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John Wayne, the Living Dead and pure Pandemonium

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John Wayne, the Living Dead and pure Pandemonium

Charity Shield 14 August 1976

Liverpool 1 v Southampton 0

Attendance 76,500

After Bob Paisley's first league title clinched at Wolves, and victory in Europe in the Final of the UEFA Cup against FC Bruges in May, a scorching summer was followed by a visit to Wembley for the 1976 Charity Shield against Southampton. This is my story of another eventful trip to North London.

Like most like minded I loved going to Wembley, after all it was “The Mecca” that we had all be brought up to respect.  It didn’t matter that it was the Charity Shield.  To me the Charity Shield has always meant that the Tricky Reds had been successful and it was another day out to represent the City of Liverpool and have a laugh and joke along the way. It had been two years since we'd last visited Anfield South when Bremner and Keegan had been sent off for fighting in the season's traditonal curtain-opener, showing a distinct lack of charity but instead some great uppercuts.

The trip to Belgium had made a huge indent into the savings anyone had in them days, indeed many people were still paying back to parents and that for months and months afterwards. I was fortunate; I had a “good job” which paid decent money so I together with my mates didn’t struggle as much as some of the other lads we knew. Match tickets for the Charity Shield first went on sale to Season Ticket holders then of course General Sale. A few of us had Season Tickets so we were sorted, a couple of the lads didn’t; they were getting a bit twitchy “You’ll be alright, we’ll box it off” was the reassuring response.

Anyway, four of us booked this weekend package deal through the Echo. This included train travel down to the smoke on the Friday afternoon two nights four star accommodation in a hotel near Wembley and of course travel back home anytime on the Sunday.

In season 1975–76 red and white rugby shirts were the rage, time to dust mine down again and put on a show of colour and passion, it looked superb when a large mob of us were together all dressed up in these, it looked intimidating.

John Wayne's saddlebags

Friday morning, you box all your gear ready for 3 days and 2 nights away. I hated packing for trips like this, I always took too much.  Let’s see 2 pair of Bill Grundies (check) 3 pairs of socks (check) 1 clean t-shirt (check) an 1 decent shirt (check); done and dusted in one minute, lob them into a plassie Co-op bag and you're sorted.

Ya get downstairs and your Mum says "here ya are here’s something to eat", cheers Mum. I’ve got 101 butterflies flying around my stomach (due to nervous excitement) this is the last thing I need. Anyway, scoff forced down, mountains of butties in the arl Co-op bag and it’s soon time for the off.

A couple of phone calls to check all is well, yeah I’ve got me key see ya on Sunday or Monday whenever. Meet some of the lads in the Marion Square. Have you got your money? Have you got your Ticket? Quick dash to Ashe & Nephews to procure some liquid refreshment for the trip to the smoke and the 28 bus to Lime Street for another journey with the Tricky Reds.

Once on the “Ordinary” it was time for the merriment to commence. “Tsssk”, the first can is opened and necked in record time. "Aaarrrr" that was dead sound that. What was it? It didn’t matter, it hit the spot, give us another. On and on the relentless attack took place on the unsuspecting liquid refreshment; by the time we hit Rugby most of it had been well necked. 

The journey continued, all the daily papers well read, time to get the cards out. Ok says one of the lads “We’ll only play for coppers, maximum bet 10 pence” - we didn’t want to waste our ale money before we hit Town.

To be honest, I’m crap at cards always have been, always will be. Somehow I ends up with the most coin as we hit the outskirts of London. “Howabout winner takes it all” a voice says? I’m delighted I don’t want to be walking the streets of London like Quasimodo overladen with copper.

You already know the outcome of this one, “yeah superb” I end up winning the final hand with several quid’s worth of bronze! For once I’d wished I’d lost my lucky touch.

