Author Topic: I could have been a contender - The Vic Gill Story  (Read 100271 times)

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I could have been a contender - The Vic Gill Story
« on: March 26, 2006, 08:56:57 PM »
My Uncle seems to value my literary opinion on stuff, and sent me the first two chapters of his life story in progress. After reading chapter 2 I thought it may be of interest to rawkites so i've decided to cut and paste it here. So hope you don't mind Unc (don't be sueing me for breach of confidentiality and please take the title of the thread in the humour it's intended ;) ).

Introduction

August 7th 1943, a wet and windy evening in Liverpool, at approximately 7pm I arrived in this world in the delivery room of the Liverpool Royal Infirmary. I am the second son of Henry and Ada Gill and my name is Victor. I have an elder brother Derek Henry Gill who was born on the 24th April 1939 and I had a younger brother Michael, he died not long after being born in 1949.

We are now in the year 2005 and in August I will be 62yrs.old. I have decided to put the intervening years into a book, my life story so far. I am an ordinary working man but I have had my moments just like any normal person and I would like to put these years on record for my children and grandchildren in the hope that they will know and understand something of my life

Chapter 1
1943-1953

The Second World War was in full swing when I was born and for the first four years of my life we lived with my grandparents (my mother’s parents) at 110 Scarisbrick Drive in the Norris Green district of Liverpool. My grandparents, Stephen Arnold and Ada Elizabeth Woolley had six children of their own, four girls, Clare, Ada, Edna and Carol the two boys were Victor (Who I was named after) and Dave. Clare, Ada (my mother) and Edna were married, Clare lived away from home, Edna was in the WRAF (Women’s Royal Air Force), Vic the eldest son was in the Royal Navy and I am told that he was in the S.B.S (Special Boat Service) during the war. Dave and Carol were the two youngest children, Dave was eighteen months older than me and Carol was eighteen months younger than me. Derek, my brother was the eldest of the quartet. My mum and Clare worked in the Royal Ordinance Factory, as did lots of women at that time doing their bit for the war effort, my father was in the Royal Air Force and away from home so from a very early age I was in nursery school, Leamington road nursery school just up the road from where we lived, I remember a young girl of about ten or eleven yrs.old was paid about threepence a week to bring me home from the nursery every afternoon and during the winter I remember coming home in the dark and sitting on the living room floor without any lights on in front of a coal fire and just staring at the flames, it was very peaceful.

I also have vague memories of being in the air raid shelter, nothing specific, just images that are not very clear. I suppose in those days people had to earn money anyway they could (there wasn’t any welfare state at that time) but the street singer used to frighten the life out of me, we would be out playing in the street with  our friends, you could hear him before you could see him and I would run and hide, I don’t know why but he scared me, all he was doing I suppose was trying to get some money for his family, he would walk down the middle of the street singing with his cap held out in front of him, some of the people would come out of their houses and put a penny or a halfpenny in the cap. The rag and bone man with his horse and cart was another familiar site, we would rush indoors, get a bucket and spade and follow him waiting for the horse to do a poo, we would shovel it into the bucket and grandy would give us a penny for it, he would put it on his roses and Rhubarb in the garden. There weren’t many cars about in those days so the street was a fairly safe place to play, not much chance of being run over by a horse and cart. Another method we had for earning some pocket money was collecting jam jars, we would go from house to house with our little steering cart that grandy made us, asking people for their empty jam jars then we would take them to the jam factory (Hartleys) which was not too far away and get some money for them. I don’t ever remember going without food though, we kids always came first and my mum was a great cook, but every day we had to line up in the kitchen and take a table spoon of cod liver oil, yuk!!

The Gill family arrived in Liverpool from Cork in Southern Ireland and settled in a council house in Elstead Road on the “Sparrow Hall Estate” Norris Green, about half a mile from where my mum’s family lived. My father was one of thirteen children, he was born on May 12th 1914 I’m not sure whether my father was born in Ireland or Liverpool, he was christened Henry Gerard Gill (Sonny was his nickname). I never met my grandfather, he was a Major in the army and earned his commission on the battlefields of the First World War, but I have been told since that he was a cruel man, he left his family and went to America where he joined “the Al Capone gang” and worked in the bootlegging business for him. He was caught and deported for “Mafia Connections”, apparently he returned to America when prohibition was ended. My father told me that when his dad left the family, he had to leave school, it was a shame because he had won a scholarship to King David Catholic School (you only gained entry to this school if your parents had the money or you passed their entrance exam). He got work in a fair ground boxing booth where people from the crowd were invited to fight on the promise that if you lasted three rounds with their fighter you could win money, my dad used to fight four or five times a night to earn the money to help the family eat.

I was quite frightened of my “Ninny” I can’t really say why but perhaps it was because she was always dressed in black, she had moles on her face, her hair was always pulled back into a pony tail and she looked quite severe and never smiled, well not that I recall. I remember standing behind my dads chair, afraid to talk to her. I have since learned that she was a lovely lady who worked very hard to bring up her family. I remember on one of our visits to Ninny’s I was running up the garden path and tripped, I hit my forehead on the front door step and dad carried me to the main road, flagged down a car and asked the driver to take us to hospital, the cut was stitched and I still have the scar today. The reason for such infrequent visits to our Ninns was that my father, a catholic had married my mum, a protestant, not a good mix, dad had been kind of ostracized from his family, on all our visits to our Ninns I don’t remember mum being with us.

In 1947 we moved into our own council house on a newly built estate called “Cantril Farm” in the West Derby district of Liverpool. It was a great place, right on the edge of Lord Sefton’s Estate “Croxteth Hall” a massive place with woods and fields with the river Alt running through it, I was going to get to know it very well. A new house meant a new school, I started at Colwell Road Infants but soon moved to a newly built school just five minutes from our house, “Cantril Farm County Primary School” in Mab Lane. It was here that my love of football was born and nourished, like most kids I had played football in the street and the playground at school but I had never played really competitive football before. The first season the school played in the league I was too young to be selected but I would watch all their home games on the school playing field. I also learned to love reading there, we had spelling tests, reading tests and our homework every night was to complete the children’s crossword in “The Liverpool Echo”. Miss Welsh, the headmistress encouraged my love of reading, I remember one day in her office I had just completed my reading and spelling test, she told me that I had a reading age of a fourteen year old, I was only nine. I read lots of books, the Enid Blyton “Famous Five” series, Just William and Billy Bunter at Greyfriars, I was not allowed to read the Beano or Dandy, (children’s comics) but dad didn’t mind me reading The Eagle or the Hotspur, I suppose they were The Times or The Telegraph of children’s comics. Anyway I loved the school and it was a joy to go there every day.

. I was now old enough to be considered for the school football team, after a few games Mr. Masheter (I think that’s how it was spelt) made me captain, I scored lots of goals, I can’t remember how many but it was a lot and we won the league.  Coronation Day 1953, there were street parties all over Britain and I went to two of them, first we went to the party in Scarisbrick Drive and then came home to Feltwood Road and joined in the party there, it was a great day and my mum won the “Mums egg and spoon race”. The following season we had a different team at Cantril Farm most of the boys had completed their primary education and moved on to Secondary education but we were doing ok in the league, then in January 1954 I got a terrible shock, along with all the other kids of my age group I had to sit “The Revue”, a mock exam for the eleven plus and I didn’t do very well. Miss Welsh described me as a borderline case and was reluctant to put me forward to take the eleven plus, my father was called to the school to discuss the problem and he insisted that I take the exam, he told Miss Welsh that he would make sure that I would not let the school down and for the next two or three months I wasn’t allowed out after school, I had to study while all my mates were playing football in the street.

It was worth it though because I passed the exam with the highest marks in the whole school, ninety six percent if I remember rightly, Miss Welsh was very impressed if not a little shocked and I know my dad was pleased because he took me to town and bought me a present, a very rare event. I was actually only 10yrs old when I sat the 11 plus I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t playing football in the street or on the fields off Mab Lane, this is where the big lads played, so when me and my mate finished playing Robin Hood in the woods we would ask the lads if we could join in their game. I was playing football with my mates in the street one evening and two women walked passed and one said to the other “look at the legs on that lad, they’re like tree trunks”. I even made a goal in our back garden and my mum sewed a load of onion bags together to make a net, it was a sound I loved to hear, the ball hitting the net. We had a brick built outside toilet as well as one indoors (posh eh) and my dad would get me to kick the ball against the wall using right foot left foot continuous for what seemed an age and it paid off because I was one of the very few two footed players in all of the teams I played for. He watched a lot of the games I played and sometimes would embarrass the life out of me, making sure that anyone in earshot would know that I was his son. When I think back to those times, which I do occasionally, I realize that he was just proud of me and it makes me smile.

Chapter 2
1954-1964


I was just eleven years old when I started the second phase of my education in September 1954 at “Old Swan Secondary Technical School”, I think my dad chose this school because he wanted me to follow in his footsteps and become an engineer. All the teachers wore the mortarboard and gown, it was a bit overpowering at first and the discipline was quite strict, the cane was used for any misbehavior and I received my fare share over the years. The most pleasing thing for me was the football, the school had a good reputation for providing “The Liverpool Schoolboys” football team with some fine players and the whole of Tuesday afternoon was set aside for football, the sports master split all the first year boys into “Houses”, Whitworth, Faraday, Telford and Newton and we played against each other, I was put in Whitworth House and fortunately the sports master had put some good players in with me. The school team was then selected from these games but to my surprise he picked me to play centre half and even more surprising I enjoyed it, in those days tactics were not really employed, the rule of thumb was, if you were tubby you were a full back, if you were nippy and small then you were a winger, inside forward or half back, big and strong, either centre half or centre forward, not exactly rocket science but it seemed to work.

I was placed in class 1A, I suppose because of the high marks I got in the eleven plus exam but alas this would not continue, while I was building a reputation on the football field, academically I was not so hot, not that I was stupid, but I spent a lot of time thinking about football, day dreaming if you like, I would think about playing at Anfield, the home of my favourite football club, Liverpool FC. On one occasion our English teacher, Mr. Jones asked us to write an essay on what we wanted to be when we left school, while all the other boys wrote about being engineers, scientists, draughtsmen and architects, I wrote about being a professional footballer, playing in front of thousands of people every week, scoring the winning goal in the FA cup final, playing for England and earning £20 per week. My favourite subjects were History and Geography, most of the other subjects I was ok with, except Maths, I was very good at Arithmetic and Mental arithmetic, but Algebra was a foreign language to me, I remember one day Mr. Thompson, our maths teacher almost having a nervous breakdown after I asked why, a+b=c, he screamed at me “Gill don’t question why boy, just accept it” it wasn’t the first time I had asked this question and he was quite red in the face.

We didn’t get a television set until I was twelve years old, in pre television days we listened to the radio or the wireless as it was called then, you really had to use your imagination and they put on great plays, Oliver Twist, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Dick Barton Special Agent and one of my great favourites Dan Dare Pilot of The Future, on Saturday night after the sports results we would listen to In Town Tonight, a variety show, singers and comedians, on Sunday there was Family favourites followed by comedy, Round the Horn, Life with the Lyons, Jimmy Clitheroe, the Ken Dodd show and Archie Andrews, can you imagine, a ventriloquist on the radio, but it was great, the first soap opera on the air in Britain was “The Archers” an everyday story of country folk, I believe it is still running to this day and another, “Mrs. Dales Diary”. I t was lovely, those cold winter evenings sitting on the settee in front of a roaring fire listening to the radio. It was on one such evening that I thought my dad had lost the plot, he made my brother and I go out of the house and stand on the path to the front door, he gave us an empty suitcase and told us that we were salesmen and we had to gain entry to the house by talking our way in, one at a time we had to knock at the door and when he answered we had to explain what we had in our suitcase and ask if it was possible to come inside and give a demonstration of whatever we had told him was in the suitcase. I don’t think I ever made it passed the front doorstep, I couldn’t talk for laughing but Derek made it every time, he went on to become a really top class salesman.

Croxteh Hall (Lord Sefton’s Estate) me and my mates had this wonderful place as an enormous playground and we used all of it even the places marked private, there was one time when the gamekeeper caught us bird nesting (collecting eggs from birds nests) he frog marched us up to this sign that said PRIVATE and said to me “what does that say” I replied “PRIVETS” so he let us go, calling us ignorant little bastards. There was a program on television at the time called “Robin Hood” and we kids had the perfect setting to play it in, we would all take turns in playing Robin Hood except for one boy who always played Maid Marion, I don’t suppose we understood at the time why he always wanted to play the girl but his sister wasn’t pleased because he pinched her dresses and make up. I met Rodney many years later on in life and he was really gay.

I was now in class 2B, not so much pressure on me to do very well but I still couldn’t grasp the algebra or logarithms and pi equals something squared, I don’t know what, but I was playing some great football, I was now captain of the school team and we won the Echo cup, a trophy donated by the Liverpool Echo Newspaper and played for by all the schools in Liverpool. I had now reached the age were I qualified to play for the Liverpool Schoolboys football team and it was during a maths lesson that the school secretary entered the class and said that the headmaster wanted to see me in his office right away, I was a bit worried because as I left the class I looked back and Mr. Thompson had a wicked gleam in his eyes, I knocked on the headmasters door and heard “come”, I went in and he told me that the Liverpool Schools Football Committee had enquired about my availability to represent the City in the football team, well you can imagine how I felt, absolutely thrilled, he continued saying that he had rejected the request because he felt that my academics were suffering through my silly notion about being a footballer, he said that I had to devote more of my grey matter to my studies and to get rid of my ridiculous dreams of wanting to play professional football. I was shattered, to represent your city at whatever sport you excel at is a great honour, the next step would have been Lancashire Schoolboys and then England Schoolboys, well I spent the rest of the day in a haze and spent even less time thinking of my studies, if that were possible.

