When I read Gary’s article on Wednesday the memories all came flooding back. They were the glory days and let nobody ever tell you any different. I’d seen Spurs thrash Club Brugge 3-0 at White Lane in the 1980s but that had been the only UEFA Cup match I’d ever witnessed. Until…
I remember that final Middlesbrough match as well as Gary does. I listened to it in our greenhouse on a knackered old radio while attempting to pot up calendulas. I might have potted one or two but retrospectively I doubt it. I was shaking too much.
Vitesse at home. I had no idea what to expect beyond the fact that national media said Glenn Helder would destroy us. He didn’t. We visibly grew in confidence and hit them for three in little over 20 minutes in the second half.
And then around 75 minutes Mike Walker unleashed Darren Eadie. I’d never seen him play for the first team before and nor had anybody around me. Chants of “Go on the jockey” and “We’ve got Willy Whippet on the wing” burst out from the Barclay. In the end, an easy 3-0 and job done.
Having the luxury of a company car I didn’t have to suffer the indignity of Club Cabbage. No numb bum for me. The return leg even meant I brought back some cheap beers and tobacco. The old Ford Scorpio had a massive boot. I think I actually made a profit on the trip, not that I’m particularly proud of it.
Bayern was a breeze. Working for a German-based multinational I was easily able to tie the game in with matters professional (my boss was an absolute diamond) and the only thing I paid for was my match ticket. I didn’t have a particularly good view, but beggars can’t be and apart from those goals and the heroics of Gunny and those in front of him my abiding memory was a couple of German guys I walked to the cab rank with telling me: “It’s a blip. We’re coming for you”.
And come for us they did.
I booked a day and a half off from work (the whole day for post-match recovery) and the Blofield contingent rocked up in the Garnet at around four. The first thing we saw was a group of German lads and an accompanying Deutsche TV crew. We got our beers and started to talk with them, as you would, hopefully. The cameraman’s accomplice asked if they could film us “chatting”.
I said sure, fire away – they were great lads and their English was so good my few grunts of German were rarely required. Nearly all Germans speak excellent American, if not quite English.
One slight problem. The Munich head honcho was a massive biker and my mate Slim was an even bigger biker and took a bit of a dislike to him. He said they could only film if me and the Munich guy swapped scarves. The German fella was very reluctant, but the deal was done in the end. It was like watching a Grizzly facing off with a Kodiak. The English Kodiak (I know!) won out.
I ended up with this red-fringed white satin thing with “Fan Club 73” on one side and “Bayern” on the other. Well done Slim, I traded my scarf for what I considered to be a piece of girly tat. Mind you I got £25 for it on eBay some years later. To a gent in Germany, obviously. Maybe I should have kept it after all and worn it at the Royal Wedding.
The game itself? I was a little bit wee-weed I’m afraid, but I know we did enough.
Tickets weren’t that easy to get for Inter at home if you left it late. I helped a mate’s brother out and his apparent ingratitude was unbelievable. It’s the little things you remember.
Rob Newman and that penalty. Up comes Dennis. Oh, Monkey-doos.
As generous as Henry my boss was, commitments meant we couldn’t contrive a way in which I could get to the San Siro. He’d been kind enough previously and I would have probably have had to resign to get to that game. They were great to work for and paid good money, so resignation wasn’t really a viable option.
I don’t know if people understand exactly how many injuries and suspensions we had for that return leg. It was quite an endless list in its way. Dennis scored again and that was that.
But with all the adventures, encounters and doin’ diff’rent we enjoyed in that brief but glorious campaign it tops the lot for me.
I am by no means sure those heady days will pass this way again.
If you have memories of said cup run you’d like to share, please feel free…
Norwich City Legends v Inter Forever – Ticket information:
Sunday, May 20, 2018. Kick-off 2pm. Standard tickets are priced at £9.93 for adults and £1.93 for U18s.
Hospitality packages are also available.
Tickets are available online: tickets.canaries.co.uk, by phone on 01603 721902 or from the ticket offices at Carrow Road, Castle Mall or Chapelfield.
The proceeds from the match will go towards the development of the Community Sports Foundation’s new facility, which will be known as ‘The Nest’, after the Canaries’ former home.
To find out more, visit www.communitysportsfoundation.org.uk/build-the-nest/about-the-nest/