Stumbling out of Wembley High Street station (John Wayne had nothing on me) we head off for the Esso Penta Hotel. Jesus it’s only about 300 yards from Wembley Stadium itself. The receptionist is very thorough checking our hotel tickets as the insults start to fly. “What time do ya finish love, do ya fancy a bevvie?” The girl looks up at four cherub faced Scousers “You can laugh you know love, it won’t crack your make up.” “Do you do any tricks love, I like tricks?” I turned around and told the lads to shut-up! “Do ya wanna get us booted out of here before were in?” “Well I was only speaking my mind now’t wrong with that, these London bird’s love a bit of rough.” “Shut-up will ya? Lets get this sorted ya mooncat.”

Anyway all sorted, Mr Ashcroft and Mr Hall in room 406, Mr Pie and Mr Nunney in room 608. “I don’t wanna be on the sixth floor I’m scared of heights” “Ian shut it, we’ll sort it out later on?” We didn’t, it’s funny how the ale helps you to forget your fears!

Would you gentlemen like someone to show you to your rooms (I think, yes love a couple of dolly birds dressed in all the gear on would be really superb) “No thank you love I think we're old enough to find the fourth floor, it’s upstairs isn’t it!" comes a voice from the back.  “What time do ya finish?” No, no, no Ian, leave it mate she’s got the personality of a Mick Channon cardboard cut-out you can do better than that.

Lift upstairs to the fourth floor, gets out and say’s “We’ll travel to the sixth in five minutes or so and have a look.” Once into the room we both head for the window and take in Wembley Stadium, filth and all.  Considering it was the National Stadium it was always a scruffy place to visit, it was like a ghost town with only a couple of kids playing football in one of the car parks – tomorrow would be very different.

Walks up the two flights of stairs and knocks on 608. "Alright Ian were is Alan"? "Don’t know, threw his gear on his bed and went out with his plassie bag." Shakes head “what is he up to now?” Hotel door opens, in walks Alan with a grin like a Cheshire cat, "Shut the door now he screams. I’ve got some gear for us I just found it lying on the floor." “Go on then lets see what you’ve got” He empties out 30 to 40 small bottles of whisky together with 15–20 packets of No 6. “Where did you find them?” someone said “They were on the floor on the tenth floor, so I just borrowed them.”

The ciggies were handed out to those that smoked and the miniature bottles were necked amongst us “come on then show us were you found them” “Not yet wait for the hotel people to clean up the glass” “What glass?” boomed out in univision! “The glass from the ciggie machine and from the drinks machine on the tenth floor” “You said they were on the floor, what did you do?”  “Well I was having a walkabout to see what was what and I noticed these machines on the wall, so I took me trainee off and whacked both of them with it and collected the stuff off the floor”. The boy’s are back in Town and have made some impression within a matter of minutes.

“Lets go downstairs and get these empty bottles off the premises and go for an ale” - sounds like a good idea. Booty disposed of, back into the hotel bar to have a swift pint and check the place out. “I’ll get them in” I say, “it’s deffo my round.” Here, you mate, four pints of larger for four thirsty Scousers. The lad seems alright as he sorts the ales out “That will be blah blah £ for the beers Sir” “That’s no probs mate give us a hand to count this copper”. His face drops as I eventually manage to empty both pockets of slummy and stack it into piles of twenty pence. “I’m not allowed to accept so much copper at once” he says “You’d better accept it lad or your in big trouble if you don’t” he quickly counts the copper and the menace in the air lifts.

Part of this package includes an evening meal and breakfast, so we sit ourselves down and order more ale and the food. In the meantime the table next to ours has some faces we know. It’s the Corpy bus drivers from the depot in Linacre Lane out on a trip to watch the Tricky Reds “Alright lads having a good time and the such” are soon exchanged. These blokes were superb to us, I don’t know how many times they let us bunk the bus to or from the match or town. They seemed really old to us back then, at that time they were probably in their early 30s. Soon, like the ale, the banter flowed, one of them mentioned that they had stayed here before and that after 12.00 at night only one bar tender was about. They told us about a little trick they had sussed out. At a given time one of them would go back to their room and ring down for a pint as room service. The bar man would take the pint upstairs whilst one of them kept Dixie and the others poured out free pints and chasers then helped themselves to a couple of bob and a few ciggies.