At the beginning of the new school year September 1956 we were moved to a brand new building on Queens Drive and our new school name was West Derby Secondary Technical School, everything was brand new and the workshops (Metalwork and Woodwork) were something else. I am sure that some engineering firms would have given their eyeteeth for the machinery that we had to play with, the Physics/Science and Chemistry laboratories were brilliant, the sports facilities were to die for, it was a very special school, but I started my third year in class 3C and continuing my steady decline while everything else seemed to be on the way up, sport was my thing and I represented the school at football, cricket, boxing, swimming and athletics (Shot Put and Javelin) our P.E. teacher at that time was Ken Box, an athlete at the 1952 Olympics and he designed a special badge for any pupil who represented the school at two or more sports, I wore mine with great pride.

At the age of twelve I joined “The Boys Brigade”, I had heard that they had a useful football team, so there I was private Gill of the 70th Liverpool company playing football twice a week now, Saturday mornings for the school and Saturday afternoons for the boys Brigade (centre half for the school and centre forward for the Boys Brigade).In my first season for the 70th I scored over 80 goals and we won the cup and the league, we were a very good team and won some of our matches by ridiculous score lines. In one particular game we won 19-0 and I scored eleven goals, we won the cup final by 6-0, we were a very good team. I have been a Liverpool fan for as long as I can remember and in early 1957 I received a letter inviting me to go for trials to Liverpool FC. I, had received several offers for trials, Everton, Oldham Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End being some of the clubs interested, but there was only one club for me, Liverpool. On the day of the trial I was very nervous and was cuffed around the head a few times for not paying attention in class. I don’t know why but I had never told anyone about the trial and it was a very long day in school. I turned up at Melwood (the Liverpool Training ground) a very nervous boy. I remember there were about 100 boys there mostly older than me and certainly bigger. The man in charge explained that they were going to have four matches playing at the same time and would we please pay attention because he was going to read out the eight teams, those boys not selected initially would be used to replace boys as and when the coaches thought fit. Four teams were to play in red and four in white. By this time I was having problems controlling my nerves and he started to call out the teams in the order of play, i.e. Goalkeeper, full backs, half backs and forwards. I felt that there had been a terrible mistake when I heard my name called for the red team in the position of left half, I said to the man (Bob Paisley) “excuse me I think you have made mistake, I play centre forward or centre half”, he replied “no mistake son that’s where you’re playing” I didn’t argue but felt a little bit hard done by.

The games started and after about ten minutes the nerves had gone and I was really enjoying it, I knew I was playing well and I still get little flashbacks of the game today. I wasn’t taken off and finished the whole game, as we left the pitch Mr. Paisley asked me if I would like to sign for Liverpool FC, he explained that because of my age they would need my fathers signature on the forms as well as mine and that I would be the second youngest player ever to sign for Liverpool FC, the youngest being a full back called Ray Lambert. I was so happy, after all those years going to Anfield to watch my heroes playing, Billy Liddell, Alan A’Court, Jimmy Melia, Dick White, Laurie Hughes, Geoff Twentymen, John Evans, Charlie Ashcroft, Ray Lambert, Johnny Wheeler, Jimmy Harrower and big Louis Bimpson, I was now part of the same club, I would see my heroes up close and personal, to even tread the same grass, I even tried to walk like Billy Liddell. A footballer, it was the only thing I wanted to be and I had put my foot on the first rung of that ladder.

Liverpool FC were in the second division of the football league, having been relegated in from the first division in 1954, the man given the task of getting the club back into the first division was an ex Liverpool and England wing half called Phil Taylor who very rarely showed up at any of the junior team training sessions or matches. I remember one Tuesday evening training session in particular, a coach pulled in to the car park at Melwood and this guy stepped down from the coach and said to Tom Bush in a very posh voice” could you get some of your lads together to give my team  a game “, apparently the English league were going to play the Irish league at Anfield the following evening and the guy in charge of the English was none other than Walter Winterbottom, the manager of the English international team,  so there I was lined up to play against players that I loved to watch every Saturday, I still remember that team, it was Colin McDonald(Burnley) in goal, Don Howe(West Brom) right Back, Bernard Shaw(Sheffield Utd.)left back)Johnny Wheeler(Liverpool)right half, Joe Shaw(Sheffield Utd.) centre half, Wilf McGuiness(Man Utd) left half, Jimmy Harris(Everton)right wing, Jimmy Melia(Liverpool)inside right, Len White(Newcastle Utd.) centre forward, Johnny Haynes(Fulham)inside left and Alan A’Court(Liverpool)outside left.. We drew 1-1 but the following evening they beat the Irish league 5-1.at Anfield.

One of my dad’s favourite sayings was “If you don’t put anything in, you don’t get anything out” so he used to get me out of bed at six am every week day morning and I would run around Lord Sefton’s Estate about five or six miles. It hurt at the beginning but it was a lovely run, so peaceful and quiet except for the birds and sometimes his lordship out riding with family and friends, dad would have a hot bath ready for me when I got home and while I was having my bath he would cook my breakfast, two snotty eggs and crispy bacon just the way I didn’t like it, he couldn’t cook to save his life but I would eat it all, I couldn’t hurt his feelings. I have a lot of good memories of my dad, I know he wasn’t perfect but then who is, it was later on in life that I realised he only wanted the best for me and god knows he tried really hard.

I got myself a job at the local news agents delivering newspapers around our estate, it gave me some extra pocket money, I started about 7-30am every week day and when I finished went to school. The Sunday papers were hard work because they were so much thicker than the daily’s but I thought it was also good extra training after the morning run, I remember one particular Sunday morning I was about to finish my round when I met my mum getting off the bus, she had spent all night at the hospital, her mum, my Nan, was very ill and had been in hospital for some time as I met mum I could see by her face all was not well, she told me Nan had died during the night.

1959, I had been at Liverpool now for a little over two seasons and the club were still in the second division, it was December and Mr. Taylor had been sacked or resigned, I can’t remember which, but either way it was a good decision. Tuesdays and Thursdays were the training nights for the amateurs and part time professionals, it was a Tuesday and I had arrived early, I made this a habit because I liked to warm up with a few laps before training started, this particular evening I got changed into my training gear and went down stairs to the toilets to have a pee, while I was there this old guy came down and stood next to me, he had training kit on and I thought bloody hell they’re signing some old players, he said to me in a broad Scottish accent “how old are you son” I replied “sixteen “ and he said “aye yer a big lad”, we went out onto the pitch together and did a few laps we chatted while we jogged along and he seemed quite a nice bloke, by this time all the other lads had turned up and I returned to the changing rooms to have a chat with my mates, I was approaching the changing rooms when Eli the grounds man came up to me and called me a suckhole, I laughed and said why, he said that’s the new boss Bill Shankly. The following week we were playing a mid week match at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool. I can’t remember why we were playing mid week because it was unusual but I remember in the team that night were Tommy Lawrence, Tommy Smith, Ian Callaghan, Willie Carlin, Frank Twist and a few other very good players. While we were changing, Tom Bush who was in charge of the team that night said “the new boss is coming to watch and he’s going to say a few words before you go out”. This was quite a surprise to us because in the previous two years we had rarely seen Phil Taylor or spoken to him. Bill Shankly entered the dressing room and while we were waiting for the pearls of football wisdom to be bestowed on us he said “ok lads keep it simple and pass to a red shirt”. We did and we won 3-2.

I think it is safe to say that all the part time and amateur players on Liverpool’s books were a little surprised to have the boss run our training sessions and talk to us, it certainly hadn’t happened before in my time there. The training sessions were now enjoyable and there was lots of ball play and exercise with the balls and we could talk to the boss just like the first teamers, great. I played in every position for the Liverpool junior teams, goal keeper included, Ruben Bennett said that I would make a good goal keeper, Joe Fagan liked me playing forward and Bob Paisley insisted that I would be a very good wing half, even saying to me that if I progressed well I could be a second Duncan Edwards, who was also one of my heroes. He was killed in the Munich air disaster in February 1958; he was the youngest player to play for Manchester United and England. He was a great player and the night he died I cried myself to sleep. I was very lucky to be around at that time, every team had great players.

I had left school and was working as an apprentice fitter for a company called “Davies, Pritchard and Richmond”. The factory was at the back of Liverpool Airport and they made lifts and conveyors, although I wasn’t very keen on becoming an engineer it was a very good company to work for and the lads were a great bunch, we all got on very well. Along with some fitters I was sent to Scotland to install a conveyor belt in a nuclear power station at Hunterston on the west coast of Scotland, we stayed in a town called Largs, we had a decent hotel but it was a bit of a one horse town, not much to do really but I had made friends with a guy called Ted from Newcastle and one Saturday evening we went for a stroll around the town, we were making our way back to the hotel when a gang of blokes jumped out of a shop doorway and gave us a bit of a fright, there were six of them and they followed us ,shouting and swearing, I said to Ted “can you smell anything” and the really gobby one amongst them shouted back” aye you can smell six scotch tims”,(apparently a Tim was a roman catholic Scot) well I didn’t know what they meant but I knew we were in trouble, they had made a semi-circle around us, we had our backs to a bus shelter so I said to Ted in the roughest Liverpudlian accent I could muster “you take them three Ted and I’ll have big mouth and the other two” well the gobby one said “you boys from Liverpool? Ian StJohn, Ronny Yates, Bill Shankly, sorry lads “and started to hug us and just went on about Liverpool FC. They explained that they were players for Glasgow Celtic and that they had come to Largs for a weekend break with the club. The tallest of them all was the goalkeeper, Frank Haffey, he played in goal for Scotland the day England beat them 9-1 and the mouthy one was Pat Crerand who went on to play for Manchester Utd. What a player he was, we stayed there quite a few months and I played a few games for the local team, Largs Thistle, with the permission of Liverpool FC of course.

The city of Liverpool started to come alive around this time, music, clubs and dance halls, you could go to any club or dance hall and dance to fantastic groups, the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, Freddie Starr and the Midnighters and many more. It was a great time and I was easily led, my mates would be going out for a night of fun and I would be going training, I had joined a club in West Derby Village called “The Lowlands” it was a big house that had been converted, The cellar was where all the groups played and we danced, the other floors were used as coffee lounges and sitting rooms, no alcohol was served but we didn’t need it anyway the atmosphere was just great and it was here that I discovered girls (I was a bit of a late starter).Training became a bit of a chore and it wasn’t long before I caved in to my mates and started missing a few training sessions, we would go to the clubs in the city centre, The Cavern and The Mardi Gras, great clubs, great music and lovely girls. I would sometimes turn up for a game not having slept all night, I didn’t realize at first but the coaches soon noticed that I wasn’t playing my usual game and then my name disappeared from the team sheets, it was during the close season of 1962 that I waited in vain for my letter telling me to report for pre-season training. It was all over for me at Liverpool, at first I blamed the club but it eventually dawned on me that I had cocked up again and that I had slid down that very exciting ladder. I started the next season with a non league team called Winsford Utd and had a couple of enjoyable seasons there. I floated round the non league for a few years and earned a few bob on top of my wages, a kind of “have boots will travel”. When I look back now I wish that would have had the dedication and self discipline to take the chance that was offered to me at Liverpool, but there it is, I didn’t and I only blame myself for not realizing my dream.

n truth I have to say that I was very happy just to be playing football and little did I know then that Bill Shankly was going to return into my life under rather different circumstances.

I had a particular mate during my time at Liverpool, his name was Bobby Oldham and he lived right next door to the entrance to the Everton training ground in Bellefield Avenue, the very same road where the Shankly family lived. Bobby and I would occasionally play head tennis in the entrance to Bellefield and sometimes this young girl would come and watch, we chatted to her and she told us her name was Barbara Shankly, she seemed to have a crush on Bobby but she was too young and was also the boss’s daughter. I met her again in the club that I mentioned before “The Lowlands” in West Derby Village and we would have a dance and a coffee, nothing serious and sometimes I would walk her home, it was only a ten minute walk from the club to her house, and just say goodnight and then catch the bus home. She was a strange girl, she could be really good company and had a great sense of humour one night and quiet and moody the next time I saw her, anyway as I said it wasn’t serious and I just looked upon her as a friend in those first  years
But eventually it got a little more serious and we started dating we would go to the cinema or the club and sometimes for a drink in the city centre. It was quite a strange relationship really, sometimes we would have a row over something stupid and wouldn’t see each other for a while and then we would get back together again. By the time I was twenty one years old and Barbara was eighteen our relationship was very serious and I asked her to marry me and she said yes, it was 1964, Mr. and Mrs. Shankly gave their approval and a date was set for the summer of 1965.

