A Derby Day Trilogy by Wooltonian

Part II: My Dad’s Story

The Brod’s are well known for shifting addresses, quicker than Gypsies. Little surprise recently when it was established our ancestry was derived from Irish Tinkers. Between 1957 and 1965 we had already lived in 5 houses.

This story begins in our 3rd house in Garston, having already moved from Brunswick Street (under the bridge), Calthorpe Street (by the park), we settled in Condor Close (by the market). My father had had as many jobs too, but this latest job in Fords was looking like we could finally put down some roots. I have mixed feelings about Condor Close. For a start, everyone in the close was an Evertonian. From next door up,  Bembo, Carrol, Feast, Reid and Hughes everyone a blue nose. But from memory my parents were very happy with their latest move and made many friends.

Gerry Flaherty and Angela also lived close by. It was Gerry that struck up a lasting friendship with my Dad. Whether it was their love of Liverpool or their growing working relationship (T&GWU) I’m not sure. It was a week before my 8th birthday and the talk of the Close all week was the latest battle of the Blues and Reds. I had great hopes that this would be my first ever Derby Match, because what else would a kid want for his birthday. As the week was coming to a close though, things were not looking good. There had been no talk of me going.

Sir Roger got two vs Everton

Friday I decided to bring the matter to my father's attention. It ended with me being disappointed. The reason being there would be too many fans going to the game and a crush was likely. Later it was announced the gate was 53,557 ergo my arl fella was right. Our new car, a Ford Popular (FKF 808), was parked outside and at 12.30 my Dad and Gerry waved goodbye.

The gladiators for today’s battle would be:

Liverpool: Lawrence, Strong, Byrne, Milne, Yeats, Stevenson, Callaghan, Hunt, St John, Smith and Thompson were the Spartans.

Everton: West, Wright, Wilson, Gabriel, Labone, Harris, Scott, Young, Pickering, Harvey and Morrissey were the Trojans.

In the first few minutes it was glaringly obvious Mae West was in the form of his life. His point blank save from a Cally corner and Yeats header really was top drawer. Minutes later his efforts in keeping a Hunt volley out left mouths agog. Not satisfied with that, he denied Thompson in a one-on-one which had started deep in the Liverpool half. After only five minutes, Sir Roger saw a shot pushed onto the post and within two minutes Smith hit the same post with a long range effort. After only 10 minutes the Reds could easily have been five up if it was for the gallant efforts of West.

St. John was giving Brian Labone an absolute torrid time in the middle; the “pocket dynamo” made the Labrador Labone look very laboured. Thompson was having all his own way with Tommy Wright, twisting right, then left, then coming back to do it all again (typical of Thommo). After half an hour it was one of these twisty turny moves that resulted in a free kick. As Thompson had passed Wright, all Wright could do was try and pull the shirt off Thommo’s back.

Thompson’s swinging free kick was met by a horizontal Tommy Smith and his header flew passed the static West. The Kop roared its approval, the Anny was somewhat reminiscent of a funeral parlour. The last 10 mins of the first half were much like the first 10. Callaghan, Stevenson and St John all going close. As the ref blew the whistle for half time, no one with a Red scarf could believe we only led by one goal. Those in the blue were relieved more than anything else as they knew deep down it could have been all over as a match. Lawrence had only made one save in the first half and that was a lacklustre effort by the Arch Angel Gabriel.

Whether it was an injury or the fact that Labone had quite simply had enough of Ian St. John, only he will know why he didn’t come out for the second half. He was replaced by Glover. A strange move if tactical as Glover was a midfield player. Yes, they had lost the battle of midfield, but they had been just as inept at the back. Bladders relieved, the two Southenders settled back in the favourite spec on the Kop. The famous “Kop Roar” indicated to the ref that he could start the second half any time he liked.

Then the flood banks opened.

As Roger Hunt went through on West, the keeper went down far to early and all Hunt had to do was clip one over the top of the forlorn keeper. 2-0 was quickly followed by 3-0. A Thompson cross from the left was deflected by Harris, straight into the path of the forward running Stevenson. His delicate lob left Mae West totally flat footed. The blue fans fell silent, the only shining light they had was “the turncoat” Morrissey, he had at least given Strong a game, unlike the others who seemed to be accepting the inevitable.

Another run by Thompson led to the fourth.  He had done Wright twice again, before he pulled back the ball to Stevenson. Willie’s cross was met by a stooping Sir Roger. 4-0 and the Kop decided to raise the noise levels even more. “We want five, we want five” echoed around the ground.

By the time St John rose to a Callaghan cross, the Anny looked depleted in numbers. Not only had the Toffee players had enough, the fans had too. Only half the blues saw St John score Liverpool’s FIFTH that day. But the Kop were rejoicing when the ref finally brought the blues miserable day to a close.

Meanwhile back at Condor Close. I was at home watching the Saturday afternoon wrestling (weekly event of pantomime antics on ITV). As the last bout finished (on time for the footy results as usual) the teleprinter kicked into gear. After a few reserve results had been posted, the Scottish results started to blip and buzz their way onto the screen. After what seemed like an age, one or two first division scores started to appear. Then came the moment of magic.

Der der der dot, der der der Liverpool 5, (the printer paused) Der der der dot, der der der Everton 0.

Yahooooo I ran out into the Royal Blue Close, screaming with joy. The close was empty. It was a very quiet Close that night at 5 O’Clock, as it was for the rest of the night. Young Wooly would have to play football on his own tonight. NO ONE ELSE WAS PLAYING OUT!


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