Just a short one today, it’s been a while. It’s Father’s Day here in the UK, so HFD to all of them, and especially to those who are no longer with us. One of those who is still with us, is my own who, together with my mother, are legends in their own lunchtime.
Today, Dad was talking about the “two Dagos” who have recently signed for us, and it got him all nostalgic about the old days. To put things in context, Dad remembers dates of football matches, more than he remembers his kids’ birthdays. Ask mum, she knows many divorce lawyers.
Anyway, Dad was talking about when a certain Mr Shankly arrived at Anfield. Everybody in those days wore suits to the match. Your suit was your badge, your tattoo, your brand, your whole reason for living. For a season and a half, the boys of 1959 were the smartest kids on the terrace.
Dad was 13, and he was sent by his mother to get kitted out at Jacksons the Tailors on London Road. “No son of mine is going to Anfield dressed like a tramp…”
A few days later, he was swaying his thing, as you did, ready to see the Mighty Reds take on Sunderland in the last game of that Second Division season. Dad was all geared up, literally, and he sang his way through the 3-0 win.
Afterwards, he began his walk home, as usual. Dad lived in Lordens Road, Huyton, so it was quite a way – around 5 miles from the ground. Today, it’s a trek. Back then, it was just what you did when you were 13 years old.
Along the way, still quite near Anfield, the crowd had gotten a bit lively. It was the last game of the season, everyone was jolly, and the supporters edging their way home were obviously in the mood to keep the season going. After a few boisterous exchanges, Dad ended up singing and dancing his way down Walton Breck Road, on his way to Huyton, but also on his way to sartorial disaster. Before he’d even reached The Flat Iron, his brand new suit was a mess, and his trouser cuffs were hanging off. This is not a reflection of Jackson the Tailor, more an indictment of how ‘enthusiastic’ Liverpool fans are when they win.
Dad arrived home around 7pm, at 53 Lordens Road. Most of his siblings were out or otherwise occupied. The others (there were many), together with his mother, were sat in the sitting room, and all turned to see their baby brother enter the room, looking like a bedraggled Dickensian street urchin.
After a few very loaded moments, his mother spoke,
“That suit was brand new.”
“Yes, mam. Sorry, mam.”
“Do you know how hard your dad worked so you could have that suit?”
“Yes mam. A lot, mam.”
“And you come back in here, looking like that?”
[a very long pause as he is scrutinised]
“It was the game, mam. Everybody got carried way, like….”
“So your suit is ruined because of a football match?”
[Dad hangs his head]
“Yes mam. I’ll wash it.”
His mother steps closer, puts a hand on his shoulder.
“Well that’s Anfield dirt, son…you’re not washing anything..”
Happy Father’s Day to you all.