It was December 1964 and I had arranged to meet Barbara at her house and we would go for a drink in West Derby village, nothing heavy because I was playing football the next day. I arrived at the house and was shown into the living room by Mrs. Shankly, I asked her if Barbara was ready and she said no, Barbara was in bed not feeling very well, I asked what the matter was and was told that Barbara was pregnant. I went upstairs and we had a chat for a while, she seemed quite pleased and I have to admit I was a bit chuffed myself, after about half an hour I left and Mrs. Shankly said that I should return the following evening, Mr. Shankly was not there because Liverpool had a game against Stoke City in Stoke the following day. I played in a match on the Saturday afternoon but my heart wasn’t really in it, I turned up at the Shankly home in the evening not knowing what to expect, strangely, I felt just as nervous as I did all those years ago waiting for Mr. Paisley to read out the teams.

Mr. Shankly arrived home and the first thing he did was to give me two loaves of bread, I’ll explain, at the time all the major bakeries in Liverpool were on strike and you couldn’t get a loaf for love nor money. I remember thinking” what a decent bloke to think of my family when he must have had a thousand other things to think about”. After his meal Mrs.Shankly broke the news to him and there was an ominous silence, Mr. Shankly paced up and down behind the settee that I was sitting on, I was waiting for a punch in the back of my head or at least have the bread taken off me, then he said “well it happens in the best of families”. I was a bit shocked but very relieved.

I was to have another shock within a week but this one has stayed with me all of my life so far, I mentioned at the beginning of this story that we lived with my grandparents in Scarisbrick Drive and that they had two young children Dave and Carol. Dave and I were only eighteen months apart so I suppose it was natural that we mated up, we played together as I mentioned earlier and we grew up together and both of us supported Liverpool FC as did all the family. Dave and I would go out to the clubs and pubs with our mates and if I wasn’t playing on Saturday afternoons through injury then we would go and stand on the Kop and cheer on the reds. Normally he would come and watch me play, if we were playing locally. Sunday 20th December 1964 he didn’t turn up to watch me play, one of our friends Jeff Fendle had just passed his driving test and had bought himself a car, he asked Dave to go for a Sunday lunch drink at a pub in Ormskirk just outside Liverpool, on the way there they crashed into a big articulated lorry and Dave was killed, he was twenty three years old, what a terrible waste of life. When I think about him I see him just the way he was, good looking, great smile, black curly hair and always making me laugh, he was a great artist and he taught himself to play Spanish guitar. I had seen Dave for the last time on the Saturday evening prior to the accident when I told him about Barbara being pregnant, he told me not to worry and that everything would be ok, he asked me how Mr. Shankly had taken the news, I told him what had happened the previous week and he said “bloody great, typical of shanks”. Dave was convinced that Liverpool would win the FA Cup under Shankly; it was a trophy that Liverpool had never won in its entire history. We did, but Dave missed it by five months.

About a week or so after Dave’s Funeral I was leaving the Shankly’s house when Mr. Shankly called me back and said that Mrs. Shankly was having great difficulty living with the fact that we were having a church wedding and that Barbara would walk down the aisle in a white dress, Barbara was just as determined that she would, Mr. Shankly asked me to talk to Barbara about it he said that if we cancelled the church wedding and had a register office wedding instead he would give us the deposit on a house, any house of our choosing. I told Barbara what her dad had offered, pointing out that all our friends would have a great day out and we would end up homeless, after giving it some thought she agreed and we went house hunting. We found a lovely three bed roomed terrace house in Inigo Road just off Queens Drive in the Stoneycroft district, it was £2,200 and only a ten minute walk from the Shankly home, I think Nessie was beginning to like me.  Mr Shankly paid the deposit (£450) and I got a mortgage for the rest at £14 per month over 25 years.

Chapter 3 1965-1975

Barbara and I were married at 10am on Saturday 23rd January 1965 at Brougham Terrace Registry Office, why 10am ? It also happened to be derby day in Liverpool and the reds were playing Everton at Goodison Park in the afternoon and one guest in particular was not going to miss the game, a feeling shared by several of the other guests I imagine. We held the wedding breakfast at the Lord Nelson Hotel, at the back of the Empire Theatre and I was quite touched when Mr.Shankly said in his speech that it was one of the best transfer deals he had ever done. As it happens the derby match was called off, waterlogged pitch I think. We spent our honeymoon at my Uncle Vic’s house in Weymouth, Dorset and on our return we moved into our house in Inigo Road.

By this time I was a qualified fitter earning about £14-10 shillings a week, I was offered another job at The Government Wool Station on the Dock road, all the wool that came into England had to come to the Wool Station first to be cleaned then it was shipped on to it’s final destination. The pay was better, £15-10 shillings a week and an extra thruppence an hour for each machine I could operate in the machine shop, thanks to West Derby Tech. I could operate them all so I received an extra 10 shillings bonus per week. The extra money came in handy because through all our time together I never knew that Barbara couldn’t cook, so we bought quite a few meals from the local fish and chip shop. We spent most Sundays having dinner at the Shankly’s or my parents so we got to have at least one good meal per week. Barbara did try hard to learn but I guess she just wasn’t cut out to be a cook. Everything was going ok, Barbara was getting bigger and Liverpool reached the Cup Final and the European Cup Semi-Final playing Leeds Utd and Inter Milan respectively.

I think it was a couple of weeks before the Cup Final when Mr. Shankly made one of his regular visits to our house, I made two cups of tea, herbal tea for him and we sat down to chat, he started talking about Gordon Milne and Geoff Strong, “what do you think son”, the problem he said was that Gordon Milne looked like he may be fit for the final but Geoff Strong had been playing really well in his place, I thought Christ  why he is discussing this with me but I suppose he was just using me as a sounding board and we went on and talked about it for a while and then he said “are you going to the Final” and I said that there would be about six of my family going so he said that he would arrange six tickets for us, he said goodbye to Barbara and left, blimey I felt like I had sorted the team for the final (just joking) and had managed to get six tickets for my family, bloody great. But on the Sunday before the final we were having dinner when he asked me if I would do him a big favour, of course I said yes, he explained that the police had advised him that his house might be broken into while he was away, so the favour was, would Barbara and I stay in his house while he and Nessie were at the final. I couldn’t refuse and had to watch the final on his tele, but what a great day though, for the first time in football history the FA Cup was coming to Anfield, I was jumping up and down all round the living room while Barbara was looking at me as though I had gone mad. I know she didn’t like football, it had taken her dad away from her for so long, but she was really pleased for him. We didn’t have time to absorb what had happened and only a few days later Liverpool had to take on Inter Milan at Anfield in the Semi Final of the European Cup, another brilliant game which we won 3-1 and had a tie winning goal ruled out for a non existent foul. The return game in Milan was lost 3-0 and we were out of the Cup but Mr. Shankly was furious, convinced that the referee had been bought and you only have to watch the game on video to see that he was right.
.
6th August 1965, Karen Elizabeth was born and what a beautiful birthday present for me (my birthday is 7th August) she weighed in at 9 pounds 4 ounces, both our families were absolutely delighted. I had never seen my father behave the way he did, holding her with a big stupid smile on his face and Mr. Shankly saying it was his turn to hold her, but it was nice.

It was not long after Karen was born, I was going to work and I was on the No1 bus traveling down the Dock Rd the conductor came to me and asked for the fare, I looked up and there was my mate from our apprenticeship days taking my fare off me. I asked him what he was doing working as a conductor and he told me that the money was great he could earn up to £40 per week if he did quite a bit of overtime. I got off the bus at the next stop and made my way to Hatton Garden, the head office of The Liverpool Transport Corporation department. I was interviewed immediately, they offered me a job, I gave my notice in to the Wool Station and started the following Monday at the training school for conductors. A week later I was sent to start work at the Green Lane depot.

This work brought me into daily contact with the Liverpool public and I have to say it was really enjoyable, it is said that Liverpool people have a very rare sense of humour and I believe it to be true, every day something would happen that would make me fall about laughing, I remember one particular day during the afternoon rush hour my bus was absolutely packed and we pulled up at the bus stop in West Derby Village about three or four people got off the bus and I allowed the same amount to get on, I had to put my arm across a lady who was trying to push herself on, I said “sorry love no more room” so she asked me “how long will the next bus be” and I replied “the same length as this one” instantly she shouted back at me “and I suppose it will have a shithouse on the back like this one”. Of course not all the things that happened were funny and there were some nasty incidents, like the time some guy was poking me in the chest while telling me that I was a public servant, I really didn’t mean to break his finger but I grabbed it and pushed him back off me, I received a caution from my depot inspector for that but on the whole I really enjoyed the work. Each depot had its own football team and played on Wednesdays in the Business house league but on Saturdays they had the “Rep team” (which was selected from all the depot teams, Representative team) which played in the Liverpool Combination, (I think) so every Wednesday and Saturday during the football season I was guaranteed a nice easy shift. Mr. Shankly had been to watch a few of the games I played in but I remember one in particular, we were playing Kirkby Town, a really good team but even more special it was the switching on of their new floodlights and it was played on a Wednesday evening, Mr. Shankly turned up to watch and it made the occasion even more special, he came up to me and said “I’ve noticed your boots are a bit worn son, so I brought you these “ and handed me a box with new boots in it, I played out of my skin that night, we lost 4-3 but I scored a hatrick and had a goal disallowed in the last minute to equalise, the referee said I had handled the ball but I swear to you I had chested it down and buried it. Mr. Shankly gave me a lift home and during the journey he was quiet which was unusual for him, I asked him if he enjoyed the game, he said yes he had but that he hated to see talent go to waste, I said “who’s that then”, thinking he had a problem with someone at Anfield, he replied “you son” well, the rest of the journey was spent in silence.

It was now early December 1965 and Barbara tells me she thinks she is pregnant again, it was a bit of a shock but a very welcome one for us, I was really pleased when the Doctor confirmed it and we both went to tell her parents. Nessie was alone in the house and when we told her, she said to me, “you should be locked up in November” but she was pleased as well. My mum and dad said more or less the same thing but again I knew they were pleased. It was about this time that Barbara, Karen and I were at her parent’s house for the proverbial Sunday lunch, we had finished eating and Barbara and Nessie were in the kitchen doing the dishes, Karen was asleep in her pram, I was having coffee and Mr. Shankly was having his herb tea, Yuk!! Terrible smell, a bit like fish, anyway I asked him about the previous day’s game at Anfield, I think it was Arsenal we played but I’m not 100% sure and Liverpool were cruising to a win when Tommy Lawrence let in a really stupid goal, which put Arsenal ? back in the game, I know we finished the game as winners and I asked him about this particular incident, he replied “Aye son, if I’d had a snipers rifle I would have shot Tommy there and then” just then the phone rang and Mr.Shankly answered it, the person on the other end of the line was a guy called Colin, a reporter for one of the daily national newspapers and from their conversation I assumed that “Colin” had broached the very same subject that we had just been talking about, because Mr. Shankly answered “Nah Nah Colin son, he’s the finest Goalkeeper in the worrrrld”.

1966 every thing was going ok, Barbara was getting bigger and more tired but both grandmothers were helping out, I was doing as much overtime as I could get and Karen was great. I applied to become a bus driver and successfully completed the 3 week course. I had loads to look forward to, our second baby in August,  Liverpool were going great in the league and the European Cup Winners Cup and England were going to host “The World Cup” in the summer, football fan’s heaven. It was early June I think and I had just finished my shift and arrived home, I had felt quite uncomfortable for the last couple of hours, like I had peed myself or sweating, so I took my trousers off and put my hand down my underpants, my hand was covered in blood. I went straight to my doctor and he examined me, he told me that I had something called “Pylonidal sinuses”, at the base of my spine I had 3 or 4 little holes and the blood was seeping out of them, also being quite a hairy person my body hair had entered these little holes and over the years had formed into a sizeable ball, which explained the discomfort I felt if I sat in the same position for a length of time. The doctor phoned the hospital and made an appointment for me and within in a couple of weeks I was in the Royal Infirmary to have an operation, what should have been a formality ended in my staying in hospital for 6 weeks, my wound became infected and I had to have skin grafts . There was always a bit of commotion when Mr. Shankly came to visit me, it would go something like, “Hello son how’s it going are you ok?” and then he would be off round the ward talking to every other bloke in there and the nurses, it happened every time he visited. Now the real pisser is that Mr. Shankly had got me a block ticket to watch all the qualifying games of The World Cup at Goodison Park, so I missed all those great games but my granddad didn’t because I gave them to him. I loved my grandfather to bits, he taught me to play crib, we would sit and talk for ages about his life, he fought in the First World War and in the second he was in the Home Guard helping to put out fires on the docks. I always new when I said or done something wrong he would say “now then bugger”, he was a good man and he was desolate when Dave was killed, as were all the family but he mourned with great dignity and put aside his own sorrow to help us with ours.

Pauline was born on the 29th July in Broadgreen Hospital while I was in the Royal Infirmary. The Royal were very kind and arranged for an ambulance to take me to Broadgreen to see Barbara and Pauly, you can imagine the piss taking that went on, “you for the maternity ward Mr. Gill when’s it due” although not as big as Karen she weighed in at just over 7lbs and she was beautiful, so there I was, me in a wheelchair, my wife in bed and my second daughter in my arms, brilliant.

© Victor Gill 2006

further extracts in posts lower down the thread ...
 
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 06:18:47 PM by The 5th Benitle »
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Offline WOOLTONIAN

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2006, 09:59:16 AM »
Vic
that was a thoroughly enjoyable read, I loved it.
So many of us get a chance, but we do not recognise the opportunity.
Your sliding academic levels bring bloody tears to my eyes, as I was exactly the same.
The only lessons I was half useful at, were where my masters were the sports masters.
What they said, seemed to make more sense to me.
Whereas 'fossils' like the french and chemistry teachers might as well have been speaking dutch. (Cant spell swa-heelly)

Writing is hard, but perservere, you definately have talent.
Just try to write in small passages and then assemble later.
Writing too much in one go does put you off.