We fell about the place, laughing our gonads off. We loved all that, it was always how can we beat the system and if I’m honest for many it still is when the opportunity arises.

As the night progressed the behaviour of certain individuals became more and more outlandish. Bets were placed on how far people could walk on their hands without falling over (busmen included). Bearing in mind that this was in the restaurant section, what with the proximity of tables and chairs, it was a recipe for disaster (Don’t forget normal people were still trying to eat their meals whilst this madness continued). We didn’t give a toss, we were in our early twenties and no one was going to tell us how to behave.

That night we stayed in the hotel and enjoyed the hospitality of this multi-national hotel group. Time after time packets of ciggies and bottles of spirits were whisked away where no man could find. We hid ours in a plassie bag, hung on the window latch covered by a huge Liverpool flag. As the night progressed more and more Scousers booked into the hotel. You could tell they were Scousers, they had an air of excitement about them, and a knowing glint in their eye.  As you do, we got bored of knocking off the gaff so we decided to go and play hide and seek in the hotel, like any 20 and 30 year old would do.  Off we go! 2 o’clock in the morning busmen in tow, up the lifts. I have seen some sights in my time following the reds, but the sight of several drunken gets sneaking along the hotel corridor then knocking on a door an legging it takes some beating.  A couple had fits of laughter and we had to carry them to make our escape, once out the way we fell about the place laughing our heads off.

Now the hotel had a flight of stairs at the back (rarely used) so we sneaked down and checked that the fella who was “man” was not about - like little mice we were. No sign at all, so we sat down back in our places as if nothing had happened, having a pint and that “Where do you reckon Tommy is then?” Tommy the 30 old bus driver was probably on the fifth floor sneaking about trying to suss where everyone was “Give him another half an hour an if he doesn’t show up we’ll go and find him” “It’ll do his co-ordination skills no harm, the daft so and so is always getting lost when driving his bus” another replied.

Sometime later Tommy turns up with his face like thunder, “You right shower of bastards how long have you been down here?"  “Here get this down yer neck and sit yer self down here.” The lads grab him, mess up his hair and start poking him in the ribs, any ill feeling is soon lost as the morning fast approaches. Around half three we all tip toe upstairs (swapping shoes that had been left outside doors for cleaning) and go and get our heads down to replenish energies for tomorrows caper. I laughed myself to sleep.

The Living Dead

Now then, in them days I used to start work at 7.00 in the morning and was used to getting up at 6.00 to sort myself out and get to work. I awoke at 6.00 with red eyes and a spinning headache. Once up I can never go back to bed. I went downstairs and asked the night porter for some tablets and a glass of water then went for a walk. The sun was cracking the flags. What had been an empty car park was very slowly filling up, as cars, vans and coaches began to arrive for the match. Daily papers sorted, back to the room for a quick shave, shower and a shite, then downstairs for a good greasy fry up. One by one the living dead stumbled into the restaurant, few words spoken, just acknowledgement by sight was enough.

We sat around the hotel for a few hours as people’s senses and recollections of the night’s antics began to slowly return. Anyway, come 11.30 the bar was opened and the beer marathon was about to commence again. After a few jars we said “tara” to the corpie busmen as we wanted to have a look around an' that. 

Walking around Wembley the faces of the people were lit up, everybody was in their element, the place was buzzing and the people where happy. We didn’t see any Southampton supporters, everywhere you looked were Scousers having a laugh, singing their heads off and supping cans of warm ale.

