) riled.
Whatever it was, we were soon getting the sort of looks that said these army boys did not want us in their establishment. Fingers slitting across throats, that sort of hint.
It’s only in hindsight I understand the motivation behind this most unwelcoming of ‘welcome’s. Back then, the Afghan conflict in full swing, and these soldiers were, doubtless, worried that their ladies would be seeking solace in Trev’s tribal tattooed arms, once they deployed.
Considering that week alone, Trev was booked to play the Bracknell, Woking AND Slough branches of Yate’s (the holy triumvirate of Thames Valley pop disco scene) this band of brothers were right to fret
Except they weren’t.
Because Trev never spun so much as a Vengaboys megamix that night.
Not in panic, of course, but because we wanted to protect the dignity of these fine men of Her Majesty’s Forces, we didn’t want their resentment of our high rolling lifestyle to colour their fine service in the defence of our nation. Plus one of them had picked up a pool cue.
Now, as far as I’m aware, on Sunday Christian Benteke didn’t skedaddle from the Country Ground car park at speed, on a push scooter, precariously balancing a box of Now Dance compilation CDs on his head. He also wasn’t painfully aware that though drunk and disorderly, his pursuers were, by definition, a bunch of trained killers.
I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen
But the point stands. Brendan’s Boys have been, conquered (just) and gone. But like the teary Wiltshire milkmaid of 1944, mourning the departure of her Jitterbugging GI, the local Liverpool fans have been left behind.
And given the way Town equipped themselves, who’s to say some won’t be back, to experience the more earthy delights of Bradford City at home in League One.
So, as we sup the season in next Saturday in the Legends Lounge, open your heart to these returning scoundrels. For they know not what they do. Swindon Town needs fans, so let’s make everyone welcome.
As long as none of them bring their half-and-half scarves.
* Plus the other five pints I’d already had.
**Pro tip. You always want girls to know if you are ‘with the band’, but it’s crass to bring it up in conversation, so a subtle garment based hint really is your friend here.