Best of luck with your book, even if it only turns out to be something your grandkids read, I'm sure they will be glad you did.

Karl

ps. save it on a disk as well as computer. I lost a 120 pager recently that will never see the light of day as my computer crashed.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2006, 11:09:01 AM by WOOLTONIAN »
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Offline vicgill

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2006, 10:57:40 AM »
Thank you Wooltonian, really needed that, I know it's only for my kids and grand kids but it has become very special to me and your thoughts and council are well taken ...thank you again
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
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Offline vicgill

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2006, 11:06:07 AM »
The Deysbrook football team...Mid sixties i think


oops forgot....this is for "al daas" and Michael A. I am third from left, back row
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 10:45:59 AM by Pheeny »
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2006, 11:13:55 AM »
The Deysbrook football team...Mid sixties i think

tiny picture that unc. click to enlarge.
Please take a look at my latest blog for theredmentv "Dispelling the Rodgers/Martinez myth" http://www.theredmentv.com/blog/p/263 All other blogs can be read at www.theredmentv.com/blog Let me know your thoughts

Offline vicgill

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2006, 03:53:38 PM »
Cantril Farm Primary 1952, does any body recognise any of the lads here



Back row from the left.....D.Rogers..M.Hughes..C.Richards....D.Sass..S.Morrison..J.Mosely
front....F.Glea&ves..G.Murgatroyd....Me...J.Bennett...J.Conolly

« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 10:48:27 AM by Pheeny »
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

Offline vicgill

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2006, 10:30:34 PM »

Rafa giving my daughters book a gentle pûsh
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 01:24:00 PM by Rushian »
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

Offline vicgill

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2007, 09:23:18 PM »
I would just like to give you  all an up date on my daughters book 'The Real Bill Shankly'. The publishers are going to produce a paperback version in September, I don't know the exact date at the moment but I will let you know as soon as I get it. Once more I would like to thank all those here on RAWK who helped the book to be such a success.     :thumbup
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2008, 01:21:17 AM »
Thanks very much
Had to bump this again, think I realise now why this thread really hit home for me, I can't really put these words down as eloquently as you have (its only my second language :D), and I'd just like to point out that I do not mean to come off as conceited or arrogant by any means, just incase. Anyway, I'm just a lad of 15 but playing football has been a huge part of my life. Though I have moved to America from Egypt I've still been playing a lot of football and the youth coaches and scouts I have had speak to me seem convinced that I am a talented player and could have a proper future ahead of me.
When I went to Egypt this summer the big football club there, Al Ahly, wanted me to stay in Egypt and play with their youth team. Though my entire family is in Egypt and they could have taken care of me, my parents felt that I needed the good education I could get here in America, and that I was too young to be without being under the care of my parents. No arguments from me there, I suppose. I had an offer from a Belgium club, but my parents rejected that offer like this one.

They told me though I'd be very welcome back after I finished my schooling, as long as I had bulked up (I'm a thin lad and need to put on some weight if I'm going to be able to shield off defenders!). When I came back from Egypt this summer I was tried out for a new team, a very very good team that can really go places this year.

Earlier, before I read this thread, I had begun going down the same road that you did to an extent, I wasn't get enough sleep before training, before matches, I wasn't eating enough, I'd miss training sessions for no apparent reasons but pure laziness. The coach had been getting frustrated with me, he had plans to make me a key part of the team along with the veteran striker of the side. I haven't been doing enough working out on my upper body like I had planned I would and I haven't put on any weight since the summer, even lost a pound or two.

When I read this thread and seeing that you were frustrated with your missed chance, and the disappointment someone like Shankly felt that a talent had "gone to waste", I was inspired not to let it happen to me. Since my reading of this (not long ago, but earlier than when I posted), I have been going to the gym, eating much healthier and more, I haven't been missing training sessions, and I've always gone in the right mindset. Could do better with the sleep, but hopefully I'll have fixed that soon as well. I wouldn't have done the above if I hadn't read this thread, and I could well have given up the team and football completely by now.

And I really thank you for sharing your experience with us, you really have kept me from going down a bad road.
-Snootchies
Whenever I meet a French girl I kiss her on both cheeks. Then I stand up and say hello

Offline vicgill

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #9 on: November 3, 2008, 01:11:02 PM »
Had to bump this again, think I realise now why this thread really hit home for me, I can't really put these words down as eloquently as you have (its only my second language :D), and I'd just like to point out that I do not mean to come off as conceited or arrogant by any means, just incase. Anyway, I'm just a lad of 15 but playing football has been a huge part of my life. Though I have moved to America from Egypt I've still been playing a lot of football and the youth coaches and scouts I have had speak to me seem convinced that I am a talented player and could have a proper future ahead of me.
When I went to Egypt this summer the big football club there, Al Ahly, wanted me to stay in Egypt and play with their youth team. Though my entire family is in Egypt and they could have taken care of me, my parents felt that I needed the good education I could get here in America, and that I was too young to be without being under the care of my parents. No arguments from me there, I suppose. I had an offer from a Belgium club, but my parents rejected that offer like this one.

They told me though I'd be very welcome back after I finished my schooling, as long as I had bulked up (I'm a thin lad and need to put on some weight if I'm going to be able to shield off defenders!). When I came back from Egypt this summer I was tried out for a new team, a very very good team that can really go places this year.

Earlier, before I read this thread, I had begun going down the same road that you did to an extent, I wasn't get enough sleep before training, before matches, I wasn't eating enough, I'd miss training sessions for no apparent reasons but pure laziness. The coach had been getting frustrated with me, he had plans to make me a key part of the team along with the veteran striker of the side. I haven't been doing enough working out on my upper body like I had planned I would and I haven't put on any weight since the summer, even lost a pound or two.

When I read this thread and seeing that you were frustrated with your missed chance, and the disappointment someone like Shankly felt that a talent had "gone to waste", I was inspired not to let it happen to me. Since my reading of this (not long ago, but earlier than when I posted), I have been going to the gym, eating much healthier and more, I haven't been missing training sessions, and I've always gone in the right mindset. Could do better with the sleep, but hopefully I'll have fixed that soon as well. I wouldn't have done the above if I hadn't read this thread, and I could well have given up the team and football completely by now.

And I really thank you for sharing your experience with us, you really have kept me from going down a bad road.
-Snootchies

I am really pleased that my story has been of some help to you, determination, dedication, self belief and self discipline are of paramount importance if you wish to succeed.

Please give it your best effort, the last thing you need is to reach my age (65) and think of what might have been.

If I can be of any help to you please don`t hesitate to pm me
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

Offline the_red28

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2009, 12:51:34 PM »
First post on the forum but felt compelled to put something up after reading this and then forwarding it to my dad and cousin. 

Turns out my dad stayed very near you buddy and remembers Mab lane before cantril farm was built.  He also went to the same school as you (west derby) along with both my older cousins :)

Great read,  I really hope you finish your book and hopefully you can get some copys made as it looks to be a great read judging by what has been written so far :)
Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2009, 12:19:33 PM »
First post on the forum but felt compelled to put something up after reading this and then forwarding it to my dad and cousin. 

Turns out my dad stayed very near you buddy and remembers Mab lane before cantril farm was built.  He also went to the same school as you (west derby) along with both my older cousins :)

Great read,  I really hope you finish your book and hopefully you can get some copys made as it looks to be a great read judging by what has been written so far :)

That sounds very interesting that mate, if you get a reply from your dad and cousin could you please let me know. If you don't want to put their names on here please pm me  :wave
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

Offline the_red28

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2009, 01:30:05 PM »
Was round at my dad's last night and he was talking about the school etc, he was saying he really enjoyed the three chaptors you had on here, brought back some memorys of his younger days running around the area etc.

He still maintains that the best game he saw at anfield was the 3-1 inter game in 65, said he had to queue up for hours before the game that night, think he was in the kop as well.

I would PM but think you need so many posts on here before you can send one, if you pm me your email addy ill drop you a wee mail bud.

Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast

Offline markten4

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2009, 09:02:15 AM »
Vic

I remember reading this when you first posted and really enjoying your story.  Then yesterday was browsing through in my lunch break at work, and came across it again.  My brother in law has been working in Liverpool recently, fixing ferry engines.  He's the kind of person that could turn crap into gold, and no matter where he goes always seems to come across something interesting or valuable.  While there he met this old guy who had a load of old programmes.  Among them was a Division 2 programme from October 11th 1958.  The reason it caught his eye was that it was Liverpool vs Lincoln, which is where I am from, and also was around the time that my grandfather was also working in Liverpool.  Chances are he would have gone to the game, was a huge Liverpool fan, and wouldn't have missed the chance to see Lincoln City playing at Anfield.  My brother in law brought it off the old guy ( I say brought, the old guy needed a belt, so swapped it for that).

In the team that day were Younger, Molyneux, Moran, Wheeler, White, Saunders, Morris, Melia, Harrower, A'Court and Arnell. We were sat in 13th place, with Fulham top of the table.  Billy Liddell had 9 goals in 8 appearances, but wasn't on the team sheet that day.  Not sure what the result was, have had a quick scan through Google but with no joy.

After reading through your post again yesterday, I decided to go back to the programme, and lo and behold, in the Liverpool County Combination, 4th October 1958, against South Liverpool Reserves, playing for Liverpool "B" is one V.Gill.  It was really great to see your name there after having read some of your story.  In the team with you that day was R. Christopher, R. Corner, E. Bulmer, P. Price, K. McCabe, J. Hutchins, W. Jackson, N. Burgess, M. McLoughlin and B. Morrison.  Result didn't go your way I'm afraid and you lost 8-1.  McLoughlin scored for you guys.

I wondered if that would bring back any memories for you at all.  I would be happy to copy the programme, or scan it and send it on.  If you PM me with your details, and I can sort that out if you like.

My support of this wonderful team goes all the way back to my great grandad, who worked in Liverpool pre war.  I like to think of supporting the club as part of the family silver, and so history of the club is very important to me.  I loved your daughter's book, and hope you continue with your story, as it appears do many others on here.

Mark.

"If you're in the penalty area and don't know what to do with the ball, put it in the net and we'll discuss the options later." - Bob Paisley

Offline vicgill

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2009, 11:49:51 AM »
Vic

I remember reading this when you first posted and really enjoying your story.  Then yesterday was browsing through in my lunch break at work, and came across it again.  My brother in law has been working in Liverpool recently, fixing ferry engines.  He's the kind of person that could turn crap into gold, and no matter where he goes always seems to come across something interesting or valuable.  While there he met this old guy who had a load of old programmes.  Among them was a Division 2 programme from October 11th 1958.  The reason it caught his eye was that it was Liverpool vs Lincoln, which is where I am from, and also was around the time that my grandfather was also working in Liverpool.  Chances are he would have gone to the game, was a huge Liverpool fan, and wouldn't have missed the chance to see Lincoln City playing at Anfield.  My brother in law brought it off the old guy ( I say brought, the old guy needed a belt, so swapped it for that).

In the team that day were Younger, Molyneux, Moran, Wheeler, White, Saunders, Morris, Melia, Harrower, A'Court and Arnell. We were sat in 13th place, with Fulham top of the table.  Billy Liddell had 9 goals in 8 appearances, but wasn't on the team sheet that day.  Not sure what the result was, have had a quick scan through Google but with no joy.

After reading through your post again yesterday, I decided to go back to the programme, and lo and behold, in the Liverpool County Combination, 4th October 1958, against South Liverpool Reserves, playing for Liverpool "B" is one V.Gill.  It was really great to see your name there after having read some of your story.  In the team with you that day was R. Christopher, R. Corner, E. Bulmer, P. Price, K. McCabe, J. Hutchins, W. Jackson, N. Burgess, M. McLoughlin and B. Morrison.  Result didn't go your way I'm afraid and you lost 8-1.  McLoughlin scored for you guys.

I wondered if that would bring back any memories for you at all.  I would be happy to copy the programme, or scan it and send it on.  If you PM me with your details, and I can sort that out if you like.

My support of this wonderful team goes all the way back to my great grandad, who worked in Liverpool pre war.  I like to think of supporting the club as part of the family silver, and so history of the club is very important to me.  I loved your daughter's book, and hope you continue with your story, as it appears do many others on here.

Mark.



Mark, the result in that Liverpool V Lincoln City game was 3-2 to Liverpool, Harrower 1 and Morris 2 scored for Liverpool.

I don't suppose many people will remember Fred Morris, his nickname was "the Mansfield Express" I suppose because we bought him from Mansfield Town, he wasn't the most gifted of players but he could run, fans used to say that if they left the Kop doors open he would run straight out the ground.
 
I have sent PM ok
« Last Edit: February 21, 2009, 12:18:44 PM by vicgill »
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2009, 09:37:38 AM »
This is taken from a thread I started in December and I thought that if i merged it in this thread it might be of interest to the fans who are interested in stories about Bill Shankly and more people might be able to read it.
 
This is an extract from Chapter 7 of my life story which has the working title “In My Life”.
 
