In the third, ongoing, instalment of End staff memories from the decade that some not so loveable scouse blokes fanzine took the world (well, Merseyside, and some small areas of Leeds, Cardiff, London, Aberdeen and a lone member of the Derby Lunatic Fringe) by storm, the legend that is Mick Potter recalls one of his favourite
End related memoriesPart 1
Liverpoolv Spurs 82 non-alcoholic final, involved bags of said End a white van and a collection of weirdo’s of which I was possibly one. In true 80,s fashion the "trip" started on the Friday night before the game, disembarkment point the un palatial Park Hotel in the shadow of the Spion Kop district no 4 Anfield Liverpool. The ad hoc committee of one i.e. the van driver had decided where and when we’d move off ...1 His local ...2 after he’d had a few bevies and crucially depending on how long a run he had on the pool table. It should be pointed out the sausage dinner scenario of soaking up all the ale was simply the accepted wisdom of the day, van driver knowledge ,vast beyond reproach. Now in those naive days, when sted ead boutiques or gyms to honest folk were....well thin on the ground. (Oh for those glorious times) a couple of requirements help oil the cogs of good ship End. Strength and dependability. Now unless you had a muscular mucker who’d served his time with hod and brick in Liverpool’s legendary building firm Tyson’s to assist in the more physical aspects of plying ones trade so to speak (that’s helping carry the fuckin mags, thicko’s) which I didn’t the alternative, a true icon on a par with a pair of Lois cords was required step forward the Kwiky bag. If I may digress even further, football special trains, cans of double diamond and a toxic brew named McEwan’s Export (not forgetting those tea-less tea bags the Kwik save started knocking out) all lead me back to the strength and dependability of la bag Kwiky. The Park was a classic 80s boozer. Smokey, edgy, edgy, smokey, mysterious water running through it. ..Boats, a lake…….. or am thinking of Stanley park? Anyway our rag tag collection duly assembled ready for inspection. As was always the case you never knew everyone due to be entombed in the van. The Park was not my local nor the greater metropolis of Breck road my area. A mate was ?connected (tony soprano speak for “related” ) to numero Uno the van driver. The affable muzzied loon quaffing brown bitters, the driver was expanding on his theory I touched on earlier "once I’ve had me sausage dinner I’ll be sound. Piece of piss the M.. errr, is it the M62 or what ? Put a 2p down for me” .The night, my hazy recollection tells, me developed into a glorious piss-up. The original barmy, up anchor, start time of 9 o clock had been delayed. The van was needed to pick up and drop off a few bits, the cover of darkness deemed favourable. The offer of a late bevvie too good to refuse. Wembley seemed light years. The elaborate plans of, I’ll call him Frankie, the driver were revealed. “I’ll stop off in me mates in Walsall and get me ‘ead down for an hour. Sound he is! No one minds if he jumps on board do they”?
The door slammed shut, and there we sat entombed in a crypt-esque dank gloom. (I am of course referring to the van).You had to find and fight for your spec. The unlucky bastard who ended up by the wheel and started to moan cos his back was killing him was brutally rebuffed in a “Scum” greenhouse scary scene sort of way. After all we hadn’t even made the chippie yet. The glow of ciggies and the obligatory three skinner doing the rounds provided a chink of light as cans and chips fought a muddled battle to hit the gullet first. Frankie at the wheel soon broke into a gruesome ditty about Spurs that some knob-ead had ( at his request ) sang over and over until his feeble brain had picked it up....... that knob-ead being moi. After a couple of piss stops and a couple of rows concerning both geography and driving prowess (mainly coming from the sensible no2 every van needed and possessed) we arrived in a god forsaken place on the outskirts of, the Vegas of the midlands, Walsall. A doomed gaff trading under the name of Willenhall. Frankie’s perceived bullshit about his mate and a boozer serving all night proved worryingly true. Let’s just say the cliental were the type of punters you never see on Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. A friendly bunch to boot. People soon started to sprawl over the alehouse or drift back to the van. The Columbian marching band hadn’t yet arrived to bolster sapping energy levels. The van crept into London town, Wembley. We swiftly moved on from this desolate outpost.. not a fuckin cafe/ alehouse in sight.. mind you it was only 8.30 in the morning. This didn’t stop Frankie’s homicidal spar (not long released from Winston Green H.M.P) screaming “cockney bastards”! at old, infirmed and especially non-white. This camouflaged jacketed loon who somehow had nabbed a premium spec at the front of the van, had to be given an extremely wide berth on exit! I could just picture a posse of yidddo’s giving his blotchy scouse kipper a pummelling! “I,m not backing that nugget up”, I reasonably thought .The dull hamlet of Watford still popular to this day for scouse ever decreasing visits to Wembley ( sorry I’ll withdraw that, the Watford labour club a fine establishment )was our next jump off point believe it or not. KWIK SAVE bags were produced and ready for action. 1300 End’s….Wembley stadium! So there I stood, Ends in arms trying to persuade a few Tottenham to buy The End. Of course, looking back I suppose they could have took me for some stanley striper playing the stereotype to the hilt, (‘scuse the pun).Things seemed to be progressing cordially with a ginger headed pringle’d Londoner when, to speak in the vernacular… it went off. P.C flathat had mistaken my genial sales patter as an evil attempt to wreek havoc on our nation’s capital. I begged to differ. Thankfully monsieur plod saw sense, briefly scanned “The End”, refusing my chirpy request for a sale.
