I started Primary 4 in August 1975 I think. I mind o my teacher catching me reading the ‘wee red book’. Thought I was in trouble but she just laughed and said her husband read it in bed every night! Great teacher.
By 1975, we were allowed to play in the school field instead of just on the grass verge on Murdoch Terrace, using lampposts and trees as goalposts. We played ‘kerby’ too, for hours , glaring at passing cars that dared stop our game.
The school field seemed huge after our confinement, real goalposts too. Every night after tea we would gather and if they had a ball, the first two to arrive would play ‘Barry’. That’s where you try to rebound the ball offof the crossbar. First to ten. More lads arrived and we start a game of ‘world cup willie’. More lads, one wi a decent football, a Tango! Let’s start a game!
Two captains do tic tac to decide the teams. They face off and slowly walk towards each other, one foot heel to toe in front of the other. When they meet, the winner is the one whos toe is on top of the others. “I’ll take Donny” the first pick to the winner. The selection goes on until painfully we’re left with the fat guy and the specky guy. It’s a painful process. Harsh on the weakest. They were then inevitably stuck in goals- “get in goals, Specky and don’t make a spectacle of yourself!”
See, I told you. We werenae very PC in 1975.
The game starts,one goal is jumpers for goalposts so theres controversy- “yass, goaaal”…. ” fuck off, never in”…”yass that’s 7-4″…”whit, its 6 all ya cunt”. Its frantic stuff and then disaster, the guy wi the Tango, well his maw appears, time to go home Davy. Theres groans.. mutters.. “fucksake Davy”… but his maw is there and that’s that. We play on with ‘the sponge’, an ancient grey football but because it’s now raining its sodden and heavy. A long ball comes towards me, I head it back. Splat! Fuck am seeing stars. (Nae wonder am a candidate for Alzheimer’s after spending years heiding sodden leather footballs).
And then disaster, my maw is on the grass verge calling me in. I trudge home, jump the fence, can hear the older boys taking the piss quietly so my mum doesn’t hear- “Alan, time for beddiboes”. Cunts. “Aye see youse the morra lads” I say keeping up the bravado.
And I will see them a’ the morra, we will do it all again.
PS Must admit to some artistic license here as the Tango never appeared until the 1978 world cup!