We had to go back to the hotel to collect stuff, money, tickets and flags etc. Up to the ground we walked, mingling in with a few Saints supporters. It struck me that most of them were Dads and Lads, they didn’t have any "boys" like us, if they did we didn’t see any. “Daddies boy” came from a familiar voice behind me, aimed at a Southampton lad walking up with his Dad. “Daddies boy is going to see his team get battered by Liverpool today” was snarled out. We laughed at first, then realised that most if not all of the Southampton supporters were cacking it walking amongst us. "Leave it out! They haven’t a clue."

Once in the ground we made our way upstairs to our section, the view was superb as we watched the crowd take their place. Around 2.30 the crescendo of noise from the Liverpool end grew and grew; you couldn’t hear the Southampton fans, the noise we created was too loud. After the match the official gate was given as 76,500, we knew this was incorrect as we heard stories on how lads had got in buckshee.

The teams walked out together, the noise was incredible. We rose as one to acclaim the Champion’s of Europe elect. The place went absolutely ballistic, it was a two-way relationship we loved the team and they loved us. No other set of football supporters ever had a relationship or a bond like that of Liverpool FC and the Spion Kop.     

Some no mark dignitary was introduced to the crowd as “Abide with me” was played over the tannoy system. Quick as a flash we jumped up on a barrier and showed our Liverpool flag to the watching World. We knew what was about to happen.

“You’ll Never Walk Alone” boomed out from the travelling Koppites, easily outsinging the tannoy system and the Southampton supporters. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” came from a special place in your heart. In my opinion no one ever sang it better, we meant every word of it, this was Liverpool FC, this was for life.

We stood on the barrier one hand holding one end of the flag, with the other hand clenched as an act of defiance and a show of strength.  “God save the Queen” was also played that day and we didn’t hear a word of it. “God save our Team” boomed out and echoed around the ground from those from the Mersey.

The match was basically just a pre-season friendly with both teams keeping the game at a slow tempo, it’s a good job they did, the heat inside Wembley was intense. Big John Toshack scored the only goal of the game to secure the Charity Shield and add it to our already bulging trophy room.  At the final whistle the Spion Kop erupted like only the Spion Kop could, whilst the Southampton players and supporters clapped and acknowledged that they had been beaten twice, both on and off the pitch.

As we got out the ground we bumped into Frano and Jono, two younger lads from Netherton “Alright bollox, what are ya doing down here?” “Errrrrr watching the Reds like, and yourself?" “Oh, just came down here for a bit of shark fishing” ... you can’t beat a bit of sarcasm.

Anyway, we’re walking along having a gab an' that when Jono starts bleating like a sheep “Baaaaaaaaaa” “Whats up with you soft Arse” “I’m just winding all these country bumpkins up, I can’t stand so called supporters like them”  "Leave it Jono they are doing nothing."

“O we don’t have tractors on the Kop, we don’t have tractors on the Kop, we don’t have tractors, we don’t have tractors, we don’t have tractors on the Kop" a few others join in. This is soon echoed along the way as the multitude join in.

The Southampton supporters in the crowd were OK with it, they had no other option as they were heavily outnumbered. Enough of that madness, back to the hotel for a quick pint, a bite to eat and a change of clothes, with Frano and Jono now in tow.

“Can I use the phone” Frano says to us. “Alright help yerself” “Hello Mum I’m down in London an' won’t be home till tomorrow, can you tell Steve’s (Jono) Mum he’s with me as well?” Frano puts the phone down and says “It’s OK if we sleep on the floor of your room tonight isn’t it?” “Yeah go ahead lad, the more the merrier, but we’ll have to think about this.”

We sat down and found out that between them they had about five quid, that wasn’t going to last them long and they hadn’t eaten anything since the left Liverpool early that Saturday morning. Now then, rather than try and sneak into the restaurant and blag a couple of meals, we decided to turn up mob handed and take it as it came. The six of us sat around a huge table that had been set up and just helped ourselves, nobody asked any questions, so the lads were sorted. We bought them a few scoops but this couldn’t continue, so we came up with the idea of selling some of our Teacher’s whisky (or rather let Frano and Jono sell it, outside the hotel of course).

