Did you know that I used to have a season ticket to a local football club? Well, when I say football, it was Millwall, so I’m not sure if they qualify as that. I went with two friends who I met through the church I went to. Sean is now a priest, and the second was Dave an all-round Engerland supporter.
Sometimes in addition to our Millwall duties, we would meet up at the pub to watch the occasional match. I would be dragged to watch England, whilst Dave would likewise be brought to the pub to watch Ireland. Ok, it didn’t take much to get Dave to the pub, he likes pubs.
Anyhew, we met up to watch England take on the mighty San Marino and it reminded me of a quick little story.
Picture it, Derry, November 1993 San Marino vs England in a World Cup Qualifier. My step-father and I are sitting watching the TV as the game kicks off. Eight seconds later, a back pass to the England keeper is under kicked and a San Marino player pounces on it and put it in the net. Queue bedlam in our living room.
With the racket going on in the front room my mother came in and asked what was going on. I told her that San Marino had just taken the lead against England. Her simple reply “I thought San Marino played American Football”.
For those of you who aren’t as old as me; at the time, there was a famous American Football player by the of Dan Marino. I then had visions of England playing against the Miami Dolphins. It was hilarious.
You just have to love your mother sometimes.
Even though England would go onto win 6-1 (I think), those twenty minutes while San Marino were joyous. To paraphrase the old Celtic expression, there are only three teams you support in international football, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and whoever’s playing England.
A few years later a Dave confided this little nugget from the same evening.
Picture it, Elephant and Castle, November 1993 San Marino vs England in a World Cup Qualifier. My friends Dave, and Sean were in Dave’s home just starting to eat tea as the game kicks off. Dave is lifting his fork up to his mouth as San Marino score, the fork stops in mid-air and Dave spends the next ten minutes staring blankly at the television mouth open and his fork still three inches from it. I don’t Dave ever finished that meal.