I had just arrived in Calpe on the Costa Blanca, Spain. My brother Derek had been living there since 1973 and had been a massive help to me, finding me somewhere to live and introducing me to both his English and Spanish friends, one of whom became a very good friend to me, Joaquin

So here is the extract;

Through Derek, Joaquin had learned something of my football history (no doubt exaggerated a little, my brother was my biggest fan) one morning Joaquin knocked on our door and told me he had been to see the Mayor of Calpe about the possibility of me becoming a football coach at the local club, Calpe CF. Apparently the coach for the “Infantiles” (12 to 14 age group) had retired and they were having difficulty finding a replacement.

An appointment was made for me to meet the directors of the club, it wasn’t so much an interview, more like a piss up and the evening ended with everybody agreeing that I was the man for the job. I was told to start the very next training night.

The thought of becoming a coach had never entered my head but I must admit I was rather taken by the idea, although I didn’t have any coaching qualifications, the obvious problem for me was that my Spanish was crap but I knew that I could demonstrate any ideas I wanted to get across to the boys.

I spent the night before my first training session trying to remember the training methods used at Melwood and getting them down on paper in some sort of sensible sequence. I didn’t want to look a complete prat in front of the boys.

I took heart from an occasion I remembered, I was sitting in Mr. Shankly’s office at Anfield and as usual we were talking football and drinking tea. His secretary knocked and entered, she had a pile of letters and put them down on Mr. Shankly’s desk and left. We carried on talking while he started to read them, some of the letters he put on the desk and some he put in the bin; this bothered me a little because I thought that they were fan letters.

I asked him if they were fan letters and he laughed, he said “No son, we have a vacancy for a youth team coach, the letters on the desk I will read later, the ones going in the bin have FA Coaching badges.

I arranged the training sessions just as I remembered them at Melwood.

© 2006 V. Gill
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 12:29:28 PM by Rushian »
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2010, 10:04:54 PM »
I'm hungry for the rest of the story now seeing as you ended on a bigger cliff hanger than Eastenders... :)

another extract from Vic's story ...

Being the official dog catcher was working well, if anyone rang or called at the kennels to tell us there was a stray dog about, we told them to report it to the police. The police would then ring the kennels and tell me where the dog had been seen last and I would go and get it.

One day I had just finished my work and the telephone rang, it was the police to tell me there was a problem with two dogs and gave me an address to go to. I arrived at the house and was quite surprised to see the Guardia Civil, the local Police and Jose, our friend the Vet. He explained that the old man who lived in the house had died and the dogs wouldn't let the police or the pathologist enter the premises.

I said ok and picked up a couple of leads from my car then walked toward the house, the pathologist stopped me and rubbed some Vick vapor rub under my nose and then handed me a mask, he told me that they had been informed that the man had been dead at least ten days. Cheers mate.

I entered the house and the dogs were barking and growling at me, one was a Doberman and the other was a medium sized Mongrel. I looked over to my right and saw the lower half of the body lying on the settee, I walked over to look and realised that the body didn't have a head. All this time I was talking to the dogs and the poor things were more afraid of me than I of them.

I gave them some dog biscuits I had in my pocket and they calmed down so I slipped them onto the leads. I had a quick shufty around the house and found the head in the bathroom, it had been chewed quite a bit and also the toilet didn't have any water in it.

I took the dogs out and told Jose what I had found, he told the police and a couple of them started to baulk, I wasn't feeling too good myself. We had the dogs in the kennels until the man's son and daughter came over from England to make an identification of their father. They insisted that the dogs be put to sleep and Jose agreed. Poor dogs, I don't think we would ever have found them a new home.

At CD Teulada we reported for preseason training, the president, Vicente, told me that “Repiloc”, our manager, had been offered the job as manager of his home town club, Villajoyosa who at that time were in Second Division B. I was so pleased for him, we had become very good friends, he was a really good manager and had been a very good player, when he was younger he had been on the books of Atletico Madrid, apparently a bad injury had put an end to his professional career.

Vicente introduced me to the new manager, he seemed a really nice lad, he wasn't very old, around the thirty mark I guessed and he was strait out of coaching college. He had a load of papers attached to a clip board and the training was very well organized but every now and again he would stop the session and get his clipboard out to explain the way he wanted things done,it reminded me of Basket ball. We drew our first game of the new season, which wasn't a bad result really but things didn't get much better, I wasn't enjoying it at all.

It all came to a head in November, we were playing a team called Pego CF away, in training before this game our manager had drawn on paper a list of set plays with diagrams, free kicks from all different positions around the penalty box and corner kicks, each play was numbered and the players had to take them home, study and remember each set play, Christ knows how long it took him to write all this down.

During the game if we got a corner or free kick he would shout a number and the players should have taken up certain positions but of course they hadn't done their homework. It was chaos and when the home supporters realised what was happening they started to take the piss, all of them shouting numbers to our players, our players started to argue among themselves, it was a nightmare and we were thrashed 6-0, we were lucky to get nil.

The following training evening I asked Vicente if I might coach one of the junior teams, he agreed and I was back coaching the kids again. The manager did ask me why I wasn't with him, I told him his game plan was too complicated for me, I asked him why he didn't keep a simple game simple. He just smiled. We didn't fall out over it, as I said before he was a really nice lad.

We were about three quarters of the way through the season, my kids were doing ok. The first team had about six games left to play and was hovering around mid table, no chance of promotion or relegation, I arrived at the ground for training one evening and Vicente grabbed me and took me into the office, he asked me if would I manage the first team, I asked why. He explained that with us not having a chance of promotion and more importantly no chance of relegation, he had sacked the manager and all the players who were paid the most money.

I asked him if what he had done was legal, he said yes of course, it was allowed at this level of football in Spain, after what had happened last season I wasn't totally convinced. He told me he had been paying the wages out of his own pocket and it was all getting too much, The Town Hall made a contribution to the football club to cover travel costs and the wages but Vicente explained that it was not enough if we wanted good players so he had subsidised the club with his own money. I don't know where or how he got his money but I do know he worked in a bank, thankfully not mine

Vicente had sacked the best seven players in the club which meant I had to use "Juveniles" to make the squad back up to seventeen. My first game in charge was against Elche C team. We left Teulada at lunch time to arrive in Elche for a four o'clock kick off, we arrived at the ground about two thirty. Elche CF had played in the Spanish Primera Liga and had played in the UEFA Cup. You can see the stadium as you approach Elche from the motorway.

We were expecting to play on the practice pitches outside the ground but when we arrived we were told that we would be playing in the stadium itself, our players were flabbergasted, it is a really nice stadium, a bowl rather than a square and I didn't have a bloody camera with me.



Estadio Martínez Valero. Elche CF.
This stadium holds approximately 40,000 people

I didn't have a first team goalkeeper so the "Juvenile" keeper, 17 years old was my goalie; I used the ten first team players with the rest of the "Juveniles" as subs.

We all really enjoyed ourselves, we were beaten 7-4, a crazy game, we had a player sent off and we missed a penalty but it didn't really matter, the lads were so happy, I have never seen so much excitement in a dug out in my life. I made all the changes allowed so most of them got to play at least.

Of the last six games we won two drew two and lost two, for the last game of the season against a team called Bocairente, I hardly had a team due to injuries and suspensions, we had to complete the season or it would have meant automatic relegation. I had to call up some of the "Cadetes" (14 to16 age group), so I had eight first teamers, two "Juveniles" and six "Cadetes". You might ask why only two "Juveniles" well it was a long trip to Bocairente, about three hours on the bus and they just didn't fancy it or had girls to meet and of course I couldn't force them, the game was rather meaningless, Bocairente were higher up the table than us but had no chance of promotion.



Bocairente CF 3...CD Teulada 2
As you can see we were beaten but it was a good game and exciting, you can tell from the result and it was one of the "Cadetes" that scored both our goals, Adrian a very good striker, fourth from the left on the back row. There was an English boy playing too, Rupert, kneeling on my right. Vicente was very pleased with the game and stopped the bus at a restaurant on the way back to Teulada; we had a lovely meal and quite a few drinks, not a bad day out.

All in all a strange season but I really did enjoy those last six games and at least the results were not pre-arranged.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 12:46:41 PM by Rushian »
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Offline The 92A

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #17 on: March 4, 2010, 03:32:40 PM »
Vic, what an interesting life you've lead. Really enjoyed reading through those chapters. Firstly, like alot working class kids brought up in Liverpool, the thought of writing an autobiography does not come easy but I like many others really want to encourage you.
 
You've asked for constructive criticism, which is important for any writer but first get the thing down on paper. Many people give up when writing their life story, you should not be one of them. You've explained that writing does not come easily to you, and I detect bucket loads of working class modesty, I'm worried that you'll think that it's not worth it. You'd be very wrong.
 
Writing anything as long as a book involves a massive commitment of time and nearly every writer has moments of self-doubt. Why am I bothering? Is this any good? No one will want to read it etc. These feelings are normal and something that you have to overcome. I think that your strategy of writing for the grandkids is a wise one because it takes the pressure off you, and your more likely to finish it.
 
Writing the first draft is crucial without that there is nothing to improve. When you have that, that is when constructive criticism becomes vital. Most writers re-draft a number of times and good writers will kill for good criticism. That is the time when you really need to leave your ego outside the door because what you want is people to go through it line by line and write comments and suggestions. At first this can be quite hard to take but after doing it for a while you begin to appreciate that hard criticism, that is constructive, given by people that are giving it not to be cruel but to improve the book, is worth it's weight in gold. At this stage the last thing you need is people who are going to say, 'it's all wonderful, nothing can be improved'. This is where you need other peoples honest suggestions and you can assess whether or not they are right and whether you need to act on these suggestions.
 
Doing something like that can not really be done over RAWK but I'm sure that you would get an number of people who's opinions you trust and who's writing style you like, to agree to give this constructive criticism when you've finished. You could send them scripts and they could make notes and send them back to you. I'm sure there would be plenty of willing volunteers on here. As I was reading it, there were an number of places where I wanted to hear more. eg your grandad, he ran off to join Al Capones Mob, tell me more, you can't leave that as one line, people would get books out of that.
 
Finish by repeating that I found your work very interesting and please do us all a favour, carry on writing.
 
 

 
 
« Last Edit: March 4, 2010, 03:35:54 PM by The 92A »

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2010, 11:09:47 PM »
AKA the 'I used to be fit and slim but I've always been a bit of a baldy c*nt' thread

Tried to post this in the OP but said I'd exceeded the maximum length, thought it best they at least be in the same thread though.

I hand you over to my technophobic Uncle for another extract from the literary equivalent of The Stone Roses second album (in terms of the fucking wait at least).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On our return to Calpe I was contacted by the football club and asked if I would like to coach the youngsters again which I agreed to immediately. It was really nice to be back and see that some of the kids I had coached were now playing in the first team. While I had been away the Town hall had built a new stadium and the training facilities were so much better than before.


So here is the extract from chapter 13.

I really enjoyed my first season back at Calpe CF but it couldn’t last. We had bought the boarding kennels in Teulada/Moraira, about a twenty to thirty minute drive from Calpe depending on the traffic and travelling to and from Calpe was proving a bit difficult. In Spain the local police and the Guardia Civil can set up road blocks whenever and wherever they feel like. My car was not in the best of condition, having spent all the money we had on buying the kennels, I could not afford a better car at that time and it made the journey between the two towns a bit like Russian roulette.

 So once again I said my goodbyes to the good people at Calpe football club. A week later I went to Teulada Town Hall and asked for the name and address of the President of CD Teulada, the local football club. I was given the information I needed and later that same day I was knocking on his door.

I introduced myself and explained why I had called, I told him about my football background and my time at Calpe CF. He said that he had heard all about me from friends he had at Calpe CF. His name was Vicente and he asked me to come to the training ground the following Tuesday evening to meet the directors and introduce me to the team he had in mind for me to coach, the Juveniles (16 to 18 age group).

The directors were friendly and made me feel very welcome; once again, as in Calpe, the bar was opened and a good drink was had by all. I was made aware of the difficulty in coaching this age group; some of the lads’ preferred to be with their girl friends or mates on training evenings and Teulada is a much smaller town than Calpe so it is really difficult to get a Squad of 17 half decent footballers; so the rule “If you don’t train, you don’t play” doesn’t hold much sway with them. They were almost half way through the season and bottom of the league.

I took my first training session the following Thursday evening and it went quite well. There was a full attendance, I suppose some of them just wanted to see what “El Ingles” was like and see if they could take the piss. As I did in Calpe I told them I wanted them to enjoy their football and although training would be hard, I would try and make it as enjoyable as possible: The results weren’t important but their performances were, I worked on the premise that if you enjoyed doing something then you did it well.

My first game was on the following Saturday at a little town called Polop, about half an hour drive inland from Benidorm. The lads played quite well and went in at half time 2-0 up. I made some changes at half time and we ended up losing 4-3, my fault, but I really needed to see all of the players in action. We finished the season avoiding relegation which was a success of some sort I suppose.
 

Teulada CD Juveniles

Of the seventeen lads in this picture only seven were half decent footballers, but there was one, Fernando (third from the right kneeling) was a really good player, most games he carried the team. He played centre midfield and was a joy to watch.

Slowly but surely our business began to grow but we desperately needed a telephone, on several occasions we had travelled to Alicante to speak with the people at Telefonica (the Spanish Telephone Company) but each time we were told that we could not have a phone because we lived in the campo and were out of their radius ?? .