We let both of them into our room so they could have a shower, and sort themselves out, refreshed and with Jono wearing my T-shirt it was time to hit the centre of London.  There must have been around 15–16 of us at this stage (the busmen had the same idea as us). We reached the deserted tube station, Wembley Central, and all of us bunked the tube.

We got off at Piccadilly and headed for the first boozer we saw - it was full of like minded thirsty Scousers. The bar staff where awful, they didn’t like us and we didn’t like being treated like shite, so it was time to see how tolerant they were. We had seen and heard what was about to happen before, at away games were our bar hosts had been awkward or snotty. 


Sung so that the three parts of it took minutes rather than seconds, started and on and on it went. We effectively nullified the jukebox and any possibility of conversation. We decided to bugger off and walked out across a mountain of broken pint glasses, this was going to get nasty and we weren’t in the mood for any of that.

Next pub was a lot more user-friendly, a good mixture of locals and our lot. We started talking to these three blokes (2 cockneys and a Geordie) the cockneys reckoned they were Chelsea and tried to say they were the hardest supporters in the U.K. We decided to tell them a few home truths, “How come you only ever bring 100 or so up to Anfield?” “Same as West Ham, Arsenal, QPR, Spurs etc, you like to talk to talk the talk, but none of you can walk the walk.” The much older cockneys didn’t expect that, they didn’t say anything and neither did we, we waited for some sort of response – nothing. 

The Geordie broke the tension by saying c’mon lads we’re only here like you to have a drink and a gab. This did calm things down a touch but all eyes we’re still on the cockneys.  After a while one of the lads say’s “C’mon lets move on and out” and en masse we move out, walking along singing our heads off “The Liverpool boys are in Town,” oh yes we were.

Anyway, the streets seemed to be full of drunken Scousers, all intent on having a laugh. God only knows how many we took down to London that weekend. 

Further up this Road by the statue of Eros (proudly wearing a Liverpool scarf) we notice this bloke lying on the pavement by the edge of the road. “It’s probably some tramp sleeping off a heavy session” one of the lad’s says, but it wasn’t. The bloke had no colour in his face, he was as white as a ghost. One of the lads who had joined up with our ever increasing mob was Neil (a nurse or something from the Walton Vale area), he loosened the blokes clothing and tried his best to resuscitate him.

We stood around as a couple of other lads tried their best to help. Just then a police car came to a screeching halt, all lights and sirens flashing. The two coppers jumped over the railings straight to the body “Alright boy’s what are you up too?” “We found this bloke just lying on the pavement and tried to help him.” The two coppers examined the body and confirmed our worst fears; he was dead.

One of the copper’s said “I don’t know, you robbing Scousers going through the pockets of a dead man” the crowd went ballistic and rounded on the copper each one of us telling him he was way out of order and too get his facts straight! “Alright calm yourselves down, I was only messing.” This got the crowd even angrier, “You callous cockney bastard, that’s someone’s son, perhaps someone’s husband, brother or father.” “Look lads I see this time after time after time, every day of the week,” he said. The other copper intervened and told his colleague to get in the car. “Look lads I’ll apologise for his behavior, he was way off the mark, I saw everything and I know you were trying to help.”  This was a little comfort to the crowd but at least this copper showed some compassion and seemed to care. “C’mon lets get off” one of the lads said as we slowly walked away.

The next few hours were largely subdued as we contemplated what had gone on before hand. In time we moved from pub to pub losing people along the way and finding them in the next boozer.

Anyway, some ridiculous hour of the early morning one of the lad’s says “Let’s get the tube back to the hotel and see what’s happening there.” The thought of how we were going to get back to the hotel hadn’t crossed my mind, and I was surprised to find that the tubes where still running. We got our free ride home to Wembley Central and walked the long walk back to the hotel.  A couple of the lads started singing Liverpool songs and this lifted flagging spirits, soon we were all giving it loads at the top of our voices.

