Saturday 1 JuNE 1985

The Day I Played At Wembley

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On 1 June 1985, I played in a football match at Wembley Stadium. I played for LBC Radio against the England side (or at least, many of them) that had won the World Cup in 1966.

The match was being organised to raise money for the Bradford Disaster Appeal Fund, established after the fire at Bradford City’s Valley Parade Stadium on 11 May 1985. The fire which took hold in the main stand during a match on 11 May 1985, killed 56 people and injured hundreds more.

As part of the Appeal, a match had been organised as a curtain-raiser before the final of the Freight Rover Trophy, a tournament contested between teams in (what were then) the (old) Third & Fourth Divisions of the Football League. LBC had a particularly strong sports output in those days and for some reason were to provide the opposition to the England side. To help promote the match, they ran a competition to offer a place in their team to a listener.

I happened to hear a sports bulletin in which they announced the competition – and knew that I just had to enter. The winner would be the person who was judged to have convinced them as to why they should take part – and my couple of pages worth of fairly amusing rhyming prose saw me – and another listener too – selected to take part.

I don’t seem to have a copy of my winning entry – I remember it being fairly self-deprecating rhymes which enabled me to both talk-up my ability as a footballer, and knowledgeable about the game, but not come across as being too boastful. I remember one couplet being something to do with how I thought I was fast and lithe, but instead I was in reality more like Sammy Lee (still a great Liverpool player, but of a more stocky and shorter physique). For the sake of illustration, this couplet would have been something like:

“In my mind I am fast like Ian Rush and score when in the box.
But my friend say I’m built like Sammy Lee and always eating chocs.”

Imagine about 20 or 30 rhyming couplets a bit like that and you’ll get the idea of what the judging journalists at LBC had in their mailbox from me!

So anyway…that was my entry – and I was fairly confident I had done a good job. I posted it off – I may have even hand-delivered it to the radio station to be on the safe-side – and waited in the hope that I might win!

The rest is….absolute…history. This website has been put together and published on 1 June 2015. It was thirty years ago today…


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