Liverpool won 3-1 the trip home as the saying goes is another story. part3?
The usual kicks ensued after the game. With Tottenham, like most London clubs having a Chechen- like loathing for us Scouse types. The Met. as inept as ever, struggled to keep the warring factions apart. Arriving back at the van after hostilities had ceased we realised Frankie had somehow managed to position our Trojan horse in the very far corner of the sprawling Wembley car park (his re-assuring words " don’t worry boys I’ll sort a nice spec out so we can beat the traffic", doomed just like his big ketchup’d muzzie) Making ourselves as comfortable as possible in this mobile coffin /ship (the dik tac being more bodies kept the price of trip to a minimum) we excitedly re- run the game. Comfort wasn’t a premium requirement in the 80s. Many a urine soaked sleeve was as regular a feature as the sly door-hinge who was always cunningly asleep when the whip round came for the driver. We edged our way out of the car park taking, it seemed, an eternity. Suddenly alarm bells were raised from a seated person at the front, information point again for younger readers, 80s transit vans didn’t have the luxury of windows or seats, consequently messages were relayed to the illegal’s squatting in the back.
It transpired a delegation of spurs supporters had decided to bid us one more cheery adieu before the long trek up north. Situated at the top of the slip road leading out of the car park around 30 casual types; wedges earrings feather cuts donkey jackets (typical Tottenham really) were handing out grief to nervous northern folk in cars. A hastily conveyed meeting with leadership coming from the inner sanctum that was the back of the van decided on a plan of action .Only if provoked or other innocent parties were brutalised should we take affirmative and progressive measures. This sadly didn’t take long to occur. Now Frankie, with some degree or foresight, had taken on board a small sack of car tools, the base logic in the wise old sages inimitable words being;”any cockneys kick off and they’re getting it” (THANK YOU GANDI).
Events swiftly unfolded. A van further up the road from us was attacked. Our van also came under the spotlight. A nervous few seconds ensued ,before, Sweeney style we burst out! The combination of surprise, adrenaline, a few weapons and a few nutters enabled us to disperse this unkempt gang of prehistoric chav’s back into the now darkening Wembley dispora.The unmistakeable clip clop of London’s never there when you want one appeared. “Get back in your blinkin’ van”! or words to that affect echoed around the eerie concourse, by now it was virtually pitch black. ( statto’s check out weather conditions Feb 82 London.
It was a classic 80,s alleged hooligan confrontation i.e. over in less than a minute not a punch connecting, with trainees only treading the tarmac’d floor and no-one’s face. Lucky old, late again, plod didn’t spot the kwik Fit fitting equipment or yours truly may have been up before the beak down Clerkenwell way , phew !
Part 4………..(sort of,End Ed.)