We bounced along trying to wake everyone up but if we thought we were loud, the noise from the hotel was something else! You could tell everyone was having a laugh and over indulging as we following the tell tale trail of sick which led to the hotel.

It was like walking into a mad house (Russ Abbott would have swallowed his false teeth if he’d have seen this) the place was chocker block full of inebriated Scousers each intent on outdoing anything anyone else did. Blokes, old blokes mind, walking around bollo with undies on their heads; women with nothing on above they’re waists (apart from a No 6 hanging out from their gobs) playing strip jack naked. This is what we wanted, we didn’t feel out of sorts, we were amongst our own people. 

“How much money have you got left?” someone said; I knew I was all right I still had twenty quid in my No 6 ciggie packet and piles of slummy in my pocket. We gladly passed our slummy to Jono and Frano who by now had only coppers between them. “Four brown mixed please mate” I said and in amazement he sorted them for us (they didn’t tend to know what a brown mixed or what a brown bitter was down South). "Keep the change mate," all 20 odd pence of it.

We just sat and enjoyed what was going on, singing every Liverpool song known to man and dog. I awoke later that morning fully clothed on top of my bed, Graham was snoring like a trooper whilst Jono and Frano lay motionless on the floor covered in flags and coats.

The sunlight through the curtains hurt yer eyes as very slowly I began to realise that I was human. Jesus it was 9.00 in the morning, we had 30 minutes to get down before the breakfasts were stopped from being made, one by one the lads managed to regain consciousness but some couldn’t face the thought of food. What a difference a couple of hours had made - downstairs was in pristine condition, someone had worked a miracle.

Pure Pandemonium

The journey home meant we had to go to Euston to catch the ordinary home; the tube journey to Euston was eventful for the fact that no one was sick! How unexpected was that?!  I slept for most of the journey home (totally out of character for me) and was roused by some of the lads singing “The Liverpool boys are in Town.” We were back home in this dirty untidy place; we were back home in our Liverpool…. SUPERB!

That night we headed straight for the back lounge of the Park Hotel, Sundays were always a good night in there. We sat and tried to take it all in, but couldn’t.

It was at times pure pandemonium, a total farce; the best of times and the worst of times, I don’t regret one single thing from that trip it was an education.

© Mottman 2004

A is for Anfield, our home.

B is for beesknees Liverpool FC.

C for Copping off at away games, all them years ago.

D is for Dalglish, the greatest of them all.

E is for Ernie Hunt, Coventry player or rhyming slang?

F is Feds trying to keep out of there way.

G is for Good Skin, met may of them.

H is for being Ardfaced 

I for injury time goals and innkeepers, many of whom are visited after injury time goals

J is for Jesus Boots, God they made your feet sweat

K is for Kirkby Kiss, give us a snog love.

L is for Laughin, it makes the World go round.

M is for Mott The Hoople hence user name.

N is the no-mark who gets served ahead of ya, by letting on to the barmaid

O is for Onyertoes, doing a legger at Limey to catch the last pint.

P is for Paralitic celebrating another Tricky Reds win.

Q is for Quality like a Jan Molby ball

R is for Ron Atkinson’s big black leather.

S is for Speck, on the old Spion Kop.

T is for Termorrer, because it never comes.

U for the soiled undies you lashed out on Sunday morning.

V is for veg, what’s that all about?

While W is for “The waste of space” yer auld fella always said you were

X is for all the bird’s you necked on yer travels.

Y is for York City, cardboard boxes as hats.

Z is for zonked………………..again!

Pictures courtesy of

Great read Robbie.

top read, and yer first big photo is the poster I had on my wall as a kid.
Brought a tear to me eye Robbie seeing that.

Great stuff Robbie  :wave


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