One evening just as I finished training the President asked me if I would like to go for a drink with him and some of his friends, I accepted and had a really enjoyable evening, the president (Vicente) said to me “Victor you have put so much time and effort into our club, is there anything we can do for you”. Jokingly I said “Yes, can you get me a telephone”. I explained about our trips to Alicante to talk with Telefonica and the answer we had received without any real explanation.

He called one of his friends over and spoke with him, the next day the engineers were putting the line up across the fields to our house. Apparently Vicente’s friend was the head man for Telefonica in the Alicante region. We had our very much needed phone.

After spending a couple of seasons with the Juveniles, at the beginning of the1991/92 season the president asked me if I would coach the Infantiles, (12 to 14yrs.age group) and it was very enjoyable, the kids were eager to learn and were clearly enjoying their football. There were quite a few promising lads amongst them and we were doing quite well in the league but halfway through the season the president pulled me to one side and asked me if I would like to work with the first team. I was gob smacked to say the least. The first team coach had been watching our training sessions and had been to watch a few of our games. He said he liked the fun and hard work aspect of our training sessions and he thought I had football intelligence. I was very flattered and thanked him for his comments and of course I accepted his offer.

The first team had a very good first half of the season and by the Christmas break they were top of the league and hadn’t been beaten. I started working with them after the Christmas break and I have to say I don’t think I enjoyed coaching so much up that point, with the kids it had been a fun thing, helping them to enjoy their football but this was different, there was an edge to it, results did matter and the crowd wasn’t shy in voicing their opinions if they didn’t like what they were watching.

We went into the last game of the season as champions having not lost a game, our opponents were Real Gandia CF, a team that we had beaten 6-1 at our ground, I could tell that the lads were over confident and I kept shouting at them to concentrate , we lost 2-1.From the moment  the final whistle went and on the bus home the lads were singing “Campiones, Campiones” and although I was happy for the club, players and manager, strangely I felt a bit pissed off; it would have been so good to have gone through the season unbeaten.



CD Teulada League Champions 1991/92

All of the players in this photo were part time professionals
The following season we were playing in the "Primera" division, in reality only five divisions from the "Primera Liga" with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia but in practice it would be impossible. A new stadium would have to be built and with a population of only nine thousand people any further progress would be very difficult to sustain. The president kept most of the lads from the previous season and brought in some new players who had experience of the higher division.

But progress we did, I joined in the training and also practice matches that we had at the end of every session, these I really enjoyed, if I saw something that a player had done wrong I would stop the play and point out he could have passed the ball to a player in a better position, or, to a player without the ball, “why didn't you run into that space there and give your team mate another option to pass the ball". "Pass and move, keep it simple, don't complicate things" and my favourite "do the simple the things but do them well". I was really enjoying myself and I think lads enjoyed it too.

With only three matches remaining we were in joint third place, only the champions won automatic promotion, the runners up had to play in the play offs. The table looked a bit like this;

1. Muro de Alcoy
2, Alicante
3, Teulada/ Aspense

The first game of the last three was against Aspense away, in the town of Aspe, not far from Alicante Airport.  We had beaten them 2-1 at our place and I thought a draw would be a good result for us; they were a very good team. We scored an early goal which I thought was offside by a mile but the ref gave it, we went on to win the game 3-0 but Aspense finished the game with only eight players on the pitch and their manager expelled from the dugout. It took us two hours and a Guardia Civil escort to get our bus out of Aspe that Sunday evening.

The following Sunday we entertained Alicante at our place, now this was a very good team and a very hard team, they weren't afraid of putting the boot in. We only managed a 1-1 draw at their ground and I felt we were lucky to get that point; to get at least the same result again would be great for us. Again we took an early lead with a dodgy decision by the ref, we went on to win this game 3-0 with Alicante finishing the game with only eight players on the pitch and their manager expelled from the dug out.

These unexpected results had now put us one point ahead of Muro de Alcoy, they had lost one of their last three games and we played them at our ground the following Sunday. Now of all the three teams we had to play, I was convinced that we would beat "Muro", we had beaten them 3-1 at their ground earlier in the season and if we played well we would beat them again. The ground was absolutely packed and the town band were there adding to the noise, I gave the president a tape of Queen, the rock group and asked him to play "We are the Champions" as we walked out and "We will Rock you" just before kick off. We played really well and scored two very good goals in the last ten minutes. Brilliant, successive league championships, I was very happy.


The following week I got a call from the president inviting me along with the rest of the team to celebrate our great season at one of Alicante's best restaurants and more importantly he was footing the bill. It was a great evening, we travelled to Alicante on a bus, except the president, he went in his car. About eleven pm he stood and said that he was going home but every one could stay, have a good drink and travel home on the bus.

I asked him if he could give me a lift home, it was getting late and I had to work the following morning, he said of course. We were on the motorway heading back to Teulada, I told him how proud I felt to have helped the club to two successive league titles and he started to laugh. I asked him what was so funny and he told me the two games against Aspense and Alicante had cost him one million two hundred thousand pesetas, about six thousand pounds in those days.

I must have been so naive, I asked him why? He told me of his dream to take Teulada to the regional 3rd division (the highest league in the Communidad Valenciana) so he had contacted the head man of the Alicante branch of the Association of Referees, (this man selected the referees to control the games in the Alicante Province).He had a serious weakness for "Putas" (prostitutes) and with his salary he didn't have enough to keep his family and indulge in his hobby too, So our president had agreed to pay him one hundred thousand pesetas a month for twelve months so that we could win those two games against Alicante and Aspense. What a pisser, I felt so deflated.

A new season and I was back with the “Cadetes”, I really enjoyed coaching this age group (14 to 16yrs) and luck was with me because most of the lads from the previous year were still eligible to play and some very good lads from the “Infantiles” (12 to 14yrs.) had moved up so I had quite a good squad to work with.

We started the season very well, nothing like a few wins to build the confidence and they no longer believed that a trip to Benidorm, Denia, Altea and other bigger towns would result in a heavy defeat; they had improved individually and collectively, in fact we were dishing out a few heavy defeats of our own.



This article is taken from the “Weekly Post” sports page.
The article only mentions three games but in fact we were well placed in the league and playing some very good football, we were no longer considered an easy game by the likes of Benidorm etc. They knew now that they had to be at their best if they wanted a result against us. The most important thing for me was that the lads were really enjoying their football.

To keep travel costs down the league was set up so that we played each team four times and only travelled as far south as Benidorm and as far north as Denia.

By the time we were due to play Denia away again we were third in the league and looking forward to giving them another thrashing, the lads were really up for it now. During the week before the game in Denia the first team coach approached me and asked if he could borrow two of my lads to play in his team on the coming Saturday. He told me that he had a lot of injured and suspended players and needed these two lads to play. I knew the feeling well

Juanito and Manu were the two lads in question (in the photo above Manu is third from the right on the back row and Juanito is third from the left in the front row). Manu played centre half and was the rock of our defence, a big and strong lad for his age  (just fifteen) a great header of the ball and even I used to wince when he made a tackle but he could also play football and read the game very well.

Juanito was a born striker, he could shoot with either foot, technically gifted, great dribbler and very fast, he terrified defenders with his ability to hit the ball on the run and he was only fourteen yrs. old, for me his only weakness was heading but  the lad worked on this in our training sessions. It was a rare event if Juanito didn’t score. So I resigned myself to losing the lads for our game against Denia on the Saturday and had to reshuffle the team.

We arrived at the stadium in Denia, I read the team out and the lads started to get changed while I went to the referee and handed my team sheet in, on the way back to the dressing room   a man approached me with a clip board in his hands, he asked me for the names of my lads and their positions in the team. I told him I had already handed my team in to the referee, he said that he needed them and I asked him why. He told me that he was the “Observador” (football talent scout) for Real Madrid in the Communidad Valenciana

I was quite shocked and a bit dubious so he showed me his credentials, blimey, I was speechless but recovered quickly and told him it was a shame that he had chosen that day to watch our team and explained to him about Manu and Juanito. He found it difficult to believe that boys so young would be playing in part time professional football. I told him that the game in Teulada didn’t start until 6-30pm that afternoon; he asked me if I would meet him at the Teulada stadium at 6pm and I agreed. He explained that he was going to watch our game; there was a boy in the Denia team that had been recommended to him.

Well what a game it turned out to be, we beat Denia 4-3 it was a great game to watch, after the match the Madrid guy came up to me and congratulated me on our win and reminded me of our meeting later that afternoon.

I turned up at the Teulada on time and there was Francisco waiting outside for me, I introduced him to the president and directors of our club, they were really impressed. We went to the bar and had a drink, Francisco asked me if I would help him by sending him reports on any young lad I thought might be good enough for him to go and watch, he also paid me a great compliment saying that the match we played that afternoon was one of the best he had seen so far that season and that he liked the way I organized my team and made tactical substitutions and my understanding of the game, well who am I to disillusion him.

So there I was an assistant to the Observador of Real Madrid, unofficial and unpaid but what a great honour, over the seasons I got to know Paco (Francisco) well and I found him to be a really genuine man.

At the end of that season Manu and Juanito went for trials in Madrid and spent a week there but were not selected. You have to understand that Madrid take the cream of young players and from them select the “Crem de la Crem” as Paco said, there is no shame in being rejected by Madrid. I asked Paco if he would write to the boys on Madrid club paper so that the boys would always have something to remember, he did and those two boys treasure their letters.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 12:30:18 PM by Rushian »
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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2010, 11:10:04 AM »
Haha aye you should! Have you read that Vic? Basically an American writer who starts out (and arguably ends up) knowing nothing about football goes out to Italy and stumbles into a story where a wee team fights its way up the leagues to Serie B funded by a local Mafia boss until eventually the corruption etc plays a big part in preventing them from going any further.

It gets an almost universal 5 star rating on Amazon, but this 3 star review is probably what a lot of people on here might think of it.

Quote
Great Story - Ruined, 25 Oct 2009
By  Delle Alpi "Caio" (Staffordshire) - See all my reviews

This review is from: The Miracle of Castel di Sangro (Paperback)
I think this review will mirror most on here that have acheived 3 stars or less. As an avid follower of lower league English football (not soccer) and witness to my very own 'Miracle' as a fan of Burton Albion aswell as having Italian blood and being a rabid Juve fan, I was intrigued and excited as I picked up the book having read the premise from the blurb, not only a miracle on the scale of which we probably are yet to see in England - a town of only pop. 5000 acheiving promotion to Serie B - but a writer given the inner sanctum of being a part of this mystical story as it unfolds.

Given the access that McGinniss is privy to within the workings and everyday life of the team, this should make for a rivetting read into not only the mind and body of a lower level Italian team but also a view that allows fans of the sport to see the rumblings of such a roller coaster ride of a football season from a new and privlaged perspective that we do not get from merely following our teams. That this season was one of the greatest ever stories in Italian football virtually guarantees that the book will be a decent read, however, what potentially could - and probably should - have been the best football book ever written is spoiled, ruined and leaves you angry and unfullfilled at the end. Ironically the same reaction as the Author but for pertinently different reasons.

As noted elsewhere, McGinniss is new to the game having recently discovered it in his native America at the 1994 World Cup. Thus one can forgive his idoms of 'soccer', 'offense' and 'overtime' but his naivity, egotistical demeanour and self rightousness that, in my experience, can only be that of an American, ruin the readers experience. Whillst this may be a generelisation, it is not an untruth and his constant refferal to the ratings issued in the sports press as being the be all and end all in judging performance really shows the American love of a statistic (and true misunderstanding of the great game) which eventually grates after a while.

Indeed after a good start, where the book seems to build up and rattle along nicely, with the author starting to get a feel for the game as a fan and his writing style making it seem like you are there at times, you think you will never want to put this book down. His complex and often enlightening look into the distictly shady people behind the football club and the many tragedies and tantrums they befall it are portrayed beautifully but, unfortuntely, should be done as a narrative only, without the personal opinion of the author often taking over matters where an overview would suffice. As the authors confidence in the native tongue grows, so does his absolute inexplicable brashness and contempt for all things culturally Italian and his lack of respect borders on the absurd at times. That he, the author who only discovered the game two years previously, can think to question a coach that has taken this village team to the upper eschelons of pro football is perfectly within his remit, not on one but on many occasions (not withstanding the fact that he advises playing an attacking formation away from home to better teams on numerous occasions and any resulting 0 0 is treated by him as a failure of sorts!) is beyond a joke.

To top it all off, at the end, to someone who claims throughout the book to have a love of Italian football (or il calcio as he puts it) he belittles the enourmous acheivement of this team by acting disgusted and totally self rightous towards the end of the book. The fact that a level of corruption exists in Italy, indeed more specifically once a team is assured of their league position, 'favours' to opposing teams who are still fighting are seen as a norm (ask Gab Marcotti on that one) his overreaction may show a level of decency but also compounds his misunderstanding of the scenario and of the culture.

To put it bluntly what happened there would not have shocked any true football fan with knowledge of the inner workings of Italian football back then, and also should not be used as a matter for judging the players character or personal beliefs as they, unlike him had their hands tied. The fact that McGinniss does judge the players on this leaves a sour taste in the mouth at the end of the book, not because of the situation, more that what should have been the greatest book ever written about one of the greatest footballing stories ever, wasn't, and all because of one thing - the unfortunate misplaced self rightous opinions of the author coming across as more important than the amazing story itself.

Buy it for the legend that is CDS, then understand why it left me feeling underwhelmed.