Well the Wembley car park incident certainly got the adrenaline pumping as well as the tongues a wagging as we pointed the chariot north-ish. My not too crystal clear memory recalls the camouflaged jacketed johnny come lately friend of driver directing operations from the dizzy heights of the err higher ground..Taboot like previous historic leaders...... King Charles at Sedgemoor Napoleon at Waterloo this sartorially challenged " Mickey ", was holding the fuckin coats if i may be so blunt. Whilst an increasing minority of young Mersey match goers were going down the road of the Mcenroe/ Borg look minus the haircuts the lumpen prole proudly wore their Flemings supatuf jeans, oxblood airwair, topped off with a wiry, dare i say, woolly barnet. The sporty look outcrowd could run the risk of a good hiding. At the very least a chaps sexuality would be questioned by the brown bitter swilling hoardes. In pre Sky Sports days there was no clamour to stop and watch the game at the nearest watering hole. Yes the heady 80,s free from goons standing up behind the goal spreading arms wide more for telly recognition than to signal a wide of the mark shot conversations blessed, with no mention of someone playing in the hole uttered by twats who adore pundits and squeeze baseball hats onto fat heads, singing the same dirge every club does, fine-tuned courtesy of sky of course. My rose tinted 80s bins might well be increasing my dementia but i blame Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys for the current top of the knobead parade football tune plagiarism (get your thinking caps on) sung with gusto. “The atmosphere is electric”, the sky clone will inform us. ………………Still haven’t really got on to p.4 yet phil !(Mick)
part 4 contd;
Sky news keeping us informed with all the up to date crucial happenings; “breaking news, a consignment of paint has just arrived at Doncaster Rovers training ground we cannot yet confirm or deny the rumours that the goal posts are due touching up.We,ll go straight over to Doncaster as soon as jim’s found his sky sports jacket”. Breaking news first on sky/I.T.V has that dude who keeps telling us Ferguson is incandescent with rage or apperwhatever over something. Fergie like the rest of us poor souls thinks he,s a prick. The glory days of the 80,s,sunday afternoon the big match… Brian,(we all thought he was a Chelsea fan not knowing he adored Gillingham) Moores, his genuine affection for the beautiful game obvious.......especially when ossie’s curly perm deflected one in at the Shed. Actually this is a wee bit unfair Peter is that Rachel Welsh sitting behind the crown prince of Pomerania Osgood having one of those wiry barnet’s an old fashioned nit comb would struggle with.
I COULD GO ON ......
so i will.. Sheepie’s and mits win hands down any day sky’s mix n match of glamour and rugged ex pro undoubtedly contributing to the dumbing down and conversely the dumbing up of the ale house gobshite who signs up for everything sky.
Meat ‘eads sprawled in front of their Odeon sized screens drool as sycophantic always grinning reporters beg a re run of ........ Anything. A goal a shot an embarrassing witty celebration, all require in dept. analysis from the orgasmic Sky person. The hapless player with regimental efficiency obliges, with fore arms , cruel victims of a disgruntled dyslexic bookie pen attack or to said player : That bit means Harmony the other little fiddly bit means err Peace, or is the other way ,round , ,tell you what I’ll ask the gaffer he’s an expert on ancient Himalayan text, he had his back done in San Antonio years ago, look great don’t they: Sky goon carries on grinning,"back to you in the studio".It really is testament to how well clubs look after players these days balanced diet ,business studies and study of at least one mystical long forgotten eastern tongue being a basic requirement. So the van ( remember ? ) pulled into the bustling hood known as Aylesbury. Thrilling instalment to follow
Part ...errr (5) I think
Aylesbury a place teeming it seems with geezers in purple suits, a sort of homage perhaps to the worlds second poshest Geordie, Brian Ferry,. No 1 being that Sumner, feller responsible for questionable child unfriendly lyrics relating to standing to close to teachers. Popularising vests encouraging mates well into their 30,s to indulge in blonde hi-lights and simply being in a shite band are other charges one day the man who never in his life has said canny or why i man will have to answer. Dishevelled dehydrated scousers disembark from the smellmobile chippie and boozer on mind. Proper curry just wasn’t an option in the land of colour purple, only that weird sultana based variety which has roots me thinks in the delta basin of Llandudno, not like our authentic Liverpool Chinese chippie curry. Wallasey van hire emblazoned on the side of a light blue van indicates an advanced party are already in town. The pool table has already been commandeered by chirpy purple less sharks in a watering hole un accustomed to Liverpool rules relating to the green baize. A local lad after : breaking off hands the pool cue to his multi ear ringed mucker, much to the indignation of afore-mentioned advanced Wallasey van hire patron."Winner stays on " in a tone which possibly could have been misinterpreted as un friendly cuts across the smoky table. Now I’ve witnessed this happen a few times as well as many a kick off over the aptly named killer, a financial gain variety of pool fists a flying over a fiver left in the pot (now that is another story) Momentarily a Mexican stand-off en-sues ......stay tuned folks.
