Meetings With Footballers 4 & 5

For about 18 months in the early-to-mid 90s I ended living in a flat above a hairdressers in Hale. The flat was large, very reasonably priced rent and just down the road from my then flatmate’s girlfriend. Hale is a wealthy suburb of south Manchester, near Altrincham. I lived in almost abject poverty, but as Gang For Four said ‘to hell with poverty, we’ll get drunk on cheap wine’. We started drinking in the local pub, the romantically named Bleeding Wolf. It’s now a block of expensive apartments. As happens when you spend a lot of time in one pub, you get to know the landlord, you get lock-ins, next thing you know you get asked to dj at the staff Christmas party. So we hauled our records down the road, scrounged and cobbled together various pieces of equipment and set up to play in a large landing area above the pub once the last order’s bell had been rung. Well into the night, everyone drunk and having a good time, I put on The Clash’s (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais. Careering out of the kitchen, at the time injured with a dodgy knee but clearly having a good time, comes Roy Keane. He clatters around the dancefloor, jumps up and down a bit, and then vanishes back into the kitchen, with us praying we’re not responsible for worsening the knee. Still, it’s not every night you can say you made Roy Keane dance. I’ve posted White Man recently so there’s no point putting that up, I don’t have Morrissey’s Roy’s Keen (and it’s rubbish), so instead here’s something else I’m pretty sure we played- Motorhead’s Ace Of Spades.

Another time, in the same pub, in the lead up to major international football tournament (probably USA ’94), a reporter is on the rolling news live from the Republic Of Ireland camp commenting on the mysterious absence from the squad of Paul McGrath (who also had dodgy knees). Everyone in The Bleeding Wolf that afternoon knows exactly where he is. It should be noted, Paul McGrath attended a charity dinner in aid of our son’s special needs school last year and was the perfect gentleman.