PS. An afterthought into the warped view of McGinniss that the coach Jaconi was an idiot with no eye for a player. The following season he did indeed drop the apparantly 'goalkeeper of the century' in McGinniss' eyes Lotti, who, despite our authors keen write up and supposed footballing knowledge, didn't go on to the perceived greatness he thought, while the tactically inept and backward thinking Jaconi replaced said goalkeeper with a young lad from Milan called Carlo Cudicini. He didn't mentioned that in his afterword!

Now, all the stuff he's awarded the 3 stars for potentially also apply to your story, although you've got several compelling stories rolled into a single narrative. The stuff he's deducted the 2 stars for? Well, they'd never apply to you, because I get the impression arrogance, self-centredness and disrespect just aren't part of your make-up. It's the whole 'Johnny Come Lately' thing that winds this guy up, and looking back on it, that's my main memory of McGinness's book.

On top of that, you can write a bit.

Just saying like - best not blowing sunshine up yer arse... but this thread gets a bump and the minute you see it you're eager to read the next bit. Hats off to you Vic and to Dave.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2010, 11:46:16 PM »
I've added some you tube vid links for context, not sure if they're particularly correct but I'm sure my Uncle will set me straight if I've got it wrong. The terribly puntastic title is my doing, don't blame him.

They say worse thing's happen at sea? they're not (F)riggin wrong!

I was looking for work and my aunty Carol, who I mentioned in the introduction of “In My Life” (my mums sister) had a boyfriend, Bob; an American guy who worked as a Driller on an Oil Rig for a company called Key Drill, a subsiduary of Gulf Oil. She contacted him and asked could he do anything for me? Through him an interview and a medical was arranged at the company office in Great Yarmouth.

I was accepted and arrangements were made for me to travel to the John Brown Shipyard in Glasgow the following week where a brand new Oil Rig was waiting to have the finishing touches completed, and all the stores and equipment loaded on board before being towed to the North Sea.

Standing on the dock side looking up at this monster called “Key Gibraltar” a three leg jack up Rig with a scaffolding staircase on the side of it, was an awesome sight. I started to climb the staircase with my arse going two bob tanner. The deck of the Rig was about Eighty feet above the dockside, now in those days I wasn’t in bad shape but I was blowing hard when I reached the deck. I think this was the moment I found out that I didn’t like heights.

I was met by an American guy who introduced himself as Jim Stewart, he was a Tour Pusher (shift foreman) he told me my job title was “Roustabout” (eat your heart out Elvis) catchy name for labourer. He showed me to a cabin which slept two people. I put my bag on the bottom bunk. Jim told me that I had been assigned to C crew of which he was in charge.

Jim didn’t let the grass grow under his feet, within one hour of joining the Rig I had been issued with my overalls, Toetector Red Wing boots - cowboy or lace ups? I chose lace ups, I didn’t want to look like one too. The overalls were something to behold, three pair of Parrot Green (same colour as the Rig) with lots of lovely badges on the sleeves and the back, I felt like a bloody Astronaut. I was told that these are only to be worn in the “house” (living quarters and mess hall). Also three pair of Navy Blue overalls for working in, with the same adornments as the Parrot Green overalls,  two pair of slippers again only to be worn in the house and thermal underwear. I was then shown the mess hall; a very posh canteen and the food? Well I don’t think that I have ever seen so much in one place. If I was going to die doing this work it wasn’t going to be from hunger.

I was introduced to the lads in C crew. They had arrived the previous day. I sat down and had a bit of lunch. They seemed a decent bunch of lads and the banter started with me being the only scouser, but I gave as good as I got and I thought I would get on well with them. There were a couple from Manchester, some from East Anglia, some from London and the Home Counties, Birmingham, a couple from Scotland, one from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and one from South Africa; the only one I thought I wouldn’t get along with - a surly bloke.

I spent the next three weeks along with all the other men loading all the tools, machinery and stores that the Rig needed to function. I had difficulty sleeping the first few nights. The Rig had five big generators that supplied the electricity for the Rig and these were running twenty four hours a day but eventually I got used to the noise.

I really enjoyed the work, It took a bit of getting used to; twelve hour shifts, especially the twelve midday to twelve midnight. After finishing work at midnight, getting showered, changing into house clothes and then sitting down to dinner felt a bit strange but again I got used to it.

After about sixteen or seventeen days we started to load the drilling pipes onto the main deck and the South African started to give the Rhodesian lad some stick, he had been doing it since day one but the stuff he was saying this day was particularly nasty and not at all funny. I told him to ease off and give the lad some peace. I hate bullies.
He didn’t so I walked over tapped him on the shoulder and when he turned round I chinned him, right on the button, he went down like a sack of shite, when he came to I told him if I ever saw him bullying that lad again he would go over the side.

The three weeks passed quickly; C & D crew were sent home for two weeks while the rest of the work was completed. My two weeks were nearly up when I received a call from head office in Great Yarmouth telling me not to report to the John Brown Shipyard but to Greenock which is a few miles down the Clyde. They explained that between Glasgow and Greenock there is a bridge and the Rig would not have been able to pass under it if all the sections of the legs had been fitted in the shipyard. The Rig had been towed down river under the bridge and then had the rest of the legs fitted; when completed the legs were three hundred and fifty feet high.

The Rig was not by the quay side but sitting in the middle of the river, jacked up about one hundred and fifty feet high. When I got out of the taxi I remember thinking “how the fuck do we get on board from here?” I asked one of the lads and he said “we go out to the Rig on the supply boat and then up onto the deck of the Rig by personnel basket”, “Oh right” I said and thought to myself “What the fuck is a personnel basket?” I didn’t want to appear stupid so I kept quiet.

We boarded the supply boat and sailed out to the Rig, the crane operator lowered the personnel basket, I put my bag in the middle and then sat beside it, all the lads started laughing and one of them said, “You scousers do anything for a laugh”, they had put their bags in the middle and were hanging on to the ropes. I acted all nonchalant and pretended to know what I was doing. I left my bag in the middle and stood up on the edge of the basket and held on for grim life. By the time we landed on the deck of the Rig I had discovered the colour of Adrenalin - now I knew I couldn’t stand heights.

The day before the tow the Drilling Superintendant (The Boss man on the Rig) got us all together in the mess hall and explained that only those men with Able Seaman tickets were going on the tow but one of them had forgotten his passport so wouldn’t be going. He asked if anyone among the rest of us had brought a passport. I had mine in the side pocket of my bag so I put my hand up, I was the only one, I said “but I don’t have an Able Seaman ticket”, “Not a problem” said the Boss.

He asked me if I would like to go on the tow and take this guys place, have you ever had one of those moments when you mean to say one thing but completely the opposite comes out your mouth? ...well that was my moment.
He explained that the tow would take about nine or ten days, he couldn’t have been more wrong.

The Rig was being towed by two massive French tugs and the Tow Master, Captain Roux was in charge. I awoke on the first morning of the tow to the movement of the Rig; we were on our way. I showered had breakfast and then went out on deck. It was a lovely day and the sea was quite calm. We were still in the Clyde and making six knots, our destination was a drilling site off the coast of Holland in the North Sea.

C crew started our shift at Midday. We were given the job of painting all the safety rails yellow, apparently in Dutch waters all safety rails HAD to be yellow. Well that’s what the Yanks told us. The whole of the Rig was painted Parrot Green but by the end of twelve hours all the safety rails were yellow and the Irish Sea was getting a bit choppy.

The next morning at twelve o’clock we met D crew in the mess hall, they had spent their twelve hour shift painting the safety rails Parrot Green. It was a ridiculous situation and we complained to the American boss, he only agreed to postpone the painting of the safety rails because by now the Irish Sea was getting quite rough; in fact we were heading into a Force Twelve storm.

Instead of painting we were put to work giving the deck a general clean up but it was a bit difficult with the waves crashing over the deck; we had to tie everything down. We all got soaking wet and I changed my working clothes three times during the shift but still the Yanks insisted that we worked. The boss said “We aint paying you to do nothing! You Brits sure don’t like work”. Cheeky bastard.

By this time I was more than a bit scared and wishing that I had left my passport at home. What can you do against such a force? You can’t punch it, you can’t run away from it, gradually I realised that there wasn’t anything I could do, so I kind of accepted it and I felt a bit better, my fate wasn’t in my own hands.

I wasn’t the only one feeling a bit apprehensive, the two Scots must have been feeling it too. Alcohol was forbidden on the Rig but this rule didn’t put them off, I watched fascinated as they heated up a tin of shoe polish and then drank the liquid it became when melted.
The Rig had its own telephone system with quite a few phones placed all around the Platform. We were working on the Drill floor on a Midnight to Midday shift trying to get the Kelly Spinner in position, this device is used to join the drill pipes together, a kind of giant hydraulic spanner.

One of the lads said “I could murder a coffee and something to eat” and the rest of us thought the same, “OK” I said, I’ll ring the galley and have them bring some over, “no fucking chance” was the collective reply. I have to explain here that the guy in charge of the galley, a little Scots bloke from Edinburgh was so far up the yanks arses it wasn’t true, a real little brown nose and he hated us “Sassenachs”. No way would he bring a tray of coffees and biscuits all the way from the galley across the deck to the drill floor, well not for us he wouldn’t. Now in those days I could do a fairly good impression of my favourite cowboy, John Wayne, so I picked up the phone and said “Pick up galley, pick up” and sure enough the little creep picked up “yes Boss” he said, John Wayne said, “I want six mugs of coffee and enough cookies for the lads here on the Drill floor”. “OK Boss I will be there in a couple of minutes”, now it was pissing down and the Rig was going up and down big style but sure enough he staggered across the deck with a tray full of coffee and cookies covered with towels. He was like a drowned rat when he arrived. John Wayne said “Just put the tray over there on the Drilling console”, he looked up at me and said “You Scouse bastard”. The lads just couldn’t stop laughing.

We were having dinner the next day when Captain Roux came in the mess hall and told us he had contacted the harbour authorities in Milford Haven asking for permission for us to take shelter there but that they had refused, he didn’t give a reason. He said that he would try Falmouth Harbour when we got a bit closer but he didn’t hold out much hope because he feared that if we tried to turn round the toe of England  there was a possibility that the Rig could topple over in this storm. Oh thanks for that mate.

Later that day he told us all that he had made his decision, he was going to let the storm take us wherever it chose to. We ended up in Brest, North West France in the Bay of Biscay; the Rig was jacked up just outside the harbour, nine days after leaving the Clyde.
There was quite a bit of damage to the Rig especially where the massive towing chains had rubbed against the platform; there were two quite large holes. It was going to take some time to complete all of the repairs and to finish the work on the Drill floor that hadn’t been done because of the storm. Not all the damage was due to the storm, the drilling console needed new glass on the dials. Our Scottish friends had been at it again, apparently the needles in the dials were submerged in raw alcohol (don’t ask me why) and they saw it as liquid refreshment.

We had been working hard for a few days when the boss called us all together and told us that on the Wednesday evening he had arranged for a boat to take us (C crew) ashore for a bit of R&R, D crew would go ashore on Thursday  evening. We were all looking forward to it very much. Wednesday soon came and sure enough at six pm there was a boat along side the Rig. The Boss told us that we had to be back at the dockside at eleven pm and the boat would not wait for any stragglers.

At this point I should explain that aboard the Rig all our needs were catered for, except for alcohol and cigarettes’, smoking was allowed but only in the house and alcohol was a strict no no, well not for the Scots. The cigarettes were duty free and worked out at fourteen pence for twenty so not much money was needed.

Bates ( the Derrick Man , one of the most dangerous jobs on the Rig) suggested that we pool all our money, which we all agreed to. Out of all of us I had the most money, five pounds, but by about eight o’clock money wasn’t a problem anymore, we didn’t have any and we were all well on the way to being pissed. Again Bates came up with the solution, we go in a bar order the drinks, knock them back quick and then run, the lad was a genius, by ten o’clock we were bladdered.

We entered what looked like a good bar, down some steps, dimly lit and some great music blaring out from the sound system. Bates ordered the same round of drinks (all shorts) but the barman refused to serve us, he must have been warned that there was a group of foreign dickheads going round the bars and not paying for their drinks.
It was at this point in time that the Gendarmes entered the bar waving their big white sticks, they battered us then took us to the Gendarmerie and put us in the cells. I was sure they didn’t like me; they put me in a cell with Bates.

After sitting for a while like a puppet that had its strings cut, Bates started shouting for “Aqua….Aqua”. I have to say that they responded very quickly, they put a hose pipe through the spy hole in the door. We spent a very wet, cold and painful night.
The next morning we were released after the boss had paid the bills we didn’t pay and Captain Roux had spoken on our behalf. We were taken back to the Rig and as the personnel basket reached deck level we were met by a barrage of apples and oranges being thrown at us by D crew, their night out had been cancelled. One of the lads in D crew said “We come all this way and went through all that shitty weather to deliver a cargo of tits to Brest”

We eventually made it to the drilling site off the coast of Holland in the North Sea where we expected to be relieved by A and B crews but this didn’t happen for another week, so the nine day tow became about four weeks. During a relaxing moment in the mess hall I asked Jim (the Tour pusher) if he missed his wife being away for so long, he showed me a photo of her. I could see why he wasn’t too bothered.