Common sense prevailed. this wasn’t the THROSTLES NEST, THE BLACK ANGUS, THE JOHNNY TODD,THE (cap fits ) NUT HOUSE,THE WIDOWS, MAR KENTS,THE BOX HOUSE, THE PONTACK ( which incidentally housed the finest fullest collection of Roxy/Ferry tunes this side of the Mason Dixon line ) . Nostalgia is getting the better of me, whist some of these alehouses survive ( The Throstle’s would withstand a direct drone attack ) in no way can they compare to the glorious heady 80,s... boo hoo, I’ll move on. A hand-shake and purple suit rules correctly won the day.
Potters Tale Part 6 (goes off on a tangent..not like Mick at all, and recalls scousers at Wembley in 1984)
The rest of the journey is eased only by the amount of ale taken on board in our collective gut/guts . After the first piss stop most of the merry men slumber and dream , except one dazed and confused sap relieving himself in the corner of the van .An indignant punter lets out a muffled sigh enough for dazed and confused to come to his senses. Wembley vans were often mobile latrines thankfully a major incident was averted this time although the pungent aroma told a different story. These vans should have been buried in a deep deep quarry after first being nuked, never for the health of the nation allowed back on the road. Instead carbolic soap and lukewarm water and at scabby brush was deemed appropriate. Dusted down ready for work the next day white van ( well not so white .awaited the call to arms, the next trip. By the way the sleep walking lagger was yours truly a habit I still haven’t managed to shake off.
The upcoming semi final at Wembley (red shite v blue shite) got me reaching again for my rose tinted bi focal’s. Jesus I never thought I’d see the day when that there London trains transporting scouse folk to our beloved capital would leave from separate stations?! I mean what the fuck is going on? is this fuckin Bosnia? Have we been twinned with Sarajevo by a disgruntled crack ‘ead Eurovision contest nil pointer with a Big Jim Holton tat on his dishevelled once hairy back? ……Sad times. lovable Scousers? .. More Mackem / Geordie nowadays I’d say. Let me drift if you don’t mind. 1984 was the year. Destination a set of twin towers somewhere south of Watford. The MILK CUP FINAL, LIVERPOOL V EVERTON not a mention of shite. A glorious assault, not so much as pistols at dawn, more a piss up until dawn, at the very least. Thatcher was well into her second term in office Merseysider’s benefitting from her caring policies couldn’t wait to show their gratitude! "Wouldn’t it be great if she stood atop of Wembley way to greet us " a roguish wag was heard to say. Anyway plans were hatched, Islington, Hackney, seedy hostelries in Bayswater, even seedier gaffs in Kings Cross all perused / discussed via a combination of the legions of scousers working in the smoke and the odd colour supplement lying in the doctors surgery (so old the head-line screamed, Penicillin!, The new wonder drug!) .Non of this had any bearing on my travel plans, the scenic route traversing all points even further south waved its hypnotic wand at me. Sunny BOURNEMOUTH home to a collection of Scouse n’er do wells including a good number of old chums cheerily welcomed my two car’d posse then disappeared into the night. Let me explain; An assortment of o,s ....... Gibbo and Ado being two of them sons of Scotland Road now harassed of Boscombe nr Bournemouth, had organised a coach to LONDON for the great LIVERPOOL/BOUREMOUTH un washed.Pre-mobile phone days guaranteed confusion. Was our proposed stay in jeopardy? Nahhh. After a couple of swift drinks the Bournemouth ex-pats hopped excitedly onto the "Charra" having graciously handed over their house keys! Our "colourless" collective bid adieu to the equally opaque mob, a tinge of regret mixed with a hearty dose of Scouse pride as the pioneers sped off...Surely my/our inverted snobbery at avoiding London wasn’t about to backfire? The "locals" really didn’t welcome us (as our comrades had warned us) with open arms. We ended up in an exclusive Scouse enclave "The Stage Door”. The doormen, as well as the bar-maids sons and daughters of The Mersey, ditto all of the punters. The pungent smell of Lebanese Hashish clung to the rafters (history lesson again pot-‘eads. Skunk was still a few million spliffs away) I instantly felt at home.....who needs cold un friendly London? We met the Scouse-bournions.. in my brothers North London boozer before the game which I swear was played on Sunday. The game, a drab affair, ended in a draw. Bizarrely yet fittingly the trophy was shared between the two teams. Undoubtedly (he says getting his Milo ‘ead on) other social factors came into play i.e. reaction to Thatcherism ,a fight back the gathering of the clans blah blah or am I just talking bullshit? Never the less, as I sit on my "ethnically cleansed" coach to Wembley I’ll raise a can to the class of 84……..Mind you the 86 F.A CUP was a blast as well!
