Although the kids were a bit older now money was still tight and a woman’s place was still in the home. (She’s going to kill me when she reads this. I should point out that my wife is also a true red and cut her teeth on the paddock wall where she would stand with her mates and ogle Cally’s legs, as well as cheering the mighty reds on. We both now go to the match together on the Kop. I was able to avoid going with her for a number of years but when they seated the Kop she moved from the adult and child section in Annie Road to be with me. I probably got the best of the bargain there.)
We were going to Paris by road (and sea). Me and Fred and my mate John and his wife Beryl were going in J and B’s car – a Renault 5. Very appropriate!
We didn’t think that there would be any trouble with the Real Madrid supporters but were unsure of the welcome we would get from the locals. To be honest we weren’t too bothered because we had a secret weapon – Beryl’s tongue – it was sharper than a Stanley Knife and frightened the three of us to death!
We had a good journey down to Dover and over to Calais on the Monday / Tuesday. We stopped at a small town called Beauvais and booked in to a B&B. We did the cultural bit and visited the cathedral and then retired to a local hostelry for a drink. After a couple of scoops me and Fred began to teach John and Beryl the words of Poor Scouser Tommy. Those of you who are old enough to remember will know that originally the song was just, I am a Liverpudlian….’ We initially started singing quietly but as the afternoon progressed and we had more to drink and J and B got to learn the new words we did become rather noisy. We were, of course, also getting excited about the game and anyway – Scousers can be noisy bastards at any time can’t they! I think the locals in the bar were getting worried and breathed a sigh of relief when we decided to go off somewhere to eat. I have to say that the four of us were the least scally looking group of supporters ever to be seen on the continent so they didn’t have anything to be worried about – unless Beryl had got her tongue out!
We went out into the town for a few more drinks in the night. Sitting there at a bar in the middle of a town I had never heard of until that day and this guy walks past and says ‘hello Fred’ – a mate of his just happened to be in the area! This had also happened on the ferry and was to happen again on a couple of occasions in Paris. Billy no mates me never met anyone!!
We were up early the following day and pressed on to Paris. We stopped on the outskirts and found a B & B which wasn’t quite opened for business – but they put us up anyway! It all seemed a bit dodgy and as we set off for the local station we wondered if we would see any of our gear again!
We got into the Gare du Nord and did the touristy, cultural bit – see, us Scousers were into the culture stuff well before this 2008 thing. We saw the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, wandered along the Left Bank and mixed with the Real Madrid supporters who all looked well dressed and rich compared to the vast majority of us lot!
We got to the Parc de Princes and there were the usual large number of Liverpool supporters present. The atmosphere was good – the stadium was quite compact from what I recall. Again, it wasn’t a great game but Alan Kennedy’s goal was a cracker. I prefer to believe that it was a shot and sod anyone who prefers to believe otherwise. Anyway, when you’re at a European Cup Final, if it’s your team and you win, it is a great game!
Paris in the dark is different to Paris in the light and we weren’t sure of the way back to the Gare du Nord. We eventually got there after midnight, thinking that we had missed the last train. We didn’t think we had enough dosh for a taxi and we didn’t really know where the hotel was by road anyway!
Luckily for us Beryl the Tongue could speak some French and we actually got onto a train which took us back to the outskirts and our B&B. The owners had gone to bed and left the front door on the latch!
We decided that we would travel straight back home the following morning and set off early for Calais. A strange smell pervaded the inside of the car. Anybody who has seen a Renault 5 will know that there was not much space to be pervaded! Our kid got the blame and we drove all the way home with the windows down. Fred got stick all the way but he protested his innocence and the smell lingered. It was only when we pulled in to the Halton Castle car park in West Derby for a last celebratory pint that John looked on the bottom of his shoes and realised that he was the cause of the smell - they had dog muck on them from Paris! What better final memory to bring home with you from a City where dogs rule OK?!Copyright - Wooltonian