A and B crews arrived and it was time to go home via Helicopter to Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam and then a flight to Norwich Airport and then a train to Liverpool, all of which took the best part of a day. I spent a very relaxing fortnight at home and then the call came for me to go back, I wasn’t really up for it but needs must. I met all the lads at Norwich Airport (C and D crews), we flew to Schiphol and then Helicopter back to the Rig.
I didn’t recognise the lad sitting next to me on the chopper, I asked him what crew he was with and he replied C crew. He told me he had given up his job as a salesman to do something more exciting and earn better wages.

I met him again on our next shift; he was sitting with his legs wrapped round one of the tubular steel pipes that made up the legs, about two metres from the sea and about one hundred feet from the deck.

I was working on the Drill floor, I wanted a smoke so I told the Driller that I needed a piss, I was making my way across the deck to the house when the boss shouted “Hey big fella”, (don’t ask, I don’t know why, I had been called that since day one). He was up on the gantry that surrounded the Legs, about twenty feet up from the deck. From this gantry we greased the teeth of the giant cogs that made the legs go up and down. I climbed up and he said to me “Go down and get that guy back up here, he’s shit scared and wont move”. “What’s he doing down there” I asked. The Boss explained that a couple of nights ago the sea had been quite rough and the supply boat had tied up to one of the legs while the supplies had been off loaded by the Crane. At one point a big wave sent the boat under the platform and its big mast had been hitting the bottom of the platform.

One of the men on the boat took an axe and chopped the rope (about the thickness of a mans thigh). The boat then backed off the Rig and rode out the storm.
The boss said he had sent the guy down the ladder (which was welded to the inside of the leg) to get rid of the piece of rope that was still tied to the leg. I shouted down to the lad “come on climb up”, the boss said “I’ve already asked him to do that, go down and get him back up here”.

Now it might not have been so bad if the ladder had one of those safety circular things round it but the Yanks weren’t big on safety, so I climbed down. The lad really was scared (that made two of us), after trying to cajole him for a few minutes without success I told him if he wouldn’t come up the ladder with me I would push him into the sea and that would be that.

It worked. I helped him to his feet and got him to the ladder, I told him that I would climb right behind him using myself as one of those safety things I mentioned before. The climb seemed to take an eternity but we eventually arrived at the top. The lad was sacked and sent home on the next chopper, it was a bit harsh but understandable, for the rest of the day my arms seemed to have a mind of their own (Cramp) they would jerk upwards from the elbow at any given minute and when we sat down to dinner the rest of the crew couldn’t eat for laughing.

I awoke the next morning and showered, my arms were performing normally, I made my way to the mess hall and we all started our breakfasts, BOOM!! The whole Rig shuddered, BOOM!! It happened again, we all ran out on deck, there was a terrible mess.
D crew were in the process of fitting the Flare Boom into positition (this burns off oil and gas), two lads were working on a scaffolding platform guiding the crane operator. The scaffolding platform collapsed and the steel rope which was holding the Flare Boom snapped. Both lads and all that steel fell into the sea. I looked over the edge of the platform, one of the lads was still; just floating on the water and the other was trying to swim but he was just flapping one arm, after a few seconds he stopped.

We ran to the lifeboats and lowered them to the sea and went to pick them up. They were both dead and not a pretty site to see.

Now I know accidents can happen anytime, anywhere but the feeling amongst the lads was that this was avoidable. The Crane operator had only had the job for a couple of weeks and had never previously operated a crane in his life, it was a recent promotion and he had been working for thirty six hours non stop at the time of the “Accident”, both C and D crews resigned en bloc and the yanks took petty revenge on us; they wouldn’t let us leave the Rig by Chopper to Amsterdam and fly home. We were kept waiting for twelve hours before a supply boat turned up, they used a rooky crane operator to lower us onto the boat by personnel basket. The boat took us to a port called Ijmuiden, from there, Taxis to Rotterdam where we had to wait twelve hours for the ferry to Harwich having just missed one; it was actually just sailing out of the harbour as we arrived and then from Harwich by train to Euston Station in London and from there the train to Lime Street.

It took me about two days to get home, I was tired and sickened, and in truth I was glad to see the back of it all. I did receive a call from key Drill asking me if I would like to go back and work for them but this time the right words came out.

© vicgill
Please take a look at my latest blog for theredmentv "Dispelling the Rodgers/Martinez myth" http://www.theredmentv.com/blog/p/263 All other blogs can be read at www.theredmentv.com/blog Let me know your thoughts

Offline vicgill

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #21 on: July 7, 2010, 11:15:37 AM »

If you want a real insight to Mr.Shankly the you should read this
 
http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=139429.msg2205122#msg2205122
 
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 11:38:13 AM by Pheeny »
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2010, 02:04:55 PM »
I am sitting in the office typing out e-mails for the war effort and a car pulls into the car park, I get up from the pc and go to greet the young man in the car, as he gets out of the car I recognise him, “Sevi”, one of my lads in the Cadetes team that I coached about ten years ago. He left Teulada when he was about seventeen and went back to the City where he was born, Seville. He told me he had come back for a short holiday to see family and some of his old friends, and had been told I was still here in Teulada so he drove out to the Kennels to visit me.He was a very very good footballer, certainly on a par with the two lads who went to Real Madrid for trials and I remember being a bit surprised when the Real Madrid “Observador” didn’t mention him when he watched our game against Denia that day. Perhaps it was because he was slightly built, still is. Or perhaps and more likely, that Madrid already had boys of equal or better talent in his age group.He told me that when he went back to Seville he had a trial for Real Betis for their “Juveniles” and he signed for them but didn’t get to play as often as he wanted so he asked to be released and went to a club in his Barrio (district of Seville) as a part time professional and he still plays for them.He was, still is and always will be a fanatical supporter of Real Betis but he had on an old Liverpool shirt. After our greetings I asked him “what’s with the shirt”, he replied “it is to honour you, you are the best Entrenador (coach) I have ever played for, and you made playing football very easy for us”.Well, my eyes started to water and I felt very proud. I have to say I dislike “Big headedness” and probably that’s why I have some problems writing my “life story”, it’s all, I did this, I did that and I really struggle with it. Sometimes I tell myself “as long as the story is true then bigheadedness should not be a problem” but it doesn’t appease me much.But today a young man 27yrs of age has made this auld arse feel very happy and very proud and I just wanted to share it with friends. Christ my eyes are filling up again.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 11:41:19 AM by Pheeny »
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

Offline vicgill

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2010, 11:00:09 AM »
Sevi is in that photo of the Cadetes posted earlier, so I tried to cut a piece of that to show you, after having done a bit of work on Imageshack I hope this turns out
 

 
 
Sevi is at the front row left on the end (kneeling)
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2010, 12:09:59 PM »
This is the last kit I bought them (about 10yrs.ago) with the help of a mate Eric (A Bluenose) would you believe.
 
Eric is on the left, the Club President in the middle and me on the right
 

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 04:08:41 PM by vicgill »
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

Offline vicgill

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2011, 10:43:10 AM »
playing in goal against Everton A ...

Derby games always take me back in time to my years at LFC, one game in particular stands out for me, not a first team game played at Anfield or Goodison, this one in particular was played at Bellefield, Everton's training ground and on Boxing Day against Everton "A".
 
During my time at Liverpool I played in all the positions in the team including goalkeeper. I didn't enjoy playing in Goal, it only came about when our Goalkeeper (Trevor Roberts) didn't turn up at Bellefield in time, the team sheets had been handed in to the referee so it was not possible to change anything.
 
This story also has a connection with today because of the death of Nat Lofthouse, the Bolton Centre Forward famous for many things but charging goalkeepers and Harry Gregg in particular (FA Cup Final 1958)
 
After training,every Thursday evening at Melwood the teams for the following Saturday were posted and included a twelth man (first reserve). This player can only be considered to play if the change is made before the team sheets are given to the referee
 
Tom Bush was in charge of the A team at that time, he explained the situation and asked for a volunteer to go in goal, there wasn't any particular rush so I put my hand up and Tom made the particular positional changes needed.
 
The first half was going ok, I had made a couple of good saves, one in particular from a header I was really proud of but we went in at half time 2-0 down. Immediately I asked Tom if I could come out of goal and play centre forward, there were a couple of things I had seen while standing watching the game and I believed I had the speed to beat their cetre half. Tom agreed and asked for another volunteer, Stan Crombie our right full back stuck his hand up, Tom went and told the ref of the change we were making and then turned to me and said, Their goalie, (a Scottish youth International, Willie Mailey) is a bad tempered bugger so I want you to give him loads of shoulder and hit him hard,  get him thinking of you and not the ball.
 
We went out for the second half and we kicked off, a through ball was played and I chased it, Mailey came out and gathered it, I kept on running and hit him fair and square, he dropped the ball then dived on, it while calling me a c*nt. We were playing well and then another through ball, I chased it and Mailey was a bit slow to gather so he wasn't ready for what was coming, I hit him really hard and he fumbled the ball, it dropped to my feet and i banged it in the net, 2-1 game on. I could still hear the names he was calling me as I ran back to the centre circle.
 
We really dominated the second half but we didn't have the goals to show for it, then another through ball, I chased it, I wanted the goal so much, Mailey gathered the ball and I hit him, really hard. he turned and kicked the ball out of play and proceeded to kick seven kinds of shite out of me, my mate Bobby Corner, a lad from Speke came legging it up the pitch and gave Mailey the most beautiful right hook I have ever seen. Both players were sent off but it was my blood the crowd were baying for. Cheeky bastards.
 
I suppose I remember that game for the wrong reasons, we lost 2-1 and had a player sent off. Would have been nice if I could have told you that I scored a hat-trick but there you go. A foot note to this story is that Trevor Roberts, the goalie who didn't turn up on time due to the crap bus and rail service they operated on Boxing day all those years ago. Trevor lived in Wrexham (I think) and was studying at Liverpool University, he ended up at Cambridge Utd and died aged 30 of a brain tumour. I will always remember him apologising to the lads for not making it in time.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Roberts
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 12:50:23 PM by Rushian »
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

Offline Yorkykopite

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2011, 01:18:52 PM »
Good stuff Vic.

That period of football is always interesting I think. It's always worth exploring. The game was on the brink of unimaginable changes. Millions played it, millions watched it, yet it had no tv-coverage and hardly featured in the national papers. I recall reading an old copy of the Times and turning to the back pages. Their readers were evidently more interested in amateur rugby union than they were professional footy, or soccer, or whatever they called it. A friendly between Harlequins & London Welsh commanded more space than the top of the table clash in the First Division. Mad really when football was being watched by live audiences that will never again be equalled.

Which is a roundabout way of saying 'keep writing about that period in the early 60s, pre-World Cup'.   
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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2011, 12:04:14 PM »
A Must read for everyone.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2011, 12:46:25 PM »
loved reading that - one for the story and two because it sparks so many memories of my own about growing up, me dad, me grandad, footie, hospitals, jobs.... brill
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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2011, 12:52:59 PM »
A Must read for everyone.

Tony mate, thank you so much for that, it looks and feels more like a book now, once again thank you  :wave
"Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and making yourself available to receive a pass, it is really that simple"

"Friend, mourn not, though he premature departs, his wisdom marches on within our hearts"
  
RIP Ray Osbourne, comrade, epic swindler, and Internet Terrorist Extraordinaire.

Pheeny

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2011, 01:13:13 PM »
Tony mate, thank you so much for that, it looks and feels more like a book now, once again thank you  :wave
No Problem Vic it was a pleasure.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2011, 01:20:31 PM »
I remember reading the first part before, but since lost this thread...
Gonna get some grub and tuck into this, lookin forward to the story Vic & Bill.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2011, 01:54:37 PM »
Excellent read that, mate.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2011, 02:04:56 PM »
This is excellent, I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing. I shared a similar upbringing apart from the playing footy which I was crap at. From the inner city but raised around West Derby I went to the same schools and spent my youth in the Grounds of Croxteth Park. Amazing to read and once more thanks for sharing.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2011, 02:05:39 PM »
just wanted to say this threads great cheers for the stories vic!!
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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2011, 03:53:57 PM »
Brilliant read this
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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2011, 04:03:24 PM »
Should be stickied this. Wonderful and fascinating stories.

Thanks for posting.
It's true to say that if Shankly had told us to invade Poland we'd be queuing up 10 deep all the way from Anfield to the Pier Head.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2011, 04:04:17 PM »
It is indeed, a very good read. I think that the content has more appeal than you imagine, Vic. Your ambitions should go beyond a good read for your family. The combination of your playing past, the Shankly connection, the "pre-glory years" Liverpool FC story, social history and the musical heritage of the time ,mean that there is no reason why you could not have a  cult hit with that.
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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2011, 04:36:39 PM »
The combination of your playing past, the Shankly connection, the "pre-glory years" Liverpool FC story, social history and the musical heritage of the time ,mean that there is no reason why you could not have a  cult hit with that.

I'd say for all that background colour its a great story to tell. And as far as I'm concerned the more stories told about Shanks and those who knew him and were close to him, the better. We can never get enough of those.

Great stuff Vic.

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Re: In My Life-The Vic Gill Story
« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2011, 06:52:20 PM »
LOL  Vic , just because this  has been tidied up  does not mean you need not answer my   question , and i am not putting my hat back in the cupboard lol.   
  I have to agree it does read more like a book, but hope you get lots of your posts back , as you know  there are lots out there  who have  enjoyed reading it. As i said in other thread Vic, i hope you do manage to get it finished .
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 06:54:21 PM by flw »
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