PART 7- The Final Part
Well the red/blue shite fest at Wembley started off weirdly enough .Lots of Kopites embarking from the Liverpool supporters club lots of Toffee men one hundred yards down the road suitably aled up ( the tin variety ) waiting ,watching.One confused blue stumbling across no mans land attempted to board our coach it was dark and as stated previously he was confused.A polite word and he soon headed back across check point charlie to join like minded souls.This alienation continued in the first service station stop.Puffing strutting,talk of blond tipped Norwegians and North Waleian types un scouse folk apparently.All conducted in semi hushed tones and not a rozzer in sight , ( THATS A BIZZIE )A brief moment of bonhomie occcured when i spotted my birthday bro in law blue. . After shaking hands and exchanging bars of chocolate we went back to our respected trenches.The Torch public house Wembley got me thinking ...... maybe the Sally Army have got a point. A soul less place pumping out anomynous soft rock plastic glasses, too early over flowing bogs,even queues for the girlies, as i shamefully found out .One ray of light a plaque celebrating a son of Wembley one Keith Moon, i suspect not a patron of The Torch.So after the game it was back for more fizzy lager to watch horse death at AINTREE and the masses were not dissapointed .. So as the massive bin liners started to magically appear on the lovely ol course i became embroiled in conversation with a straw boated chirpy scouser who confessed he,d never done a bet on the national in his life then produced a key to the STONE ROSES secret lock up which had a liver bird skillfully wittled onto it.Now if he had asked for a bunce because he,d left his dough in this alledged secret rock location, i may have smelt a rat and you dear reader may accuse me of a peas and barley night-cap well not so.... if your still following
So as the horsies were whipped around the canal turn for the second time ( those lucky nags ) rock n roll tales filled the air.Talk of MANIC things , Weller ( not the fella who played for Leicester, great player ) and the Hilsborough music collective recently conquering Ireland became so animated that to this day i neither know or care who won the millionaires sport of Kings , fleecer of punter .....3.45 at LIVERPOOL.A couple of things spring to mind 1. FELLA. Now this word is much to popular for my liking. I suspect it,s origins lay on the lower east side of Caldy Wirral.Just about a half a mile from the members club( as in golf ) house.Bird-flu like it has spread i,ts wings through the Mersey delta infecting all who come into contact.I first became aware of it when a quite normal looking bus driver in Bootle,again we know how fuckin weird some of them are but as usual i,m drifting".See ya later fella ", he chirped as i headed for the T.J HUGHES final really final sale, hankie in hand. "Nice one fella " the Big Issue seller mumbled as he blatantly held for grim life onto his last big issue .Theres that fuckin word ,again i really did swear to my-self .FELLA.What is going on ? Dear readers i have no answers except to say it is slightly more preferable to the absolute bastardisation of the once noble word....Lad. ." R, LADD, LAD PROPER LAD PROPER LAD A ONER LAD, LAD , LAD LATER......... lad.Hand normally down trousers or clutching of spliff is the nor for the new LAD. Take your choice FELLA or LAD. Polling starts soon.
You can still buy The END BOOK and see more stuff like this, as well as the lns & Outs, mad letters, good poems, shite poems ..and fuckin millions of spelling mistakes and bad grammar, as the book reviewers (poncy southern, ex student types) keep pointing out.
There’s a limited amount of signed copies in Waterstones on Bold Street and in the
Liverpool 1 shop. and of course you can still get it on line here.